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Sallie A. Durham, An Individual On Behalf v. Continental Central Credit

June 2, 2011

SALLIE A. DURHAM, AN INDIVIDUAL ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CONTINENTAL CENTRAL CREDIT, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted MoskowitzUnited States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING JOINT MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

The parties have filed a joint motion for final approval of class action settlement. On June 1, 2011, the Court held a hearing on the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the joint motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

On September 7, 2007, Plaintiff Sallie A. Durham filed a class action complaint against Continental Central Credit ("CCC"), asserting class claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that CCC violated the FDCPA by sending Plaintiff and the other class members a letter in the form of Exhibit B to the FAC ("Exhibit B letter") within 30 days of sending a letter in the form of Exhibit A to the FAC ("Exhibit A letter").

In an order filed on July 14, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for class certification. Pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), the Court certified the "Overshadowing or Contradicting Class" consisting of: (i) all natural persons with California addresses to whom (ii) Defendant CCC sent a letter in the form of Exhibit B to the FAC (iii) within 30 days of sending a letter in the form of Exhibit A to the FAC, as shown by the records of CCC (iv) on or after September 7, 2006 (v) in an attempt to collect a debt incurred for personal, family, or household purposes allegedly due for a nonprofit home owners or vacation owners association fees (vi) which was not returned by the U.S. Postal Service.

On October 12, 2010, the parties entered into a Class Action Settlement Agreement. On January 3, 2011, Magistrate Judge McCurine granted preliminary approval of the class action settlement, approved the form and manner of notice to the class, and set deadlines for the mailing of the notice to the class, the filing of any objections to the settlement, and the submission of exclusion forms and claim forms.

On February 4, 2011, the Claims Administrator mailed the notice of settlement to the 97 class members. A total of 21 notices were returned by the post office as undeliverable. No requests for exclusion or objections were received by the class administrator. No class members appeared at the June 1, 2011 hearing on the motion for final approval of the settlement.

II. DISCUSSION

The Court has reviewed the terms of the settlement and, as discussed below, finds that the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. Therefore, the joint motion for final approval of the settlement is granted.

A court may approve a settlement upon finding that it is fair, reasonable, and adequate. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e)(2). In determining whether a proposed class action settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, a court may consider some or all of the following factors: (1) the strength of the plaintiff's case; (2) the risk, expense, complexity and likely duration of further litigation; (3) the risk of maintaining class action status throughout the trial; (4) the amount offered in settlement; (5) the extent of discovery completed and the stage of the proceedings; (6) the experience and view of counsel; (7) the presence of a governmental participant; and (8) the reaction of the class members to the proposed settlement. Linney v. Cellular Alaska P'ship, 151 F.3d 1234, 1242 (9th Cir. 1998).

The material terms of the proposed settlement are as follows:

* CCC must pay Ms. Durham $1,000 in statutory damages plus $3,000 as an incentive award for a total of $4,000.00.

* CCC must pay to the Class Members who did not exclude themselves from the Class a pro-rata share of a $17,750 settlement fund.

* From any settlement checks that are returned or remain uncashed within 120 days of this Order, CCC shall pay a cy pres award equally to National Consumer Law Center and National Association of Consumer Advocates ...


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