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Safranski v. Professional Placement Services, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, Green Bay Division

February 23, 2018

KATHY L. SAFRANSKI, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
PROFESSIONAL PLACEMENT SERVICES, LLC; a Wisconsin Limited Liability Company; and, JOHN AND JANE DOES NUMBERS 1 THROUGH 25, Defendants.

          FINAL APPROVAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT

          WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH Chief Judge, United States District Court

         Upon consideration of the Parties' request for final approval of the Class Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) between Plaintiff, Kathy L. Safranski, individually, and as representative of the class of persons defined below (“Settlement Class”), and Defendant, Professional Placement Services, LLC (“PPS”), the Court orders and finds as follows:

         1. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this lawsuit, Plaintiff, Class Members, and PPS.

         2. The following Settlement Class is certified pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3):

All persons with addresses in the State of Wisconsin to whom Professional Placement Services, LLC mailed an initial written communication to collect a debt, between January 27, 2016 and February 17, 2017, which states “Re: Partnership Community Health Center.”

         3. Based on the Parties' stipulations: (A) the Settlement Class as defined is sufficiently numerous such that joinder is impracticable; (B) common questions of law and fact predominate over any questions affecting only individual Class members, and included whether or not PPS violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.§ 1692, et seq. by mailing consumers initial collection letters which failed to identify the current creditor in a clear and unambiguous fashion as required by the FDCPA; (C) Plaintiff's claim is typical of the Class Members' claims; (D) Plaintiff is an appropriate and adequate representative for the Class and her attorneys, Stern• Thomasson LLP are appointed Class Counsel; and (E) a class action is the superior method for the fair and efficient adjudication of the claims of the Settlement Class.

         4. The Court approved a form of notice for mailing to the Settlement Class. The Court is informed that actual notice was sent by first class mail to 1, 319 Class Members by Heffler Claims Group, the third-party settlement administrator (“Settlement Administrator”). A total of 219 envelopes were returned by the United States Postal Service, 10 of which were returned with forwarding addresses and successfully re-mailed. No Class Members requested exclusion from, or objected to, the Settlement. A total of 75 Class Members returned the proof of claim form and are entitled to a share of the monetary benefits of the Settlement.

         5. On February 23, 2018, the Court held a fairness hearing to which Class Members, including any with objections, were invited; however, no one appeared to voice any objection.

         6. The Court finds that provisions for notice to the Class satisfy the requirements due process pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including Rule 23, the United States Constitution, and any other applicable law.

         7. The Court finds the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and hereby finally approves the Agreement submitted by the Parties, including the Release and payments by PPS.

         Upon the Effective Date, as that term is defined in the Agreement, PPS shall make the following payments:

(a) PPS will create a class settlement fund of $9, 000.00, which Class Counsel through the Settlement Administrator will distribute pro rata (up to $50.00) among those Class Members who did not exclude themselves and who returned a claim form (“Claimants”). Claimants will receive their share of the Class Recovery by check, which shall become void sixty (60) days from the date of issuance. Any checks that have not been cashed by the void date, along with any unclaimed funds remaining in the Class Recovery will be donated as a cy pres award to Legal Action of Wisconsin and earmarked for assisting Wisconsin residents with consumer issues.
(b) PPS shall pay Plaintiff $2, 000.00.
(c) PPS shall pay Class Counsel $48, 000.00 for their attorneys' fees and costs incurred in the based upon their requested hourly rates and expenses incurred. Class Counsel shall not request ...

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