United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
DUSTIN HARBIN and JIMMY PRUITT, on behalf of themselves and the class defined herein, Plaintiffs,
EMERGENCY COVERAGE CORPORATION and ACCOUNT RESOLUTION TEAM, INC., Defendants.
Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton
R. MCDONOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 16, 2018, United States Magistrate Judge H. Bruce
Guyton filed his report and recommendation pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). (Doc. 54.) Magistrate Judge Guyton
recommended that the parties' settlement agreement (Doc.
43-1) be approved in its entirety. (Doc. 54.) Neither party
has filed any objections to Magistrate Judge Guyton's
report and recommendation. Additionally, as noted by Magistrate
Judge Guyton, no objections were filed to the proposed
settlement agreement or presented at the fairness hearing.
(Id. at 1.) Nevertheless, the Court has conducted a
review of the report and recommendation, as well as the
record, and it agrees with Magistrate Judge Guyton's
well-reasoned conclusions. Accordingly, the Court will
ACCEPT and ADOPT Magistrate
Judge Guyton's report and recommendation (Doc. 54).
consideration of the Parties' request for final approval
of the Class Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”)
between Plaintiffs, Dustin Harbin and Jimmy Pruitt
(“Plaintiffs”), individually, and as
representatives of the class of persons defined below
(“Settlement Class”), and Defendants, Account
Resolution Team and Emergency Coverage Corporation, the Court
orders and finds as follows:
Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this
lawsuit, Plaintiffs, Settlement Class members, and
following Settlement Class is certified pursuant to
(a) All persons sued by Defendants; (b) in the General
Session Court of Hamblen County, Tennessee; (c) that had
garnishments issued against their wages that included amounts
of post-judgment interest or fees that exceeded the amount
allowed under Tennessee state law; (d) that made payments to
Defendants as a result of the wrongful garnishments issued to
their employers by garnishment of wages or direct payment to
the clerk between March 16, 2013 and ending on April 5, 2016.
Based on the Parties' stipulations: (A) the Settlement
Class as defined is sufficiently numerous such that joinder
is impracticable; (B) common questions of law and fact
predominate over any questions affecting only individual
Settlement Class members; (C) the claim of Plaintiffs are
typical of the Settlement Class members' claims; (D)
Plaintiffs are appropriate and adequate representatives for
the Class and their attorneys, Alan C. Lee, Peter A
Holland, and Scott C Borison, are hereby appointed as
Class Counsel; and (E) a class action is the superior method
for the fair and efficient adjudication of the claims of the
Settlement Class members.
Court approved a form of notice for mailing to the Settlement
Class. The Court is informed that actual notice was sent by
first class mail to approximately 119 Settlement Class
members by First Class, Inc., the third-party settlement
administrator. A total of seventeen envelopes were returned
by the United States Postal Service, none of which were
returned with forwarding addresses and re-mailed. No
Settlement Class members requested exclusion, and no
objections were filed or received. A total of 119 Settlement
Class members are entitled to a share of the monetary
benefits of the settlement.
March 26, 2018, Magistrate Judge Guyton held a fairness
hearing to which Settlement Class members, including any with
objections, were invited. Excluded from the Settlement Class
are those persons who timely and validly requested exclusion.
Court finds that provisions for notice to the class satisfy
the requirements due process pursuant to the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, including Rule 23, the United States
Constitution and any other applicable law.
Court finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and
adequate and hereby finally approves the Agreement submitted
by the Parties, including the Release and payments by PRS.
Upon the Effective Date, as that term is defined in the
Agreement, Defendants shall make the following payments:
(a) Defendants shall create a class settlement fund of $1,
360.00 (“Class Recovery”), which the Class
Administrator shall distribute among those Settlement Class
Members who did not exclude themselves
(“Claimants”). Claimants will receive a $10.00
payment from the Class Recovery by check. The shares of any
of the Settlement Class Members who could not be located will
be donated as a cy pres award to East Tennessee
Children's Hospital, and the award will be expressly
earmarked for the benefit of infants afflicted with Neonatal
Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Checks issued to Claimants will be
void sixty days from the date of issuance. Any checks that
have not been cashed by the void ...