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Sandri v. Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

September 19, 2019

JOHN SANDRI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
ASSET RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company; et al., Defendants.

          AMENDED 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, John Sandri, individually and as representative of the class of persons defined below (“Settlement Class”), and Defendant, Asset Recovery Solutions LLC (“Asset Recovery”), the Court orders and finds as follows:

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

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

All persons to whom Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC mailed an initial written communication to an address in the State of Wisconsin, during the period of August 1, 2017 through August 22, 2018, which made a settlement offer for a debt owed to Bureaus Investment Group Portfolio No. 15 LLC, and which stated “[s]hould you choose not to accept this offer, the account balance may periodically increase due to the addition of accrued interest as provided in your agreement with the original creditor.”

         3. This Court finds, the materials filed by the Parties in support of the Motion: (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 Asset Recovery allegedly violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.§ 1692, et seq. by mailing consumers initial collection letters to collect alleged defaulted and charged-off credit card debts, on behalf of Bureaus Investment Group Portfolio No. 15 LLC, which made a settlement offer for a debt owed to, and which stated “[s]hould you choose not to accept this offer, the account balance may periodically increase due to the addition of accrued interest as provided in your agreement with the original creditor”; (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 approximately 723 Class Members by Class-Settlement.com, the third-party settlement administrator (“Administrator”). A total of 68 envelopes were returned by the United States Postal Service, 27 of which were successfully re-mailed to forwarding addresses.

         5. On July 26, 2019, the Court held a fairness hearing to which all Class Members, including any with objections, were invited. No. Class Members requested exclusion, and no objections were received, filed, or voiced at the hearing. The Parties reported they had not yet reached an agreement concerning the amount of Class Counsels’ fees and costs as provided in the Agreement [Doc. 28-1, ¶12], but that they would continue their efforts to resolve the issue and submit it to the Court.

         6. Accordingly, on July 31, 2019, the Court entered an Order [Doc. 38] granting final approval of the Settlement and set a briefing schedule for Class Counsel to file a Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs-not to exceed $65,000.00-by September 3, 2019 [ibid., ¶12]; the Court subsequently extended the deadline to October 3, 2019, due to the Parties’ ongoing discussions to resolve Class Counsels’ fees and costs [Doc. 39, ¶3 and Doc. 40].

         7. On September 13, 2019, the Parties reached an agreement to resolve the amount of Class Counsels’ fees and costs to be awarded by the Court, which was reduced to a stipulation and filed with the Court [Doc. 41.] The Court finds the Agreement [Doc. 28-1], including the Parties’ stipulation [Doc. 41] to resolve the amount of Class Counsels’ attorneys’ fees and costs, is fair, reasonable, and made in good faith.

         8. The Court further 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.

         9. The Court finds the Settlement including the Parties’ stipulation [Doc. 41] is fair, reasonable, and adequate and hereby finally approves the Agreement submitted by the Parties, including the Release and payments by Asset Recovery. Specifically, the Court finds: (A) Plaintiff, as Class representative, and Class Counsel have adequately represented the class; (B) the Agreement was negotiated at arm’s length; (C) the relief provided to the Class is adequate, taking into account (i) the costs, risks, and delay of trial and appeal, (ii) the effectiveness of the proposed method for distributing relief to the Class, (iii) the terms regarding an award of Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and costs, and (iv) the Agreement; and (D) the Agreement equitably treats Class Members relative to each other.

         10. Upon the Effective Date, as defined in the Agreement, Asset Recovery shall:

(a) Create a class settlement fund of $12,000.00, which Class Counsel through the 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 ...

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