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Blanks v. Machol & Johannes, LLC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 13, 2019

ALANNAH BLANKS, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
MACHOL & JOHANNES, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING JOINT MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

          CHRISTINE M. ARGU LLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement. (Doc. # 33.) Having reviewed the Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval, the Court grants the parties' Joint Motion and preliminarily approves the Settlement Agreement (Doc. # 34-1).

         For the reasons set forth in the Joint Motion, the Settlement Agreement is preliminarily approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). The Court preliminarily finds that:

a. The proposed settlement was fairly and honestly negotiated and is the product of extensive arms' length, informed, non-collusive negotiations between experienced counsel;
b. Serious questions of law and fact exist, including issues of standing and whether the actions allege constitute actionable violations of either the FCRA or FDCPA, placing the ultimate outcome of the litigation in doubt;
c. The value of the immediate recovery, which includes approximately $56, 000 of monetary relief as well as programmatic changes, outweighs the mere possibility of future relief after protracted and expensive litigation; and
d. The parties and their experienced counsel have judged the settlement to be fair, reasonable and adequate.

         The Court certifies for settlement purposes the proposed settlement classes-the “FCRA Settlement Class” and the “FDCPA Settlement Class, ” as defined in the Joint Motion (collectively, the “Settlement Classes”)-under Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(3). For the reasons set forth in the Joint Motion, the Court finds that these classes satisfy the requirements for an opt-out class under Rule 23(b)(3).

         The Court appoints Plaintiff Alannah Blanks as Class Representative. The Court appoints Thomas J. Lyons Jr. of the law firm Consumer Justice Center, P.A., 367 Commerce Ct., Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, 55127, as Class Counsel pursuant to Rule 23(g). The Court finds that Mr. Lyons will fairly and accurately represent of the Settlement Classes for the reasons identified in the Joint Motion. The Court also approves Analytics Consulting LLC as the Settlement Administrator.

         The Court approves the proposed Class Notice (Doc. # 34-2), finding that it satisfies the legal standards required by Rule 23(c)(2)(B) and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Pursuant to Rule 23(e)(1), the Court also approves that parties' proposed settlement timeline for disseminating the Class Notice, seeking final approval, and dispersing settlement payments to class members. See (Doc. # 33 at 7-8.)

         Accordingly, the Court ORDERS as follows:

         1. Defendant shall provide the notices and materials to the appropriate state and federal officials required by the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1715(d) by May 3, 2019, and shall file a declaration with the Court by May 10, 2019, identifying the officials to whom the materials were sent, and the date on which the materials sent. For the purpose of providing such notices and materials, the appropriate state and federal officials under CAFA, 28 U.S.C. § 1715(a) and (b), are the Attorney General of the United States and the Attorney General of the State of Colorado.

         2. Within ten (10) days of the date of this Order, Defendant shall provide the Settlement Administrator and Class Counsel with the names and last known addresses for the members of the Settlement Classes. The Settlement Administrator will thereafter mail the Class Notice to the members of the Settlement Classes.

         3. The Settlement Administrator shall submit a declaration to the Court confirming its compliance with the notice procedures of this ...


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