Ruppel v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc.
Magazine Subscriber Privacy Settlement
Case No. 16-cv-02444-KMK

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • 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.

    The Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is overseeing this case. The case is called Ruppel v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., Case No. 7:16-cv-02444-KMK. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff. The Defendant is Consumer Reports, Inc.

  • In a class action, one or more people called class representatives (in this case, Don Ruppel) 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 (“PPPA”) by disclosing information related to its customers’ magazine subscriptions to third parties. While Consumer Reports believes that its practices were in compliance with Michigan law, Consumer Reports chose to settle this case, without admitting liability, to focus time, effort and resources on protecting consumers, as the organization has since its founding, and not on additional legal fees and the uncertainty of litigation. The Court has not determined who is right. Rather, the Parties have without admitting liability 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:

    Persons that have a Michigan street address and between April 1, 2010 and October 31, 2016, purchased or had a subscription to a Consumer Reports Publication.

    Consumer Reports Publications include any magazine or publication published by Defendant or any of its subsidiaries in the United States, including but not limited to any one of the following magazines and/or publications: Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports Online, Consumer Reports on Health Newsletter, ShopSmart, and/or MoneyAdvisor.

  • Monetary Relief: A Settlement Fund has been created totaling $16,375,000.00. 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 for more information).

    A detailed description of the settlement benefits can be found in the Settlement Agreement, which is available to view or download on the Important Documents page of this website.

  • If you are member of the Settlement Class you must have submitted 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 filed a valid claim will receive a proportionate share of the Settlement Fund, which Class Counsel anticipates will be approximately $180. You can contact Class Counsel at 646-837-7150 to inquire as to the number of claims filed.

  • A hearing to consider the fairness of the Settlement was held on November 30, 2018, and the Settlement was approved on December 4, 2018. 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 90 days after they are issued.

  • The deadline to submit a Claim Form was January 17, 2019 and has passed.

  • If you stayed in the Class, you gave up your right to sue the Defendant and other Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you have given up against the Defendant are described in the Settlement Agreement. You are “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 for more information), you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available through the Important Documents link on the website.

    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 (see Question 12 for more information) 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 to be the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. The attorneys representing the Settlement Class 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 Court approved a payment for Class Counsel attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $5,458,333.33 from the Settlement Fund. Additionally, the Court approved a payment to the Class Representative of $7,500 from the Settlement Fund for his services in helping to bring and settle this case.

  • The deadline to opt out of the Settlement was on October 4, 2018.

  • 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.

  • If you are a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must file with the Court a letter or brief stating that you object to the Settlement in Ruppel v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., Case No. 7:16-cv-02444-KMK and identify all your reasons for your objections (including citations and supporting evidence) and attach any materials you rely on for your objections. Your letter or brief must also include your name, your address, the basis upon which you claim to be a Class Member (including the name of the Consumer Reports, Inc. magazine(s) to which you are or were a subscriber), the name and contact information of any and all attorneys representing, advising, or in any way assisting you in connection with your objection, and your signature. If you, or an attorney assisting you with your objection, have ever objected to any class action settlement where you or the objecting attorney has asked for or received payment in exchange for dismissal of the objection (or any related appeal) without modification to the settlement, you must include a statement in your objection identifying each such case by full case caption. You must also mail or deliver a copy of your letter or brief to Class Counsel and Defendant’s Counsel listed below.

    Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on the website its request for attorneys’ fees by September 18, 2018.

    The deadline to object to the Settlement was on October 4, 2018.

     

    Court

    The Honorable Kenneth M. Karas
    United States District Court
    for the Sourther District of New York
    300 Quarropas Street, Room 521
    White Plains, NY 10601

    Class Counsel

    Scott A. Bursor
    Bursor & Fisher PA
    888 Seventh Avenue
    New York, NY 10019

     

    Defendant’s Counsel

    Sharon L. Schneier
    Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
    1251 Avenue of Americas
    21st Floor
    New York, NY 10020

  • 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 11:00 a.m. [ET] on November 30, 2018 in Courtroom 100 at the Federal Building and Courthouse, Room 521, 300 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601. 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 December 4, 2018.

  • No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Court had. But, you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you submitted 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 were also allowed to pay another lawyer to attend, but it was not required.

  • Yes. All request to the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing were due on October 4, 2018.

  • The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement at Important Documents page of this website. You may also write with questions to Magazine Subscriber Privacy Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 91304, Seattle, WA 98111. You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-337-9111 or Class Counsel at 646-837-7150, if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read the full Notice carefully, which is available on the case website. You may also find additional information elsewhere on the case website.

For More Information

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

Mail

Magazine Subscriber Privacy Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91304
Seattle, WA 98111