The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable George H. WU United States District Court Judge
On November 14, 2007, plaintiff, Eddie Wayne Hutchison (hereinafter referred to as "Plaintiff" or "Class Representative"), filed the above-captioned class action lawsuit (hereinafter referred to as "Lawsuit") against defendant, R.M. Galicia, Inc., d/b/a Progressive Management Systems (hereinafter referred to as "PMS"), asserting class claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (hereinafter referred to as the "FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.; the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1788, et seq.; and, the California Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq. PMS denied any and all liability alleged in the Lawsuit.
On May 29, 2008, Plaintiff and PMS (hereinafter jointly referred to as the "Parties") entered into their original Class Action Settlement Agreement.
On December 10, 2008, the Parties filed their original Class Action Settlement Agreement.
On December 18, 2008, PMS provided notice of the proposed class settlement to the various federal and state officials per the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (hereinafter referred to as "CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4.
On March 13, 2009, based upon requests from various state officials responding to CAFA notices, the Parties filed an addendum to the original settlement agreement.
On April 6, 2009, the Court held a hearing regarding the proposed class settlement and directed the Parties to submit a revised Class Action Settlement Agreement, incorporating the proposed changes set forth in the addendum, so that there would be one document explaining the settlement terms.
On April 13, 2009, the Parties filed the first revised Class Action Settlement Agreement, incorporating the addendum.
On April 16, 2009, the Court held a second hearing regarding the proposed class settlement. The Court voiced some concerns regarding ambiguity in the settlement documents and suggested the Parties submit another revised agreement.
On May 12, 2009, the Parties filed their second revised Class Action Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the "Agreement"), along with a Revised Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the "Preliminary Approval Motion").
On May 22, 2009, upon consideration of the Parties' Preliminary Approval Motion and the record, the Court entered an Order of Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (hereinafter referred to as the "Preliminary Approval Order"). Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Order, the Court, among other things, (i) preliminarily certified (for settlement purposes only) a class of plaintiffs (hereinafter referred to as the "National Class Members") with respect to the claims asserted in the Lawsuit; (ii) preliminarily approved the proposed settlement and Stipulation and [Proposed] Order for Injunction (hereinafter referred to as the "Stipulated Injunction"); (iii) preliminarily appointed Plaintiff as the Class Representative; (iv) preliminarily appointed SHEWRY & VAN DYKE, LLP as Class Counsel; (v) ordered counsel for PMS to reissue CAFA notices, along with the Agreement; and, (vi) set the date and time for the Fairness Hearing.
On July 2, 2009, the Parties filed their Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the "Final Approval Motion").
On July 9, 2009, a Fairness Hearing was held pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 to determine whether the Lawsuit satisfies the applicable prerequisites for class action treatment and whether the proposed settlement is fundamentally fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the National Class Members and should be approved by the Court.
The Parties now request final certification of the settlement class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2) and final approval of the ...