Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SAMPSON v. WESTERN SIERRA ACCEPTANCE CORP.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division


June 25, 2004.

ONETA S. SAMPSON and LISA D. STROUD, Plaintiffs,
v.
WESTERN SIERRA ACCEPTANCE CORP., RIDGE CHRYSLER/PLYMOUTH, LLC doing business as MARQUETTE CHRYSLER JEEP, CITY CHEVROLET, INC. doing business as CITY CHEVROLET-CHRYSLER-JEEP, Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification has had a somewhat interesting history. In my order of February 26, 2004, I denied Plaintiffs' motion because I found that the class action was not the superior method of adjudication against the then existing Defendants, Ridge Chrysler/Plymouth ("Ridge Chrysler") and Western Sierra Acceptance Corp. ("Western Sierra"). After reviewing my order, Plaintiff Oneta Sampson settled her claim with Western Sierra and asked that I reconsider my February 26th order. Sampson argued, and I agreed, that my reasons for denying class certification were more applicable to Western Sierra than to the remaining Defendant, Ridge Chrysler. So, on April 4, 2004, I reversed my previous order and granted class certification.

Ridge Chrysler now asks that I reconsider my April 4th order, taking into account the negative impact Sampson's settlement has had on her ability to be the lead Plaintiff in this class action.*fn1 First, Ridge Chrysler claims that Sampson mooted her claim against Ridge Chrysler when she settled with Western Sierra. Ridge Chrysler argues that the settlement satisfied the entirety of the damages provided for under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. ยง 1681n, and, therefore, terminated Sampson's personal stake in the litigation. United States Parole Commission v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388 (1980). However, after reviewing the settlement agreement in camera, I find that the settlement may not satisfy the entirety of a potential damages award. I say may not because the settlement amount was less than the maximum recovery allowed by the statute. For now, it is impossible to predict exactly what amount of statutory damages (between the $100-$1,000 plus attorney's fees) a reasonable trier of fact would award against Ridge Chrysler. Since further damages may be awarded to Sampson, I find that this case has not been mooted by her settlement with Western Sierra.

  Second, Ridge Chrysler argues that Sampson cannot adequately represent a class of persons who still have potential claims against Western Sierra. However, I do not think those claims should impact this case. Sampson has an active claim against Ridge Chrysler and will adequately represent a class as to that Defendant. Sampson's settlement agreement with Western Sierra does not prevent potential class members from pursuing their claims against Western Sierra individually. Thus, given the arguments that are before me now, I find that Sampson may adequately represent the potential class in an action against Ridge Chrysler. I do, however, recognize that some difficulties concerning Sampson's adequacy as class representative may arise down the road. Since Ridge Chrysler is no longer a going concern and has no assets aside from a $500,000 litigation insurance fund, its ability to satisfy a potential judgment is limited. If the class turns out to be as large as Plaintiffs have predicted, approximately 65,000, then each class member will be entitled to only a mere fraction of what Sampson has already received by way of her settlement. This relatively small amount of recovery may ultimately call into question Sampson's interest in pursuing this case.

  For the reasons stated herein, I stand by my April 4th, 2004 decision, granting class certification.


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.