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Norton v. LVNV Funding LLC

United States District Court Northern District of California
Case No. : 18-cv-05051-DMR

Important Dates
Deadline to file a claim
December 6, 2021
Date of Preliminary Approval
Class Period
PAGA Period
Opt-Out Deadline
December 6, 2021
Objection Deadline
December 6, 2021
Dispute Deadline
Final Approval Hearing
January 13, 2022 1:00 PM
Disbursement Date
Expiration of Check Cashing Period
Important Documents & Info

IF YOU WERE SUED BY ARROW FINANCIAL SERVICES AND THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT THE COURT JUDGMENT FROM YOU, YOU COULD GET CASH AND OTHER BENEFITS FROM A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT.

WHAT IS THE ACTION ABOUT?
Plaintiff claims that the Defendants violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, California’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code section 17200) by taking judicial action to collect a judgment which had been acquired from Arrow Financial Services, without LVNV becoming the assignee of record prior to enforcing the judgment by means such as wage garnishment and bank levy. For a copy of the Third Amended Class Action Complaint, please click here.

AM I A CLASS MEMBER?
The Class consists of all California residents who meet the following conditions:

  1. LVNV Funding, LLC, represented by Law Office of Harris & Zide, took judicial action (including obtaining Writs of Execution, wage garnishment, and bank levy) after August 17, 2014 (four years prior to the filing of this action) to collect a judgment based on a consumer debt obtained in a California court;
  2. Arrow Financial Services, LLC was the plaintiff of record at the time the judgment was entered; and
  3. LVNV Funding, LLC did not file an Assignment of Judgment in conformity with California Code of Civil Procedure § 673 or otherwise become the assignee of record.

The Court also certified a Subclass, which is defined the same as the Class, except that “August 17, 2017” is substituted for “August 17, 2014.”

WHAT RELIEF DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE TO THE SETTLEMENT CLASS MEMBERS?
The settlement will provide full reimbursement to valid claimants of all amounts collected by Defendants by judicial action such as wage garnishment and bank levy after August 17, 2014 plus 7 percent interest from the time of collection. Only those individuals who timely submit the Claim Form in full will be eligible for this benefit. The form must be postmarked, emailed, or filled out online, by December 6, 2021.The settlement will also provide a fund of $50,000.00 to be divided equally between a Subclass of individuals whose judgment was subject to judicial enforcement efforts after August 17, 2017 who timely submit the Claim Form as described above. The amount received will depend on the number of Subclass members who timely fill out and return the Claim Form as described above.The settlement also prohibits Defendants from collecting or attempting to collect any costs incurred while attempting to collect the judgments without LVNV becoming the “assignee of record”, as well as interest accrued on the costs. Examples of costs are Writ of Execution fees and Levying Officer Fees. This benefit is available to all individuals receiving this notice, regardless of whether they return the Claim Form. No action is required to receive this benefit.The settlement prohibits Defendants from collecting or attempting to collect all “Closed Accounts” and prohibits Defendants from selling or transferring these “Closed Accounts” to other companies. This benefit is available regardless of whether Class Members return the Claim Form. You may contact the Class Administrator to find out if the judgment against you is a “Closed Account.”

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?SUBMIT A CLAIM BY DECEMBER 6, 2021.

Receive Cash.
If you fill out, sign and submit the Claim Form, stating under penalty of perjury that the financial obligation you were sued for was “consumer debt” you will receive the amount which was collected from you by judicial action such as wage garnishment or bank levy, interest. You will also receive an equal share of $50,000.00 if you are in a Subclass of individuals whose attempts to enforce the judgment were made after August 17, 2017.

ASK TO BE EXCLUDED BY DECEMBER 6, 2021

Don’t receive any benefit from the settlement. Maintain your right to file a separate lawsuit against the Defendants.Send a letter to the settlement administrator, as required by this Notice, with your name and a statement that you request exclusion from the class.For more information on excluding yourself from the Settlement, please read the Long Form Notice, by clicking here.

OBJECT BY DECEMBER 6, 2021

Ask to the Court to deny approval of the settlement.You can’t ask the Court to order a larger settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the settlement. If the Court denies approval, no settlement benefits will be provided, and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

GO TO A HEARING ON JANUARY 13, 2022
Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement.DO NOTHINGIf you do nothing, you will be eligible to receive some of the benefits of the settlement described above, but you will NOT receive cash.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


+ 1. Why did I get this notice?
The Defendants’ records show that Arrow Financial Services sued you and obtained a court judgment against you in a California court. LVNV Funding, LLC later purchased the judgment, and attempts were made to collect the judgment against you by judicial action (for example wage garnishment or bank levy) after August 17, 2014.

The Court ordered that the parties send you this notice to let you know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and to tell you about your options before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, and after any objections or appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the settlement allows.

Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, California is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as Sonya Norton v. LVNV Funding, LLC et al., Case No. 4:18-cv-05051 DMR

+ 2. What is a class action?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Sonya Norton) sue on behalf of other people who may have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” Sonya Norton, who sued on behalf of the Class and Subclass, is called the Plaintiff. The companies she sued (in this case, LVNV and H&Z) are called the Defendants. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class—except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class. The Court decided that this lawsuit can be a class action and move toward a trial because it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts.

+ 3. What does the lawsuit complain about?
Plaintiff claims that the Defendants violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, California’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code section 17200) by taking judicial action to collect a judgment which had been acquired from Arrow Financial Services, without LVNV becoming the assignee of record prior to enforcing the judgment by means such as wage garnishment and bank levy. You can read the Third Amended Class Action Complaint here.

The Defendants deny they did anything wrong. You can read the Defendants’ Answer to the lawsuit at LVNVFundingSettlement.com.

+ 4. Why is there a settlement?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiff or Defendants. Instead, Plaintiff and Defendants agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the cost and risks of a trial, and the people affected will get cash and other benefits.

WHO IS IN THE CLASS?

+ 5. Am I part of this Class?
The Class consists of all California residents who meet the following conditions:

  1. LVNV Funding, LLC, represented by Law Office of Harris & Zide, took judicial action (including obtaining Writs of Execution, wage garnishment, and bank levy) after August 17, 2014 (four years prior to the filing of this action) to collect a judgment based on a consumer debt obtained in a California court;

  2. Arrow Financial Services, LLC was the plaintiff of record at the time the judgment was entered; and

  3. LVNV Funding, LLC did not file an Assignment of Judgment in conformity with California Code of Civil Procedure § 673 or otherwise become the assignee of record.

The Court also certified a Subclass, which is defined the same as the Class, except that “August 17, 2017” is substituted for “August 17, 2014.”

If you received a Notice in the mail, you may be member of the Class. Whether you are definitely a part of the Class depends on whether you can state that the lawsuit that was filed against you by Arrow Financial Services, LLC was for “consumer debt.” “Consumer debt” is a debt comprised of a transaction or transactions incurred “primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.” If, for example the debt that was collected from you was incurred for business reasons, or if it arose from unpaid taxes, fines, child support or penalties, it is not “consumer debt.” If you are a member of the Class, and the judicial action was taken to enforce the judgment after August 17, 2017 you are also part of the Subclass.

THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET

+ 6. What can I get from the settlement?
The settlement will provide full reimbursement to valid claimants of all amounts collected by Defendants by judicial action such as wage garnishment and bank levy after August 17, 2014 plus 7 percent interest from the time of collection. Only those individuals who fill out and submit the Claim Form in full will be eligible for this benefit. The form must be postmarked, emailed, or filled out online, by December 6, 2021.

The settlement will also provide a fund of $50,000.00 to be divided equally between a Subclass of individuals whose judgment was subject to judicial enforcement efforts after August 17, 2017 who timely submit the Claim Form as described above. The amount received will depend on the number of Subclass members who timely fill out and return the Claim Form as described above.

The settlement also prohibits Defendants from collecting or attempting to collect any costs incurred while attempting to collect the judgments without LVNV becoming the “assignee of record”, as well as interest accrued on the costs. Examples of costs are Writ of Execution fees and Levying Officer Fees. This benefit is available to all individuals receiving this notice, regardless of whether they return the Claim Form. No action is required to receive this benefit.

The settlement prohibits Defendants from collecting or attempting to collect all “Closed Accounts” and prohibits Defendants from selling or transferring these “Closed Accounts” to other companies. This benefit is available regardless of whether Class Members return the Claim Form. You may contact the Class Administrator to find out if the judgment against you is a “Closed Account.”

+ 7. When would I get my payment/benefit?
The Court will hold a hearing on ¬January 13, 2022 at 1:00 p.m., to decide whether to approve the settlement. If Judge Ryu approves the settlement, after that, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. Please be patient.

+ 8. What will I give up if the settlement is approved?
If the Court approves the settlement, and you do not exclude yourself, you will release (give up) the right to file or continue a separate lawsuit against the Defendants for any claims that were raised or could have been raised, related to the lawsuit.

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

+ 9. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court appointed William E. Kennedy of the Consumer Law Office of William E. Kennedy and Housing and Economic Advocates to represent the Class members. Together, these lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” You do not need to hire your own lawyers because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. If you want your own lawyer, you have the right to hire your own attorney to enter an appearance on your behalf in this lawsuit.

+ 10. How will the lawyers be paid?
You do not have to pay Class Counsel. Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees, costs and expense of no more than $241,426.58. This payment will not affect the benefits and payments available to Class and Subclass members. Class Counsel will file their motion for attorneys’ fees and expenses by December 9, 2021. You may continue to check on the progress of Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, expense, and service awards by visiting the website.

YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS
You have to decide now whether to submit a Claim Form, exclude yourself from the settlement, object to the settlement, or do nothing.

+ 11. Why would I submit a Claim Form?
Submitting the Claim Form is the only way to get cash. Your only opportunity to get cash is if you complete the Claim Form in full and return the Claim Form on time.

+ 12. How do I submit a Claim Form?
Simply complete the Claim Form in full and drop it in the mail. It must be postmarked by December 6, 2021. You may also email an image of the Claim Form to NortonVLVNVFunding@cptgroup.com or file an online claim form here.

+ 13. Why would I ask to be excluded?
You need to ask to be excluded from the Class if you want to bring your own lawsuit against any of the Defendants related to the claims brought in this lawsuit. If you already have filed your own lawsuit against any of the Defendants for similar claims and you want to continue with it, you need to ask to be excluded from the Class.

If you exclude yourself from the Class, you will not get any benefits from the settlement. If you start your own separate lawsuit against the Defendants after you exclude yourself, you will have to hire your own lawyer for that separate lawsuit, or represent yourself in court, and you will have to prove your claims.

+ 14. How do I ask to be excluded?
To ask to be excluded, you must send a letter. Your letter must say that you want to be excluded from the Class in this case. Be sure to include your name and address, and the case name and case number (Sonya Norton v. LVNV Funding LLC, et al., 4:18-cv-05051 DMR) and sign the letter. You must mail your letter by December 6, 2021, to:

SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATORNorton v. LVNV Funding LLC
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606
+ 15. Why would I object?You can ask the Court to deny approval by filing an objection. You can’t ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or reject the settlement. If the Court denies approval, no settlement payments or other benefits will be provided, and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

+ 16. How do I object?
Any objection to the proposed settlement must be in writing. If you file a timely written objection, you may, but are not required to, appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for hiring and paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify your name, address and telephone number or, if you’re represented by counsel, your counsel’s name, address and telephone number, (b) clearly identify the case name and number (Sonya Norton v. LVNV Funding, LLC et al., Case No. 4:18-cv-05051 DMR), (c) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Class Action Clerk, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (check to see if Court is closed, or open limited hours due to Covid-19 restrictions before coming), (d) state whether the objection applies only to you, to a specific subset of the class, or to the entire class, and also state with specificity the grounds for the objection, (e) state whether you or your counsel intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and (f) be filed or postmarked on or before December 6, 2021.

+ 17. What happens if I do nothing?
By doing nothing, you will remain as a Class member and are eligible to share in the non-cash benefits described above.

THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement.

+ 18. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612 in Courtroom 4, 3rd Floor. This hearing may be conducted in open court, or it may be held online. At this hearing the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court may also decide how much to pay Class Counsel.

The hearing is currently scheduled for January 13, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. The hearing date may change without further notice to the class. If you plan to attend, you should be sure to check the settlement website, the Court’s PACER site [http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/cm-ecf], or Judge Ryu’s calendar on the Court’s website [https://apps.cand.uscourts.gov/CEO/cfd.aspx?71BQ], to confirm that the date has not been changed.

The hearing will take place by Zoom. The following information pertains to the hearing:

Webinar Access: All counsel, members of the public, and media may access the webinar information at https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/dmr.

General Order 58: Persons granted access to court proceedings held by telephone or videoconference are reminded that photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings, including screenshots or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited.

Zoom Guidance and Setup: https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/zoom/.

After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

+ 19. Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer questions Judge Ryu may have. But, you are welcome to attend pursuant to the above instructions for online access. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, and consistent with the instructions in this notice, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

+ 20. May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing. Anyone wishing to appear must state in their written objection their intention to appear at the Fairness Hearing, at your own expense.

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

+ 21. Are more details available?
Yes. You can get more information from the Class Administrator regarding the timing and mechanics of the Settlement by calling 1-888-525-1789 or by writing to Norton v. LVNV Funding LLC, c/o CPT Group, Inc., 50 Corporate Park, Irvine, CA 92606. You can also e-mailNortonVLVNVFunding@cptgroup.com. The Class Administrator cannot provide you with any legal advice.

You may also contact Class Counsel directly at:
Class CounselWilliam E. Kennedy
Consumer Law Office of William E. Kennedy
2797 Park Avenue, Suite 201
Santa Clara, California 95050

Telephone: (408) 241-1000
Fax: (408) 241-1500

Email: wkennedy@kennedyconsumerlaw.com

This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. The precise terms and conditions of the settlement are in a Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by visiting LVNVFundingSettlement.com; contacting the Settlement Administrator by writing to Norton v. LVNV Funding LLC, c/o CPT Group, Inc., 50 Corporate Park, Irvine, CA 92606, sending an email to NortonVLVNVFunding@cptgroup.com, calling 1-888-525-1789 or sending a fax to 1-(949) 419-3446; contacting Class Counsel William E. Kennedy at Consumer Law Office of William E. Kennedy, 2797 Park Avenue, Suite 201, Santa Clara, CA 95050 (408) 241-1000; accessing the Court docket in this case, for a fee, through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov; or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays (check to see if Court is closed, or open limited hours due to Covid-19 restrictions before coming)

+ 22. How do I access the Court’s docket through PACER?
PACER is available to anyone who registers for an account. Sign up for one using the online registration process, at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You will be asked to provide your name, address, phone number, email address and date of birth. For immediate access to court records, provide a credit card during registration. If you do not provide a credit card, an activation code will be sent by U.S. mail to the address you provided on the registration form. Please allow 7-10 business days for mail delivery.

There is no registration fee. However, the Judicial Conference of the United States has established a fee for access to PACER. Generally, documents cost $0.10 per page, but if your usage is less than $30 in a quarter, fees are waived.

To access the Court’s docket in this case, log in to PACER at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl, using the Login name and password you obtained during the registration process. Once logged in, click on “Query” at the top of the screen. In the “Case Number” box, type in “4:18-cv-05051” click “Find this Case,” and then click “Run Query.” Click “Docket Report,” then click “Run Report.” The Docket Report lists all the docket entries in the case. If you know the date range or the document number(s) you are interested in, make the appropriate entries in the boxes; this will make the Docket Report shorter, and therefore less expensive to view. When you view the docket report, you will see the titles of the documents that have been filed in the case, and you can then click on documents you would like to access.

PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.

COURT DOCUMENTS
The files below are PDF downloads that are relevant to this specific case. Please review them and if you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact us Toll Free by calling 1-888-525-1789 or by sending an email to NortonVLVNVFunding@cptgroup.com

THIRD AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

ORDER ON MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

LONG FORM NOTICE

LONG FORM NOTICE (SPANISH)

CLAIM FORM

CLAIM FORM (SPANISH)

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEY’S FEES, COSTS AND EXPENSES

DECLARATION OF WILLIAM E. KENNEDY

DECLARATION OF GINA DI GIUSTO

ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL

JUDGMENT

Questions?

Please Call Toll Free
1(888)910-0257

Questions?

Please Call Toll-Free
1-888-525-1789NortonVLVNVFunding@cptgroup.com

Norton v. LVNV Funding LLC
Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

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