Seebrook v. The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc.

Filing 69

ORDER DIRECTING PARTIES TO FILE A JOINT LETTER BRIEF. Status Report due by 5/30/2013. Signed by Judge Claudia Wilken on 5/23/2013. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/23/2013)

Download PDF
1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 5 GALINA SEEBROOK; MARIA ISABEL BELTRAN; NICOLLE DISIMONE; and KRISTEN HARTMAN, 6 Plaintiffs, 7 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 No. C 11-837 CW ORDER DIRECTING PARTIES TO FILE A JOINT LETTER BRIEF v. THE CHILDREN’S PLACE RETAIL STORES, INC., Defendant. ________________________________/ On May 14, 2013, Plaintiffs Galina Seebrook, Maria Isabel 12 Beltran, Nicolle DiSimone, Kristen Hartman and Mario Arellano 13 filed a motion for preliminary approval of the revised class 14 action settlement in this case. Docket No. 65. The proposed 15 settlement would provide both coupon and injunctive relief to 16 class members. 17 On May 15, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 18 ruling in In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19 9744, reversing the district court’s grant of final approval to a 20 class action settlement and award of attorneys’ fees for violation 21 of the coupon settlement provision of Class Action Fairness Act 22 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. § 1712. The court clarified that, under 23 § 1712(c), which in part incorporates § 1712(a), the “general 24 rule” is, “If a settlement gives coupon and equitable relief and 25 the district court sets attorneys’ fees based on the value of the 26 entire settlement, and not solely on the basis of injunctive 27 relief, then the district court must use the value of the coupons 28 1 redeemed when determining the value of the coupons part of the 2 settlement.” 3 settlement agreement specifies that no coupons may issue until 4 after entry of a final judgment, it would have been impossible for 5 the district court to calculate the redemption value of the 6 coupons as required by § 1712(a).” 7 Id. at *32. The court stated, “Because the Id. at *39. Under In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation, it appears that, 8 unless counsel bases its request for attorneys’ fees solely upon 9 the equitable relief obtained, the Court will be unable to resolve United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 fully the issue of attorneys’ fees until after the redemption 11 period for the coupons has passed. 12 has a similar provision to the one at issue in that case. 13 Stonebarger Decl., Ex. 1 (Settlement Agreement) ¶¶ 1.12, 3.12 14 (providing that Defendant will distribute the merchandise 15 certificates as soon as practicable, but no more than sixty days, 16 after the “Final Settlement Date,” a date that is defined to 17 necessarily take place after the entry of judgment). 18 Settlement Agreement here also appears to allow the Court to 19 approve or change any dates or time periods that it sets forth. 20 Id. at ¶ 5.3. 21 HP Inkjet Printer Litigation, the Court is inclined to consider 22 first the final approval of the settlement agreement but to wait 23 to consider separately the motion for attorneys’ fees until after 24 the coupons have been distributed and the redemption period has 25 passed. Further, the agreement here See However, the Thus, in order to comply with the dictates of In re 26 The Court also notes that the parties have not changed 27 certain terms of the settlement that the Court expressed concern 28 with at the prior hearing, including that there is no monetary 2 1 recovery given directly to the class, such that the class members 2 must conduct further business with Defendant in order to obtain 3 any benefit; the coupons given cannot be used in conjunction with 4 other discounts or sales, which reduces their value to the class 5 members; and the coupons cannot be used on Defendant’s website, so 6 the class members must travel to Defendant’s stores in order to 7 use them online. 8 inclined to find that, other than the issue under CAFA, the 9 settlement falls within the range of possible approval as fair, Notwithstanding these concerns, the Court is United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 adequate and reasonable, such that notice to the Class Members is 11 appropriate, and grant Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary 12 approval. 13 The parties shall meet and confer on the CAFA issue. 14 seven days of the date of this Order, the parties shall file a 15 joint letter brief responding to this Order. 16 address the issue raised by the Court under In re HP Inkjet 17 Printer Litigation and whether the Court has the authority under 18 the settlement agreement to make the change that it has proposed. 19 They also may explain why that decision is not applicable to the 20 fees motion here or suggest another possible resolution to the 21 issue. Within The parties shall 22 The Court notes that, because the ultimate award for 23 attorneys’ fees may be lower than the parties had anticipated 24 during their negotiations due to the subsequent Ninth Circuit 25 opinion, Defendant may be willing to renegotiate the recovery made 26 available to class members to address some of the Court’s concerns 27 about the structure of this settlement. 28 that further negotiation is warranted at this time, in lieu of the 3 If the parties believe 1 joint letter brief addressed above, the parties may file a status 2 report with the Court within seven days of the date of this Order 3 providing proposed deadlines for the additional settlement 4 discussions and for the joint letter brief or a motion for 5 preliminary approval of a further revised settlement agreement. 6 IT IS SO ORDERED. 7 8 9 Dated: 5/23/2013 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?