Bad news for Class Members of the DA Bad Check Restitution Program Class Action Settlement – a federal court did not grant final approval at the Final Fairness Hearing.
In a court order dated November 15, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White denied final approval of the class action lawsuit settlement, which would have provided $75 cash to individuals who received a District Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program Notice in California between 2006 and 2011 or in Pennsylvania between 2004 and 2011.
Judge White said he found the proposed settlement to be “problematic” in light of the altered class definition that would have included any person who received a letter, regardless of whether or not they paid any fees. This increase in class size “significantly diminished” any potential monetary recover for the class, he said.
Judge White also found problems with the release that Class Members would be held to, which would not prevent National Corrective Group (NCG) from continuing to contact Class Members about the diversion program and/or attempting to collect fees challenged in the class action lawsuit.
Moreover, Judge White found the notice of the class action lawsuit settlement to be “troubling,” because notice was only mailed to Class Members who were mailed letters by National Corrective Group and not to Class Members who received letters from American Correction Counseling Services (ACCS). That left an estimated 58% of proposed Class Members in California and 69 percent of the proposed class in Pennsylvania not receiving notice of the class action lawsuit settlement.
Finally, the Judge White said the proposed injunctive relief “does not appear to provide much relief or benefit for the class.”
Judge White denied the motion for final approval of the class action settlement, but is allowing the parties to address the concerns and file an amended settlement agreement.
In the meantime, the Settlement Administrator Website for the DA Bad Check Restitution Program Class Action Settlement has been taken down. We will continue to provide updates on the settlement as we receive them.
UPDATE: An amended class action settlement agreement was entered in August 2013, was granted final approval on May 5, 2014, and became effective May 6, 2014. Payments are expected to be mailed to Class Members in late July 2014, according to the Settlement Administrator. Settlement Class Members who received notice of the DA Bad Check Restitution Program Class Action Settlement will automatically receive payment. Those who did not receive a notice had to submit a claim by April 1, 2014 to participate. If you receive a check, let us know!
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