United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
August 14, 2014
MICHAEL PIETRANTONIO, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ANN INC. d/b/a ANN TAYLOR, INC., Defendant.
FINAL ORDER APPROVING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
Richard G. Stearns UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
On August 12, 2104, this Court heard plaintiff Michael Pietrantonio's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Final Approval of Proposed Class Settlement (Dkt. No. 36) and Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, Expenses, and Incentive Fees (Dkt. No. 28). This Court reviewed: the motions and the supporting papers, including, the Settlement Agreement and Release (“Settlement Agreement”) and any objections made to the Settlement Agreement. The Court also considered the oral arguments of counsel. Based on this review and the findings below, the Court found good cause to grant the motions.
1. Unless otherwise specified, defined terms in this Order have the same definition as the terms in the Settlement Agreement.
2. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this Action, all Parties to the Action, and all Class Members who have not timely and validly requested exclusion.
3. Notice was provided to Class Members in compliance with Section 3.3 of the Settlement Agreement, due process, and Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The notice: (i) fully and accurately informed Class Members about the lawsuit and settlement; (ii) provided sufficient information so that Class Members were able to decide whether to accept the benefits offered, opt-out and pursue their own remedies, or object to the proposed settlement; (iii) provided procedures for Class Members to file written objections to the proposed settlement, to appear at the hearing, and to state objections to the proposed settlement; and (iv) provided the time, date and place of the Fairness Hearing.
4. Ann Inc. gave notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1715(b) and the notice substantively complies with the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1715(b) and was sent to the appropriate state and federal officials. (See Dkt. No. 34, Exhibit 3)
5. For the reasons stated in the Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and Provisional Class Certification (Dkt. No. 23), and having found nothing that would disturb these previous findings, this Court finds and determines that the proposed Class, as defined below, meets all of the legal requirements for class certification, for settlement purposes only, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(3).
6. The Parties adequately performed their obligations under the Settlement Agreement.
7. Upon review of the record, the Court hereby finds that the terms and provisions of the Settlement Agreement have been entered into in good faith and are fair, reasonable, and adequate as to, and in the best interest of, each of the Class Members, and in full compliance with all applicable requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of the Court, due process, and any other applicable law. With respect to the determination that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, the Court specifically notes that whether the outcome on the merits would result in a ruling in Plaintiff and the Class’s favor was uncertain, the Settlement Agreement was reached through negotiations with experienced and informed counsel, and the terms of the Settlement reflect substantial benefits to the Settlement Class in light of the circumstances of the Action.
8. An award of $100, 000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to Class Counsel is fair and reasonable in light of the nature of this case, Class Counsel’s experience and efforts in prosecuting this Action, and the benefits obtained for the Class.
9. In awarding attorney’s fees, the Court has relied on the agreement and representation of all counsel involved that the proposed fee is a reasonable approximation of the lodestar amount that would normally be used to calculate an attorneys’ fees award and that the fee will be paid by Ann Inc. with funds apart from those allocated to the Class Settlement.
10. An incentive award to Plaintiff Michael Pietrantonio of $3, 000 is fair and reasonable in light of: (a) Plaintiff’s risks (including financial, professional, and emotional) in commencing this Action as the class representative; (b) the time and effort spent by Plaintiff in litigating this action as the class representative; and (c) Plaintiff’s public interest service.
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. Class Members.
The Class Members are defined as:
All persons who, between October 29, 2009 and the date of entry of the Preliminary Approval Order, used a Credit Card at a Massachusetts Ann Inc. Store and whose Personal Identification Information, including, but not limited to ZIP code, was requested and recorded by Ann Inc. at the Massachusetts Ann Inc. Store.
2. Binding Effect of Order.
This order applies to all claims or causes of action settled under the Settlement Agreement, and binds all Class Members, including those who did not properly request exclusion under paragraph 6 of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and Provisional Class Certification. This order does not bind persons who filed timely and valid requests for exclusions. Attached as Exhibit A is a list of persons who properly requested to be excluded from the settlement.
Plaintiff and all Class Members who did not properly request exclusion are: (1) deemed to have released and discharged Ann Inc. from all claims arising out of or asserted in this Action and claims released under the Settlement Agreement; and (2) barred and permanently enjoined from asserting, instituting, or prosecuting, either directly or indirectly, these claims. The full terms of the release described in this paragraph are set forth in paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 of the Settlement Agreement and are specifically incorporated herein by this reference.
4. Class Relief.
Ann Inc. will issue a single Voucher to each Class Member who submitted a valid and timely Claim Form as provided in the Settlement Agreement pursuant to the timeline stated in Paragraph 3.13 of the Settlement Agreement.
5. Attorney’s Fees and Costs.
Class Counsel is awarded $100, 000 in fees and costs. Payment shall be made pursuant to the timeline stated in Paragraph 2.4 of the Settlement Agreement.
6. Incentive Award.
Plaintiff Michael Pietrantonio is awarded $3, 000 as an incentive award. Payment shall be made pursuant to the timeline stated in Paragraph 2.5 of the Settlement Agreement.
7. Court’s Jurisdiction.
Pursuant to the Parties’ request, the Court will retain jurisdiction over this Action and the Parties until final performance of the Settlement Agreement.