Overview Of The Proposed Settlement
Luis Alberto Mier, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, has sued Pacific Bell Telephone Company (“PBTC”), which does business as AT&T California, alleging that PBTC's Late Payment Charges (“LPCs”) for its residential landline telephone customers are unlawful contractual penalties under California Civil Code § 1671(d), and that PBTC, in charging and collecting them, violated California consumer protection statutes.
The Court has allowed the lawsuit to go forward as a class action on behalf of all persons with California area codes and California billing addresses who are receiving and/or received residential landline telephone service from PBTC or its affiliates pursuant to PBTC's Residential Service Agreement for California, or any successor agreement thereto (the “RSA”), and who paid one or more LPCs imposed by PBTC for such service at any time during the period starting July 15, 2009, up through April 24, 2013 (the “Settlement Class Period”). Any judicial officer to whom the Action is assigned is excluded from the class. The class described in this paragraph is called the “Settlement Class.” The parties have proposed a settlement.
The Court has not decided whether the Settlement Class' claims have any merit, but a settlement of the Settlement Class' claims has been reached. Your legal rights are affected, and you have a choice to make now:
What Are My Options?
Stay in the lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights. If the settlement is approved by the Court, you may be eligible for a payment of money under the settlement.
By doing nothing, you remain a part of the Settlement Class. But, you give up any rights to sue PBTC separately about the same legal claims that were brought or could have been brought in the lawsuit.
If, as of April 24, 2013, you were a current customer of PBTC (“Current Customer”), you are eligible to receive a portion of the settlement fund if the settlement is approved, without filing a Claim Form. That refund will be a credit on one of your future bills.
|(FORMER PBTC CUSTOMERS) SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM BY December 31, 2013||If, as of April 24, 2013 you were a Former Customer of PBTC (“Former Customer”), you will need to file a Claim Form to be eligible to receive a portion of the settlement fund. The Claim Form must be submitted by December 31, 2013. Claim Forms are available on the Claim Form page, along with instructions about how to submit them.|
|SUBMIT AN OBJECTION BY September 13, 2013||The deadline to object to the Settlement was September 13, 2013.|
|ASK TO BE EXCLUDED BY September 13, 2013||Get out of the lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep rights. If you asked to be excluded, you won't share in any of the money recovered in the settlement. But, you kept any rights to sue PBTC separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit.|
Final Approval Hearing
The Court approved the settlement at a fairness hearing held on October 15, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the Contra Costa County Superior Court, Department 9, 725 Court Street, Martinez, California 94553 (the “Fairness Hearing”). At the Fairness Hearing, the Court also decided to approve the Class Representative’s incentive award of $5,000 and Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. Class Counsel asked the Court to approve an award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses to them of (a) not more than $5 million for litigation expenses and attorney’s fees, to be deducted from the Settlement Fund paid by PBTC and, in addition, (b) not more than $5 million in litigation expenses and attorney’s fees to be paid by PBTC based on the Injunction portion of the Settlement. Members will not be required to pay any portion of Class Counsel’s attorney’s fees or expenses out of their own pockets.