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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTÂ
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIAÂ
RAYVON E. SAPP,
On behalf of himself and all othersÂ similarly situated,
EXPERIAN INFORMATIONÂ SOLUTIONS, INC.
Civ. No. 10-4312
Â If you disputed a public record on your Experian credit report and received a letter in response like the one attached as Exhibit A, you may be eligible for benefits from aÂ class action settlement.Â
A federal Court authorized this Notice.
This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.Â
There is a proposed class action settlement with Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (â€śExperianâ€ť or â€śDefendantâ€ť), one of the countryâ€™s three major credit reporting agencies. The Plaintiff alleges that Experian violated Section 1681i(a)(6)(B)(iii) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (â€śFCRAâ€ť), 15 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 1681 et seq., by sending letters that misrepresented what Experian does when a consumer disputes a public record (e.g. judgment, tax lien, or bankruptcy) appearing on his or her credit report. More specifically, Plaintiff contends that Experian mispresented the source of Experianâ€™s public records information and misstated the results of its reinvestigations and its reinvestigation procedures, in violation of the FCRA. Plaintiff contends that Experianâ€™s violations were willful.
Â Experian denies that it misrepresented the source of its public record information, the results of its reinvestigations, or its reinvestigation procedures. Experian also denies that it violated the FCRA or that any alleged violation was willful.
The settlement provides that the lawsuit may proceed as a class action on behalf of all natural persons in the United States who, between August 24, 2008, and April 10, 2011, were sent a communication from Experian containing Standard Paragraph 004 (either alone or with one or more other paragraphs) as attached hereto as Exhibit A.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT
|DO NOTHINGÂ||Participate in the settlement and receive benefits. Give up certain rights.Â By doing nothing, you will receive the benefits described more fully below. But, you give up any rights to sue Experian individually for recovery of statutory damages for the same legal claims that are in this lawsuit.|
|ASK TO BE EXCLUDEDÂ||Remove yourself from this class action. Get no benefits. Keep certain rights.Â If you ask to be excluded, you will not receive any of the benefits described below. But, you will keep any rights you may have to sue Experian separately about the same legal claims that are in this lawsuit.|
|OBJECTÂ||File a notice with the Court communicating why you think the settlement should not be approved.Â|
- Â Your rights and options–and the deadlines to exercise them– are explained in this Notice
- The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the settlement. If it does, benefits will be distributed to identified Class Members. Please be patient.
- Any questions? Visit www.experianclassaction.com or call 1-877-735-8600
- Why did I get this notice?
There is a proposed settlement with Experian in a class action lawsuit about whether it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 1681 et seq. The Plaintiff contends that Experian violated Section 1681i(a)(6)(B)(iii) of the FCRA, which requires consumer reporting agencies such as Experian to clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer the procedure and results of its reinvestigation into consumersâ€™ disputes.Records provided by Experian show that you disputed something on your credit report and that Experian sent you a letter concerning the results of Experianâ€™s public records information, which included the following language:
When you question information on your personal credit report and tell us specifically why you believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete, we contact the source of the information through an automated verification system or letter. We ask the source to check their records to verify all of the information regarding the item you questioned, and report back within 30 days of the date that we received your request . . . . Once we receive the response, we will send you the results of the investigation. If we do not receive a response within the required investigation period, we will update the item as you have requested or delete the information, and send you the results. Should you need to contact us again, please be sure to reference the Report Number at the top of this letter. To check the status of your investigation, you may log on to www.experian.com/consumer.
- What is this lawsuit about?Plaintiff Rayvon E. Sapp sued Experian in Pennsylvania alleging that Experian sends letters that misrepresent what it does when a consumer disputes a public record (such as a judgment, tax lien, or bankruptcy) appearing on his or her credit report. More specifically, Plaintiff contends that Experian misrepresents the source of Experianâ€™s public records information and misstates the results of its reinvestigations and its reinvestigation procedures, in violation of Section 1681i(a)(6)(B)(iii) of the FCRA. Plaintiff contends that Experianâ€™s violations were willful.Experian denies that it misrepresents the source of its public record information, the results of its reinvestigations or its reinvestigation procedures. Experian also denies that it violated the FCRA and that any alleged violation was willful.
- What is a class action and who is involved?In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called the â€śClass Representative,â€ť in this case Rayvon E. Sapp, sues on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All of the people together are called a â€śClassâ€ť or â€śClass Members.â€ť Mr. Sapp is also called the Plaintiff and the Class Representative. The credit reporting agency he sued, Experian, is called the Defendant. Experian is a consumer reporting agency. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.
- Why is this lawsuit a class action?This lawsuit was brought as a class action because the Plaintiff believes it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts. Specifically, that:â€˘ There are thousands of people to whom Experian sent the form letter during the applicable period;â€˘ There are legal questions and facts that are common to each of them;
â€˘ The claims of the Plaintiff are typical of the claims of the rest of the Class;
â€˘ The Plaintiff and the attorneys representing the Class will fairly and adequately represent the interests of the Class;
â€˘ The common legal questions and facts are more important than questions that affect only individuals; and
â€˘ A class action is a more efficient method of adjudication than having many individual lawsuits.
More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to be a class action is available at www.experianclassaction.com.
- Why is there a settlement?The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or the Defendant. Instead, the Plaintiff who supports the settlement (that is, the Class Representative, who is Rayvon E. Sapp) and Experian agreed to settle all the claims alleged in the case to avoid the cost and risk of trial. The settlement does not mean that 4any law was violated or that the Defendant did anything wrong. The Defendant denies all legal claims in this case. The Class Representative and his lawyers think the settlement is best for all Class Members.
WHO IS IN THE CLASSÂ
You need to decide whether you are affected by this settlement.
- Am I in the Class?In settling the case, the parties have agreed that the Class will consist of all natural persons in the United States who, between August 24, 2008, and April 10, 2011, were sent a communication from Experian containing Standard Paragraph 004 (either alone or with one or more other paragraphs) as attached hereto as Exhibit A.If you meet this description, you are a member of the Class.
- What does the settlement provide?The Settlement Agreement provides the following benefits:Experian has agreed to change the form consumer letter at issue in the lawsuit as follows: (a) Experian will not represent that the government and/or any court or courthouse is a furnisher of information in response to a consumerâ€™s dispute or in correspondence to a consumer reflecting the results of an investigation; (b) Experian will not represent that the government and/or any court or courthouse was contacted â€śdirectlyâ€ť by Experian in connection with any consumerâ€™s dispute; (c) Experian will not represent that the government and/or any court or courthouse actually investigated a consumerâ€™s dispute; and (d) Experian will provide to those consumers that request a description of the reinvestigation procedure a response that includes a description of the procedure, the business name and address of any furnisher contacted by Experian in that reinvestigation, and the telephone number of such furnisher, if reasonably available, in accordance with Section 1681i(a)(6)(B)(iii).Additionally, each Class Member shall be automatically granted the right to an Experian credit monitoring service called Protect My ID Credit Monitoring, or its equivalent product of comparable retail value, provided by Experian for free for a period of twenty-four (24) months. This service includes daily monitoring of a consumerâ€™s Experian credit file, providing alerts for key changes. If the Court approves the settlement, you will receive a letter from the Claims Administrator, The Garden City Group, Inc., providing you with instructions on how to access your right to Experianâ€™s Protect My ID Credit Monitoring Service, or equivalent service, for free for twenty-four (24) months.
More details on all of the settlement benefits are set forth in the Settlement Agreement, which is available at www.experianclassaction.com.
- What am I giving up as part of the settlement?Unless you opt out of the settlement, you will be giving up all rights to pursue claims under Section 1681i(a)(6)(B)(iii) of the FCRA based on the language of the letter at issue. Class Members shall retain any rights to bring claims for actual damages resulting from any inaccuracies or reinvestigations performed by Experian in connection with any alleged public records inaccuracies. You can find more information regarding the rights you will be giving up in the Settlement Agreement, which is available at www.experianclassaction.com. You may talk to the lawyers representing the Class, listed in paragraph 13 5below, for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the released claims or what they mean.
YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONSÂ
You have to decide whether to stay in the Class (do nothing right now), ask to be excluded, or object to the settlement. You have until April 26, 2013, to exclude yourself and until April 30, 2013, to object to the settlement.
- How can I get benefits?If you want to be part of the settlement and receive settlement benefits, you do not need to take any action at this time. If the settlement receives final Court approval, each Class Member will be entitled to receive Experianâ€™s credit monitoring service called Protect My ID, or an equivalent product provided by Experian, for free for a period of twenty-four (24) months. After final Court approval, Class Members will receive a written communication from the Claims Administrator, The Garden City Group, Inc., providing instructions on how to access Experianâ€™s Protect My ID credit monitoring or equivalent service.
- When will I get my benefits?The Claims Administrator, The Garden City Group, Inc., will send you a written notice telling you about how and when you can obtain benefits within forty-five (45) days after Court approval of the settlement becomes final. The Court will decide whether to approve the settlement at a Fairness Hearing scheduled for May 14, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. EST (see paragraph 17 below). Updates will be available on the website, www.experianclassaction.com.
- Why would I ask to be excluded?If you already have a lawsuit against Experian for similar claims and want to continue with it, you need to ask to be excluded from the Class. If you believe you sustained actual damages in excess of the benefits achieved by the settlement as a result of Experianâ€™s actions, you should consider whether you need to be excluded from the Class. If you exclude yourself from the Class â€“ which also means to remove yourself from the Class, and sometimes called â€śopting-outâ€ť of the Class â€“ you will not get any benefits from this settlement. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the settlement in this class action, and you may then be able to sue or continue to sue Experian on your own.If you start your own lawsuit against Experian after you exclude yourself, you may have to hire and pay your own lawyer for that lawsuit, you will have to prove your claims in court, and your separate claims may be subject to certain defenses that would not preclude you from participating in this settlement as a Class member. If you do exclude yourself so you can start your own lawsuit against Experian, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations or other time-sensitive requirements.
- How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class?To ask to be excluded, you must send an â€śOpt-Out Requestâ€ť in the form of a letter sent by U.S. Mail, facsimile, or e-mail stating that you want to be excluded from Sapp v. Experian. Instructions on submitting a request to opt-out are also on the class action website, www.experianclassaction.com. On the website, you will also find a copy of a sample letter that you may use as a template to request to be excluded from Sapp v. Experian. Be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number, and sign the letter. You must mail 6your Opt-Out Request postmarked or time-stamped by April 26, 2013, to: Sapp v. Experian Opt-Outs, P.O. Box 35055 Seattle, WA 98124-3508, or fax the letter to 206-876-5295, or e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING YOU
- Do I have an attorney in this case?The Court has appointed the law firms of Francis & Mailman, P.C., Donovan Axler, LLC, and Robert S. Sola, P.C. as Class Counsel. The law firm of Francis & Mailman, P.C. has been appointed as Lead Class Counsel and their contact information is as follows:
FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C.
James A. Francis
100 S. Broad Street, 19th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19110
1-215-735-8600 â—Ź 1-877-735-8600 â—Ź www.consumerlawfirm.comÂ
- Should I get my own attorney?You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you may retain one at your own expense. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
- How will the lawyers and Class Representatives be paid?At the Final Fairness Hearing, Class Counsel will ask the Court for approval of attorneysâ€™ fees of $380,000. They will also ask for an individual settlement award of $15,000 for the Class Representative, Rayvon E. Sapp. The court has not yet made any decision regarding the amounts of attorneysâ€™ fees, costs, expenses, and Class Representative payment. The fees, expenses, and awards that the Court orders, plus the costs to administer the settlement, will not reduce the benefits to Class Members.OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
- How do I tell the Court if I do not like the settlement?If you are a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you do not like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To do so, you must send in a written objection in which your signature is verified by a notary public. Be sure to include the case name and number (Sapp v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. 10-4312), your full name, year of birth, address, telephone number, your signature, your specific objections and the basis for them, confirmation that you are a member of the Class, any legal support you wish to bring to the Courtâ€™s attention, and any evidence you wish to introduce in support of your objection. Your written notice should indicate whether you or your lawyer intends to appear at the Fairness Hearing to object to the settlement. You must file your objection with the Court and send it to all of the addresses below by April 30, 2013:
COURTÂ PLAINTIFFâ€™S COUNSELÂ DEFENDANTâ€™S COUNSELÂ United States District CourtEastern District of Pennsylvania
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106James A. FrancisFRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C.
100 S. Broad Street, 19th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19110
email@example.comDaniel J. McLoon, Esq. Jones Day 555 South Flower Street, 50th Floor Los Angeles, CA firstname.lastname@example.org
Filing a written objection with the Court is the only permissible way to contact the Court.
DO NOT CALL THE COURT OR SEND CORRESPONDENCE
TO THE JUDGE OR COURT STAFF
THE COURTâ€™S FAIRNESS HEARING
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?The Court is scheduled to hold a Fairness Hearing on May 14, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. EST in Courtroom 15B of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and should be granted final approval. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Class Counsel will also ask the Court for approval of their request for attorneyâ€™s fees, costs, and expenses, and settlement awards to the Class Representative.The Fairness Hearing may be moved to a different date, extended, or moved to a different courtroom without additional notice, or there may be an appeal of Court approval, so it is recommended that you periodically check www.experianclassaction.com for updated information.
- Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send in a written objection, you do not have to come to the Fairness Hearing to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend the Fairness Hearing, but it is not necessary.
- May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?To speak at the Fairness Hearing, you must send a letter or other written document saying that the letter or document is your â€śNotice of Intent to Appearâ€ť in Sapp v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. 10-4312. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. You also must include information about what you intend to say at the hearing and, if you will be represented by a lawyer other than Class Counsel, you must include the name, address, and telephone number of your lawyer. You must send copies of your â€śNotice of Intent to Appearâ€ť to all of the addresses listed in paragraph 16 above. Your Notice must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2013. The Court will decide if you will be allowed to speak at the Fairness Hearing.
- Are more details available?Visit the website, www.experianclassaction.com, where you will find Plaintiffâ€™s Class Action Complaint, the Defendantâ€™s Answer to the Complaint, and the Settlement Agreement, as well as information about how to exclude yourself from the Class. You may also speak to one of the attorneys representing the Class by calling: 1-877-735-8600, or by e-mailing email@example.com.