Stewart, et al. v. Early Warning Services, LLC Settlement
Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-03277-CCC-SCM

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You and other members of this class action are a part of the (b)(3) Settlement because you requested a copy of your file disclosure from Defendant and, while your EWS file may have contained a Fraud Record, the disclosure EWS sent you did not use the word “fraud.” The settlement of this claim is called the “(b)(3) Settlement.”

    A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, and your legal rights. Judge Claire C. Cecchi, of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, is overseeing this class action. The case is known as Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC, No. 2:18-cv-03277-CCC-SCM (the “Lawsuit”).

    A Court authorized the notice to inform you about the proposed (b)(3) Settlement and your rights. Before any final judgment is entered, the Court will have a hearing to decide whether to approve the (b)(3) Settlement. The notice is only a summary of the proposed (b)(3) Settlement. More details about the proposed (b)(3) Settlement are available in a longer document called the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement on this website under Important Documents.

  • Shabani Stewart (the “Plaintiff”) claims that the Defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (the “FCRA”) in connection with responding to consumer file disclosure requests.

    In addition, the Plaintiff claims that members of the (b)(3) Settlement Class requested the contents of their files from EWS, and that EWS did not use the word “fraud” in disclosing Fraud Records in the disclosures it provided to these consumers.

    EWS has denied all claims in the Lawsuit and contends that it acted lawfully and in compliance with the FCRA at all times. Despite denying liability and wrongdoing, EWS has decided it is in its best interest to settle the Lawsuit to avoid the burden, expense, risk, and uncertainty of continuing the Litigation.

    In addition to the claim described above, Plaintiff Shabani Stewart and Defendant have reached a class settlement related to other allegations in the complaint. Specifically, Plaintiff also contends that EWS violated the FCRA by failing to provide, upon a consumer’s request, the complete contents of all information in the consumer’s file at the time of such request. The settlement of these other allegations is referred to as the “(b)(2) Settlement.” Information about the (b)(2) Settlement can be found at www.FileDisclosureFCRASettlement.com/B2.

  • You are a member of the (b)(3) Settlement Class and are affected by the settlement if you requested a copy of your file disclosure from the Defendant between March 7, 2016 and February 21, 2020, and if your resulting file disclosure indicated that the Defendant maintained a Fraud Record about you but the file disclosure did not use the term “Fraud.”

    Specifically, for the purposes of settlement only, the Court has provisionally certified the (b)(3) Settlement Class defined as follows:

    “(b)(3) Settlement Class” means all natural persons residing in the United States who, from March 7, 2016 through February 21, 2020, requested from EWS the contents of his or her file maintained by EWS, where EWS had, in such consumer’s file, at least one Fraud Record, where EWS in response to such request, provided a file disclosure to such consumer but where such file disclosure did not use the term “fraud.” Excluded from the (b)(3) Settlement Class are individuals who have previously released his or her   claims against EWS, who had a record of a match in the Internal Fraud Prevention Service and the Judge overseeing the Litigation.

  • The Defendant has agreed to pay $3,975,000 (the “(b)(3) Settlement Fund”) for the benefit of the (b)(3) Settlement Class. Payments will be made by check to each class member in the amount of approximately $59. Because the amount of each check is subject to a pro rata deduction from the Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees and costs approved by the Court, the expected payment is the “net” amount stated above. This is an approximate amount and the amount that you actually receive could be less.

    In addition, as part of the Settlement, Defendant will implement a new process by which Defendant will change the language it uses when disclosing a Shared Fraud record to a consumer to now include the word “fraud” in the disclosure.

  • You do not need to do anything to receive a cash payment under this settlement. If the settlement is finally approved, you will automatically receive a payment, unless you have excluded yourself from the (b)(3) Settlement Class. The check will be mailed to the address appearing in the Defendant’s records. If your address has changed or is changing, you may inform the Settlement Administrator by going to the Contact Us tab on this webpage.

  • The Court will hold a hearing on June 22, 2020 to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, after that there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year after Court approval. The progress of the settlement will be reported on this settlement website. Please be patient.

  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the (b)(3) Settlement Class, which means that you cannot be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant (or other parties released by the settlement) about the legal claims in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you agreed to a “Release of Claims,” stated below, which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you receive settlement benefits. Basically, you are releasing your right to sue for any violation of federal or state law based on the manner, form and content of Defendant’s file disclosure, and any claims that the Defendant did not disclose to you the contents of your file.

    The “Release” contained in the Settlement Agreement states:

    As of the Effective Date, all members of the Class fully, finally, completely, and forever release and discharged the Released Persons from any and all Claims, Liabilities, Proceedings and Relief that arose on or before the Effective Date and that any Class  Member had, now has, or may have in the future under 15 U.S.C. 1681g (and any FCRA State Equivalent) or is based upon or related to the content, form, manner or nature of the consumer disclosure provided to the Class Member in response to his or her request to EWS for the contents of his or her file.

    The full release and list of released parties may be found at on this website under Important Documents, or by calling 1-888-964-1154 for assistance.

  • If you do not want a benefit from this settlement, but you want to maintain your right to sue or continue to sue the Defendant on your own about the legal issues in this case, you must have taken steps to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. This is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class. Opting out gives you the right to bring your own lawsuit but does not guarantee that your own lawsuit will be successful.

    You may have “opted out” or excluded yourself from the settlement as explained below.

    REQUESTS FOR EXCLUSION THAT ARE NOT POSTMARKED ON OR BEFORE MAY 11, 2020 WILL NOT BE HONORED.

    You cannot exclude yourself by telephone or by e-mail. You also cannot exclude yourself by mailing a request to any location other than that specified below or by mailing a request after the deadline. You also cannot exclude yourself as part of a group, aggregate, or class involving more than one consumer.

    If you excluded yourself, you should promptly consult your own attorney about your rights as the time to file an individual lawsuit is limited.

    To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must have completed the Exclusion Request form attached to the Notice by selecting “I am opting out” where indicated, or sent a letter stating that you want to be excluded from the settlement of Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC., including: (1) the name of this lawsuit, Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-03277-CCC-SCM; (2) your full name, current address, and telephone number; (3) a statement of intention to exclude yourself from the settlement; and (4) your signature. You must have mailed your Exclusion Request so that it was postmarked no later than May 11, 2020 to:

    Exclusion Requests – Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91365
    Seattle, WA 98111

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up the right to sue the Defendant for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You may have needed to exclude yourself from this class action to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, your Exclusion Request must have been postmarked by May 11, 2020, which has now passed. 

  • No.

  • The Plaintiff retained Gabriel Y. Posner of Posner Law PLLC, 270 Madison Avenue, Suite 1203, New York, NY 10016 to represent her. In connection with the preliminary approval of the settlement, the Court appointed this attorney to represent you and other members of the (b)(3) Settlement Class. This attorney is called “Class Counsel.” This lawyer will not separately charge you for his work on the case. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel asked the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs and expenses incurred in this matter for work performed representing the (b)(3) Class, which the Defendant has agreed to pay as part of the Settlement Fund, with Class Counsel requesting no more than $740,000 for work performed representing the (b)(3) Class. Additionally, Class Counsel will request additional amounts for work performed representing the (b)(2) Class. However, the Court may ultimately award less than the requested amounts. The attorneys representing the class have handled this case on a contingency basis. To date, they have not been paid anything for their work, and they have paid all of the litigation costs out-of-pocket, without any reimbursement. Class Counsel will be required to submit a fee request to the court demonstrating why the fee they are seeking is reasonable. This petition is available on the Important Documents page.

    (b)(3) Class Members do not have to pay any attorneys’ fees in connection with the settlement.

  • The Plaintiff found a lawyer to represent her and the (b)(3) Settlement Class, litigated this case, participated in discovery, and participated in settlement negotiations. As compensation for her work on behalf of the (b)(3) Class Members, the Plaintiff will ask the Court to approve a payment to her of an amount not to exceed $3,750. Additionally, for her work on behalf of the (b)(2) Class, Plaintiff will request compensation of an additional $3,750. The Court may ultimately award less than the requested amount.

  • If you are a (b)(3) Settlement Class Member, you could have objected to the settlement if you thought any part of the settlement is fair, reasonable, or adequate. The deadline to object to the Settlement was May 11, 2020 and has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You could have objected only if you remained in the (b)(3) Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the (b)(3) Settlement Class. If you excluded yourself, you had no basis to object to this settlement because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you do not have to.

    The Court will hold a fairness hearing on June 22, 2020 at 10:00 AM via videoconference on the online platform, Zoom. 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 will listen to people who have submitted timely requests to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide the amount that Class Counsel and the Plaintiff will be paid. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to finally approve the settlement. The time, date, and location of the hearing may change without further notice to you.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You are welcome to come if you so desire. If you sent an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. 

  • The Final Fairness Hearing scheduled on June 22, 2020 will be held on the online platform, Zoom. To speak at the Hearing, you were required to send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC" by May 11, 2020. The deadline to submit a "Notice of Intention to Appear" has passed.

     

  • You may call the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-964-1154. Or you can write to the Settlement Administrator, Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 91365, Seattle, WA 98111. You may also access the Court docket in this case, for a fee, through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.njd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl; or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 50 Walnut Street, Room 4015, Newark, NJ 07101, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

    PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT, THE CLERK, OR THE DEFENDANT REGARDING THIS SETTLEMENT.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

(B)(2) Toll-free
(B)(3) Toll-free
Mail
Stewart v. Early Warning Services, LLC Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91365
Seattle, WA 98111