United States District Court, E.D. California
MARGIE DANIEL, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, Defendant.
ORDER RE: MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CLASS NOTICE AND
WILLIAM B. SHUBB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Margie Daniel brought this class action against defendant
Ford Motor Company (“Ford”), alleging that Ford
sold her and other customers vehicles that were built with
defective rear suspensions. (Compl. (Docket No. 42).) The
court granted plaintiff's motion for class certification
on September 23, 2016. (Sept. 23, 2016 Order (Docket No.
123).) The class certified in this action is presently
defined as: “[I]ndividuals who (1) purchased or leased
any new 2005 through 2011 Ford Focus vehicle in California,
(2) currently own such a vehicle, and (3) currently reside in
the United States.” (Nov. 1, 2016 Order (Docket No.
been granted class certification, plaintiff now moves for
approval of her proposed class notice and notice plan.
(Pl.'s Mot. (Docket No. 138).) Defendant supports
plaintiff's Motion. (Id. at 3.)
the court certifies a class under Rule 23(b)(3), as it did
here, it “must direct to class members the best notice
that is practicable under the circumstances, including
individual notice to all members who can be identified
through reasonable effort.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(c)(2)(B).
Although notice must be “reasonably calculated . . . to
apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action,
” actual notice is not required. Silber v.
Mabon, 18 F.3d 1449, 1454 (9th Cir. 1994) (citation
omitted). Rule 23(c)(2) governs both the form and content of
a proposed notice. See Ravens v. Iftikar, 174 F.R.D.
651, 658 (N.D. Cal. 1997) (citing Eisen v. Carlisle &
Jacquelin, 417 U.S. 156, 172-77 (1974)).
proposed notice plan entails “[m]ailing individual,
postcard notice . . . to the members of the Class for which
current mailing addresses are available.” (Pl.'s
Mot. at 4.) Plaintiff will obtain members' mailing
addresses by reviewing “data provided by Ford”
and “DMV information . . . collected and held by . . .
IHS Markit, ” a third-party data collector that has
agreed to release DMV information to plaintiff upon court
order. (Joint Status Report at 2 (Docket No. 141); Pl.'s
Mot. at 6.) The parties represent, based on an estimate
provided by their claims administrator, that the combination
of information provided by Ford and IHS Markit “will
yield contact information for very close to 100% of Class
Members.” (Joint Status Report at 2.)
light of the parties' representation that
“individual mailing should indeed reach very close to
100% of Class Members, ” (id.), the court is satisfied
that plaintiff's notice plan is “reasonably
calculated . . . to apprise interested parties of the
pendency of [this] action” and is “the best
notice that is practicable under the circumstances.”
respect to the content of plaintiff's proposed notice,
Rule 23(c)(2)(B) requires that the notice “clearly and
concisely state” the following: “(i) the nature
of the action; (ii) the definition of the class certified;
(iii) the class claims, issues, or defenses; (iv) that a
class member may enter an appearance through an attorney if
the class member so desires; (v) that the court will exclude
from the class any member who requests exclusion; (vi) the
time and manner for requesting exclusion; and (vii) the
binding effect of class judgment on members.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(c)(2)(B). Additionally, “notice must be
neutral and must avoid endorsing the merits of the
claim[s].” Adoma v. Univ. of Phoenix, Inc.,
No. CIV. S-10-0059 LKK/G, 2010 WL 4054109, at *2 (E.D. Cal.
Oct. 15, 2010).
postcard notice provides a brief explanation of the nature of
this action, the definition of the class, and instructions
for remaining in or opting out of the class. (See Joint
Status Report Ex. A, Revised Postcard Notice.) It directs
class members to “a website specifically designated for
this case” on which a “long-form notice”
containing more detailed information about this case can be
viewed. (Id.) Class members may also call a
toll-free number and request that the long-form notice be
mailed to them. (Id.)
long-form notice states: (1) the nature of this action,
(Pl.'s Mot. Ex. B, Long-Form Notice ¶ 3 (Docket No.
138-1)); (2) the class certified, (id. ¶ 1); (3) the
claims, issues, and defenses in this action, (id. ¶ 3);
(4) that class members may appear through an attorney, (id.
¶ 6); (5) that class members may request exclusion, (id.
¶ 5); (6) how to request exclusion, (id.); and (7) the
binding effect of remaining in the class, (id. ¶ 1).
Both the long-form notice and postcard notice are neutral
with respect to the parties' positions and the current
posture of this case. Accordingly, the court finds that the
content of plaintiff's postcard and long-form notices
satisfy the requirements of Rule 23(c)(2)(B).
plaintiff's proposed notice and notice plan satisfy the
requirements of Rule 23(c)(2)(B), the court will grant
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's Motion for approval of
class notice and notice plan be, and the same hereby is,
GRANTED as follows:
proposed notice plan described in plaintiff's Motion
(Docket No. 138) and clarified in the parties' February
8, 2017 Joint Status Report (Docket No. 141) is hereby
proposed postcard notice attached to the parties'
February 8, 2017 Joint Status Report (Docket No. 141 Ex. A)
and the proposed long-form notice attached to plaintiff's
Motion (Docket No. 138-1 Ex. B) are hereby approved.
parties are hereby authorized and directed to obtain class
members' contact information from IHS Markit ...