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Bias v. Wells Fargo & Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 13, 2017

LATARA BIAS, ERIC BREAUX, and TROY LYNNE MORRISON, individually, and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, and WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., a national association, Defendants. First Name 1 Middle Name 1 Last Name 1 First Name 2 Middle Name 2 Last Name 2



         WHEREAS, the Court is advised that the Parties, [1] through their counsel, have agreed, subject to Court approval following notice to the Class and a hearing, to settle this Action (the “Action”) upon the terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement (the “Settlement”) which was filed with the Court, and all capitalized terms used herein having the meanings defined in the Settlement; and WHEREAS, the Court entered its Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement and Providing for Notice, setting forth the previously certified Class for settlement purposes only and preliminarily approved Notice of Settlement to the Class (including notice of the proposed Settlement and of a fairness hearing thereon), and said notice has been made, along with notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1715 provided to the appropriate regulators, and the fairness hearing has been held; NOW, THEREFORE, based upon the Settlement and all of the filings, records, and proceedings herein, and it appearing to the Court upon examination that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and upon a Settlement Fairness Hearing having been held after Notice to the Class of the proposed Settlement to determine if the terms of the Settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether a Final Judgment of Dismissal with Prejudice (“Final Judgment”) should be entered in this Action based upon the Settlement;


         A. The provisions of the Settlement, including definitions of the terms used therein, are hereby incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

         B. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this Action and all of the Parties and all Class Members.

         C. On December 17, 2015, the Court granted-in-part and denied-in-part Plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The Court amended the class definition on March 7, 2016.

         D. Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and for the purposes of the Settlement only, the Court hereby adopts and reaffirms the Class set forth in its March 7, 2016 Order as the Settlement Class in this Action, as follows: “All residents of the United States of America who had a residential mortgage serviced by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., or its subsidiaries or divisions, and who paid for one or more Broker's Price Opinions charged by Wells Fargo (through PAS), for an amount greater than the amount Wells Fargo (through PAS) paid a third party vendor for the corresponding [BPO], from May 6, 2005 through July 1, 2010.” Excluded from the Settlement Class are Defendants, any entity in which a Defendant has a controlling interest or is a parent or subsidiary of, or any entity that is controlled by a Defendant, and any of Defendants' officers, directors, employees, affiliates, legal representatives, heirs, predecessors, successors, and assigns. Also excluded from the Settlement Class are Class Members who provided valid and timely notice to exclude themselves or Opt-Out of this Action by the deadline.

         E. For all of the reasons set forth in this Court's Orders dated December 17, 2015 and March 7, 2016, and solely for purposes of effectuating the Settlement, the Court finds that (i) the members of the Settlement Class are so numerous that joinder of all Settlement Class Members in the Action would be impracticable; (ii) there are questions of law and fact common to the Settlement Class that predominate over individual questions; (iii) the claims of Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Settlement Class; (iv) Plaintiffs and Class Counsel can fairly and adequately represent and protect the interests of Settlement Class Members; and (v) a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy, considering the interests of the Settlement Class Members in individually controlling the prosecution of separate actions, the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by Settlement Class Members, the desirability or undesirability of continuing the litigation of these claims in this particular forum, and the difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action.

         F. Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court hereby certifies, solely for purposes of effectuating the Settlement and for no other purpose, Plaintiffs Latara Bias, Eric Breaux and Troy Lynne Morrison as Class Representatives, and appoints the law firms of Baron & Budd, P.C.; Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola and Taylor; and Kingsmill Riess, LLC as Class Counsel.

         G. The form, content, and method of dissemination of Notice of Settlement given to the Settlement Class was adequate and reasonable and constituted the best notice practicable under the circumstances, including both individual notice to all Settlement Class Members who could be identified through reasonable effort and publication notice.

         H. Notice of Settlement, as given, complied with the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, satisfied the requirements of due process, and constituted due and sufficient notice of the matters set forth herein.

         I. Notice of the Settlement was provided to the appropriate regulators pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1715(c)(1).

         J. The Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interests of the Settlement Class.

i. The Settlement was negotiated vigorously and at arm's-length by Plaintiffs and their experienced counsel on behalf of the Settlement Class. The case settled only after: (a) several failed attempts at resolution and with the assistance of a retired U.S. District Court Judge; (b) extensive briefing on multiple motions, including Wells Fargo's motions to dismiss filed June 15, 2012 and August 7, 2012, Plaintiffs' motion for class certification filed June 9, 2015, and Wells Fargo's motion for summary judgment, filed April 5, 2016, which was fully briefed, argued, submitted and pending as of the Settlement was reached; (c) the Parties engaged in extensive discovery, including production by Wells Fargo of electronically stored information, additional voluminous data, and over 124, 000 pages of documents; (d) the Parties exchanged reports from six expert witness, and took depositions of the six expert ...

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