Anger v. Accretive Health, Inc.
FINAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT Granted Motion: 84 MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND PLAN OF ALLOCATION OF SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS filed by John Bernard Weisend, Terri Meyerhoff, Rochelle Jones, Weisend John, Joseph Anger, Johnnie Mae Jones, Delione Galbraith. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Joseph Anger, et al.,
Plaintiffs, on behalf of all )
others similarly situated, )
Accretive Health, Inc. d/b/a Medical
Case No. 2:14-cv-12864
District Judge Victoria A. Roberts
Magistrate Judge Mona K.
FINAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT
This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Final Approval of Class
Action Settlement and Plan of Allocation of Settlement Proceeds (“Final Approval
Motion”) of plaintiffs Joseph Anger, Delione Galbraith, Johnnie Mae Jones,
Rochelle Jones, Terri Meyerhoff, John Bernard Weisend, Jr., and John Weisend III
On July 22, 2014, Plaintiff Joseph Anger filed a class action complaint
(hereinafter referred to as the “Lawsuit”) against Accretive Health Inc., which has
since changed its name to R1 RCM, Inc. (“R1”), in the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan, Case No. 4:13-CV-10017-TGB-RSW, asserting
class claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (hereinafter referred to as
the “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. and the Michigan Occupational Code (the
“MOC”), MCL § 339.916(2). R1 has denied any and all liability alleged in the
On February 23, 2017, after extensive arms-length negotiations, Plaintiffs and
Defendant (hereinafter jointly referred to as the “Parties”) entered into a Class
Action Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the “Settlement
Agreement”), which is subject to review under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.
On May 10, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed the Settlement Agreement, along with
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement,
Attorneys Fees and Costs, Class Notice, and Other Relief. On May 19, 2017,
Defendant submitted a Response to Plaintiffs’ Motion, concurring in the relief
In compliance with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. §§
1332(D), 1453, and 1711-1715, Defendant caused to be served written notice of the
proposed class settlement on the United States Attorney General and the Attorney
General of Michigan.
On June 13, 2017, upon consideration of Plaintiff’s Unopposed Preliminary
Approval Motion, Defendant’s Response, and the record, the Court entered an Order
of Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (hereinafter referred to as the
“Preliminary Approval Order”). Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Order, the
Court, among other things, (i) preliminarily certified a class of plaintiffs (hereinafter
referred to as the “Class Members”) with respect to the claims asserted in the
Lawsuit; (ii) preliminarily approved the proposed settlement; (iii) appointed
plaintiffs Joseph Anger, Delione Galbraith, Johnnie Mae Jones, Rochelle Jones,
Terri Meyerhoff, John Bernard Weisend, Jr., and John Weisend III as Class
Representatives; (iv) appointed Dave Honigman, Gerard V. Mantese, Krista M.
Hosmer, and Jordan B. Segal of Mantese Honigman, P.C. and James C. Warr of
James C. Warr & Associates, P.L.C., as Class Counsel; (v) approved the Notice Plan
as set forth in the Settlement Agreement; (vi) approved the opt out and exclusion
terms as set forth in the Settlement Agreement; and (vi) set the date and time of the
Final Approval Hearing.
On September 20, 2017 the Plaintiff filed his Unopposed Motion for Final
Approval of Class Action Settlement (the “Final Approval Motion”), and Defendant
filed its response concurring in the relief sought.
On October 4, 2017, a Final Approval Hearing was held pursuant to Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23 to determine whether the Lawsuit satisfies the applicable prerequisites for
class action treatment and whether the proposed settlement is fundamentally fair,
reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class Members and should be
approved by the Court.
The Parties now request final certification of the settlement class under Fed.
R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) and final approval of the proposed class action settlement.
he Court has read and considered the Settlement Agreement, Motion for Final
Approval, Defendant’s Response thereto, and the record. All capitalized terms used
herein have the meanings defined herein and/or in the Agreement.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Lawsuit and
over all settling parties hereto.
The terms of the Settlement Agreement are approved as fair,
reasonable, and adequate. The Settlement Agreement is in the best interests of the
Class Members, especially in light of the benefits to the Class Members; the
complexity, expense, and probable duration of further litigation; the risk and delay
inherent in possible appeals; and, the limited amount of any potential total recovery
for the class under the FDCPA. See UAW v. Gen. Motors Corp., 497 F.3d 615, 631
(6th Cir. 2007) (setting forth factors that govern the inquiry of whether a class action
settlement is fair, reasonable, and and adequate). Indeed, the settlement provides
monetary relief to class members in excess of more than double the limits imposed
by the FDCPA. In light of R1’s public market valuation, the FDCPA limits statutory
damages to a maximum of $500,000.00. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(A)(2)(B). By
paying settlement funds to the Cy Pres Recipient, RIP Medical Debt, the Settlement
Agreement will benefit Michigan consumers more than they would be able to
recover under the federal statutory maximum should Plaintiffs succeed at trial and
on appeal and more than if the settlement funds are simply distributed directly to
The Court finds that the prerequisites for certification of a settlement
class under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(3) – including
numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority –
have been satisfied. Namely:
The Class Members (621,408) are so numerous that joinder of all
of them in the Lawsuit is impracticable;
The claims of the Named Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of
the Class Members. In particular, class members share the same claims that
the form letters the Defendant sent them were deceptive and failed to disclose
There are questions of law and fact common to the Class
Members, which predominate over any individual questions. Some of those
common questions include whether R1 failed to make certain disclosures in
its form letters required under the FDCPA and MOC;
The Plaintiffs have fairly and adequately represented and
protected the interests of all of the Class Members. Named Plaintiffs have the
same interests in pursuing their claims as the other Class Members, and they
have engaged in protracted litigation to pursue those claims on behalf of the
Class Counsel has represented and protected the interests of all
of the Class Members;
Class treatment of these claims is superior to other available
methods for a fair and efficient adjudication of this controversy.
Pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), the Court hereby certifies the following
All Class Members excluding: (1) Class Members who
properly executed and filed a timely request for exclusion
from the Settlement Class; (2) Class Members whose
Released Claims against the Defendant have already been
fully and finally adjudicated and/or released; and (3) the
legal representatives, successors and assigns of the Class
Members referenced in Sub-Paragraphs 1.35(1) and
1.35(2) [of the Settlement Agreement], but only with
As defined within the Settlement Agreement, “Class Member” is defined as a
“Person who falls within the definition of the “Class,” which is defined as follows:
All Persons in the State of Michigan who were sent one or
more Letters by or on behalf of Defendant between July
22, 2008 and the date on which the Court enters its
Preliminary Approval Order certifying the Class,
excluding: (1) any Judge or Magistrate presiding over this
Action and members of their immediate families; and (2)
the Defendant, the Defendant’s subsidiaries, parent
companies, successors, predecessors, and any entity in
which the Defendant or its parents have a controlling
interest and their current or former officers, directors, and
In addition to those Class Members who properly executed and filed a
timely request for exclusion from the Settlement Class, the following individuals are
excluded from the Settlement Class:
Joan I. Ulmer
Plaintiffs Joseph Anger, Delione Galbraith, Johnnie Mae Jones,
Rochelle Jones, Terri Meyerhoff, John Bernard Weisend, Jr., and John Weisend III
are hereby appointed as Class Representatives.
The following counsel are hereby appointed as Class Counsel:
Mantese Honigman, P.C.
David M. Honigman
Gerard V. Mantese
Krista M. Hosmer
Jordan B. Segal
1361 E. Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 457-9200
James C. Warr & Associates, P.L.C.
James C. Warr
24500 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 205
Southfield, MI 48075
Tel: (248) 357-6493
As certification of the class is for settlement purposes only, this Court
has made no evaluation of manageability in the certification of the settlement class.
The Court recognizes that, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement,
Defendant R1 retains all rights to object to the propriety of class certification in any
other context and for any other purposes other than certification of the Settlement
Settlement Class Members shall be bound by all determinations and
orders pertaining to the Settlement, including the release of all claims to the extent
set forth in the Settlement Agreement, whether favorable or unfavorable, unless such
persons requested exclusion from the Settlement Class in a timely and proper manner
as provided in this Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, or is an individual listed in
Paragraph 5. Settlement Class Members who did not timely and validly request
exclusion and who are not listed in Paragraph 5 shall be so bound even if they have
previously initiated or subsequently initiate litigation or other proceedings against
R1 relating to the claims released under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
Pursuant to the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, the approved class
action notices were mailed. The form and method for notifying the Class Members
of the settlement and its terms and conditions were in conformity with this Court’s
Preliminary Approval Order and satisfied the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(c)(2)(B) and due process, and constituted the best notice practicable under the
circumstances. The Court finds that the notice was clearly designed to advise the
Class Members of their rights.
The terms in the Settlement Agreement and Plan of Distribution of the
Settlement Funds as described in Plaintiffs’ Motion for Final Approval are finally
approved and shall be consummated in accordance with the terms and provisions
Defendant will contribute monetary relief totaling 1.3 million
U.S. dollars ($1,300,000.00) to the Settlement Fund.
The Settlement Administrator will pay or cause to be paid from
the Settlement Funds, payment of the Settlement Notice and Administration
Expenses, payment of the Fee Award, payment of the incentive awards, and
payment of any Remaining Funds to the Cy Pres Recipient. Class Counsel
shall direct the Cy Pres Recipient to administer and distribute the remaining
funds to Class Members in accord with the terms of the Settlement
This Court finds Class Counsel’s request for an award of
attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses to be fair and reasonable, as set forth in
Exhibit 25 of the Preliminary Approval Motion, and the request for fees of
one-third (1/3) of the Settlement Fund, or $433,333.29, is approved. In no
event will Defendant R1 or its affiliates be required to contribute any funds
over and above the Settlement Fund to cover the incentive awards, attorneys’
fees, and/or litigation costs and expenses.
This Court approves the incentive award of fifteen thousand
dollars ($15,000.00) for each of the seven Named Plaintiffs, as the incentive
awards are both fair and reasonable.
R1 shall perform all of the acts that it is required to perform
pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, including paragraphs
2.3(a)-2.3(f) of the Settlement Agreement.
No Settlement Class Member who did not timely and validly opt out of
the Settlement Agreement may prosecute, institute, commence, or continue any
lawsuit (individual action or class action) with response to any claim released by the
This Order is not, and shall not be construed as, an admission by
Defendant of any liability or wrongdoing in this or any other proceeding.
This Lawsuit is hereby dismissed with prejudice in all respects.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: October 11, 2017
S/Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
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