Edwards v. Hearst Communications, Inc.
Hearst Settlement
1:15-cv-09279-AT-JLC

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A Court authorized a 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.

    The Honorable Analisa Torres, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is overseeing this case. The case is called Edwards v. Hearst Communications, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-09279-AT-JLC. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff. The Defendant is Hearst Communications, Inc.

  • In a class action, one or more people called class representatives (in this case, Josephine James Edwards) sue on behalf of a group or a "class" of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • This lawsuit claims that Defendant violated Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act, M.C.L. § 445.1712 ("VRPA") by disclosing information related to its customers’ magazine subscriptions to third parties. The Defendant denies it violated any law. The Court has not determined who is right. Rather, the Parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation.

  • The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiff or the Defendant should win this case. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation, and Class Members will get compensation sooner rather than, if at all, after the completion of a trial.

  • The Court decided that everyone who fits the following description is a member of the Settlement Class:

    All persons who had a Michigan street address at any time on or before July 30, 2016 who purchased and/or had a subscription to a Hearst Publication on or before July 30, 2016.

    Hearst Publications include any magazine or other publication published by Defendant, one of its subsidiaries, predecessors, or companies acquired by Hearst, or any publication acquired by Hearst, in the United States, including but not limited to any one of the following magazines or publications: Country Living, Cosmopolitan, Elle Decor, Elle, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Town & Country, Veranda, and Woman’s Day.

  • Monetary Relief: A Settlement Fund has been created totaling $50,000,000.00. Class Member payments, and the cost to administer the Settlement, the cost to inform people about the Settlement, attorneys’ fees, and an award to the Class Representative will also come out of this fund (see Question 13).

    A detailed description of the settlement benefits can be found in the Settlement Agreement.

  • If you are member of the Settlement Class you may submit a Claim Form to receive a portion of the Settlement Fund. The amount of this payment will depend on how many of the Class Members file valid claims. Each Class Member who files a valid claim will receive a proportionate share of the Settlement Fund, which Class Counsel anticipates will be approximately $155. You can contact Class Counsel at 646-837-7150 to inquire as to the number of claims filed.

  • The hearing to consider the fairness of the Settlement was held on April 24, 2019 at 12:00 p.m., and the Settlement was approved on April 24, 2019. However, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them may take several months. Eligible Class Members whose claims were approved by the Settlement Administrator will receive their payment 28 days after any appeals process is complete. The payment will be made in the form of a check, and all checks will expire and become void 180 days after they are issued.

  • The deadline to submit a Claim Form was March 25, 2019 and has passed.

  • If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue the Defendant and other Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against the Defendant are described in the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” the Defendant and certain of its affiliates, employees and representatives as described in Section 1.27 of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself (see Question 14), you are "releasing" the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents page here.

    The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions you can talk to the lawyers listed in Question 12 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.

  • If you do nothing, you won’t get any benefits from this Settlement. But, unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

  • The Court has appointed Bursor & Fisher, P.A. and Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP to be the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” They believe, after conducting an extensive investigation, that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your expense.

  • The Defendant has agreed that Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and costs may be paid out of the Settlement Fund in an amount to be determined by the Court. The fee petition will seek no more than one-third of the Settlement Fund, plus reimbursement of their costs and expenses; the Court may award less than this amount. Under the Settlement Agreement, any amount awarded to Class Counsel will be paid out of the Settlement Fund.

    Subject to approval by the Court, Defendant has agreed that the Class Representative may be paid $10,000 from the Settlement Fund for her services in helping to bring and settle this case.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was March 25, 2019 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

  • No. If you exclude yourself, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for benefits.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was March 25, 2019 and has passed.

  • Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself from the Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court held the Final Approval Hearing at 12:00 p.m. on April 24, 2019 in Courtroom 15D at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007. The purpose of the hearing was for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class; to consider the Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses; and to consider the request for an incentive award to the Class Representative. At that hearing, the Court was available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the Settlement.

    After the Final Approval Hearing, the Court approved the Settlement on April 24, 2019.

  • No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Court had. But, you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you sent an objection or comment, you did not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed and mailed your written objection on time, the Court considered it. You also may have paid another lawyer to attend, but it was not required.

  • Yes. However, the deadline to ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing was March 28, 2019 and has passed.

  • This website summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement on the Important Documents page here. You may also write with questions to Hearst Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91225, Seattle,WA 98111-9931. You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-593-6759 or Class Counsel at 646-837-7150, if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read this website carefully.

For More Information

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

Mail

Hearst Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91225
Seattle, WA 98111-9931