January 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 18

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January 18, 2021

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Court Grants Final Approval to $4MM TCPA Text Message Settlement, $157 to each Class Member’s Filed Claim

Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for final approval for the class action settlement in Larson v. Harman-Management Corp., , No. 1:16-cv-00219-DAD-SKO, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107938 (E.D. Cal. June 18, 2020).  According to the court order, both sides appeared telephonically at the final approval hearing, and there were no objectors present (no objections were filed).  Previously, the Court had approved the class action settlement at the preliminary approval hearing.  As no class certification issues arose in the interim, the Court approved the following class: All individuals and entities who were sent text messages from the A&W Text Club between February 17, 2012, and the date of the Preliminary Approval Order.

The Court found that the notice to the class settlement was adequate, as 171,563 putative class members out of the 233,026 total members (or 74%) had received mailed notices after extensive efforts by the settlement administrator.  The settlement website which had the notice available received at least 19,000 hits.  Ultimately, approximately 17,800 claims were filed.

In determining whether the settlement was fair, the court noted that there were extensive risks to the class if the case had gone forward.  This was evidenced from the fact that the case had already been laboriously litigated for four years with significant discovery.  Prior to reaching the settlement there were three motions for summary judgment filed as well as a motion for class certification.  The Defendant had heavily contested whether it had used an ATDS, and whether the matter could proceed as a class action due to issues connected with some members having consented to receiving messages.  The heavy litigation makes sense as the Defendant faced potential liability exposure in the billions according to the Court.  The Court ordered that the approximate $157 dollar award to each class member that filed claims out of the $4,000,000 settlement fund, as well as the $1,000,000 award to class counsel was within the bounds of TCPA settlements, and thus granted final approval.

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© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 174
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About this Author

Jason M. Ingber Litigation Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Los Angeles, CA
Associate

Jason M. Ingber’s practice focuses on consumer class action defense and breach of contract litigation. Jason specializes in cases brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and has handled all phases of litigation in cases involving consumer protection statutes, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Prior to joining the firm, Jason defended over a hundred single plaintiff consumer disputes. He has also managed pro bono matters.

While at the UCLA School of Law, Jason...

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