United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
SUSAN EBNER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MERCHANTS & MEDICAL CREDIT CORP., et al., Defendant.
J. PAPPERT, J.
NOW, this 22nd day of March, 2017, upon consideration of the
Parties' request for final approval of the Settlement
Agreement (“Agreement”) between Plaintiff Susan
Ebner (“Plaintiff”), individually, and as
representative of the class of persons defined below
(“Settlement Class”), and Defendant Merchants
& Medical Credit Corp. (“MMCC”), the Court
orders and finds as follows:
Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this
lawsuit, Plaintiff, Settlement Class Members, and MMCC.
following Settlement Class is certified pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3): All persons located in (i) the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (ii) the State of New Jersey,
or (iii) the State of Delaware, according to their last known
address in MMCC's records, from December 4, 2013 through
August 1, 2015 (the “Class Period”), who received
one or more letters from Defendant seeking to collect a
consumer debt for which the MMCC account number was visible
through the glassine window of the envelope.
Based on the Parties' stipulations: (A) the Settlement
Class as defined is sufficiently numerous such that joinder
is impracticable; (B) common questions of law and fact
predominate over any questions affecting only individual
Settlement Class members; (C) the Plaintiff's claims are
typical of the Settlement Class members' claims; (D)
Plaintiff is an appropriate and adequate representative for
the Class and her attorneys, Arkady “Eric” Rayz,
of the law firm, Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC, 1051 County Line
Road, Suite “ A, ” Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
and Gerald D. Wells, III, of the law firm, Connolly Wells
& Gray, LLP, 2200 Renaissance Blvd., Suite 308, King of
Prussia, PA 19406, are hereby appointed as Settlement Class
Counsel; and (E) a class action is the superior method for
the fair and efficient adjudication of the claims of the
Settlement Class Members.
Court approved a form of notice for mailing to the Settlement
Class. The Court is informed that actual notice was sent by
first class mail to approximately 4, 802 Settlement Class
Members by First Class, Inc., the third-party settlement
administrator. A total of 392 envelopes were returned by the
United States Postal Service, none of which were returned
with forwarding addresses and re-mailed. No Settlement Class
members requested exclusion, and no objections were filed or
January 12, 2017, the Court held a fairness hearing to which
Settlement Class Members, including any with objections, were
invited. No one attended the hearing.
Court finds that provisions for notice to the class satisfy
the requirements of due process pursuant to the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, including Rule 23, the United States
Constitution and any other applicable law.
Court finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and
adequate and hereby finally approves the Agreement submitted
by the Parties, including the Release and payments by MMCC.
Upon the Effective Date, as that term is defined in the
Agreement, MMCC, or its insurer, shall make the following
a) $29, 000.00 (“Settlement Fund”) to be
deposited with a settlement administrator to distribute pro
rata among Settlement Class Members who did not exclude
themselves and who returned a timely, valid claim form
(“Participating Settlement Class Members”).
Participating Settlement Class Members will receive a pro
rata share of the Settlement Fund by check. Checks issued to
the Participating Settlement Class Members will be void sixty
(60) days from the date of issuance. If any portion of the
Settlement Fund remains after the void date on the
Participating Settlement Class Members' checks, these
remaining funds will be distributed as set forth in the
b) $1, 000 to Plaintiff as her individual statutory damage
c) $42, 500 to be paid to Class Counsel for attorneys'
fees and costs. Class Counsel will not request additional
fees or costs from MMCC.
d) Of the amount awarded to Class Counsel, $2, 500 shall be
payable to Plaintiff as a Case Contribution Award in
recognition of her efforts in prosecuting these claims on
behalf of the class. No other amounts, other than those
either awarded by this Court or otherwise set forth in the
Agreement shall be payable to Plaintiff. e) All costs
incurred by the Settlement Administrator arising from or
related to this Settlement.
Court approves the individual and class releases set forth in
the Parties' Agreement, and the released claims are
consequently compromised, settled, released, discharged, and