Case No. 19-cv-11674 (E.D. Mich.)
You received Notice because Defendant's records indicate that you were charged with one or more Eligible Overdraft Fees. The Court directed that a Notice be sent to all Class Members because each Class Member has a right to know about the settlement, and the options available to him or her, before the Court held the approval hearing on July 28, 2020 when it approved the settlement.Back To Top
The lawsuit that has been settled is entitled Tiffany Coleman‑Weathersbee v. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Case No. 19‑cv‑11674. The case is a “class action.” That means that the “Named Plaintiff,” Tiffany Coleman‑Weathersbee, is an individual who is acting on behalf of four groups;
The persons in these groups are collectively called the “Class Members.”
The Named Plaintiff claims Defendant improperly charged overdraft fees when members had enough money in the ledger balances but not the available balances of their checking accounts to cover a transaction, and alleges Defendant did not properly opt members into its overdraft program for debit card payment transactions. The Complaint alleges claims for breach of the opt-in contract, breach of the Account Agreement, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment/restitution, money had and received, and violation of the Electronic Fund Transfers Act and implementing regulations. The Named Plaintiff is seeking a refund of alleged improper overdraft fees charged to Class Member accounts. Defendant does not deny it charged overdraft fees but contends it did so properly and in accordance with the terms of its agreements and applicable law. Defendant maintains that its practices were and now are proper and properly disclosed to its members, and therefore denies that its practices give rise to claims for damages by the Named Plaintiff or any Class Member.Back To Top
In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Named Plaintiffs lawyers' job to identify when a proposed settlement offer is good enough that it justifies recommending settling the case instead of continuing to trial. In a class action, these lawyers, known as Class Counsel, make this recommendation to the Named Plaintiff. The Named Plaintiff has the duty to act in the best interests of the class as a whole and, in this case, it is her belief, as well as Class Counsel's opinion, that this settlement is in the best interest of all Class Members for at least the following reasons:
There is legal uncertainty about whether a judge or a jury will find that Defendant was contractually and otherwise legally obligated not to assess overdraft fees when the ledger balance was sufficient to pay for a transaction, and even if it was, there is uncertainty about whether the claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Named Plaintiff were to win at trial, there is no assurance that the Class Members would be awarded more than the current settlement amount and it may take years of litigation before any payments would be made. By settling, the Class Members will avoid these and other risks and the delays associated with continued litigation.
While Defendant disputes the allegations in the lawsuit and denies any liability or wrongdoing, it enters into the settlement solely to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and distraction of further proceedings in the litigation.Back To Top
If you received a Notice, then Defendant's records indicate that you are a Class Member who is entitled to receive a payment or credit to your account.Back To Top
You had four options:
Each of these options is described in a separate section below.Back To Top
The deadline for sending a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator was June 13, 2020. If you did nothing, you may nonetheless receive settlement funds; so long as you did not opt out or exclude yourself (described in FAQ 16, FAQ 17, and FAQ 18), a payment will be made to you, either by crediting your account if you are still a member of Defendant or by mailing a check to you at the last address on file with Defendant (or any other address you provide).
The deadline for sending a letter to exclude yourself from or opt out of the settlement was June 8, 2020.
The deadline to file an objection with the Court was June 26, 2020.Back To Top
If you do not like the settlement and you believe that you could receive more money by pursuing your claims on your own (with or without an attorney that you could hire) and you are comfortable with the risk that you might lose your case or get less than you would in this settlement, then you may have wanted to consider opting out prior to the Exclusion deadline of June 8, 2020.
If you believe the settlement is unreasonable, unfair, or inadequate and the Court should reject the settlement, you could object to the settlement terms prior to the Objection deadline of June 26, 2020. The Court will decide if your objection is valid. If the Court agrees, then the settlement will not be approved and no payments will be made to you or any other Class Member. If your objection (and any other objection) is overruled, and the settlement is approved, then you will still get a payment.
If you wanted to participate in the settlement, and a Claim Form was included with your Notice indicating you were assessed Overdraft Fees for ATM withdrawals or one-time (non-recurring) debit card signature payments, you should have filled out the Claim Form and returned it prior to the Claim filing deadline of June 13, 2020. See FAQ 25 below. If you did not receive a Claim Form with your Notice, then Defendant's records indicated you were not assessed the type of Overdraft Fees for ATM withdrawals or debit card payments that are reimbursable under the claims portion of the settlement. In that case, you need not do anything and you will still receive a payment for other Overdraft Fees assessed when you had sufficient ledger balance in your account (so long as you did not opt out).Back To Top
The Court has decided that the settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and granted approval at the Fairness Hearing on July 28, 2020.Back To Top
Defendant has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $5,201,096. In addition, Defendant has agreed to forgive certain overdraft fees that were assessed from June 6, 2013 to December 11, 2019, for those accounts that were closed with a negative balance. Further, Defendant has agreed to refund all Regulation E overdraft charges assessed on or after December 12, 2019, until such time as the credit union member has opted in to that overdraft program pursuant to the revised opt-in form sent in December 2019.
As discussed separately below, attorneys' fees, litigation costs, and the costs paid to a third-party Claims Administrator to administer the settlement (including mailing and emailing Notices) will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The balance of the Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members based on the amount of eligible Overdraft Fees they paid. The formula for distributing the settlement is described in the Settlement Agreement.Back To Top
Class Counsel has been awarded attorneys’ fees by the Court equal to one-third of the Value of the Settlement. Value of the Settlement includes the Settlement Fund, refunded Regulation E fees assessed on or after December 12, 2019, and the forgiven overdraft fees. Class Counsel has also been awarded $100,000 in litigation costs incurred in prosecuting the case. The Court decided the amount of the attorneys' fees and costs based on a number of factors, including the risk associated with bringing the case on a contingency basis, the amount of time spent on the case, the amount of costs incurred to prosecute the case, the quality of the work, and the outcome of the case.Back To Top
The Court granted Class Counsel, on behalf of the Named Plaintiff, approval of the requested Service Award in this case equal in value to approximately $14,674.Back To Top
The Claims Administrator has agreed to cap its expenses at $107,494.Back To Top
If you received a postal mailing containing a Claim Form, you may have made a claim for up to 25 of the debit card overdraft fees listed on the Claim Form, which will be paid from 27.9% of the Settlement Fund. The remaining funds from the Net Settlement Fund will be distributed to Class Members who were assessed Overdraft Fees for payments made when they had a positive ledger balance in their checking accounts, Class Members who were assessed Regulation E overdraft fees between June 6, 2019 and December 11, 2019, and Class Members who were assessed Regulation E overdraft fees after December 11, 2019 until such time as they opted in under the revised opt-in form, and Class Members who were assessed more than one NSF fee on a pro rata basis. Current members of Defendant will receive a credit to their accounts for the amount they are entitled to receive. Former members of Defendant shall receive a check from the Claims Administrator.Back To Top
If you received a postal mailing containing a Claim Form, which indicates you had Overdraft Fees from ATM and debit card transactions, then you must have filled out the Claim Form and timely sent it to the Administrator as provided in FAQ 25, below. If you received a Notice without Claim Form attached, then you will still be entitled to receive a payment, without having to have made a claim. If you are eligible to have made a claim, but did not timely submit a Claim Form to the Administrator before the June 13, 2020 deadline, and did not incur any other type of qualifying Overdraft Fee as described in FAQ 1, then you will not receive any payment from this settlement.
Any payment you are entitled to under the terms of the settlement will be distributed to you unless you excluded yourself from the settlement, or “opted out” before the June 26, 2020 deadline. Excluding yourself from the settlement means you chose not to participate in the settlement. You will keep your individual claims against Defendant, but you will not receive a payment. In that case, if you choose to seek recovery against Defendant, then you will have to file a separate lawsuit or claim.Back To Top
Checks and Account Credits were issued to eligible Members on September 4, 2020.Back To Top
If you did not want to receive a payment, or if you wanted to keep any right you may have to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit, then you must have excluded yourself, or "opted out" by sending a letter to the Claims Administrator requesting to be excluded.
Your exclusion or opt out request must have been mailed to the Claims Administrator and postmarked by June 8, 2020.Back To Top
If you opted out of the settlement, you preserved your rights to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this case. However, you will not receive a payment from this settlement.Back To Top
No. If you excluded yourself, you will not receive a payment.Back To Top
To object to the settlement or any part of it that you do not like, you must have sent a written document to the Claims Administrator.
All objections must have been postmarked no later than June 26, 2020.Back To Top
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not believe the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate for the class, and asking the Court to reject it. Excluding yourself or opting out is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlement, and do not want to receive a payment or release claims you might have against Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit.
The deadline for sending a letter to have excluded yourself from or opted out of the settlement was June 8, 2020.
The deadline to file an objection with the Court was June 26, 2020.Back To Top
If the Court sustained your objection, or the objection of any other Class Member, then there would have been no settlement. If you objected, but the Court overruled your objection and any other objection(s), then you are a part of the settlement.
The deadline to file an objection with the Court was June 26, 2020.Back To Top
The Court held a Final Approval or Fairness Hearing, where it granted final approval, on July 28, 2020. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. If there were objections, the Court considered them. The Court also decided how much to award Class Counsel for attorneys' fees and expenses.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Court may have had.Back To Top
If you objected, you could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must have included with your objection the statement, “I hereby give notice that I intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.”Back To Top
If a Claim Form was included with your paper Notice, then it should have been filled out, signed, and mailed to the Claims Administrator no later than the Claim filing deadline of June 13, 2020.Back To Top
If you do nothing at all then you may receive a payment that represents your share of the Settlement Fund net of attorneys' fees, Claims Administrator expenses, and the Named Plaintiff’s Service Award. You are considered a part of the class, and gave up claims against Defendant for the conduct alleged in this lawsuit. You did not give up any other claims you might have against Defendant that are not part of this lawsuit.Back To Top
The Court ordered that the lawyers and their law firms referred to in the Settlement Notice as “Class Counsel” will represent you and the other Class Members.
Richard D. McCune
McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
3281 E. Guasti Road, Suite 100
Ontario, CA 91761
The Kick Law Firm, APC
815 Moraga Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
No. Class Counsel will be paid directly from the Settlement Fund.Back To Top
The Court was asked to approve the amount of attorneys' fees at the Fairness Hearing. Class Counsel filed an application for fees and costs and specified the amount being sought as discussed above. You may review a copy of the fee application on the Important Documents page of this website (when available), or by reviewing it at the Records Department of the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, which is located at 200 E. Liberty Street, Suite 300, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.Back To Top
Settlement checks were issued pursuant to the terms of the class action Settlement Agreement. You either:
The amount printed on the check is the full amount to which you are entitled based upon the terms of the Settlement.
Please negotiate the check promptly. Checks indicate when they expire, and are not negotiable after this date.Back To Top
All settlement awards were determined using Court approved formulas which can be found in the Settlement Agreement. For more information on the Court approved formulas please see the Settlement Agreement .
The deadline to object to the Settlement was June 26, 2020.Back To Top
Check reissues are possible in certain circumstances. All reissue requests must be sent in writing to the Claims Administrator at the address listed below.
MSUFCU Overdraft Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 2838
Portland, OR 97208‑2838
If the name of the Class Member on the check should be changed, please send in documentation, as applicable, according to the following checklist:
For reasons of security, a check reissue cannot take place until either the original check is received back by us, a mailing has been returned to us as undeliverable, or until the original stale date of the check has passed or expired.
Because one of these events must occur before we can act on your request, it is not possible for us to provide an estimated date for the reissue to take place. We thank you for your patience.Back To Top
If you received a postal mailing with a Claim Form attached, which indicated you had Overdraft Fees from ATM and debit card transactions, then you had the option to fill out the Claim Form for up to 25 of the debit card overdraft fees listed on the Claim Form and timely send it to the Administrator by June 13, 2020.
The members of the class who were sent a Claim Form in their postal mailing are identified as:
If you received a postal mailing without a Claim Form attached, then you will still be entitled to receive your portion of the Net Settlement Fund and, if eligible, will receive a payment automatically on a pro rata basis. The members of the class who were not sent a Claim Form in their postal mailing are identified as:
Current Members of Defendant will receive a credit to their accounts for the amount they are entitled to receive. Former Members of Defendant shall receive a check from the Claims Administrator. Payments were issued on September 4, 2020.Back To Top