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Basile v. Stream Energy Pennsylvania, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 31, 2018

STEVEN BASILE, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff
v.
STREAM ENERGY PENNSYLVANIA LLC, et al., Defendants

          ORDER[1]

          Yvette Kane, District Judge United States District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania

         AND NOW, on this 31st day of May 2018, for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, IT IS ORDERED THAT Plaintiff Steven Basile's Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (Doc. No. 80), is GRANTED as follows:

         1. The Court preliminarily approves the proposed Settlement Agreement (Doc. No. 81-1), subject to further consideration at the Final Fairness Hearing referenced below. The Settlement Agreement calls for Defendants to provide benefits to Class Members who submit valid claims as follows:

a. A Class Member who was on Defendants' Variable Rate Electricity Plan at any point between June 1, 2011 and February 29, 2015 (Time Period 1), will receive payment in the amount of 5% of all amounts he or she paid to Defendants for services provided under the Variable Rate Electricity Plan during Time Period 1.
b. A Class Member who was on Defendants' Variable Rate Electricity Plan at any point between March 1, 2015 and the date of preliminary approval (Time Period 2), will receive payment in the amount of 2% of all amounts he or she paid to Defendants for services provided under the Variable Rate Electricity Plan during Time Period 2.
c. The Settlement Agreement also requires Defendants to pay the costs of notice and administration of the settlement, as well as up to $1, 050, 000 to approved Class Counsel for attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, and a service award of up to $5, 000 to Plaintiff as this Court may award. The Court finds that the terms of the Settlement Agreement are sufficiently within the bounds of reasonableness so that notice of the settlement should be given as provided in this Order and in the Settlement Agreement.

         2. The Court preliminary finds that the proposed Settlement Class (Doc. No. 81-1 at 8-9), meets the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(3), and conditionally certifies the Settlement Class for settlement purposes.

a. The preliminary Settlement Class consists of: all persons in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who were enrolled as a customer of Defendants and were on Defendants' Variable Rate Electricity Plan at any time during the Class Period (i.e., June 1, 2011 through the preliminary approval date).
b. Excluded from the Settlement Class are: Defendants, any entities in which Defendants have a controlling interest, and any of their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, and directors; the presiding judge(s) in this case and her(their) immediate family; and any person who has previously released claims against Defendants, including but not limited to persons who released claims against Defendants pursuant to the settlement of a complaint submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Settlement Class also excludes all persons who timely elect to exclude themselves from the Settlement Class and follow the procedure set forth in this Order.

         3. The Court preliminarily finds that Steven Basile has and will fairly and adequately represent and protect the interests of the absent members of the Settlement Class in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

         4. The Court appoints Jonathan Shub, Esq., of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. and Troy M. Frederick, Esq. of Marcus & Mack, P.C. as Interim Counsel.

         5. If the Settlement Agreement is terminated or not consummated for any reason, the certification of the Settlement Class shall be void, and Plaintiff and Defendants shall be deemed to have reserved all their rights to propose or oppose all certification issues.

         6. The Court preliminarily approves the settlement benefits as described in the Settlement Agreement. Defendants will also pay the costs of notice and administration, and any attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and service award approved by the Court, under the terms, conditions, and limitations specified in the Settlement Agreement.

         7. The Court has reviewed and approves the Notice Plan set forth in the Settlement Agreement and Exhibits thereto, excepting the Settlement Notice's description of Class Counsel in Sections 4, 6 and 8, which should be changed to Interim Counsel. (Doc. No. 81-2.) The Settlement Agreement and Exhibits are attached as Exhibit 1 and Exhibits A through E, respectively (Doc. Nos. 81-1 to 81-6), to the Memorandum of Law in Support of Preliminary Approval (“Notice Plan”). The Settlement Administrator shall mail notice to Settlement Class members for whom Defendants have address information. The Settlement Administrator shall also cause a 1/6 page Publication Notice to be posted in the following publications: Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harrisburg Patriot-News, Allentown Morning Call, and Erie Times. The Court finds the notice to be provided to the Settlement Class as set forth in the Notice Plan to be the best practicable notice under the circumstances and, when completed, shall constitute fair, reasonable and adequate notice of the settlement to all persons and entities affected by or entitled to participate in the settlement, in full compliance with the notice requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, and due process.

         8. The Court appoints Angeion Group, LLC, as the Settlement Administrator. Responsibilities of the Settlement Administrator include the following:

a. Creating and maintaining a database of names and addresses of class members;
b. Comparing that database with a national change of address database;
c. Printing and mailing notices, each with an assigned unique claim number;
d. Compiling mailing address information for and re-sending any notices returned as undeliverable;
e. Developing and maintaining a webpage for he purposes of notice and Claim Form administration;
f. Providing a blank Claim Form by mail to any Class Members who request one;
g. Compiling a list of Class Members who submit properly completed Claim Forms, either by mail or via the website, and verifying the accuracy ...

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