GOOD et al v. NATIONWIDE CREDIT, INC.
ORDER THAT THIS ACTION IS HEREBY FINALLY CERTIFIED AS A CLASS ACTION ON BEHALF OF CLASS OF PLFFS AS OUTLINED HEREIN, ETC. THE AMENDED AGREEMENT SHALL BE DEEMED INCORPORATED HEREIN & THE PROPOSED AMENDED SETTLEMENT IS FINALLY APPROVED & SHALL BE CONSU MMATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS & PROVISIONS THEREOF, ETC. CLASS COUNSEL'S FEES & COSTS ARE APPROVED IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF $125,000.00, ETC. THIS ORDER IS BINDING ON ALL CLASS MEMBERS, EXCEPT THOSE WHO EXCLUDED THEMSELVES. THE WITHIN MATTER SHALL BE MARKED DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, ETC. SIGNED BY HONORABLE EDUARDO C. ROBRENO ON 3/14/16. 3/14/16 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND E-MAILED.(kw, ) Modified on 3/14/2016 (kw, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BRADLEY GOOD et al.,
NATIONWIDE CREDIT, INC.,
FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE
On July 16, 2014, Bradley Good and Edward K. Soucek
(“Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives”) filed a Complaint
(“Lawsuit”), asserting claims against Nationwide Credit, Inc.
(“NCI”), under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. By Order and Opinion dated October 24,
2014 (Doc. Nos. 20, 21), the Court denied NCI’s Motion to Dismiss
the Complaint. NCI, in its Answer, denied all liability alleged in
the Lawsuit and alleged Affirmative Defenses.
After dispositive motion practice, discovery, and
extensive arms-length negotiations, the Parties entered into an
Amended Class Action Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to
as the “Amended Agreement”), which is subject to review under Fed.
R. Civ. P. 23. The proposed amended class action settlement relates
to all claims in the Lawsuit.
On or about October 30, 2015, the Plaintiffs filed the
Amended Agreement, along with an Amended Motion for Preliminary
Approval of Class Action Settlement (hereinafter referred to as the
“Amended Preliminary Approval Motion”).
In compliance with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005,
28 U.S.C. § 1715, the record reflects that NCI served written
notice of the proposed amended class settlement on appropriate
authorities on November 9, 2015.
On November 4, 2015, upon consideration of the Amended
Preliminary Approval Motion and the record, the Court entered an
order of preliminary approval of amended class action settlement
and a preliminary determination of class action status (hereinafter
referred to as the “Preliminary Approval Order”) (Doc. No. 47).
Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Order, the Court, among other
things, (i) made a preliminary determination (for settlement
purposes) that the elements for class certification under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23 had been met; (ii) preliminarily approved the proposed
amended settlement; (iii) preliminarily appointed plaintiffs
Bradley Good and Edward K. Soucek as the Class Representatives;
(iv) preliminarily appointed Flitter Milz, P.C.
and the Sabatini
Law Firm, LLC as counsel for the Class; (v) set the date and time
of the Fairness Hearing; and (vi) directed the sending of notice to
Effective November 1, 2015, Flitter Lorenz, P.C. is now
known as Flitter Milz, P.C.
On January 25, 2016, a Motion for Final Approval of Class
Action Settlement and Class Certification (Doc. No. 51) was filed;
(hereinafter referred to as the “Final Approval Motion”).
On February 8, 2016, after notice was sent, a Fairness
Hearing was held pursuant to the terms of the Notice and Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23 to determine whether the Lawsuit satisfied the
requirements for class action treatment and whether the proposed
amended settlement is fundamentally fair, reasonable, adequate, in
the best interest of the settling class members and should be
finally approved by the Court (Doc. No. 52).
The Court has read and considered the Amended Agreement
AND NOW, on this 14th day of March, 2016, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED as follows:
All capitalized terms used herein have the meanings
defined herein and/or in the Amended Agreement.
The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter
of the Class Action and over all settling parties hereto.
CLASS MEMBERS – Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(b)(3), this action is hereby finally certified as a class action
on behalf of the following class of plaintiffs (hereinafter
referred to as the “Class Members”) with respect to the claims
asserted in the Lawsuit:
All persons with addresses in the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania who were sent one or more letters from
Defendant Nationwide that stated GE Capital Retail
Bank, Synchrony Bank,2 or American Express “is required
to file a form 1099C with the Internal Revenue Service
for any cancelled debt of $600 or more,” or a
underlying debt being collected was incurred primarily
for personal, family or household use, the letter(s)
bear(s) a send date from July 16, 2013 through July 1,
CLASS REPRESENTATIVES AND CLASS COUNSEL
APPOINTMENT – Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, the Court finally
appoints Plaintiffs Bradley Good and Edward K. Soucek as the Class
Representatives and the law firms of Flitter Milz, P.C., and
Sabatini Law Firm, LLC, as Class Counsel.
FINAL CLASS CERTIFICATION – The Court finds that the
Lawsuit satisfies the applicable prerequisites for class action
treatment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, namely:
At approximately 15,225 individuals, the Class
Members are so numerous that joinder of all of them in this Lawsuit
There are questions of law and fact common to
the Class Members, which predominate over any individual questions.
The common questions include:
Whether Defendant made false, deceptive or
misleading representations in connection with the
collection of a debt in violation of § 1692e;
GE Capital Retail Bank changed its name to Synchrony Bank
effective June 2, 2014.
Whether Defendant engaged in a false representations
and deceptive means to collect a consumer debt
alleged due, in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10);
Whether the letter misstates the requirements of the
Whether Defendant’s reference to the “Internal
Revenue Service” in its collection dun constitutes a
deceptive collection practice; and
Whether, and in what amount, Plaintiffs are entitled
to statutory damages under the Act for Defendant’s
In defense, NCI states that it acted lawfully, and that
its collection letter was truthful and not deceptive, and fully
complied with § 1692e of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The claims of the Plaintiffs are typical of
the claims of the Class Members. All were subjected to the same
The Plaintiffs and Class Counsel have fairly
and adequately represented and protected the interests of all of
the Class Members; and
Class treatment of these claims will be
efficient and manageable, thereby achieving judicial economy.
The Court finds that the settlement of the Lawsuit,
on the terms and conditions set forth in the Amended Agreement, is
in all respects fundamentally fair, reasonable, adequate, and in
the best interests of the Class Members, especially in light of the
benefits to the Class Members; the strength of the Plaintiffs’
case; the complexity, expense, and probable duration of further
litigation; the risk and delay inherent in possible appeals; the
risk of collecting any judgment obtained on behalf of the class;
and, the statutory ceiling on any potential recovery for the class.
15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2).
NOTICES – Pursuant to the Court’s Preliminary
Approval Order, the approved class action notice was mailed to the
Class Members. An Affidavit of the Class Administrator has been
received of record. The forms and methods for notifying the Class
Members of the amended 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 and did advise the Class Members of their rights.
SETTLEMENT TERMS – The Amended Agreement, which is
attached to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Final Approval, shall be deemed
incorporated herein, and the proposed amended settlement is finally
approved and shall be consummated in accordance with the terms and
provisions thereof, except as amended by any order issued by this
Court. The Parties are hereby directed to perform the terms of the
ATTORNEY FEES – The Court has considered Class
Counsel’s application for counsel fees and costs. The costs for
which reimbursement is sought appear to be fair and reasonable and
have been agreed to by the parties. Class Counsel’s fees and costs
are approved in the aggregate amount of $125,000.00, which shall be
paid by NCI pursuant to the Amended Agreement, separate and apart
from and in addition to the amended class settlement fund.
OBJECTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS – The Class Members were
given an opportunity to object to the amended settlement. Zero (0)
Class Member(s) objected to the amended settlement. The Class
Members were also given an opportunity to exclude themselves from
the amended settlement. Three (3) Class Member(s) excluded
themselves from the amended settlement. A list of opt-outs is set
forth in the Settlement Administrator’s Declaration filed at Doc.
No. 51-8 at ¶ 14. Those individuals are not bound to this amended
settlement or this judgment.
This order is binding on all Class Members, except
those who excluded themselves.
RELEASE OF CLAIMS AND DISMISSAL OF LAWSUIT – The
Class Representatives, Class Members, and their successors and
assigns are permanently barred and enjoined from instituting or
prosecuting, either individually or as a class, or in any other
capacity, any of the Released Claims against any of the Released
Parties, as set forth in the Amended Agreement. Pursuant to the
release contained in the Amended Agreement, the Released Claims are
compromised, settled, released, discharged, and dismissed with
prejudice by virtue of these proceedings and this order, except as
to executory obligations required by the Amended Agreement.
The within matter shall be marked dismissed with
The Court hereby retains continuing jurisdiction
over the Parties and all matters relating to the Lawsuit and/or
Amended Agreement, including the administration, interpretation,
construction, effectuation, enforcement, and consummation of the
amended settlement and this order for a period of one year from the
date of this Order.3
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Eduardo C. Robreno
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO,
This period may be extended upon timely request of the
parties and approval of the Court.
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