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Boone v. City of Philadelphia

November 3, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary A. McLAUGHLIN, J.


This case coming on for hearing before The Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin, U.S.D.J. on September 29, 2009, pursuant to this Court's Order of March 6, 2009, in order for this Court to conduct a final fairness hearing to determine whether the proposed Settlement Agreement between the Parties is fair, reasonable and adequate, and to address Class Counsel's application for an award of attorney's fees and costs; and the Settlement Class Members being represented by Class Counsel and Defendant being represented by its attorney; AND THE COURT having read and considered the Settlement Agreement, the Notice Plan, and Memorandum of Law submitted by Class Counsel, having received evidence at the hearing, having heard arguments from Class Counsel and the Defendant, and having considered the submissions by Class Members, now makes the following:

FINDINGS OF FACT 1. This action was commenced on April 21, 2005, as a class action.

2. After several years of intensive litigation, including extensive discovery and motion practice, and as a result of intensive, arm's length negotiations between Class Counsel and Defendant, including settlement conferences before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey and former Magistrate Judge James K. Melinson, the Parties have reached accord with respect to a Settlement that provides substantial benefits to Settlement Class Members, in return for a release and dismissal of the claims at issue in this case against the Defendant ("Settlement Agreement"). The resulting Settlement Agreement was preliminarily approved by the Court on March 6, 2009.

3. As part of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval, this Court approved a proposed Notice Plan and Class Notice, which provided Settlement Class Members notice of the proposed Settlement. The Notice Plan provided an opportunity for Class Members to file objections to the Settlement, and an opportunity to opt-out of the Settlement.

4. As of the deadline for the filing of objections, three objections were filed. Given the size of this Settlement, and the Notice Plan described above, this Court finds that the comparatively low number of objections is indicative of the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the Settlement with the Defendant.

5. The settling Parties have filed with the Court an affidavit from RSM McGladrey, Inc. declaring that the mailing of the Court-approved notice, consistent with the Notice Plan, has been completed.

6. The Court finds that the published notice, mailed notice and Internet posting constitute the best practicable notice of the Fairness Hearing, proposed Settlement, Class Counsel's application for fees and expenses, and other matters set forth in the Class Notice and Short Form Notice; and that such notice constituted valid, due and sufficient notice to all members of the Settlement Class, and complied fully with the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Constitution of the United States, the laws of Pennsylvania and any other applicable law.

7. Any persons who wished to be excluded from this action were provided an opportunity to "opt-out" pursuant to the Notice. All persons who have validly excluded themselves from the action have no rights under the Settlement Agreement and shall not be bound by the Settlement Agreement or the final judgment herein and the names of those persons are set forth in Exhibit A hereto.

8. Settlement Class Members are bound by the Settlement, Settlement Agreement, Release contained within the Settlement Agreement, and the Final Order and Judgment. Settlement Class Members do not have a further opportunity to opt-out of this Action.

9. Any Class Member who did not timely file and serve an objection in writing to the Settlement Agreement, to the entry of Final Order and Judgment, or to Class Counsel's application for fees, costs, and expenses, in accordance with the procedure set forth in the Class Notice and mandated in the Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement, is deemed to have waived any such objection by appeal, collateral attack, or otherwise.

10. On the basis of all of the issues in this litigation, and the provisions of the Settlement Agreement, the Court is of the opinion that the Settlement is a fair, reasonable and adequate compromise of the claims against the Defendant in this case, pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. There are a number of factors which the Court has considered in affirming this Settlement, including:

a. The liability issues in this case have been vigorously contested.

b. This Settlement has the benefit of providing relief to Class Members now, without further litigation, under circumstances where the liability issues are still vigorously contested among the Parties to this litigation. This ...

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