SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF YAKIMA
If you purchased a motor vehicle in Washington that was repossessed and you received a “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” and/or a “Notice of Deficiency” from Numerica Credit Union, a class action settlement may affect your rights.
A court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
- A borrower sued Numerica Credit Union, for violations of Article 9 of Washington’s Uniform Commercial Code and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
- The parties have entered into a Settlement Agreement in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all persons who: (a) resided in Washington state when they purchased or otherwise financed a vehicle primarily for personal, family, or household use; (b) whose contract was assigned to Defendant or financing was provided by Defendant; and (c) to whom Defendant issued or failed to issue a Notice of Intent to Sell, pursuant to RCW 62A.9A-614 during the period April 14, 2015 through May 17, 2017 and/or to whom Defendant issued or failed to issue a Notice of Deficiency, pursuant to RCW 62A.9A- 616, during the period April 14, 2015 through July 31, 2018. Excluded from the class are all persons who (a) filed for bankruptcy protection as to their Numerica auto loan and whose bankruptcy case was not dismissed or otherwise closed as of July 16, 2019; or (b) against whom Defendant’s assignee obtained a judgment to collect on their Deficiency Balance before May 20, 2019, which judgments are held by unrelated third party debt collectors
- Your legal rights are affected by the Settlement, and you have a choice to make now:
Your Legal Rights and Options in This Lawsuit
Stay in this lawsuit. Receive a payment. Give up certain rights.By doing nothing, you will receive benefits from the settlement if it is approved by the Court, which include debt relief, deletion of derogatory credit reporting, and cash payments for some class members. But, you give up any rights to sue Numerica Credit Union separately on the claims alleged in this lawsuit or on similar claims.
|Ask to be Excluded||
Get out of this lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep rights.If you ask to be excluded from the lawsuit you will not receive the benefits of the settlement, including Numerica’s agreement to permanently cease the affirmative collection activity on your deficiency balance and your credit reports cleared of any reference to your Numerica auto loan, and if you are eligible, receiving a payment. But, you keep any rights to sue Numerica Credit Union separately about the same or similar legal claims in this lawsuit. If you want to be excluded, you must submit an Exclusion Request in writing to the Class Administrator by mail by January 6, 2020. More information about submitting an Exclusion Request is available on the settlement website: http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/.
|Object to the Settlement||
Get out of this lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep rights.If you disagree with any portion of the Settlement Agreement, you may file a written Objection with the Court, which will be considered at the Final Approval Hearing. You may also ask to speak at this hearing. If you file an Objection you may not exclude yourself from the Settlement. If the Settlement is approved, you will be bound by the Settlement Agreement and you give up any rights to sue Numerica Credit Union separately about the same or similar legal claims in this lawsuit, but you will still be eligible to receive the benefits of the Settlement Fund. Your Objection must be postmarked no later than January 6, 2020.
1. Why did I receive this notice?
Numerica Credit Union’s records show that you purchased or financed a vehicle that was repossessed, that your transaction was financed by Numerica, that Numerica sent or failed to send you a Notice of Plan to Sell Property between April 14, 2015 and May 17, 2017, and/or that Numerica sent or failed to send you a Notice of Deficiency between April 14, 2015 and July 31, 2018. This notice explains that the parties have reached an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit that may affect you. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. Judge Blaine G. Gibson of the Superior Court of the State of Washington for Yakima County is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as Theodore Strong v. Numerica Credit Union, Case No. 17-2-01406-39.
2. What is this lawsuit about?
Plaintiff and the Class allege that Numerica Credit Union failed to comply with two provisions of Article 9 of Washington’s Uniform Commercial Code: (1) the requirement that after repossession, a lender must send a Notice of Plan to Sell Property informing the borrower about the sale of the vehicle, his or her right to redeem the vehicle, and whether Numerica intended to pursue a deficiency claim against you if the proceeds of any repossession sale were insufficient to pay your loan in full; and (2) the requirement that after the sale of repossessed property, the lender must provide the borrower with a post-sale accounting notice, also known as a deficiency notice, that explains the calculation of the deficiency balance owed by the borrower. Plaintiff and the Class allege, and Numerica disputes, that the notices Numerica sent to borrowers did not comply with Washington law because they did not contain the required information.
3. What is a class action and who is involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this lawsuit Theodore Strong) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The borrower who sued is called the Plaintiff. The creditor he sued (in this case Numerica Credit Union) is called the Defendant. One lawsuit resolves the issues for everyone in the Class—except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.
4. Why is there a Settlement?
This matter was actively contested. The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiff or Numerica. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. This way, they avoid the cost and risk associated with a trial, and the people affected will receive compensation. The Class Representative and his attorneys think the Settlement is best for the Settlement Class Members.
5. How do I know if I am a part of the Settlement?
You are in the Settlement Class if:
(a) resided in Washington state when they purchased or otherwise financed a vehicle primarily for
personal, family, or household use;
(b) whose contract was assigned to Defendant or financing was provided by Defendant; and
(c) to whom Defendant issued or failed to issue a Notice of Intent to Sell, pursuant to RCW
62A.9A-614 during the period April 14, 2015 through May 17, 2017 and/or to whom Defendant issued or failed to issue a Notice of Deficiency, pursuant to RCW 62A.9A- 616, during the period April 14, 2015 through July 31, 2018.
You are not in the Settlement Class if: (i) you filed for bankruptcy protection as to your Numerica auto loan and your bankruptcy case was not dismissed or otherwise closed as of July 16, 2019; or (ii) a judgment to collect on your deficiency balance was entered against you before May 20, 2019.
The Settlement Class does not include any persons who validly request exclusion from the Settlement Class, as described under Question 12. A person who does not exclude him or herself is a “Settlement Class Member.”
If you have questions about whether you are part of the Class, you may call (833) 952-1886 or visit http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/ for more information.
THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS
6. What does the Settlement provide?
To settle this lawsuit, Numerica has agreed to pay $1,100,000 into a Settlement Fund which will provide individual payments to eligible Settlement Class Members, debt relief and deletion of derogatory credit reporting as to all Settlement Class Members, a service award payment to the Class Representative, attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of out-of-pocket litigation costs, and costs related to settlement administration.
All Settlement Class Members will receive the following benefits:
Forbearance of Collection Activity. Numerica agrees not to affirmatively pursue collection of any deficiency balance remaining after the sale of the repossessed vehicles which are the subject of the Action. This means Numerica cannot collect any additional money from Settlement Class Members on these loans and will withdraw all affected accounts from any collection agencies or collection lawyers. Any pending collection lawsuits which have not gone to judgment will be dismissed. However, if a Settlement Class Member brings any claim against Numerica that is not subject to the release described in Section 11, Numerica may assert that the Settlement Class Member’s deficiency balance is an offset to that claim.
Deletion of Credit Reporting. Numerica will direct Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union to permanently delete all references to your Numerica auto loan (including any money owed and any notation of a repossession) from your credit reports.
Some Settlement Class Members are eligible to receive a payment:
Payment of Statutory Damages. If you are a Settlement Class Member whose statutory damages exceed your deficiency balance, you are eligible to receive a settlement payment. Plaintiff contends that statutory damages awardable as a consequence of an allegedly deficient Notice of Plan to Sell Property equal the amount of the finance charge plus 10% of the amount financed as disclosed on your contract. Numerica has disputed this methodology. Statutory damages awardable as a consequence of an allegedly deficient Notice of Deficiency are limited to $500.
7. Your Estimated Settlement Award
If your statutory damages exceed your deficiency balance, you are entitled to a settlement payment. If your statutory damages do not exceed your deficiency balance, you are not entitled to a settlement payment, but Numerica has agreed to waive (subject to Section 6 above) and not pursue collection of your remaining deficiency balance. If you are entitled to a settlement payment, your estimated payment will be listed on the notice sent to you via certified mail or email.
If you are entitled to a payment and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive a payment. You do not need to file a claim form. If you have questions about how checks will be issued or need to update your mailing address changes prior to the Settlement payment distribution, you should contact the Class Administrator at (833) 952-1886.
8. What are the tax implications of accepting a settlement payment?
The tax implications may vary based on your income, the amount you receive and other factors, so you should consult a tax professional to assess the specific tax implications of any payment you may receive. Class Counsel cannot advise you with respect to your tax obligations.
HOW TO BENEFIT FROM THE SETTLEMENT
9. How do I receive the benefits of the Settlement?
If you received a Notice and you do not exclude yourself from the settlement, you will automatically receive the benefits of the Settlement and, if your statutory damages awardable as a consequence of an allegedly deficient Notice of Plan to Sell Property are are greater than your deficiency balance, you will be sent a payment. You do not need to submit a claim to receive the benefits of the settlement or to get a payment—it’s automatic. If your mailing address changes prior to the Settlement payment distribution, you should contact the Class Administrator at (833) 952-1886 or click here to update your information.
10. When will I get my payment?
If no appeals are filed within 30 days after the Court enters the Final Approval Order, then the Order will become final and the Settlement will be effective. The Class Administrator will mail checks to Settlement Class Members that are eligible for a payment no later than 30 days from the Settlement’s Effective Date (roughly 65 days after the Final Approval Hearing). Section 7, above, states whether you are eligible for a payment under the Settlement. The checks will be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. However, if an appeal is filed, payments will not be sent until after the appeal is finally resolved.
11. What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class and you will be a Settlement Class Member. If the Court approves the Settlement, you and other Settlement Class Members can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Numerica regarding the alleged deficiencies in the Notice of Plan to Sell Property Numerica sent or failed to send to you prior to the sale of your repossessed vehicle or the Notice of Deficiency Numerica sent or failed to send to you after the sale of your repossessed vehicle. All of the Court’s orders will apply to and legally bind you and other Class Members.
The Settlement Agreement (available at http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/ describes the claims you are releasing (the “Released Claims”) and against whom you are releasing claims in detail, so read it carefully.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
If you don’t want to receive the benefits of this Settlement or if you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Numerica, then you must take steps to remove yourself from the Settlement Class. This is called excluding yourself – or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
12. How do I opt out of the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement you must send the request in writing to the Class Administrator saying that you want to be excluded from the Strong v. Numerica Credit Union settlement. You must include your name and address in the letter. You can mail your exclusion request letter, postmarked no later than January 6, 2020 to the Class Administrator at the following address:
Strong v. Numerica Credit Union Class Administrator
c/o Postlewaite & Netterville
P.O. Box 3637
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637
If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any payment from the Settlement Fund, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
13. Why would I ask to be excluded?
If you already have, or want to bring, your own lawsuit against Numerica Credit Union regarding the Notice of Plan to Sell Property that Numerica issued or failed to issue you between April 14, 2015 and May 17, 2017 and/or the Notice of Deficiency that Numerica issued or failed to issue you a between April 14, 2015 and July 31, 2018 and want to continue with the lawsuit, you need to ask to be excluded from the Class. If you exclude yourself from the Class—which also means to remove yourself from the Class, and is sometimes called “opting-out”—you won’t get any money or benefits from the settlement between Numerica and Plaintiff. However, you may be able to sue or continue to sue Numerica regarding these notices on your own. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments in this class action.
14. If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?
No. You will not receive the benefits of the settlement, which may include a payment, if you exclude yourself.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
15. Do I have a lawyer in this lawsuit?
The Court decided that the law firms of Trueblood Law Firm of Los Angeles, CA and Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC of Seattle, WA, are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. These law firms are referred to as “Class Counsel.” You will not receive a bill from these lawyers, who are being paid by receiving a percentage of the Settlement Fund. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. The names and addresses of Class Counsel are:
|Alexander B. Trueblood
TRUEBLOOD LAW FIRM
10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1600
Los Angeles, California 90024
|Beth E. Terrell
TERRELL MARSHALL LAW GROUP PLLC
936 N 34th Street, Suite 300
Seattle, Washington 98103
16. Should I get my own lawyer?
You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want to hire your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. For example, you can ask a lawyer to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
17. How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to one-third of the $1,100,000 Settlement Fund to them for attorneys’ fees and out-of-pocket expenses. This payment compensates Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement. Class Counsel will also request a service award of $10,000 for the Class Representative, Theodore Strong, to compensate him for his time and effort during the litigation. Class Counsel’s complete request for fees, costs, and the incentive awards to the named Plaintiff will be posted on the Settlement Website by January 6, 2020. The Court may award less than these amounts.
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
18. How do I object to the Settlement?
If you are a Settlement Class Member and you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. Your written objection must provide your name, address, telephone number, and the reason(s) for your objection. You must mail a copy of the objection to the following address postmarked no later than January 6, 2020:
Strong v. Numerica Credit Union Class Administrator
c/o Postlewaite & Netterville
P.O. Box 3637
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637
19. What is the difference between objecting and excluding myself from the Settlement?
Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself from the Settlement Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING
20. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the Settlement?
The Court will hold the Final Fairness Hearing on February 14, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., before the Honorable Blaine G. Gibson of the Superior Court of the State of Washington for Yakima County, 128 N 2nd St, Yakima, WA 98901, Courtroom 314. The purpose of the hearing is for the Court to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interest of the Class. At the hearing, the Court will hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, including those related to the amount requested by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the incentive award to the Class Representative. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
The date and time of the Final Fairness Hearing are subject to change by Court Order. Any changes will be posted at the Settlement website, http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/.
21. Do I have to come the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You are welcome to come to the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection you don’t have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as your written objection was filed or mailed on time, and meets the other criteria described in the Settlement Agreement, the Court will consider it. You may also pay a lawyer to attend, but you don’t have to.
22. May I speak at the hearing?
If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the proposed Settlement Agreement. If you submit an objection (see Question 18 above) and intend to appear at the hearing, you must state your intention to do so in your objection. To speak, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Theodore Strong v. Numerica Credit Union, Yakima County Superior Civil Case No. 17-2-01496-39. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, that you are a Class Member, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than then (10) days before the Final Approval Hearing and be sent to the Court, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel at the addresses set forth below. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself.
|COURT||CLASS COUNSEL||DEFENSE COUNSEL|
|Hon. Blaine Gibson
Yakima County Superior Court
128 N 2nd St., Rm. 314
Yakima, WA 98901
|Alexander B. Trueblood
Trueblood Law Firm
10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1600
Los Angeles, CA 90024Beth E. Terrell
Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC
936 N 34th Street, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98103
422 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 1100
Spokane, WA 99201
23. What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing, you will be a member of the Settlement Class and you will receive the benefits of the Settlement. You will also be bound by the terms of the Settlement, including the Release described in Section 11, above.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
24. Are there more details about the Settlement?
This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You may review and download or print a copy of the Settlement Agreement via the Settlement Website at http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/. You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to the P&N, the Class Administrator at Strong v. Numerica Credit Union Class Administrator c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville at P.O. Box 3637 Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637.
25. How do I get more information?
You can call (833) 952-1886 toll free; write to P&N, the Class Administrator, at Strong v. Numerica Credit Union Class Administrator c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville at P.O. Box 3637 Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637; or visit the website at http://terrellmarshall.com/strongvnumericasettlement/ where you will find answers to common questions about the Settlement, the Settlement Agreement, Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff’s Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of the Class Settlement, Class Counsel’s motion for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, and other information.
Please Do Not Contact the Court, the Judge, or the Defendant with Questions about the Settlement.