1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why did I receive this Notice of this lawsuit?
  3. Why did the parties settle?
  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
  5. What options do I have with respect to the settlement?
  6. What are the critical deadlines?
  7. How do I decide which option to choose?
  8. What has to happen for the settlement to be approved?
  9. How much is the settlement?
  10. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay for attorneys' fees and costs?
  11. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Named Plaintiff a service award?
  12. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Settlement Administrator's expenses?
  13. How much will my payment be?
  14. Do I have to do anything if I want to participate in the settlement?
  15. When will I receive my payment?
  16. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
  17. What happens if I opt out of the settlement?
  18. If I exclude myself, can I obtain a payment?
  19. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?
  20. What is the difference between objecting and requesting exclusion from the settlement?
  21. What happens if I object to the settlement?
  22. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
  23. Do I have to come to the hearing?
  24. May I speak at the hearing?
  25. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  26. Do I have to pay the lawyers for accomplishing this result?
  27. Who determines what the attorneys' fees will be?
  28. How do I get more information?
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit that is being settled is entitled Lisa Holt v. CommunityAmerica Credit Union in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Case No. 19-cv-00629. The case is a “class action.” That means that the "Named Plaintiff," Lisa Holt, is an individual who is acting on behalf of three groups. The first is all members of Defendant who were charged an overdraft fee for a signature debit card transaction from December 19, 2014 through July 1, 2019, and when the payment was authorized there was sufficient money in their accounts, but at the time the transaction was presented for payment, there was insufficient money in their accounts. The second group is all members of Defendant who were assessed non-sufficient funds (returned item) fees from August 6, 2014 through July 1, 2019 on ACH and check payments that were previously submitted and rejected for insufficient funds. The third group is all members of Defendant who were charged an overdraft fee from October 23, 2014 through July 1, 2019 that was described as an “unspecified transfer fee” on their periodic monthly checking account statements. The persons in these groups are collectively called the "Class Members."

    The Named Plaintiff claims Defendant improperly charged overdraft fees on signature debit card transactions when at the time the payment was authorized there was sufficient money in the account, but at the time the transaction was presented for payment there was insufficient money in the account, improperly assessed multiple NSF fees on a single item, and improperly assessed “unspecified transfer” fees. The Second Amended Complaint alleges claims for breach of the Account Agreement, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment/restitution. The Named Plaintiff is seeking a refund of alleged improper fees charged to Class Member accounts. Defendant does not deny it charged these fees but contends it did so properly and in accordance with the terms of its agreements and applicable law. Defendant maintains that its practices were and now are proper and properly disclosed to its members, and therefore denies that its practices give rise to claims for damages by the Named Plaintiff or any Class Member.

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  2. Why did I receive this Notice of this lawsuit?

    You received the Notice because Defendant’s records indicate that you were charged one or more of the fees that are the subject of this action. The Court directed that the Notice be sent to all Class Members because each Class Member has a right to know about the proposed settlement and the options available to him or her before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

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  3. Why did the parties settle?

    In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Named Plaintiff’s and her lawyers’ job to identify when a proposed settlement offer is good enough that it justifies recommending settling the case instead of continuing to trial. In a class action, the Named Plaintiff’s lawyers, known as Class Counsel, make this recommendation to the Named Plaintiff. The Named Plaintiff has the duty to act in the best interests of the class as a whole and, in this case, it is her belief, as well as Class Counsels’ opinion, that this settlement is in the best interest of all Class Members.

    There is legal uncertainty about whether a judge or a jury will find that Defendant was contractually and otherwise legally obligated not to assess the fees that are being challenged in this case. And even if it was contractually wrong to assess these fees, there is uncertainty about whether the Named Plaintiff’s claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Named Plaintiff were to win at trial, there is no assurance that the Class Members would be awarded more than the current settlement amount, and it may take years of litigation before any payments would be made. By settling, the Class Members will avoid these and other risks and the delays associated with continued litigation.

    While Defendant disputes the allegations in the lawsuit and denies any liability or wrongdoing, it enters into the settlement solely to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and distraction of further proceedings in the litigation.

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  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

    If you received the Notice, then Defendant’s records indicate that you are a Class Member who is entitled to receive a payment or credit to your account.

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  5. What options do I have with respect to the settlement?

    You have three options: (1) do nothing and you will receive a payment according to the terms of this settlement; (2) exclude yourself from the settlement (“opt out” of it); or (3) participate in the settlement but object to it. Each of these options is described in a separate section below.

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  6. What are the critical deadlines?

    There is no deadline to receive a payment. If you do nothing, then you will get a payment.

    The deadline for sending a letter to exclude yourself from or opt out of the settlement is November 2, 2020.

    The deadline to file an objection with the Court is also November 2, 2020.

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  7. How do I decide which option to choose?

    If you do not like the settlement and you believe that you could receive more money by pursuing your claims on your own (with or without an attorney that you could hire), and you are comfortable with the risk that you might lose your case or get less than you would in this settlement, then you may want to consider opting out.

    If you believe the settlement settlement is unreasonable, unfair, or inadequate and the Court should reject the settlement, you can object to the settlement terms. The Court will decide if your objection is valid.

    If the Court agrees, then the settlement will not be approved and no payments will be made to you or any other Class Member. If your objection (and any other objection) is overruled, and the settlement is approved, then you will still get a payment.

    If you want to participate in the settlement, then you don’t have to do anything; you will receive a payment if the settlement is approved by the Court.

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  8. What has to happen for the settlement to be approved?

    The Court has to decide that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate before it will approve it. The Court already has decided to provide preliminary approval of the settlement, which is why you received the Notice. The Court will make a final decision regarding the settlement at a “Fairness Hearing” or “Final Approval Hearing,” which is currently scheduled for November 20, 2020.

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  9. How much is the settlement?

    Defendant has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $2,325,000.00. In addition, Defendant has agreed to forgive certain overdraft fees that were assessed but not paid from August 6, 2014 through July 1, 2019, for those accounts that were closed with a negative balance.

    As discussed separately below, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and the costs paid to a third- party Settlement Administrator to administer the settlement (including mailing and emailing the Notice) will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The balance of the Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members based on formulas described in the settlement agreement.

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  10. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay for attorneys' fees and costs?

    Class Counsel will request an attorneys' fees be awarded by the Court of not more than one-third of the Value of the Settlement. Class Counsel has also requested that it be reimbursed approximately $13,000.00 in litigation costs incurred in prosecuting the case. The Court will decide the amount of the attorneys’ fees and costs based on a number of factors, including the risk associated with bringing the case on a contingency basis, the amount of time spent on the case, the amount of costs incurred to prosecute the case, the quality of the work, and the outcome of the case.

    

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  11. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Named Plaintiff a service award?

    Class Counsel will request that the Named Plaintiff be paid a service award in the amount of $10,000.00 for her work in connection with this case. The service award must be approved by the Court.

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  12. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Settlement Administrator's expenses?

    The Settlement Administrator has agreed to cap its expenses at $62,500.00.

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  13. How much will my payment be?

    The balance of the Settlement Fund after attorneys’ fees and costs, the service award and the Settlement Administrator’s fees will be divided among all Class Members in accordance with the formulas outlined in the settlement agreement. Current members of Defendant will receive a credit to their accounts for the amount they are entitled to receive. Former members of Defendant shall receive a check from the Settlement Administrator.

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  14. Do I have to do anything if I want to participate in the settlement?

    No. If you received the Notice, then you will be entitled to receive a payment without having to make a claim, unless you choose to exclude yourself from the settlement, or "opt out."

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  15. When will I receive my payment?

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on November 20, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. to consider whether the settlement should be approved. If the Court approves the settlement, then payments should be made or credits should be issued within about 40 to 60 days after the settlement is approved. However, if someone objects to the settlement, and the objection is sustained, then there is no settlement. Even if all objections are overruled and the Court approves the settlement, an objector could appeal, and it might take months or even years to have the appeal resolved, which would delay any payment.

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  16. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?

    If you do not want to receive a payment, or if you want to keep any right you may have to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit, then you must exclude yourself, or "opt out."

    To opt out, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator indicating that you want to be excluded. Your letter can simply state "I hereby elect to be excluded from the settlement in the Lisa Holt v. CommunityAmerica Credit Union class action. Be sure to include your name, the last four digits of your account number(s) or former account number(s), address, telephone number, and email address. Your exclusion or opt-out request must be postmarked by November 2, 2020, and sent to:

    List Holt v. CommunityAmerica Credit Union Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 43434
    Providence, RI 02940-3434

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  17. What happens if I opt out of the settlement?

    If you opt out of the settlement, you will preserve and not give up any of your rights to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this case. However, you will not be entitled to receive a payment from this settlement.

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  18. If I exclude myself, can I obtain a payment?

    No. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to a payment.

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  19. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?

    You can object to the settlement or any part of it that you do not like IF you do not exclude yourself, or opt out, from the settlement. (Class Members who exclude themselves from the settlement have no right to object to how other Class Members are treated.) To object, you must send a written document to the Settlement Administrator at the address below. Your objection should state that you are a Class Member, that you object to the settlement, the factual and legal reasons why you object, and whether you intend to appear at the hearing. In your objection, you must include your name, address, telephone number, email address (if applicable) and your signature. 

    All objections must be postmarked no later than November 2, 2020, and must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator as follows:

    List Holt v. CommunityAmerica Credit Union Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 43434
    Providence, RI 02940-3434

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  20. What is the difference between objecting and requesting exclusion from the settlement?

    Objecting is telling the Court that you do not believe the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate for the class, and asking the Court to reject it. You can object only if you do not opt out of the settlement. If you object to the settlement and do not opt out, then you are entitled to a payment if the settlement is approved, but you will release claims you might have against Defendant. Excluding yourself or opting out is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlement, and do not want to receive a payment or release claims you might have against Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit.

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  21. What happens if I object to the settlement?

    If the Court sustains your objection, or the objection of any other Class Member, then there is no settlement. If you object, but the Court overrules your objection and any other objection(s), then you will be part of the settlement.

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  22. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Approval or Fairness Hearing at 12:00 p.m. on November 20, 2020 at the District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, which is located at 400 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses.

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  23. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You may attend if you desire to do so. If you have submitted an objection, then you may want to attend.

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  24. May I speak at the hearing?

    If you have objected, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must include with your objection, described in Question 19, above, the statement, "I hereby give notice that I intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing."

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  25. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court ordered that the lawyers and their law firms referred to in the Notice as “Class Counsel" will represent you and the other Class Members.

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  26. Do I have to pay the lawyers for accomplishing this result?

    No. Class Counsel will be paid directly from the Settlement Fund.

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  27. Who determines what the attorneys' fees will be?

    The Court will be asked to approve the amount of attorneys’ fees at the Fairness Hearing. Class Counsel will file an application for fees and costs and will specify the amount being sought as discussed above. You may review a physical copy of the fee application under the Case Documents tab of this website, or by reviewing it at the Records Department of the District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, which is located at 400 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106.

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  28. How do I get more information?

    The Notice only summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are contained in the settlement agreement, which can be viewed/obtained under the Case Documents tab of this website or at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, which is located at 400 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, by asking for the Court file containing the Motion For Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement (the settlement agreement is attached to the motion).

    For additional information about the settlement and/or to obtain copies of the settlement agreement, or to change your address for purposes of receiving a payment, you should contact the Settlement Administrator as follows:

    List Holt v. CommunityAmerica Credit Union Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 43434
    Providence, RI 02940-3434
    Toll-Free: 1-855-786-0908
    Email: admin@holtfeessettlement.com

    For more information, you can also contact the Class Counsel as follows:

    J. Gerard Stranch, IV and Martin F. Schubert
    Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC
    223 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
    Suite 200
    Nashville, TN 37203
    615- 254-8801
    gerards@bsjfirm.com
    martys@bsjfirm.com

    Jeffrey D. Kaliel and Sophia Goren
    Gold Kaliel PLLC
    1875 Connecticut Ave., NW
    10th Floor
    Washington, DC 20009
    202-350-4783
    jkaliel@kalielpllc.com
    sgold@kalielpllc.com

    Lisa M. La Fornara and Lynn A. Toops
    Cohen & Malad, LLP
    One Indiana Square
    Suite 1400
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    317-636-6481
    Fax: 317-636-2593
    llafornara@cohenandmalad.com
    ltoops@cohenandmalad.com

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR ANY REPRESENTATIVE OF DEFENDANT CONCERNING THIS NOTICE OR THE SETTLEMENT.

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