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Long v. Koehn

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

May 15, 2019

BRUCE LONG, individually on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL C. KOEHN and, JOHN AND JANE DOES No. 1 THROUGH 10, 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, Bruce Long, individually and as representative of the class of persons defined below (“Settlement Class”), and Defendant, Michael C. Koehn (“Koehn”), the Court orders and finds as follows:

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

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

All persons to whom Michael C. Koehn mailed an initial written communication to an address in the State of Wisconsin, between June 21, 2017 and July 12, 2018, which stated a static amount as being the amount due even though the debts were accruing interest.

         3. This Court finds, 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 Koehn allegedly violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.§ 1692, et seq. by mailing consumers initial collection letters to collect defaulted medical debts which stated a static amount as being the amount due even though the debts were accruing interest, and which were allegedly mailed without meaningful attorney involvement; (C) Plaintiff's claim is typical of the Class Members' claims; (D) Plaintiff is an appropriate and adequate representative for the Class and his attorneys, Stern Thomasson LLP, are hereby 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 738 Class Members by Class-Settlement.com, the third-party settlement administrator (“Settlement Administrator”). A total of 45 envelopes were returned by the United States Postal Service, 18 of which were returned with forwarding addresses and successfully re-mailed. No. Class Members requested exclusion from, or objected to, the Settlement.

         5. On May 15, 2019, the Court held a fairness hearing to which Class Members, including any with objections, were invited. Excluded from the Settlement Class are those persons whose Notices were returned as undeliverable.

         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 that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and hereby finally approves the Agreement submitted by the Parties, including the Release and payments by Koehn. Upon the Effective Date, as that term is defined in the Agreement, Koehn shall:

(a) Create a class settlement fund of $5, 000.00, which Class Counsel through the Settlement Administrator will distribute pro rata to each Class Member whose Class Notice was not returned as undeliverable and who did not him/herself from the Settlement. Class Members 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 disbursed in the following order: (i) to pay the costs associated with providing notice to Class Members and administering the Class Recovery; and (ii) any remainder donated as a cy pres award to Legal Action of Wisconsin.
(b) Pay Plaintiff $1, 500.00.
(c) Pay Class Counsel $20, 315.00 for their attorneys' fees and costs incurred in the action, which is based on their reasonable hourly rates and time expended in the litigation. Class Counsel shall not request ...

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