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Miller v. P.S.C., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

January 10, 2020

KIMBERLY MILLER, BRIANA HOUSER, and DEAN BUCHHOLZ, on behalf of themselves and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
P.S.C., INC., d/b/a PUGET SOUND COLLECTIONS, and DOES ONE THROUGH TEN, Defendants.

          FINAL APPROVAL ORDER AND FINAL JUDGMENT

          RONALD B. LEIGHTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter came before the Court upon consideration of Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Class Counsel's Motion for an Award of Fees, Costs, and Class Representative Statutory and Service Awards. After considering the motions and the declarations and exhibits submitted with the motions, the Court enters this Final Approval Order and Judgment (“Final Approval Order”), which constitutes a final adjudication on the merits of all claims of the Class and Sub-Class. It is HEREBY ORDERED that the motions are GRANTED, the Settlement Agreement and Release (“Agreement”) is finally approved, Class Counsel are awarded $380, 000.00 in fees and expenses, and each of the three Plaintiffs is awarded $5, 000.00 for statutory damages and service awards ($15, 000.00 total).

         On September 10, 2019, the Court preliminarily approved the Agreement and directed that notice be given to the Class (Dkt. #66). Pursuant to the notice requirements set forth in the Agreement and Preliminary Approval Order, Class Members were notified of the terms of the proposed Agreement, of their right to opt out, and of their right to object and be heard at a Final Approval Hearing to determine whether the terms and conditions of the Agreement are fair, reasonable, and adequate for the release of the claims contemplated by the Agreement; and whether judgment should be entered dismissing this action with prejudice.

         The Court has reviewed and considered all papers filed in support of and in opposition to the settlement, and all exhibits thereto, and held a hearing after notice was sent to the Class in order to confirm that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to determine whether the Final Approval Order should be entered in this action pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in the Agreement (“Final Approval Hearing”) on January 10, 2020 at 9:30am. At the Final Approval Hearing, the parties and all interested persons were heard in support of and in opposition to the settlement.

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

1. The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action and personal jurisdiction over the parties and the Class. The definitions and provisions of the Agreement are incorporated in this Order as though fully set forth herein.
2. In its class certification order, the Court certified the following Class:
All persons who returned to Defendants a signed “Stipulation Re Balance Owed and For Judgment, ” or “Stipulated Judgment, ” or substantially similar debt collection form, at any time since September 18, 2013.

Dkt. #40 at 4. The Court determined that the Class satisfied all of the requirements of Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(3). Id. at 5-15. The Court reserved ruling on certification of the proposed FDCPA Sub-Class, pending further briefing by the parties. Id. at 4, 7. The Court found that the Sub-Class satisfied commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority, but reserved ruling on certification of the Sub-Class pending additional briefing on numerosity. See Dkt. #5-15.

         Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, the Court modified the class definition in its Preliminary Approval Order to include all persons against whom Defendant obtained a judgment by filing one of the challenged forms within the four-year statute of limitations under the Consumer Protection Act, as follows:

All persons who returned to Defendant a signed “Stipulation Re Balance Owed and For Judgment” or “Stipulated Judgment, ” or substantially similar debt collection form, at any time since September 18, 2013, and any person against whom Defendant obtained a judgment by filing a “Stipulation Re Balance Owed and For Judgment” and “Stipulated Judgment, ” at any time since September 18, 2013.

Dkt. #66 ¶ 3. In its Preliminary Approval Order, the Court also found that the FDCPA SubClass satisfies numerosity and certified the following Sub-Class:

All persons in the Class whose alleged debt was incurred primarily for personal, family, or household purposes and from whom P.S.C. collected or attempted to collect a debt using a “Stipulation Re Balance Owed and For Judgment” or “Stipulated Judgment, ” or substantially similar debt collection form, at any time since September 18, 2016.

Dkt. No. 66 ¶ 3. The Court finds that the elements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority are satisfied ...


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