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Zellner-Dion v. Wilmington Finance, Inc.

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

August 13, 2013

JODY ZELLNER-DION, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
WILMINGTON FINANCE, INC. Defendant.

FINAL ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT CERTIFYING SETTLEMENT CLASS, AND DISMISSING ACTION

PATRICK J. SCHILTZ, District Judge.

This matter having come before the Court on August 13, 2013 upon the Motion of Representative Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of a class of persons, for final approval of a settlement reached between the Parties, and upon review and consideration of the Settlement Agreement dated February 27, 2013 and the modification thereto dated August 6, 2013 (collectively, the "Settlement Agreement" or "Agreement"), the exhibits to the Settlement Agreement, the evidence and arguments of counsel presented at the Court Approval Hearing, and the submissions filed with this Court in connection with the Court Approval Hearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED and adjudged as follows:

1. The Settlement Agreement is hereby incorporated by reference into this Final Order Approving Settlement, Certifying Settlement Class, and Dismissing Action ("Order"), and is hereby adopted by this Court. Capitalized terms in this Order shall, unless otherwise defined, have the same meaning as in the Settlement Agreement.

2. For settlement purposes only, the Settlement Class, as that term is defined in the Agreement, is found to meet the relevant requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) & (b)(3).

3. Solely for the purpose of the Settlement and pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) & (b)(3), the Court hereby finally certifies the Settlement Class. If, for any reason, the Settlement does not become effective, this certification shall be null and void, and shall not be used or referred to for any purpose in the Action or any other action or proceeding.

4. For purposes of settlement, the Court appoints Representative Plaintiff as representative of the Settlement Class, and finds that she meets the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a).

5. For purposes of settlement, the Court appoints the following lawyers as counsel to the Settlement Class, and finds that these counsel meet the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a):

6. As set forth in the Class Notice, this Court convened the Court Approval Hearing at 8:30 A.M. on August 13, 2013.

7. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the Settlement of the Action, as embodied in the terms of the Settlement Agreement, is hereby finally approved as a fair, reasonable, and adequate settlement of the Action in light of the factual, legal, practical, and procedural considerations raised by Representative Plaintiff's claims and Defendant's defenses.

8. The Court finds that notice previously given to Class Members in the Action was the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and satisfies the requirements of due process and Fed.R.Civ.P. 23. The Court further finds that, because (a) adequate notice has been provided to all Class Members and (b) all Class Members have been given the opportunity to object to and request exclusion from, the Settlement, it has jurisdiction over all Class Members. The Court further finds that all requirements of statute (including but not limited to 28 U.S.C. § 1715), rule, and state and federal constitutions necessary to effectuate this Settlement have been met and satisfied. This Court finds that all notice requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1715 have been properly complied with by Defendant in connection with the Settlement, and that it has been more than ninety (90) days since March 15, 2013 (as well as an update on March 20, 2013), on which the notices required under the statute were served upon the appropriate state and federal officials. Accordingly, no Class Member may refuse to comply with or be bound by the Settlement Agreement or this Order.

9. After due consideration of Representative Plaintiff's likelihood of success at trial; the range of Representative Plaintiff's possible recovery; the complexity, expense, and duration of the litigation; the lack of any opposition or objections to the Settlement; the lack of any Successful Opt-Outs from the Settlement; the reaction of Class Members to the Settlement; the state of proceedings at which the Settlement was achieved; the nature of the negotiations leading to the Settlement; the litigation risks to Representative Plaintiff and the Class Members; all written submissions, affidavits, and arguments of counsel; and after notice and a hearing, this Court finds that the terms of the Settlement and the Agreement, including all exhibits thereto are fair, adequate and reasonable, and are in the best interest of the Settlement Class. Accordingly, the Agreement should be and is approved and shall govern all issues regarding the Settlement and all rights of the Parties, including the Class Members.

10. Upon consideration of Class Counsel's application for attorneys' fees and litigation costs, the aggregate amount of the Attorney Fee/Litigation Cost Award is hereby fixed at $250, 000. This aggregate award covers, without limitation, any and all claims for attorneys' fees and litigation costs incurred by (a) Plaintiff's Counsel, (b) any other counsel representing (or purporting to represent) Representative Plaintiff or Class Members (or any of them), and (c) Representative Plaintiff or the Class Members (or any of them) in connection with or related to any matter in the Action, the Settlement, the administration of the Settlement, and any of the matters or claims within the scope of the Release, as embodied in paragraphs 4.01 and 4.02 of the Agreement.

11. Upon consideration of the application for an award to Representative Plaintiff, the amount of the Representative Plaintiff ...


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