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Halaburda v. Bauer Publishing Co., LP

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

January 6, 2015

CINDY HALABURDA, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
BAUER PUBLISHING CO., LP, a Delaware Partnership, Defendant.

FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE

HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

WHEREAS, a class action is pending before the Court entitled Halaburda v. Bauer Publishing Co., LP, Case No. 12-cv-12831; and

WHEREAS, Plaintiff Cindy Halaburda (“Plaintiff”), individually and as Class Representative, and Defendant Bauer Publishing Co., LP (“Defendant”) have entered into a Settlement Agreement (dkt. 62-1), which, together with the exhibits attached thereto, sets forth the terms and conditions for a proposed settlement and dismissal of the Action with prejudice; and

WHEREAS, on September 26, 2014, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, conditionally certifying a Class pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3) of “All Persons in the state of Michigan that subscribed to any Bauer Publication and subsequently had their Subscriber Information disclosed by Bauer to a third party” (dkts. 62-1; 63); and

WHEREAS, Defendant notified the Michigan Attorney General’s Office about the proposed Settlement Agreement pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), 28 USC § 1715, and subsequently the Parties discussed the terms of the Settlement Agreement with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, and pursuant to those discussions, the Parties agreed to make the following modifications to the prospective relief provided in Paragraph 2.1, subject to Court approval: (i) the second sentence of Paragraph 2.1(c) shall be deleted (“Defendant shall use its commercially reasonable best efforts when negotiating, renegotiating, extending, or renewing contracts with third party companies authorized to sell Bauer Publications subscription(s) to require such companies to provide the notice required under this Paragraph to the extent practicable.”); and (ii) Paragraph 2.1(e) shall be replaced with the following sentence after the phrase “In lieu of Paragraphs (a)-(d) above”: “Bauer agrees not to disclose any Michigan customers’ Subscriber Information for the four-year period provided for in the Class Action Settlement Agreement”; and

WHEREAS, the Court has considered the Parties’ Class Action Settlement Agreement (dkt. 62-1), as well as Plaintiff’s Motion for Final Approval of the Settlement Agreement (dkt. 66), Plaintiff’s Motion for Approval of Attorneys’ Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Award (dkt. 64), together with all exhibits thereto, the arguments and authorities presented by the Parties and their counsel at the Final Approval Hearing held on January 5, 2015, and the record in the Action, and good cause appearing, It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED THAT:

1. Terms and phrases in this Final Judgment shall have the same meaning as ascribed to them in the Parties’ Class Action Settlement Agreement.

2. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Action and over all Parties to the Action, including all Settlement Class members.

3. The notice provided to the Settlement Class pursuant to the Settlement Agreement (dkt. 62-1) and order granting Preliminary Approval (dkt. 63)–– including (i) direct notice to the Settlement Class via email and U.S. mail, based on the comprehensive Settlement Class List provided by Defendant, and (ii) the creation of the Settlement Website––fully complied with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 and due process, constituted notice that was reasonably calculated, under the circumstances, to apprise the Settlement Class of the pendency of the Action, their right to object to or to exclude themselves from the Settlement Agreement, and their right to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.

4. No Class Member has objected to any of the terms of the Settlement Agreement or submitted a request for exclusion.

5. The Court finds that Defendant properly and timely notified the appropriate government officials of the Settlement Agreement, pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1715. The Court has reviewed the substance of Defendant’s notice, and finds that it complied with all applicable requirements of CAFA. Further, more than ninety (90) days have elapsed since Defendant provided notice pursuant to CAFA and the Final Approval Hearing.

6. This Court now gives final approval to the Settlement Agreement, and finds that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. The settlement consideration provided under the Settlement Agreement constitutes fair value given in exchange for the release of the Released Claims against the Released Parties. The Court finds that the consideration to be paid to members of the Settlement Class is reasonable, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class Members, considering the total value of their claims compared to the disputed factual and legal circumstances of and affirmative defenses asserted in the Action, and the potential risks and likelihood of success of pursuing litigation on the merits. The complex legal and factual posture of this case, the amount of discovery completed, and the fact that the Settlement is the result of arm’s-length negotiations between the Parties support this finding. The Court finds that these facts, in addition to the Court’s observations throughout the litigation, demonstrate that there was no collusion present in the reaching of the Settlement Agreement, implicit or otherwise.

7. The Court has specifically considered the factors relevant to class action settlement approval, see, e.g., Int’l Union, United Auto., Aerospace, & Agr. Implement Workers of Am., 497 F.3d 615, 631 (6th Cir. 2007), including, inter alia, the likelihood of success on the merits, the public interest, and the reaction of absent class members, and upon consideration of such factors finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate to all concerned. The Parties are directed to consummate the Settlement Agreement in accordance with its terms.

8. The Court finds that the Class Representative and Class Counsel adequately represented the Settlement Class for the purposes of litigating this matter and entering ...


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