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In re TRS Recovery Services, Inc. and Telecheck Services, Inc., Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Litigation

United States District Court, D. Maine

July 30, 2015

IN RE: TRS RECOVERY SERVICES, INC. AND TELECHECK SERVICES, INC., FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT (FDCPA) LITIGATION

ORDER DIRECTING NOTICE TO CLASS

D. BROCK HORNBY, District Judge.

On June 9, 2015, I heard argument from the parties about issuing notice in preparation for a fairness hearing on their proposed settlement agreement, revision of the previously certified classes, and plan of distribution. I asked the parties to revise the class notification forms to make them simpler and clearer, they did so, and I have made some further modifications. I have reviewed the Settlement Agreement[1] and the parties' subsequent modifications to that document. I now ORDER that:

1. The Court provisionally certifies a class for settlement purposes only (Settlement Class 1), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3), as follows:

All natural persons with an address in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands to whom the defendant TRS sent its RECR3 letter between March 11, 2010 and July 30, 2015.

2. The Court provisionally certifies a class for settlement purposes only (Settlement Class 1 Subclass), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3), as follows:

All natural persons with an address in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands to whom the defendant TRS sent its RECR3 letter between March 11, 2010 and July 30, 2015, and from whom one or both Defendants collected in whole or in part, within 30 days of the RECR3 letter, the debt or returned check fee referenced in that RECR3 letter.

3. The Court provisionally certifies a class for settlement purposes only (Settlement Class 2), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3), as follows:

All natural persons who have paid a returned check fee of $25.00 to at least one of the defendants by way of a TRS demand draft in connection with an underlying check transaction that occurred in the State of Maine between March 11, 2005 and July 30, 2015.

(Collectively, Settlement Class 1, Settlement Class 1 Subclass and Settlement Class 2 are the "Settlement Classes" and the members of the classes are the "Settlement Class Members"). The Settlement Classes shall supersede and supplant the three classes certified by virtue of this Court's June 4, 2013 Order Certifying A Class Action, No. 2:13-md-2426-DBH (ECF No. 17).

4. Excluded from these Settlement Classes are: all persons who submit timely and valid requests to be excluded from the Settlement Classes pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Order; all current and former employees, officers, directors, legal representatives, and agents of either of the Defendants; and, the Judge to whom this case is assigned and any member of the Judge's immediate family.

5. For the reasons set forth in this Court's July 17, 2012 Decision on Motion for Class Certification, No. 2:11-cv-91-DBH (ECF No. 56), the Court finds this action is maintainable as a class action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3) for settlement purposes. The Court finds that the differences between the Settlement Class definitions and the definitions of the litigation classes previously certified do not alter the analysis or affect the result of the July 17, 2012 decision.

6. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23, Plaintiff Melissa Allen is approved as Class Representative for Class 1 (exclusive of Subclass 1) and Jean LaRocque is approved as Class Representative for Class 1 (inclusive of Subclass 1) and Class 2. This Court appoints the firms of Francis & Mailman, P.C. and Lewis Saul & Associates, P.C. as counsel for the Settlement Classes ("Class Counsel").

7. The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e) on January 21, 2016 in Courtroom Two, United States Courthouse for the District of Maine, 156 Federal Street, Portland, Maine, at 10:00 a.m. for the following purposes:

a. To finally determine whether this action satisfies the criteria for class certification set forth in ...

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