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Heaton v. Social Finance, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

August 9, 2016

SHAWN HEATON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SOCIAL FINANCE, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL; GRANTING ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS; GRANTING SERVICE PAYMENTS; ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs Shawn Heaton and Anna Ahlborn (“Plaintiffs”), on behalf of themselves and the Settlement Class Members, and Defendants Social Finance, Inc. and SoFi Lending Corp. (“Defendants”) (collectively, the “Parties”), entered into a Settlement Agreement dated April 4, 2016 (the “Settlement Agreement”), providing for the settlement of this case (the “Settlement”).

         A Fairness Hearing was held before this Court on August 8, 2016, to consider, among other things, whether the Settlement represents a fair, reasonable and adequate compromise of the action, whether to award fees and costs to Settlement Class Counsel, and whether to award incentive payments to Plaintiffs. Having carefully considered the Parties’ arguments and the response of Settlement Class Members, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

         1. This Final Judgment incorporates by reference the definitions in the Settlement Agreement, and all capitalized terms used in this Final Judgment will have the same meanings as set forth in the Settlement Agreement, unless otherwise defined in this Final Judgment.

         2. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action, Plaintiffs, the Settlement Class (defined below), and Defendants.

         3. The request for entry of a Final Judgment and order of dismissal is hereby GRANTED.

         4. The Court finds that the Class proposed for purposes of the Settlement meets the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) and 23(b)(3), and hereby certifies a Settlement Class in the action as follows:

All persons on whom Defendants made a “hard” credit inquiry between November 20, 2013 and August 13, 2014 inclusive in connection with a student loan refinancing or a personal loan who neither (a) funded a loan nor (b) uploaded all documents requested on the sofi.com website; provided, however, that the class shall not include any current or former legal representative, officer, director or employee of Defendants, the judge to whom the action is assigned, or any member of such judge’s immediate family (the “Settlement Class”).

         5. The Court finds that the Settlement Agreement is the product of good faith arms-length negotiations by the Parties, each of whom was represented by experienced counsel. The Court finds that the uncertainties and expense of continued litigation (underscored by the Parties’ disputes as to the validity of the claims), and Settlement Class Counsel’s endorsement of the Settlement Agreement as in the best interest of the Settlement Class Members, weigh in favor of approval of the Settlement. Accordingly, the Court approves all terms set forth in the Settlement Agreement and the Settlement reflected therein. The Court further finds that such Settlement is, in all respects, fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interest of the Settlement Class Members. The Court directs the Parties to consummate and perform terms of the Settlement Agreement.

         6. The Court finds that the Notice provided for in the Order of Preliminary Approval of Settlement has been provided to the Settlement Class, and such Notice constituted the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and was in full compliance with the notice requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, due process, the United States Constitution, and any other applicable law. The Notice apprised the Settlement Class of: (i) the pendency of the litigation; (ii) all material elements of the proposed settlement, including but not limited to the relief afforded the Settlement Class under the Settlement Agreement; (iii) the res judicata effect on the Settlement Class and of their opportunity to object to, comment on, or opt-out of, the Settlement; (iv) the identity of Settlement Class Counsel and of information necessary to contact Settlement Class Counsel; and (v) the right to appear at the Fairness Hearing. The Court is informed that zero (0) Class Members objected to the Settlement and one (1) Class Member requested exclusion from the Settlement. The Court finds that full opportunity has been afforded to the Settlement Class to participate in the Fairness Hearing. Accordingly, the Court determines that all Final Settlement Class Members are bound by this Final Judgment in accordance with the terms provided herein.

         7. This action is dismissed with prejudice and without costs to any party, except as provided for in the Settlement Agreement and in this Final Judgment.

         8. Within five business days of the Effective Date of the Settlement, Defendants shall deliver $2.4 million to the Settlement Administrator for deposit into the Settlement Fund.

         9. The Court finds that $673, 035.95 is reasonable compensation for Settlement Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and expenses. The Court awards this amount, as Settlement Class Counsel Fees, to Settlement Class Counsel from the Settlement Fund. The Settlement Administrator shall wire transfer the Settlement Class Counsel Fees to Settlement Class Counsel within five (5) business days of receipt of Defendants’ $2.4 million deposit, in accordance with section 6.3.2 of the Settlement Agreement.

         10. The Court finds that $7, 000.00 is reasonable compensation for Plaintiff Shawn Heaton’s services in this matter, and that $3, 000.00 is reasonable compensation for Plaintiff Anna Ahlborn’s services in this matter. The Court awards these amounts, as Incentive Payments, to Plaintiffs from the Settlement Fund. The Settlement Administrator shall pay the Incentive Payments to each Plaintiff within five (5) business days ...


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