A settlement in a junk fax class action lawsuit, which is pending in Chicago federal court, would give about $330 to each fax recipient and more than $1 million to three lawyers who represented the plaintiff.
The Wendell H. Stone Company, of Connellsville, Penn., filed a class action suit in July 2016 in U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, against LKQ, a Chicago-based supplier to recreational vehicle, towing and outdoor power equipment retailers. Stone alleged LKQ violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending three unsolicited faxes to Stone in 2015.
Overall, Stone alleged LKQ violated the Act by sending 77,848 faxes to more than 6,500 recipients, as part of a marketing campaign. In particular, Stone alleged the faxes did not tell recipients, as required by law, how to "opt out" of receiving further faxes.
A motion for a final settlement was filed April 20 in which LKQ agreed to set up a $3.3 million fund, to be split among 6,525 class action members after deductions for attorney fees, an incentive award and court costs.
The settlement was reached with help from mediator Morton J. Denlow, a retired magistrate judge with the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois. Denlow works as a mediator with JAMS, a global dispute resolution company. JAMS is based in Irvine, Calif., with an office in Chicago.
No member of the class action has objected to the settlement, in which each member would receive about $330, after deductions. Stone's attorneys said this amount "easily doubles" the figure usually awarded in TCPA class action settlements.
The incentive award, of $7,500, will be paid to Stone for its efforts in initiating the case.
The agreement gives Stone’s legal team one-third of the settlement, amounting to $1.1 million.
“Class Counsel performed meaningful work identifying the claims, investigating the facts, drafting and filing the pleadings, engaging in an early exchange of information, participating in the mediation, preparing the settlement documents and approval papers, and performing other important legal tasks on behalf of the Class,” Stone’s lawyers wrote in their motions requesting attorney fees.
"And the work isn’t done. Rather, Class Counsel remains committed to seeing this Settlement Agreement through confirmatory discovery and onto to final approval.”
There were three lawyers, and their clerks, who worked the suit for Stone.
Stone's atttorneys said they expect to put in another $10,000 worth of time finalizing the settlement. They also want $10,867 for expenses incurred in pursuing the suit.
Stone's attorneys were from McCallister Law Group, of Chicago, and the Law Offices of Stefan Coleman, of Miami, as well as from Woodrow & Peluso, of Denver.
As part of the settlement, LKQ will also conform its faxes to regulations.
The settlement will be presented for approval to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly at a hearing May 4.
LKQ was defended by the Chicago firms of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum & Nagelberg.