Dibb, et al. v. AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc.
AllianceOne Class Action
14-cv-05835-RJB

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The purpose of this Notice is to let you know that a proposed Settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuits entitled Dibb, et al. v. AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc., Western District of Washington Case No. 3:14-cv-05835-RJB and Morgan v. AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc., King County Superior Court Case No. 16-2-26246-5 SEA.  Judge Robert J. Bryan of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington has preliminarily approved the proposed Settlement.  You have legal rights and options that you may act on before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the proposed Settlement.  Because your rights will be affected by this Settlement, it is extremely important that you read this Notice carefully.

  • AllianceOne’s records indicate that it sent you one or more Notices of Dishonor of Check (NOD), and/or collected fees allegedly permitted by RCW 62A.3-515 – 540.  This notice explains that the Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement of the claims in this lawsuit.  You have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the fairness hearing (also known as a “Final Approval Hearing”).  The Final Approval Hearing is to decide whether the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interest of the Class.

  • In a class action, one or more people, called class representatives, sue on behalf of people who have similar claims.  All of these people are a class, or class members. One court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the class.

    Here, the Class Representatives claim that between October 20, 2010 and March 17, 2017, AllianceOne was sending NODs to collect dishonored checks, but that AllianceOne’s NODs did not comply with Washington law.  As a result, the Class Representatives allege that the fees AllianceOne charged were not permitted by Washington law.  Therefore, by charging unlawful fees, the Class Representatives allege that AllianceOne violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.  Additionally, some of the NODs included a caution that information might be provided to law enforcement for the possibility of having criminal charges filed against the check writer.  The Class Representatives claim that this was a false threat that violated the FDCPA.  Finally, the Class Representatives claim that AllianceOne violated FDCPA because the NODs were the initial communication to check writers and did not include an effective notice of your right to dispute the claims.

    AllianceOne denies that it did anything wrong.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or AllianceOne.  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 Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for the Settlement Class.

  • You are in the Settlement Class if Defendant sent you a Notice of Dishonor of Check between October 20, 2010 and March 17, 2017, to collect a check that you wrote for payment in Washington or if Defendant collected Check Fees from you that are allegedly permitted by RCW 62A.3-515-540.

    The Settlement Class does not include any persons who validly requested exclusion from the Settlement Class.  A person who did not exclude him or herself is a “Settlement Class Member.”

    If you have questions about whether you are part of the Settlement Class, you may call 1-844-470-7976 or visit www.AllianceOneClassAction.com for more information.

  • Generally, the benefit you receive will be based on the “Check Fees” that AllianceOne assessed.  “Check Fees” are the sum of the collection costs, interest accruing before the entry of the Final Approval Order, attorney’s fees, treble damages, and court costs.  “Check Fees” do not include handling fees of up to $40.  AllianceOne will credit you for all unpaid Check Fees on the checks for which it sent an NOD between October 20, 2010 and March 17, 2017.  Additionally, you will be entitled to a payment if you are in one of the two following groups:

    Group 1:   If between October 20, 2013 and March 17, 2017, AllianceOne sent you a Notice of Dishonor of Check in connection with a personal check that you wrote to the Washington Department of Licensing, you will receive a refund of 100% or more of the Check Fees you paid, and/or a statutory damages award, even if you have not paid money and still owe the check.

    Group 2: If you are not in Group 1, and you paid Check Fees, you will receive a refund of 100% or more of the Check Fees you paid.

    If you are not in Group 1 or Group 2, you will receive a credit for Check Fees, but will not receive any payment.  If you have not paid the check and handling fee by the time the Court finally approves this Settlement, AllianceOne will begin assessing the statutory interest rate of 12% per year from the final approval date and will be free to commence attempting to collect any amounts lawfully due.

  • Under the Settlement, at least $937,500.00 is being allocated to refund to Class Members 100% of the Check Fees they paid.  More than 100% may be paid, depending on the number of Settlement Notices that are successfully mailed to Settlement Class Members.

  • If you received a postcard Notice you will automatically receive a payment.  You do not need to submit a claim form or contact anyone.

  • Within thirty (30) calendar days after the Court’s Final Approval Order becomes final, the Class Administrator will mail checks to Settlement Class Members.  The checks will be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.  The Class Administrator will mail the settlement check to the last known address the Administrator has for you.  Make sure that you contact the Class Administrator if your address changes.

  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class and you will be a Settlement Class Member.  That means you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the AllianceOne based on its collection activities in connection with the NOD mailed to you.  It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    The Settlement Agreement (available at www.AllianceOneClassAction.com) describes the claims you are releasing (the “Released Claims”) and against whom you are releasing claims (AllianceOne) in detail, so read it carefully.

    To summarize, the release includes all claims that arise out of or relate in any way to AllianceOne’s debt collection efforts based on the Notice of Dishonor of Check mailed to you, including, but not limited to, claims based on a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Washington Consumer Protection Act, Washington Collection Agency Act, and any other statutory or common law claim.

  • If you didn’t want a payment from this Settlement or if you wanted to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the AllianceOne, then you had to 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.

  • The deadline to opt out of the settlement was July 3, 2017.

  • No.  Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up any right to sue the AllianceOne for the claims that this Settlement resolves.  If you already have a lawsuit that may relate to the claims being released as part of this Settlement, you should speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.  You had to have excluded yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit.  The exclusion deadline was July 3, 2017.

  • No.  You will not receive a payment or a credit for unpaid check fees if you excluded yourself.

  • The deadline to object to the settlement was July 3, 2017.

  • 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 has appointed Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, the Law Office of Paul Arons, Leonard Law, and Leen & O’Sullivan PLLC to represent you and other Settlement Class Members.  These lawyers are called Class Counsel.  You will not be charged for these lawyers.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to $950,000.00 to them for attorneys’ fees and their out-of-pocket expenses.  These payments would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement.  Class Counsel will also request service awards of $2,500.00 each for named Plaintiffs Dibb, Ovist and Gondos, and $1,000.00 for Plaintiff Morgan, to compensate them for their time and effort, and $1,000.00 each for statutory damages under the FDCPA.  Thus, the four class representatives will be paid a combined $12,500.00 from the Settlement Fund.  Class Counsel’s complete request for fees, costs, and incentive awards to the named Plaintiffs will be posted on the Settlement Website www.AllianceOneClassAction.com on June 2, 2017.  The Court may award less than these amounts.

  • The Court will hold the Final Fairness Hearing on July 31, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., before the Honorable Robert J. Bryan at the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1717 Pacific Avenue, Courtroom A, Tacoma, WA 98402-3200.  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 awards to the Class Representatives.  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

    Note:  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, www.AllianceOneClassAction.com.

  • 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 sent 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.

  • If you did 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 filed an objection and intend to appear at the hearing, you must have stated your intention to do so in your objection.  To speak, you must have sent a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” in “Dibb, et al. v. AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-05835-RJB.”  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must have been received no later than July 3, 2017.  You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • If you do nothing, you will be a member of the Settlement Class and you will be sent a payment.

  • This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement.  More details are in the Settlement Agreement.  You may review the Settlement Agreement on the Settlement Website at www.AllianceOneClassAction.com.  You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to Erika L. Nusser, Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, 936 N 34th Street, Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98103.

  • You can call 1-844-470-7976 toll free; write to AllianceOne Class Administrator, c/o JND Class Action Administration LLC, P.O. Box 6878, Broomfield, CO  80021; or visit the website at www.AllianceOneClassAction.com where you will find answers to common questions about the Settlement, the Exclusion Request Form, the Settlement Agreement, Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amended Complaint, 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 Defendants with questions about the settlement.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

AllianceOne Class Administrator
c/o JND Class Action Administration
P.O. Box 6878
Broomfield, CO 80021