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City of Southport v. Plantation Building of Wilmington

North Carolina General Court Of Justice, Superior Court Division
Case No. 19-CVS-648

Important Dates
Deadline to file a claim
January 11, 2022
Date of Preliminary Approval
Class Period
PAGA Period
Opt-Out Deadline
August 14, 2021
Objection Deadline
August 14, 2021
Dispute Deadline
Final Approval Hearing
September 13, 2021 12:00 PM
Disbursement Date
Expiration of Check Cashing Period
Important Documents & Info

IF YOU PAID IMPACT FEES TO THE CITY OF SOUTHPORT (“CITY”) ON OR BETWEEN APRIL 1, 2016 AND JUNE 30, 2018, THEN YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE BENEFITS FROM A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

WHAT IS THE LAWSUIT ABOUT?
The case alleges that the City unlawfully collected Impact Fees on or between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. “Impact Fee” means any impact or allocation fee charged by the City to any Claimant or Plaintiff as a mandatory condition to the City issuing building permits from April 1, 2016 through and until June 30, 2018.

The Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, and other case-related documents are posted here. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit.

The Parties agreed to conduct a court ordered mediation before Barbara “Bonnie” Weyher. and a mediation was thereafter held by the Parties on May 6, 2021, in an effort to negotiate in good faith and at arms-length to determine if a settlement between the Parties was possible or if protracted litigation would be required.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM IN THE SETTLEMENT?
You are in the Settlement Class if you are a person or organization who paid Impact Fees on or between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018 which are at issue in this action.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM BY JANUARY 11, 2022
This is the only way to receive benefits. You do not need to submit any supporting evidence of proof of payment with your claim form; however, all claims are subject to verification.

EXCLUDE YOURSELF BY AUGUST 14, 2021
Request to be excluded and get no benefits from the Settlement. This is the only option that allows you to start or continue your own lawsuit against the City for any claims you might have that would otherwise be subject to the Release contained in the Settlement. The City will not have waived any defense it may have to any such lawsuit.

DO NOTHING
Get no benefits from the Settlement. Give up any rights you might have to ever sue the City about the legal claims in this case and resolved by the Settlement.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


BASIC INFORMATION

+ 1. Why is there a notice?
If you received Notice of the Settlement by mail, then you have been identified as a Settlement Class Member. The Court authorized that you be sent notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit involving the payment of Impact Fees, and about your options under the Settlement. This Notice summarizes the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, how those benefits will be provided, and other important information.

However, this Notice is only a summary of the Settlement Agreement, titled “Stipulation and Release,” (“Settlement” or “Settlement Agreement”) which is available for review here. If there is any conflict between this Notice and the Settlement, the Settlement Agreement governs. You should review the full Settlement Agreement before deciding what to do.

+ 2. What is this lawsuit about?
The case alleges that the City unlawfully collected Impact Fees on or between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. “Impact Fee” means any impact or allocation fee charged by the City to any Claimant or Plaintiff as a mandatory condition to the City issuing building permits from April 1, 2016 through and until June 30, 2018.

The Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, and other case-related documents are posted here. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit.

The Parties agreed to conduct a court ordered mediation before Barbara “Bonnie” Weyher. and a mediation was thereafter held by the Parties on May 6, 2021, in an effort to negotiate in good faith and at arms-length to determine if a settlement between the Parties was possible or if protracted litigation would be required.

+ 3. Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one or more people, called “Class Representatives” (in this case Plantation Building of Wilmington, Inc.) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. Together, all these people with similar claims (except for those who exclude themselves) are members of the Settlement Class.

+ 4. Why is there a settlement?
The Parties agreed to a settlement to avoid the costs and risks of further litigation and provide benefits to Settlement Class Members. The Class Representative and the lawyers representing him (called “Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.

WHO IS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

+ 5. How do I know if I am in the settlement?
You are in the Settlement Class if you are a person or organization who paid Impact Fees on or between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018 which are at issue in this action.

+ 6. What if I am still not sure if I am included in the settlement?
If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, or have any other questions about the Settlement Agreement, visit the settlement website at SouthportImpactFeeSettlement.com, or contact the Settlement Administrator. You can send questions by mail to:

Settlement Administrator:
Southport Impact Fee Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

by emailing SouthportImpactFeeSettlement@cptgroup.com or calling toll-free 1-888-413-4534.

SETTLEMENT BENEFITS

+ 7. What does the settlement provide?
If the Settlement is approved, the City will provide payments to Settlement Class Members who file a complete and timely claim form, for paid Impact Fees. The City will establish a Settlement Fund equal to three hundred and ten thousand dollars ($310,000.00).

What Settlement Class Members who paid Development Fees can get:

Payments to Settlement Class Members who file a timely and valid claim for Settlement Claims (Settlement Claimants), including attorneys’ fees and fees for the Settlement Administrator, are subject to a maximum payout, or maximum settlement value of $310,000.00 (“Fund”). The Final Settlement amount shall be determined after receipt of all claim forms within the prescribed claim form filing period. Payments for Settlement Claims will be disbursed as follows:

Within 120 days of the Effective Date, the City will pay from the Fund to all proper Claimants 90% of the Claimant’s Impact Fee claimed and actually paid. In total, Settlement Class Members will be eligible to receive no more than 90% of the total Impact Fees paid by the claimants to the City on or between April 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018. The size of the Fund is $310,000.In the event the Fund is oversubscribed at the conclusion of the claims period, attorneys’ fees, service awards, and expenses will reduce the percentage of payouts to Claimants to an appreciable percentage lower than 90% on a pro rata basis.

In no way shall any attorneys’ fees, expenses, service awards, or any other cost reduce a Claimant’s refund percentage from 90% as long as the Fund is undersubscribed. Attorneys’ fees, expenses, and the service award shall not be individually deducted from each claimant’s recovery as long as the fund is under subscribed at the conclusion of the claims period. Any unclaimed funds remaining in the Settlement Fund after all valid claims, attorney’s fees, costs, expenses, administrative fees, and the class service award have been paid shall revert to the City.

+ 8. What am I giving up to stay in the Class?
Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you can’t sue the City, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the City about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The claims you will release are referred to as the “Released Claims”, which are fully described in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

HOW TO GET BENEFITS

+ 9. How can I receive benefits?
To receive benefits, each Settlement Class Member must timely complete and submit a valid Claim Form. A Claim Form should have been mailed to you. Your completed Claim Form must be mailed so that it is postmarked no later than January 11, 2022. Mail your Claim Form to:

Settlement Administrator:Southport Impact Fee Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

You can also submit a claim online at SouthportImpactFeeSettlement.com or submit it by email to SouthportImpactFeeSettlement@cptgroup.com . Online and emailed claims must be received no later than January 11, 2022.

If you do not submit a timely and valid Claim Form by the deadline, you will not receive any settlement benefit.

+ 10. When will I get my benefits?
Settlement Class Members who submit timely, complete, and valid claim forms will receive the benefits for which they qualify after the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. The Court granted final approval of the Settlement after a hearing on September 13, 2021.

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

+ 11. How do I get out of the settlement?
If you want to keep the right to sue the City over the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of this Settlement and give up your right to benefits under this Settlement. This is called asking to be excluded from—or sometimes “opting out” of—the Settlement Class. To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must complete and mail to the Settlement Administrator a letter that includes the following:

A caption or title that identifies it as “Request for Exclusion in”; Plantation Building of Wilmington, Inc., v City of Southport (Brunswick Co. No. 19-CVS-648)”.

Your name, business address, and address of the property where the alleged Impact Fees were paid and date of payment;

A statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement.

You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than August 14, 2021, to the following address, and mail copies to Class Counsel and the City’s Counsel:

AdministratorClass CounselThe City’s Counsel
Southport Impact Fee Settlement Administrator
Attn: Exclusions
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606
Settlement Administrator

Daniel Bryson
Scott Harris
Hunter Bryson
Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP
900 W. Morgan St.
Raleigh, NC 27603

Christopher Theriault
Theriault Law PC
P.O. Box 16589
Wilmington, North Carolina 28408

Dan Hartzog Jr.
Hartzog Law Group
1903 N. Harrison Ave. Suite 200
Cary, NC 27513If you don’t submit your request for exclusion on time or if it is incomplete, you will remain a Settlement Class Member and will not be able to sue the City about the claims in this lawsuit. You may opt out of the Settlement Class only for yourself. So-called “mass” or “class” opt outs, whether filed by third parties on behalf of a “mass” or “class” of Settlement Class Members or multiple Settlement Class members where no personal statement has been signed by each and every individual Settlement Class Member, are not allowed.

+ 12. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue the City for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the City for the claims that this Settlement resolves. The claims that this Settlement resolves are fully described in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.

+ 13. If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits?
No. You will not receive any benefits from the Settlement if you exclude yourself. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, do not send in a Claim Form asking for benefits.

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

+ 14. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court has appointed the following lawyers, called “Class Counsel,” to represent all Class Members: Daniel Bryson, Scott Harris and Hunter Bryson of Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP and Christopher Theriault of Theriault Law PC. You will not be personally charged for these lawyers. They will be paid under the terms of the Settlement. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

+ 15. How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve attorneys’ fees not to exceed one-third the value of the Settlement fund and reimbursement of advanced expenses. The Court will determine the amount of fees and expenses to award. Class Counsel will also request that $10,000 be paid to the Class Representative who helped the lawyers on behalf of the whole Class.

IF YOU DO NOTHING

+ 16. What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing, you will not get any benefits from the settlement. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the City about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

+ 17. How do I get more information?
This notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a complete copy of the Settlement Agreement and other information here. If you have additional questions or want to request a Claim Form, you can visit the settlement website at SouthportImpactFeeSettlement.com; by emailing SouthportImpactFeeSettlement@cptgroup.com or by calling toll-free 1-888-413-4534, or writing to the Settlement Administrator at:

Settlement Administrator:Southport Impact Fee Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK’S OFFICE CONCERNING THIS CASE.

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 1-888-413-4534 or by sending an email to SouthportImpactFeeSettlement@cptgroup.com

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

NOTICE

CLAIM FORM

Questions?

Please Call Toll Free
1(888)910-0257

Questions?

Please Call Toll-Free
1-888-413-4534SouthportImpactFeeSettlement@cptgroup.com

City of Southport v. Plantation Building of Wilmington
Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

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