Higgins v. TV Guide Magazine, LLC Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions

Answers

1. What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

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. The Defendant denies it violated any law and/or committed any wrongdoing. 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.

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2. Why is there a Settlement?

Answer:

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 now rather than, if at all, years from now.

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3. How do I know if I am in the Settlement Class?

Answer:

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

All Persons with Michigan street addresses who purchased a subscription to TV Guide Magazine or TV Weekly from TV Guide between October 26, 2009 and October 26, 2015. 

Based on Defendant’s records, there are approximately 100,000 potential Class Members.

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4. What does the Settlement Provide?

Answer:

Monetary Relief: Defendant has created a Settlement Fund totaling $1,700,000. Settlement Class Member payments, as well as 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.

Privacy Protections:  In addition to this monetary relief, for a period of four (4) years from September 18,2018 (the date of Preliminary Approval), the Defendant has agreed not to disclose any Michigan subscriber information to any third-party companies without the prior express written consent of the affected subscribers.

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


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5. How much will my payment be?

Answer:

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 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 $50–100. You can contact Class Counsel at 1-866-354-3015 to inquire as to the number of claims filed.  

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6. When will I get my payment?

Answer:

You should receive a check from the Settlement Administrator within 60 days after the Settlement has been finally approved and/or after any appeals process is complete.  The hearing to consider the final fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for December 19, 2018. All checks will expire and become void 90 days after they are issued.

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7. How do I get a payment?

Answer:

If you are a Class Member and you want to get a payment, you must complete and submit a claim form by February 2, 2019. Claim forms can be  submitted online or you may have received a claim form in the mail as a postcard attached to a summary of the notice. If you are submitting a paper claim form, you must mail it to the Settlement Administrator, postmarked no later than February 2, 2019. To request a paper copy, you can email the Settlement Administrator or call toll free, 1-877-852-8873.

We encourage you to submit your claim electronically. Not only is it easier and more secure, but it is completely free and takes only minutes!

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8. What am I giving up if I stay in the Class?

Answer:

If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue the Defendant 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 described in Section 1.25 of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself, you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available through the Court “Documents” link on this website.

The Settlement Agreement, in Section 1.24, describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions you can talk to the lawyers listed in Questions 10 & 15 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.

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9. What happens if I do nothing at all?

Answer:

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.

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10. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

The Court has appointed Eve-Lynn Rapp, Ari J. Scharg, and Schuyler R. Ufkes of Edelson PC 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.

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11. How will the lawyers be paid?

Answer:

The Defendant has agreed to pay Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and costs in an amount to be determined by the Court. The fee petition will seek no more than 35% of the Settlement Fund; Class Counsel may ask for and 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 to pay $5,000 to the Class Representative from the Settlement Fund for his services in helping to bring and settle this case.

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12. How do I get out of the Settlement?

Answer:

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must mail or otherwise deliver a letter (or request for exclusion) stating that you want to be excluded from the Higgins v. TV Guide Magazine, LLC, Case No. 2:15-cv-13769-SJM-MKM settlement. Your letter or request for exclusion must also include your name, your address, your signature, the name and number of this case, and a statement that you wish to be excluded. You must mail or deliver your exclusion request postmarked no later than November 26, 2018 to: 

Magazine Subscriber Privacy Settlement
c/o Settlement Administrator
PO Box 58129
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8129


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13. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?

Answer:

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

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14. If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?

Answer:

No. If you exclude yourself, you should not submit a claim form to ask for Benefits because you won’t receive any.

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15. How do I object to the Settlement?

Answer:

If you’re 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 Higgins v. TV Guide Magazine, LLC, Case No. 2:15-cv-13769-SJM-MKM 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, 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. 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 this website its request for attorneys’ fees by November 9, 2018.   
 
If you want to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing to object to the Settlement, with or without a lawyer (explained below in the answer to Question Number 19), you must say so in your letter or brief. File the objection with the Court and mail a copy to these three different places postmarked no later than November 26, 2018.

Court

The Hon Stephen J. Murphy, III
Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse 
231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 228
Detroit, MI 48226

Class Counsel

Ari J. Scharg
EDELSON PC
350 North LaSalle St., Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60654

Defendant's Counsel

Hillard M. Sterling
TRAUB LIEBERMAN STRAUS & SHREWSBERRY, LLP
303 W. Madison Street, Suite 1200 
Chicago, IL 60606

   

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16. What's the difference between objecting and excluding myself from the Settlement?

Answer:

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.

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17. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 A.M. on December 19, 2018 in Room 228 at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, Michigan. The purpose of the hearing will be for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class; to consider 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 will be available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the Settlement.

The hearing may be postponed to a different date or time without notice, so it is a good idea to check this website or call 1-877-852-8873. If, however, you timely objected to the Settlement and advised the Court that you intend to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing, you will receive notice of any change in the date of such Final Approval Hearing. 


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18. Do I have to come to the hearing?

Answer:

No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection or comment, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed and mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it’s not required.

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19. May I speak at the Hearing?

Answer:

Yes. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must include in your letter or brief objecting to the Settlement a statement saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear in Higgins v. TV Guide Magazine, LLC, Case No. 2:15-cv-13769-SJM-MKM.” It must include your name, address, telephone number and signature as well as the name and address of your lawyer, if one is appearing for you. Your objection and notice of intent to appear must be filed with the Court and postmarked no later than November 26, 2018, and be sent to the addresses listed in Question 15.

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20. Where do I get more information?

Answer:

The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement on this website. You may also write with questions to Magazine Subscriber Privacy Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 58129, Philadelphia, PA 19102-8129. You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-877-852-8873 or Class Counsel at 1-866-354-3015, if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read the full Notice carefully. You may also find additional information elsewhere on this website.

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by the Settlement Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call (877) 852-8873

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Submit Claim

Click here to safely and securely submit a Claim Form.

Important Dates

  • Exclusion Deadline

    Monday, November 26, 2018 You must complete and mail your request for exclusion form so that it is postmarked no later than November 26, 2018.
  • Objection Deadline

    Monday, November 26, 2018 You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than November 26, 2018.
  • Claim Form Deadline

    Saturday, February 2, 2019 You must submit your claim form online no later than Saturday, February 2, 2019, or mail your completed paper claim form so that it is postmarked no later than February 2, 2019.
  • Final Approval Hearing Date

    Wednesday, December 19, 2018 The Final Approval Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. Please check this website for updates.

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