ASHLEY MOODY AND AUTUMN TERRELL, ET AL V ASCENDA USA INC d/b/a 24/7 INTOUCH and VERIFIED CREDENTIALS, INC.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Case No. 16-cv-60364

NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND HEARING

 

A court authorized this Notice.  This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

 

UPDATE: On March 12, 2018, the Court entered an Order Granting Motion For Final Approval Of Class Action Settlement Against Defendant Verified Credentials, Inc. And Approving And Awarding Attorneys' Fees And Costs. We estimate that Class Member settlement checks will begin mailing on or around April 24, 2018. A copy of the Order may be downloaded HERE.

 

Excluded from the class definition are any employees, officers and directors of Verified, any attorney appearing in this Action, any judge assigned to hear this Action and any individual who timely opts out of the Automatic Payments Class.

 

 

Excluded from the class definition are any employees, officers and directors of Verified, any attorney appearing in this Action, any judge assigned to hear this Action, the Named Plaintiff and any Automatic Payment Class member.

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT

Opt in by

January 27, 2018

If you are a member of the Opt-In Class, you will need to complete and return a claims form certifying that a Verified consumer report about you was incomplete      or not up to date and that you were harmed as a result.  If you do opt in, you will be releasing all of your claims against Verified.  If you are a member of the              Automatic Payments Class, you do not need to complete any form to opt-in to the class and receive money.

Do Nothing

If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class and you do nothing and the Court approves this settlement, you will receive a settlement payment. You will be releasing all of your claims against Verified. The full settlement agreement is available HERE.  If you are a member of the Opt-In Class and you do nothing, you will not be releasing any potential claims but you also will not be eligible to receive any payment from this Settlement. 

Ask to be Excluded by

January 27, 2018

If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class and do not want to be included in the case and the settlement, you must exclude yourself.  This is called “opting out.”  If you opt out, you will not receive a benefit from this Settlement but you will retain any rights to file a separate lawsuit or legal action against Verified.

Object by

January 27, 2018

If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class, you may write to the Court about why you do not like the settlement. You cannot object if you opt out.

Go to a Hearing on March 9, 2018

If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class and submit a timely objection to the Settlement, you may also ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement.  To do so, you must include a notice of intention to appear at the hearing when you submit your objection.

Your rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in this Notice; The Court still has to decide whether to approve this settlement, which may take some time.

 

BELOW IS A LIST OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. CLICK ON THE QUESTION TO VIEW THE ANSWER.

THE POSTCARD NOTICE YOU RECEIVED INDICATES WHICH SUBCLASS YOU ARE A PART OF. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ASCERTAIN WHICH SUBCLASS YOU ARE A PART OF, THERE IS AN ID NUMBER PRINTED ABOVE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON THE POSTCARD. IF YOUR ID NUMBER BEGINS WITH "AP" YOU ARE A PART OF THE AUTOMATIC PAYMENT SUBCLASS. IF YOUR ID NUMBER BEGINS WITH "OI" YOU ARE A PART OF THE OPT IN SUBCLASS.

PLEASE REVIEW EACH ANSWER CLOSELY AS THE RIGHTS AND OPTIONS OF EACH SUBCLASS ARE DIFFERENT.

  1. WHY DID I GET THIS NOTICE?

    1. This notice has been sent for the benefit of potential members of the following Settlement Class.

       

      The Automatic Payment Class

      All natural persons residing in the United States (including all territories and other political subdivisions of the United States) (a) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Verified to a third party for employment purposes from two years preceding the filing of the complaint through January 24, 2016, (b) whose employment-purposed report contained at least one public record of a criminal conviction, civil lien, bankruptcy or civil judgment that was likely to have an adverse effect on the consumer’s ability to obtain employment, (c) who then disputed such public record information contained in their employment-purposed consumer report with Verified, (d) whose dispute resulted in a revised report, and (e) where no notice was sent under 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a)(1). 

       

      Excluded from the class definition are any employees, officers and directors of Verified, any attorney appearing in this Action, any judge assigned to hear this Action, any individual who timely opts out of the Automatic Payments Class.

       

      The Opt-In Class

       All natural persons residing in the United States (including all territories and other political subdivisions of the United States) (a) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Verified to a third party for employment purposes from two years preceding the filing of the Complaint through January 24, 2016, (b) whose employment-purposed report contained at least one public record of a criminal conviction, civil lien, bankruptcy or civil judgment that was likely to have an adverse effect on the consumer’s ability to obtain employment, (c) where no notice was sent under 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a)(1), and (d) who timely opts in and completes and returns a valid claims form certifying that their consumer report was incomplete or not up to date and who claim they were harmed as a result. 

       

      Excluded from the class definition are any employees, officers and directors of Verified, any attorney appearing in this Action, any judge assigned to hear this Action, the Named Plaintiff and any Automatic Payments Class member.

       

      Composition of the Settlement Class is based upon Defendant’s records.  This Notice is made available because members of the Settlement Class have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit in which they are class members, and about all of their options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.  If the Court approves the settlement, and after objections or appeals relating to that settlement are resolved, the benefits provided for by the settlement will be available to members of the Settlement Class.

       

       

      This Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.  A full copy of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE.

  2. WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?

    1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the FCRA by reporting certain public record information in certain consumer reports without first providing notice to consumers or without having procedures to ensure that the reported information was complete and up to date.  Based on these allegations, Plaintiff sought statutory damages

       

      Defendant denies the Plaintiff’s allegations and denies all liability to Plaintiff and the Settlement Class.  In the lawsuit, Defendant denied Plaintiff’s allegations and raised a number of defenses to the claims asserted. No Court has found Defendant violated the law in any way.  No Court has found that the Plaintiff could recover any certain amount in this litigation.  Although the Court has authorized Notice to be given of the proposed Settlement, the Notice sent to you and the information on this website does not express the opinion of the Court on the merits of the claims or defenses asserted by either side in the lawsuit.

  3. WHY IS THIS CASE A CLASS ACTION?

    1. Class actions are lawsuits in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single proceeding.  In a class action, a Representative Plaintiff (“Class Representative”) seeks to assert claims on behalf of all members of a class of similarly situated people.  In a class action, people with similar claims are treated alike.  The court is guardian of the class’s interests and supervises the prosecution of the class claims by counsel for the Settlement Class to assure that the representation is adequate.  Class members are not individually responsible for the costs or fees of counsel, which are subject to court award.

  4. WHY IS THERE A SETTLEMENT?

    1. The Court did not decide this case in favor of the Class Representative or in favor of Defendant.  Instead, counsel for the Settlement Class investigated the facts and applicable law regarding the Class Representative’s claims and Defendant’s defenses.  The parties engaged in lengthy and arm’s-length negotiations to reach this settlement.  The Class Representative and counsel for the Settlement Class believe that the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interests of the class.

       

      Both sides agree that, by settling, Defendant is not admitting any liability or that it did anything wrong.  Both sides want to avoid the uncertainties and expense of further litigation.

  5. HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM A PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. If you received a notice by mail, Defendant’s records indicate you are or may be a member of the Settlement Class.  If you are not certain as to whether you are a member of the Settlement Class, you may contact the Settlement Administrator to find out.  In all cases, the question of class membership will be determined based on Defendant’s records.

       

      You are a part of the settlement if you fit the definition set forth above in paragraph 1 for an “Automatic Payments” class member or an “Opt In” class member.

       

      If you fit the definition for an “Opt-In” class member, you have the right to opt-in and receive compensation. To qualify, you must complete and submit the Claims Form that was attached to the notice you received in the mail.  All claims forms must be postmarked by January 27, 2018.

  6. WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?

    1. If you are a member of the Settlement Class and do not choose to timely opt-out (or become a member if you are required to opt in and timely complete the opt-in process), you will receive benefits under the settlement.

       

      If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Settlement Class and do not timely opt out, you are eligible to receive a benefit under the settlement. If you are eligible to opt in and become a member of the Opt-In Settlement Class, you are eligible to receive a benefit under the settlement.  Defendant has agreed to pay $1.4 million into a settlement fund. The fund will be divided pro rata among all Settlement Class members. If the expected requests for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the Plaintiff’s Incentive Award are granted by the Court, you should receive between $19.07 and $256.00, depending on how many members of the Opt-In Class participate.

  7. HOW CAN I GET A BENEFIT?

    1. If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class listed above, you do not have to do anything to receive your settlement payment. Your interest as a member of the Settlement Class will be represented by the Plaintiff and counsel for the Class. You will be bound by any judgment arising from the settlement. If the settlement is approved, you will receive a check for your share of the settlement fund, provided you do not opt out.

       

      If you are a member of the Opt-In Class listed above, simply complete and timely return the Claims Form attached to the notice you received in the mail. Or you can call the toll-free number below to request another copy of the paper Claim Form. To be valid, Claims Forms must be fully completed, sent and postmarked by January 27, 2018.  If you opt in to the Opt-In Class, you will be bound by the terms of the Agreement.

  8. WHEN WOULD I GET MY BENEFIT?

    1. The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 1:30 a.m. on March 9, 2018 in the United States Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 299 East Broward Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, Courtroom 205B, to decide whether to approve the settlement.  If the settlement is approved, there may be appeals.  Payments to members of the Settlement Class will be made only if the settlement is finally approved.  This may take some time, so please be patient.

  9. WHAT AM I GIVING UP TO GET A BENEFIT OR STAY IN THE CLASS?

    1. Upon the Court’s approval of the settlement, all members of the Settlement Class who do not exclude themselves (as well as spouses, heirs, and others who may possess rights on their behalf) will fully release the Released Parties as specified in the Settlement Agreement for all claims, including claims for statutory damages and actual damages, arising out of or relating directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever to the facts alleged or which could have been alleged or asserted in this case, including but not limited to any and all claims under the FCRA, including Sections 1681k(a) and 1681i, and analogous state law claims.  This release may affect your rights, and may carry obligations, in the future.  However, it will not impact any claims you have against the other co-defendant in this case, Ascenda USA Inc. d/b/a 24-7 Intouch.

  10. HOW DO I GET OUT OF THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. If you are a member of the Automatic Payments Class and choose to be excluded from the Settlement, you will not be bound by any judgment or other final disposition of the lawsuit.  You will retain any claims against Defendant you might have.  To request exclusion, you must state in writing your desire to be excluded from the Settlement Class.  Your request for exclusion must be sent by first class mail, postmarked on or before January 27, 2018, 60 days after the postmark on this Notice, addressed to:

       

      Moody v Verified Settlement, PO Box 23680, Jacksonville, FL 32241

       

      If the request is not postmarked on or before January 27, 2018. 60 days after the postmark on this Notice, your request for exclusion will be invalid, and you will be bound by the terms of the settlement approved by the Court, including without limitation, the judgment ultimately rendered in the case, and you will be barred from bringing any claims subject to the Release located in the Settlement Agreement HERE.

  11. IF I DON'T EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I SUE THE DEFENDANT FOR THE SAME THING LATER?

    1. No.  Unless you exclude yourself or do not opt in, you give up any right to sue Defendant for the claims that this settlement resolves. 

  12. IF I EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I GET BENEFITS FROM THIS SETTLEMENT?

    1. No.  If you exclude yourself or do not opt in, you are not part of the settlement.

  13. DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?

    1. The Court has appointed Ashley Moody as Class Representative.  The Court has appointed Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. and Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C. as Counsel for the Settlement Class:

       

      Luis A. Cabassa, Esq.

      Brandon J. Hill, Esq.

      WENZEL FENTON CABASSA, P.A.

      1110 North Florida Ave., Suite 300

      Tampa, Florida 33602

      Telephone:  (813) 224-0431

       

      Leonard A. Bennett

      Craig C. Marchiando

      CONSUMER LITIGATION ASSOCIATES, P.C.

      763 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Suite 1-A

      Newport News, VA 23601

      (757) 930-3660 – Telephone

      (757) 930-3662 – Facsimile

       

      Counsel for the Settlement Class represent the interests of the Settlement Class.  You may hire your own attorney to advise you, but if you hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for paying that attorney’s fees.

  14. HOW WILL THE LAWYERS BE PAID?

    1. Class Counsel intend to apply to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees, in an amount not to exceed one-third of the settlement fund, less the Incentive Award.   The Court may award less.   

  15. HOW DO I TELL THE COURT THAT I DON'T LIKE THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. If you are in the Automatic Payments Class, you can object to any aspect of the proposed settlement by filing and serving a written objection. Your written objection must include: (1) your name, address, telephone number, email address and signature; (2) a detailed statement of the specific factual and legal basis for the objection(s) being asserted; (3) a notice of your intent to appear at the final Fairness Hearing at 1:30 p.m. on March 9, 2018, if you intend to appear; and (4) a detailed description of any and all evidence, including copies of any exhibits, which you may offer at the Fairness Hearing. 

       

      You must file any objection with the Clerk of the Court at the address below NO LATER THAN JANUARY 27, 2018.

       

      United States Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida

      U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse

      299 East Broward Boulevard

      Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

       Courtroom 205B

       

      You must also send your objection by first class mail, postmarked on or before January 27, 2018, to Counsel for the Settlement Class and counsel for Defendant.  These documents should be mailed to Settlement Class Counsel at:

       

      Luis A. Cabassa, Esq.

      Brandon J. Hill, Esq.

      WENZEL FENTON CABASSA, P.A.

      1110 North Florida Ave., Suite 300

      Tampa, Florida 336022

      (813) 224.0431

       

      Leonard A. Bennett, Esq.

      Craig C. Marchiando, Esq.

      CONSUMER LITIGATION ASSOCIATES, P.C.

      763 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Suite 1-A

      Newport News, VA 23601

      (757) 930-3660 – Telephone

      (757) 930-3662 – Facsimile

       

      And to counsel for Defendant at:

       

       

      Pamela Devata (admitted pro hac vice)

      John Drury (admitted pro hac vice)

      SEYFARTH, SHAW LLP

      131 S. Dearborn Street, Suite 2400

      Chicago, IL 60603-5577

      Telephone: 312-460-5623

      Facsimile: (312) 460-7623

       

       

      Any member of the Automatic Payments Class who does not file and serve an objection in the time and manner described above will not be permitted to raise that objection later.

  16. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTING AND EXCLUDING?

    1. Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement.  You can object only if you are in the Automatic Payments Class and stay in the Settlement.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement.  If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the lawsuit no longer affects you.

  17. WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE COURT DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. There will be a Fairness Hearing to consider approval of the proposed settlement at 1:30 p.m. on March 9, 2018 at the United States Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 299 East Broward Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, Courtroom 205B. The hearing may be postponed to a later date without further notice.  The purpose of the hearing is to determine the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the terms of settlement; whether the Settlement Class is adequately represented by the Class Representative and counsel for the Settlement Class; and whether an order and final judgment should be entered approving the proposed settlement.  The Court also will consider Settlement Class counsel’s application on an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses and Class Representative’s compensation.

       

      You will be represented at the Fairness Hearing by Counsel for the Settlement Class, unless you choose to enter an appearance in person or through your own counsel.  The appearance of your own attorney is not necessary to participate in the Fairness Hearing.

  18. DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE HEARING?

    1. No.  Counsel for the Settlement Class will represent the Settlement Class at the Fairness Hearing, but you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send any objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it.  As long as you filed and mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, if you wish.

  19. MAY I SPEAK AT THE HEARING?

    1. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing.

  20. ARE THERE MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. For a more detailed statement of the matters involved in the lawsuit or the settlement, you may refer to the papers filed in this case during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the of the United States Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 299 East Broward Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, Clerk’s office, File:  Moody et al v. Verified Credentials, Inc. et al. pending as Case No. Case 0:16-cv-60364-WPD.  The full Settlement Agreement and certain pleadings filed in this case also are available on the important documents section of this website HERE.

  21. HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION?

    1. You can contact the Claims Administrator or Class Counsel for Plaintiff at the below addresses: 

       

      ADMINISTRATOR'S CONTACT INFORMATION

       

      Email your questions to: [email protected]

       

      Mailing Address: Moody v Verified Settlement, PO Box 23680, Jacksonville, FL 32241

       

       

      Class Counsel's Contact Information

       

      Luis A. Cabassa, Esq.

      Brandon J. Hill, Esq.

      WENZEL FENTON CABASSA, P.A.

      1110 North Florida Ave., Suite 300

      Tampa, Florida 336022

      (813) 224-0431

       

      AND

       

      Leonard A. Bennett

      Craig C. Marchiando

      CONSUMER LITIGATION ASSOCIATES, P.C.

      763 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Suite 1-A

      Newport News, VA 23601

      (757) 930-3660 – Telephone

      (757) 930-3662 – Facsimile

      Attorneys for Plaintiff