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Class Notice - Russell v. United States

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Class Notice - Russell v. United States Powered By Docstoc
					        Russell v. United States Class Administrator
        c/o KCC Class Action Services
        P.O. Box 43148
        Providence, RI 02940-3148


        URU

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        Claim #: URU-«ClaimID» «MailRec»
        «First1» «Last1»
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          UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

                     You Are Entitled to a Settlement Payment from the Army &
                       Air Force Exchange Service for Overcharged Interest.
           Your Interest Overcharge Amount: $«InterestRefund»              Calculation Date: «2010 or 2012»

         YOUR CLAIM FOR OVERCHARGED INTEREST AGAINST THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE
         EXCHANGE SERVICE WILL SOON BE EXTINGUISHED IN FAVOR OF A SETTLEMENT.

This notice has been authorized by the United States District Court to explain the situation to you and to explain your
options to either accept the settlement (and give up your own right to sue) versus to opt out of the settlement (and
retain your right to sue). You must act promptly if you wish to opt out of the settlement, as explained below.

                            The settlement web site is: www.ExchangeInterestSettlement.com

•   The court has appointed attorneys to represent a class of individuals, like you, who had delinquent credit
    accounts with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (“Exchange”) that may have been overcharged interest.
    The Exchange has agreed to settle the lawsuit and to make a payment into a settlement fund to pay Class
    Members. Your appointed attorneys estimate that you will, without having to take any action, receive a
    settlement check for (1) about 75% of the Interest Overcharge Amount noted above if the “Calculation Date” is
    2012; or (2) 65% of the Interest Overcharge Amount if the “Calculation Date” is 2010.
•   The class consists of approximately 63,000 service members, retirees, veterans, and their dependents. The United
    States has agreed to pay approximately $2.77 million into a fund that will be used to distribute settlement checks,
    and to pay the costs of administration, attorney fees, litigation expenses, incentive awards, and all other costs of
    the settlement, as approved by the court. The proposed settlement reflects payment for the interest overcharged
    by the Exchange, plus approximately $500,000 to settle other, related claims alleged in the suit.
•   Unless you exclude yourself from the lawsuit, you will be entitled to a settlement check. Court-approved
    attorney fees and costs will be deducted from the Interest Overcharge Amount stated at the top of this page.
    Class counsel plans to request $1 million to $1.2 million in attorney fees from the Class Fund, as detailed below.
•   Your legal rights are affected whether you act or don’t act. Please read this notice carefully.




                                                                                                        URU_NOT_130311
                                     YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS
                                   Stay in this lawsuit. Receive a settlement payment for the Interest
                                   Overcharge listed above, less attorney fees, costs and other expenses. If you
        DO NOTHING.                do nothing, you will receive payment at the address to which this notice was sent
                                   if the court grants final approval. But you give up the right to bring a lawsuit on
                                   your own. The settlement payment check will replace the prior interest refund
                                   check issued to you by the Exchange and will be for a lesser amount.
                                   Get out of this lawsuit. Get no settlement check. If you ask to be excluded, you
                                   will not be part of this settlement. You will then retain your own right to sue the
    ASK TO BE EXCLUDED.            Exchange or ask the Exchange to pay you a refund. (You will also be excluded
                                   from the settlement if you cash any interest refund check that you have already
                                   received from the Exchange.) If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any
                                   payment from this settlement.
             Object                You can stay in this lawsuit, but tell the court why you don’t like the settlement.
        Go to A Hearing            Ask to speak in court about the fairness of the settlement.
•    These rights and options – and the deadlines to exercise them – are explained in this notice.
•    The court in charge of this lawsuit still has to decide whether to approve the settlement. Payments will be made
     if the court approves the settlement and appeals, if any, are resolved. Please be patient.
Why Did I Get This Notice?
The court has allowed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who may have paid too much interest to the
Exchange and who had not yet cashed refund checks that the Exchange issued during 2010 and 2012. You have
been sent this notice because you are a member of the Class. The lawsuit, known as Russell v. United States, No.
C 09-03239, is now before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of
this notice is to provide you with information about the proposed settlement to help you decide whether to stay in the
class or exclude yourself from further participation. The decision is up to you.
What Is a Class Action and Who Is Involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more individuals called Class Representatives sue on behalf of others who have
similar claims. Those individuals with similar claims are called Class Members, and the entire group is called the
Class. The Class Representatives and the Class Members are the Plaintiffs. The person they sue (in this lawsuit, the
government of the United States) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class—
except for individuals who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.
What Is This Lawsuit About?
This lawsuit is brought on behalf of a Class of people who Plaintiffs claim paid excessive interest to the Exchange on
delinquent debts arising from merchandise purchases. The lawsuit seeks a refund of the excess interest payments to
the Class Members.
Why Is There A Settlement?
The court has not decided in favor of either Plaintiffs or the United States. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement.
The Exchange has agreed to make payment for a reasonable estimate of the interest overcharges, plus an additional
amount to settle related claims. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think this Settlement is best for
everyone who is affected.
What Does the Settlement Provide?
The proposed settlement provides that the Exchange will pay approximately $2.77 million into a Class Fund. You
will receive the amount of your Interest Overcharge, listed atop page 1 of this notice, less court-approved attorney fees
and costs. Class Members whose Interest Overcharge is less than $3 will not receive a settlement payment; instead
the Class Member’s settlement proceeds will be donated to charity. Settlement checks will have an expiration date at
least one year after the court approves the settlement. If you do not cash your settlement check before it expires, your
settlement proceeds will be donated to the Army and Air Force Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.
Class Counsel will ask the court for an award from the Class Fund of attorney fees, litigation costs, the costs of
administration, and incentive awards for the named Plaintiffs, as described further below.
                                                          -2-
Who Is a Member of the Class?
The court certified a class of individuals who may have been overcharged interest on their delinquent credit accounts
with the Exchange but did not cash refund checks the Exchange mailed them in 2010 and 2012, as of December 15,
2012. (Note: This is a summary of the Class definition as approved by the court. For the exact definition, please
reference the settlement website listed at www.ExchangeInterestSettlement.com or contact Class Counsel.)

What Do I Need To Do To Stay In The Class?
If you want to remain in the Class and be paid a share of the settlement proceeds described above, you do not have
to do anything. You will automatically be a Class Member unless you request exclusion discussed below. As a
member of the Class, you will be bound by the court’s rulings. If your mailing address or other contact information
has changed or will change in the near future, you should contact Class Counsel at the address provided at the end of
this notice in order to be sure you receive your settlement check.

What Do I Need To Do If I Want To Be Excluded?
If you choose, you may exclude yourself from the Class. This process is also known as “opting out.” To be
excluded, you must sign a letter and send it to Class Counsel at the address listed at the end of this notice that
includes the following:
Your printed name as on this notice, the address to which the notice was sent, and your correct address if the notice
was sent to the wrong address.
A statement that you want to be excluded from the settlement in Russell v. United States, No. C-09-03239; and
your signature.
The letter must be postmarked no later than on or before 11:59 p.m. on May 19, 2013.

What Happens If I Exclude Myself From The Class?
If you exclude yourself from the Class, you will lose the right to any settlement payment. You will also not be able
to participate in hearings or object to the terms of any settlement. If you exclude yourself, you will have the right to
bring an individual lawsuit, if you bring it within the time allowed by law, or you may contact the Exchange to
request a refund of interest you were overcharged.

What If I Already Received a Refund Check for Interest from the Exchange?
You are in this Class because the Exchange previously attempted to mail a merchandise, or deferred payment plan
(“DPP”), interest refund to you, but the check was not cashed or was returned as undeliverable. If you have your
DPP interest refund check from the Exchange, you may cash your refund check on or before 11:59 p.m. on
May 19, 2013 and you will automatically exclude yourself from this Class; you will then have no rights under this
settlement. After May 19, 2013, the Exchange will no longer honor previously-issued DPP interest refund checks
presented by Class Members and your only payment will be through this settlement. The settlement payment
check will be for a lesser amount than your prior interest refund check. You are not entitled to be paid twice.

If I Stay In The Class, Will I Have to Pay Any Legal Fees or Costs?
If you stay in the Class, the Class Counsel will represent you. You will not be asked to pay any legal fees or costs
out of your own pocket. The court may award attorney fees and costs to Class Counsel, but any amounts awarded
will be deducted from the settlement proceeds.
Class Counsel intends to request a payment of between $1 million and $1.2 million in attorney fees (including fees
from the Expense Fund not used for other purposes), plus litigation expenses of approximately $42,000, and the
expense of sending this notice, to be paid from the Class Fund. If you would like to learn the details of the attorney
fee request, please refer to the attorney fee petition, which will be posted on the settlement website. Class Counsel
have spent more than 1,600 hours prosecuting this lawsuit, including an appeal to the Federal Circuit after the
lawsuit was initially dismissed by the district court. The court will determine the amount of fees and expenses. The
court invites your input or objection as to the appropriate amount of attorney fees and reasonable expenses.
Class Counsel will also request that the Court create an “Expense Fund” of approximately $197,000 to pay for class
administration and incentive awards to the named plaintiffs.
                                                          -3-
Class Counsel plans to divide the Class Fund of approximately $2.77 million as follows: (1) approximately $1.97
million is the “2010 Settlement Fund”; (2) approximately $308,000 is the “2012 Settlement Fund,” and (3) and
$500,000 is the “Additional Payment Fund.” Class Counsel has determined that the method that the Exchange used
to calculate refunds in 2010 tended to overstate the amount of claimed interest overcharges, while the 2012 method
did not. As a result, Class Counsel will request that the costs of settlement administration be borne by individuals in
the 2010 Settlement Fund.
The incentive payment to class representative Taylor Russell will be $5,000, and to class representative Foster
Franks will be $2,000.

How Do I Tell the Court That I Don’t Like the Settlement?
If you are a member of the Class, you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, and/or
Class Counsel’s request for fees and expenses. You can give reasons why you think the court should not approve the
settlement. The Court will consider your views. To object, you should send a letter saying that you object to the
settlement. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, and state the reasons you
object to the settlement. Mail a copy of the objection to these three different places postmarked no later than on or
before 11:59 p.m. on May 19, 2013:

                 COURT                              CLASS COUNSEL                        DEFENSE COUNSEL
                                                                                            Alicia M. Hunt
            Clerk of the Court                                                            U.S. Dept. of Justice
                                                   S. Chandler Visher
    United States District Court for the                                                     P.O. Box 875
                                             Law Offices of S. Chandler Visher
     Northern District of California                                                      Ben Franklin Station
                                                44 Montgomery St. #3830
          450 Golden Gate Ave.                                                             Washington, D.C.
                                                San Francisco, CA 94104
        San Francisco, CA 94102                                                               20044-0875

You can object only if you stay in the Class. Even if you do not object in writing, you can also appear in person, at
your own expense, and speak at the Fairness Hearing.

When and Where Will the Court Decide Whether to Approve the Settlement?
The court will hold a Fairness Hearing, June 27, 2013 at 3:00 p.m., at the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 in Courtroom 8, 19th Floor. The
hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check
www.ExchangeInterestSettlement.com for updates on the Fairness Hearing. At this hearing, the court will
consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the court will consider
them. The court will also listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The court may also consider Class
Counsel’s request for attorney fees and expenses. After the hearing, the court will decide whether to approve the
settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. You are not required to attend this hearing, but
may attend at your own expense.

How Do I Get More Information About This Lawsuit?
This notice provides only a summary of the litigation. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a
copy of the Settlement Agreement at www.ExchangeInterestSettlement.com. If you need further information, you
can contact the Class Administrator at 1-866-612-5779 or Admin@ExchangeInterestSettlement.com.
Alternatively, you may contact Class Counsel: S. Chandler Visher, Attorney, Law Offices of S. Chandler Visher, 44
Montgomery Street, Suite 3830, San Francisco, California 94104.

DISCLAIMER
Please do not contact the U.S. Department of Justice, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, or the Court with
questions about this settlement. Any and all callers will be directed to Class Counsel, the Class Administrator, or the
settlement website. If you have questions, please reference www.ExchangeInterestSettlement.com or write to
S. Chandler Visher, Attorney, Law Offices of S. Chandler Visher, 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3830, San Francisco,
California 94104. The settlement website is not operated by the U.S. Department of Justice or the Army and Air
Force Exchange Service. This class action settlement is supervised by the Court and is administered by an
administration firm that handles all aspects of settlement administration.
                                                         -4-

				
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