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Boyce v. Triple Crown Services Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 6, 2017

DON BOYCE, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRIPLE CROWN SERVICES CO., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT, CONDITIONALLY CERTIFYING SETTLEMENT CLASS, AND APPROVING FORM AND MANNER OF NOTICE

          Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge.

         This matter initially came before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint, filed June 23, 2015. Defendants filed a timely response and the case proceeded through discovery. In August 2016 a Motion for Class Certification was filed, and it was fully briefed by November 2016. In the interim, a motion for summary judgment was filed, but, upon participating in a November 2016 settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams, the parties were ultimately able to resolve the matter via a settlement agreement. The terms of the settlement are now before the Court for preliminary approval so that the parties can initiate the appropriate notification process for class members. The Court hereby GRANTS preliminary approval of the settlement agreement pursuant to the following:

         1. Counsel have advised the Court that the Parties have agreed, subject to final approval by this Court following notice to the Settlement Class (as described in Paragraph 5, below) and a hearing to settle the action, upon the terms and conditions set forth in the Class Action Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims (the “Agreement” or “Settlement Agreement”), which has been filed with the Court.

         2. The Court has reviewed the Settlement Agreement, as well as the filings, records and proceedings to date in this matter. The terms of the Settlement Agreement are hereby incorporated as though fully set forth in this Order, and capitalized terms shall have the meanings attributed to them in the Settlement Agreement.

         3. Based upon preliminary examination, it appears to the Court that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, that the Settlement Class should be certified for settlement purposes, subject to Paragraph 10, below, and that a hearing should be held after notice to the Settlement Class to determine whether the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable and adequate, and whether a settlement approval order and final judgment should be entered in this action, based upon that Settlement Agreement.

         4. By entering into the Settlement Agreement, Defendant has not admitted to any wrongdoing or liability on its part and denies the same. The Settlement Agreement between the parties is a compromise of disputed claims and does not mean, and shall not be construed to mean, that Defendant is liable with respect to any claim asserted in the Complaint or that Defendant agrees that this action was properly certifiable as a class action.

         Based upon the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

         1. Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement.

         The Settlement Agreement, including all exhibits thereto, is preliminarily approved as fair, reasonable and adequate. The Court finds that (a) the Settlement Agreement resulted from extensive litigation and arm's-length negotiations, including mediation under the auspices of Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams; and (b) the Settlement Agreement is sufficient to warrant notice thereof to members of the Settlement Class and the Settlement Hearing described below.

         2. Class Certification for Settlement Purposes Only.

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3), the Court, for settlement purposes only, hereby conditionally certifies a class (the “Settlement Class”) consisting of:

Any signatory of a contractor operating agreement with Triple Crown Services Company who, since June 23, 2011, paid Qualcomm satellite communication equipment and service charges to Triple Crown Services Company, pursuant to the agreement.
(a) In connection with the certification, the Court makes the following preliminary findings:
(1) Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1) is satisfied because the Class appears to be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, in the initial motion for class certification, the Plaintiff indicated the class may exceed 600 members-an assertion the Defendants did not contest;
(2) Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(2) is satisfied because there appear to be questions of law and fact common to the above-described Class;
(3) Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(3) is satisfied because the claims of the named plaintiff appear to be typical of the claims being resolved ...

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