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Bowen v. CSO Financial, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

February 14, 2018

DUANE BOWEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CSO FINANCIAL, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' unopposed motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) for an order preliminarily approving the settlement of this action (Dkt. No. 23) and the parties' settlement agreement (the “Agreement”) (Dkt. Nos. 24-1, 24-2). After review of the relevant record, the Court ORDERS as follows:

1. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this Action and personal jurisdiction over the Parties and the Plaintiff Class.
2. The Court finds that (a) the Agreement resulted from extensive arm's-length negotiations, with participation of an experienced mediator, and (b) the Agreement is sufficient to warrant notice thereof to members of the Plaintiff Class and the Final Approval Hearing described below.
3. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1) and (b)(3), and for purposes of settlement only, the Court certifies the following Plaintiff Class:
All persons who allegedly wrote a dishonored check for payment in Washington to whom any Defendant attempted to collect that dishonored check between February 9, 2013 and September 1, 2015 and/or February 9, 2016 and September 27, 2016.

         The Court also certifies the following CPA Sub-Class:

All persons in the Plaintiff Class who meet both of the following criteria: (1) The Class Member's Account was assigned on or before September 1, 2015; and (2) on or after February 9, 2013, any Defendant attempted to collect the Account.

         The Court also certifies the following FDCPA Sub-Class:

All persons in the Plaintiff Class who meet both of the following criteria: (1) The Class Member's Account is based upon a dishonored check written primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; and (2) between February 9, 2016 and September 27, 2016, any Defendant sent a notice of dishonor to the Class Member in an attempt to collect the Account.

         4. The Court preliminarily finds that the Agreement is fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable.

         5. The Court appoints Garden City Group, LLC (“GCG”) as the administrator of the settlement, who shall fulfill the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the administrator as set forth in the Agreement and this Order.

         6. The Court approves the proposed forms of notice and notice plan for giving direct notice to the Plaintiff Class by U.S. Mail as set forth in the Agreement and its attached exhibits (“Notice Plan”). The Notice Plan, in form, method, and content, fully complies with the requirements of Rule 23 and due process, constitutes the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and is due and sufficient notice to all persons entitled thereto. The Court finds that the Notice Plan is reasonably calculated to, under all circumstances, reasonably apprise the persons in the Plaintiff Class of the pendency of this action, the terms of the Agreement, the right to object to the settlement and to exclude themselves from the Plaintiff Class, and the process for submitting a claim for monetary relief.

         7. Pursuant to the Agreement, GCG shall provide individual notice via U.S. Mail to the most recent address for each Class Member reflected in the records produced by Defendant CSO in this Action, as updated by GCG through the National Change of Address system, no later than March 16, 2018 (the “Notice Deadline”), which is ...


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