JEFFREY A MUSSELMAN and STEVEN M WADDELL v TEACHERS CREDIT UNION

CAUSE NO. 71D07-1508-PL-000297 IN THE ST JOSEPH COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF INDIANA

St. Joseph Superior Court, South Bend, Indiana

IF YOU RECEIVED A REPOSSESSION NOTICE FROM TEACHERS CREDIT UNION BETWEEN MAY 20, 2005 AND OCTOBER 1, 2016, YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS MAY BE AFFECTED.

 

A state court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.  Capitalized terms used in this notice that are not defined in the notice have the meaning given to them in the Settlement Agreement.  See FAQ 13 for instructions on how to access the Settlement Agreement. 

 

TO:  All persons who at any time during the “Class Period” (being May 20, 2005 through October 1, 2016), and while they were Indiana residents, received one or more post-repossession notices from Teachers Credit Union (a) stating that your vehicle would be sold at a “private sale” or (b) stating that “you will or will not, as applicable, still owe us the difference,” and/or (c) not stating that the borrower is entitled to an accounting of the unpaid indebtedness and the charge, if any, for an accounting (collectively the “Class” and each member a “Class Member”).

  1. Why is there a notice?

    1. A Court authorized this Notice to inform you about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit, and about 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, Teachers Credit Union (“TCU”) would be required to (a) request that the Credit Reporting Agencies delete the tradeline regarding reporting for each Class Member for whom TCU furnished information to Credit Reporting Agencies within the past seven-and-a-half years; (b) cease and desist collection efforts; (c) covenant not to sue Class Members; and (d) release monetary judgments entered against Class Members (collectively, the “Settlement Benefits”).  Because your rights will be affected by this settlement, please read this notice carefully.

       

      If you received a Notice in the mail, it is because, according to the records of TCU, you might have received a repossession notice from TCU between May 20, 2005 and October 1, 2016.

       

      The Court in charge of the case is Judge Steven L. Hostetler of the St. Joseph Superior Court in South Bend, Indiana, and the case is known as Musselman v. Teachers Credit Union, Case No. 71D07-1508-PL-000297 (the “Lawsuit”).  The proposed settlement would resolve all claims in this case.

  2. What is this Class Action Lawsuit about?

    1. The Plaintiff asserted claims in the Lawsuit on behalf of the Class Members alleging that TCU violated certain notice requirements under Indiana’s version of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) when repossessing vehicles from its members. The Plaintiff sought a Court order declaring that TCU’s notices violated the UCC and further sought to recover money damages on behalf of Class Members that received the deficient notices. TCU raised multiple defenses against the Plaintiff’s claims and further asserted conditional counterclaims seeking to recover amounts alleged to be owed by TCU’s members who defaulted on their loans if the Court certified a damages class.

  3. Why is there a settlement?

    1. The Court determined that the Lawsuit could be maintained as a class action under Rule 23 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure for the purposes of determining whether TCU’s notices violated Indiana law, but not for the purposes of awarding money damages. The Court subsequently adjudicated the merits of the Lawsuit, determining that (a) a Repossession Notice utilized by TCU from May 21, 2005 until approximately February 1, 2010 did not comply with Indiana law because it did not state that the member is entitled to an accounting of the unpaid indebtedness and the charge, if any, for an accounting and (b) a Repossession Notice utilized by TCU from approximately February 1, 2010 until October 1, 2016 did not comply with Indiana law because it incorrectly stated that (i) the member’s vehicle would be sold at a “private sale” and the vehicle was actually sold at a public auction and (ii) “you will or will not, as applicable, still owe us the difference” for any deficiency resulting from the sale of the vehicle.

       

      Based on the current posture of the case, including Court orders issued to date, both sides agreed to a settlement instead of going to trial. That way, they avoid the risk and cost of protracted litigation, and the people who received the notices will be entitled to the Settlement Benefits. The Class Representative and his attorneys think the settlement is best for the settlement Class Members.

  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

    1. If you received a repossession notice from TCU between May 20, 2005 and October 1, 2016, you are most likely a member of the Class.

       

      As noted above, the Class consists of All persons who at any time during the “Class Period” (being May 20, 2005 through October 1, 2016), and while they were Indiana residents, received one or more post-repossession notices (a) stating that your vehicle would be sold at a “private sale” or (b) stating that “you will or will not, as applicable, still owe us the difference,” and/or (c) not stating that the borrower is entitled to an accounting of the unpaid indebtedness and the charge, if any, for an accounting.  Any person who properly executes and submits a timely request for exclusion from the Class will be excluded from the Class.

       

      If you have questions about whether you are a Class Member, or are still not sure whether you are included, you can call (888) 267-0167 or visit www.musselmanreposettlement.com for more information.

  5. What does the settlement provide?

    1. TCU has agreed to provide the following Settlement Benefits to Class Members:  (a) request that the Credit Reporting Agencies delete the tradeline regarding reporting for each Class Member for whom TCU furnished information to Credit Reporting Agencies within the past seven-and-a-half years; (b) cease and desist collection efforts; (c) covenant not to sue members of the Class; and (d) release monetary judgments entered against Class Members.  TCU has also agreed to pay Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs, pay a service award to the Class Representatives, and pay costs and expenses of settlement notice and administration.

  6. What do I need to do to get the Settlement Benefits?

    1. Each Class Member will be automatically entitled to the Settlement Benefits without the necessity of submitting a claim.

       

      The Court will hold a hearing at 1:00 P.M. on April 28, 2020, in the St. Joseph Superior Court No. 7, Civil Division Courthouse 1, 101 S. Main Street, South Bend, Indiana 46601 to decide whether to approve the Settlement. You do not have to be present at the hearing.

  7. What am I giving up to stay in the Class?

    1. If you are a Class Member, unless you exclude yourself, you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against TCU and other Released Parties about the legal issues in this case, and all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding what people who do not exclude themselves will give up, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Class for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the Released Persons or the Settled Claims or what they mean.

  8. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?

    1. If you do not want the Settlement Benefits from this settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue TCU, which might also provide TCU with the right to sue or countersue you for any deficiency balance owed on your loan, and any of the Released Parties on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from the Settlement.  The Court will exclude from the Class any Class Member who requests exclusion.

       

      To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter by mail saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class in Musselman v. Teachers Credit Union, Case No. 71D07-1508-PL-000297.  The request for exclusion shall (i) set forth the Class Member’s full name, current address, telephone number, and email address if available; (ii) contain the signatures of each Class Member obligated on the motor vehicle loan or installment sale agreement; and (iii) state an intent of all signatories to the loan or finance agreement not to participate in the settlement.  You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than March 31, 2020, to: Musselman v. TCU Class Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23648, Jacksonville, FL 32241¬3648.

       

      If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any Settlement Benefits 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) TCU and other Released Parties relating to any of the Released Claims in the future. If the proposed settlement is finally approved, any Class Member who has not submitted a timely, written request for exclusion from the Class shall be bound by all subsequent proceedings, orders, and judgments in this action.

  9. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    1. The Court appointed Cary L. Flitter and FLITTER MILZ, P.C.; M. Scott Barrett and BARRETT WYLIE, LLC; and R. William Jonas, Jr. and HAMMERSCHM1DT AMARAL & JONAS to represent you and other Class Members.

       

      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 and have that lawyer make an appearance for you if you so desire.

  10. How will the lawyers and class representatives be paid?

    1. Class Counsel anticipates asking the Court to approve payment of up to $693,000.00 to compensate them for attorneys’ fees for investigating the facts, litigating the case, negotiating the Settlement, and out-of-pocket costs.  Class Counsel will also request an aggregate award of up to $7,000 to the Class Representatives, as compensation for their time and effort.

  11. How do I object to the settlement?

    1. If you are a Class Member and have not filed a timely, written request for exclusion, you may object to any part of the Settlement.  To object, you must file a written statement with the Court saying that you object to the proposed Settlement in Musselman v. Teachers Credit Union, Case No. 71D07-1508-PL-000297.  Your written objection must state why the objector thinks the Court should not approve the settlement and must include your full name, address, telephone number, and email address.  Your objection should be filed with the Court (electronically if you are represented by counsel and by mail to the Clerk’s office if you are not) with a copy mailed to the below address by March 31, 2020.

       

      Musselman v. TCU Class Settlement

      c/o Settlement Administrator

      PO Box 23648

      Jacksonville, FL 32241-3648

       

      If a Class Member retains an attorney, the attorney must file a notice of appearance with the Clerk of the Court.  Any Class Member who does not timely file with the Court and serve a written objection complying with the terms of this paragraph shall be deemed to have waived any objection and shall be foreclosed from raising any objection to the settlement.  Any untimely objection shall be barred, absent extraordinary circumstances.

  12. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    1. The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  This Final Approval Hearing will be held at 1:00 P.M. on April 28, 2020, at the St. Joseph Superior Court, Courthouse 1, 101 S. Main Street, South Bend, IN 46601.  The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check the website for updates.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; the propriety of any objection and the identity of any opt-outs; whether this action should be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to the terms of the settlement; whether Class Members should be bound by the release set forth in the proposed settlement; and whether Plaintiffs’ application for an award of Class Counsel fees and litigation expenses and Representative Plaintiffs’ application for service awards should be approved.  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.

       

      It is not necessary for you to appear at this hearing, but you may attend at your own expense in person or through counsel retained at your expense if you have filed and served a timely written objection.

       

      Any Class Member who files and serves a timely written objection pursuant to this Order and complies with the requirements of this paragraph may also appear and be heard at the Final Approval Hearing either in person or through counsel retained at the Class Member’s expense.  Class Members or their attorneys intending to appear and be heard at the Final Approval Hearing must deliver to the Court, TCU’s counsel, and Class Counsel a notice of intention to appear, setting forth the basis for the objection and any documents or legal memoranda in support of the objection.  Such notices of intention to appear and any documents or legal memoranda must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2020.  Any Class Member who does not timely file and serve a notice of intention to appear and supporting documents pursuant to the terms of this paragraph shall not be permitted to appear and be heard at the Final Approval Hearing, absent extraordinary circumstances.

  13. Do you need any additional information?

    1. This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by calling the Settlement Administrator at (888) 267-0167, writing to: Musselman v. TCU Class Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23648, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3648; or here, where you will also find answers to common questions about the Settlement.