Ahmed, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al.
PHH TCPA Settlement
5:15-cv-02057-FMO

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 approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement and after any objections or appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the Settlement allows. Because your rights will be affected by this Settlement, it is important that you read the Notice carefully. 

    If you received a Notice in the mail, or by email, it is likely because Defendants’ records indicate you may have received one or more Automatic Calls and/or Prerecorded Calls from Defendants during the Settlement Class Period regarding a mortgage loan owned and/or serviced by, on behalf of and/or in the name of HSBC.

    More specifically, the Settlement Class is comprised of: “All persons within the United States to whom (a) Defendant HSBC or Defendant PHH Mortgage, (b) placed a call (c) to a cellular telephone (d) regarding a mortgage loan owned and/or serviced by, on behalf of and/or in the name of HSBC (e) through the use of any dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice (f) between October 6, 2011 and January 18, 2019.”

    The Court in charge of the case is the United District Court for the Central District of California, and the case is known as Ahmed, et al., v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 5:15-cv-02057 (C.D. Cal.). The proposed Settlement would resolve all claims in this case. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives,” and the company sued, PHH Mortgage Corporation and HSBC Mortgage Corporation (USA), are referred to herein as “Defendants.” 

  • A class action is a lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. Representative plaintiffs, also known as "Class Representatives," assert claims on behalf of the entire class.

    The Class Representatives filed and/or pursued this Action alleging Defendants violated the TCPA by using an automatic telephone dialing system to call cell phones without the prior express consent of the recipients and/or using an artificial or prerecorded voice.

    Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, or that this case is appropriate for treatment as a class action.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Class Representatives or Defendants. Both sides agreed to a settlement instead of going to trial. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for all Class Members.

  • The Court has certified a class action for settlement purposes only. You are in the Settlement Class if you are a person who received one or more Automatic Calls and/or Prerecorded Calls from Defendants between October 6, 2011 and January 18, 2019, regarding a mortgage loan owned and/or serviced by, on behalf of and/or in the name of HSBC, and you did not consent to receive such calls.

    Excluded from the Class are individuals who were not users or subscribers of the specific cellular telephone numbers called during the Settlement Class Period, are officers or directors of Defendants or of any Defendant Affiliate, any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States or any State, their spouses, and persons within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouses of such persons, and all persons who validly exclude themselves or opt out of the Settlement Class.

    If you have questions about whether you are a Class Member, or are still not sure whether you are included, you can call 1-833-759-2983 for more information.

  • Defendants agreed to pay a total settlement amount of $2,400,000, which will be used to create a Settlement Fund to pay cash awards to Settlement Class Members who submit a valid and timely claim, pay Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees of up to 25% of the settlement amount, pay actual costs, pay a service award to the two Class Representatives of $5,000 each, and pay costs and expenses of settlement administration and notice. 

    Any remaining monies from uncashed Settlement Relief may be redistributed in further distributions to Settlement Class Members who submitted valid and timely claims and cashed settlement checks. However, if a further distribution would be administratively infeasible (e.g., less than $1 per qualifying Claimant), the remaining monies will instead be donated to a cy pres recipient. Plaintiffs have proposed that such money be paid to Public Counsel.

  • Each Settlement Class Member who submitted a valid and timely Claim Form will receive Settlement Relief. Settlement Relief is a cash payment. The final cash payment amount will depend on the total number of valid and timely claims filed by Settlement Class Members. Class Counsel estimate you will receive approximately $60.00. But the amount could be less depending on the number of claims.

    The deadline to submit a Claim Form was November 4, 2019 and has passed.

    The Court will hold a hearing on Thursday, December 12, 2019, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Settlement is approved, appeals may still follow. Whether the appeals, if any, can be resolved is uncertain, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. Please be patient.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, unless you excluded yourself, you will be bound by the release of claims in the Settlement. This means that, if the Settlement is approved, you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants or anyone else having to do with TCPA violations arising out of Automatic Calls or Prerecorded Calls made by Defendants between October 6, 2011 and January 18, 2019, and all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you.

    For non-emergency calls to a cell phone number made using an automatic telephone dialing system without the prior express consent of the called party, the TCPA provides for damages of $500 per violation, or up to $1,500 for willful violations, plus an injunction limiting future conduct. However, Defendants have denied that they made any illegal calls to anyone, and in any future lawsuit will have a full range of potential defenses, including that they had prior express consent to make the calls. In addition, the TCPA does not provide for attorneys’ fees to prevailing individual plaintiffs. This Settlement permits class members the opportunity to obtain a smaller amount of money, risk-free.

    If you filed a Claim Form for benefits or do nothing at all, you will be unable to file your own lawsuit regarding the claims described in the Notice, and you will release Defendants from any liability for the Released Claims defined below and in the Settlement.

    Remaining in the Settlement Class means that you, as well as anyone claiming through you such as heirs, administrators, successors, and assigns, relinquish and discharge each and all of the Released Persons from each of the Released Claims (as defined below).

    Released Claims:  Upon Final Approval, each member of the Settlement Class, including the Plaintiffs, shall, by operation of the Judgment, be deemed to have fully, conclusively, irrevocably, forever and finally released, relinquished, and discharged the Released Persons from any and all claims, causes of action, suits, obligations, debts, demands, agreements, promises, liabilities, damages, losses, controversies, costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees of any nature whatsoever, whether based on any federal law, state law, common law, territorial law, foreign law, contract, rule, regulation, any regulatory promulgation (including, but not limited to, any opinion or declaratory ruling), common law or equity, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, asserted or unasserted, foreseen or unforeseen, actual or contingent, liquidated or unliquidated, punitive or compensatory, as of the date of Final Approval, that relate to or arise out of the Released Parties' use of equipment or methods to contact or attempt to contact Settlement Class Members by telephone for mortgage servicing or debt collection purposes during the Settlement Class Period, including but not limited to claims that relate to or arise out of the Released Parties' use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” or “artificial or prerecorded voice” as defined in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. and any other statutory or common law claim arising from the use of a telephone dialing system or artificial or prerecorded calls to cellular telephones.  For the avoidance of doubt, “Released Claims” include claims relating to or arising out of the equipment or method used to contact or attempt to contact Settlement Class Members by telephone, but do not include claims based on other aspects of calls, such as the substance of the calls or the time/date of any such calls.    

    The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the release and describes the Released Claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Class listed in Question 9 for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the Released Parties or the Released Claims or what they mean.  

    The release does not apply to Settlement Class Members who timely opted out of the Settlement.

  • If you don’t want a payment from this Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you were required to exclude yourself from the Settlement.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was November 4, 2019 and has passed.

    If you asked to be excluded, you will not get any Settlement Relief, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Defendants in the future. Although no other person may exclude you from the Settlement Class, nothing prohibits you from obtaining the assistance of another, such as a lawyer or family member, in preparing or submitting any individual exclusion.

  • The Court appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members:

    Alex Burke, Burke Law Offices, LLC, Beth Terrell and Adrienne McEntee, Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, Todd Friedman and Thomas Wheeler, Law Offices of Todd Friedman, P.C., Matthew Mendelsohn, Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, LLC, Joshua Swigart, Hyde & Swigart, and Abbas Kazerounian and Jason Ibey, Kazerouni Law Group, APC.

    All of these lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged separately for these lawyers’ services. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

    Additionally, you may enter an appearance through your own attorney if you so desire, but you do not need to do so.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to 25% of the settlement amount to compensate them for attorneys’ fees for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement, plus actual costs. Class Counsel will also request an award of $5,000 to each of the two Class Representatives, as compensation for their time and effort. The Court may award less than these amounts. These payments, along with the costs of administering the Settlement, will be made out of the Settlement Fund.

  • You could have told the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement or some part of it.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member and did not exclude yourself, you could have objected to the Settlement, or any part of the Settlement,  if you do not think the Settlement is fair. The deadline to object to the Settlement was November 4, 2019 and has passed.

  • The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement. This Fairness Hearing will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, December 12, 2019, at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 350 W. 1st Street, 6th Floor, Courtroom 6D, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional written notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and whether to award attorneys’ fees, expenses, and incentive awards to the Class Representatives as described above, and in what amounts. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. At or after the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long it will take the Court to issue its decision. You do not have to come to this hearing, but you may attend at your own expense. However, any Settlement Class Member who fails to object to the Settlement in the manner described in Question 11 shall be deemed to have waived any such objection, shall not be permitted to object to any terms or approval of the Settlement at the Final Approval Hearing, and shall be foreclosed from seeking any review of the Settlement or the terms of the Agreement by appeal or other means.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must file a notice with the Court saying that you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing in Ahmed, et al., v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 5:15-cv-02057 (C.D. Cal.). Be sure to include your full name, address, and telephone number, as well as copies of any papers, exhibits or other evidence that you intend to present to the Court. Your notice of intention to appear must be filed no later than December 5, 2019. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement or do not file a timely notice of intent to appear.

  • If you do nothing, and are a Class Member, you will not receive a payment after the Court approves the Settlement and any appeals are resolved. In order to receive a payment, you must submit a claim form. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants or any other person having to do with the legal issues in this case.

  • The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-833-759-2983, writing to: PHH TCPA Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 11035, Seattle, WA, 98111; or on the Important Documents page, where you will also find answers to common questions about the Settlement, a claim form, plus other information to help you determine whether you are a Class Member and whether you are eligible for a payment.

For More Information

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

Mail

PHH TCPA Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 11035
Seattle, WA 98111