Class Action Documents:
Class Notice Below:
NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
The Settlement resolves a lawsuit alleging that a group of defendants 1) violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 2) are subject to a declaratory judgment to cancel all debt incurred from rent between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020 (while the property was unlicensed), 3) violated the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act, 4) violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, and 5) are subject to the common law cause of action of Money Had and Received. The Defendants are Law Offices of Edward J. Maher, P.C. and Edward J Maher personally, E.T.G. Associates ’94, LP (the owner of the Temple Gardens apartment building located at 2601 Madison Avenue in Baltimore, MD, or “the property”), and Roizman Development, Inc. (the managing general partner of E.T.G. Associates ’94, LP who works with the management company that manages the property). The Defendants deny any liability or wrongdoing; however, to avoid further costs and risks from continuing the lawsuit, Defendants have agreed to pay $350,000 into a settlement fund, $200,000 of which will directly compensate tenants of the unlicensed property. In addition, all unpaid rental debt, including fees, that was incurred during between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020 that remains unpaid will be wiped clean as a part of this settlement. Each household will receive the greater of $300 or a percentage of rent from the unlicensed period that was paid six or more days late. Based upon records of the Defendants, and if the Court approves the Settlement, the portion of the settlement fund allocated for Settlement Class Member(s) [John Doe (+ Jane Doe Together)] is $[x,xxx].
- Eligible Settlement Class Members include all adult persons who were leaseholders in the unlicensed property between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020.
- Your legal rights are affected whether you act, or do not act. Please read this notice carefully.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT:
|Choose to not participate in the Settlement. This is the only option that allows you to pursue a separate lawsuit against the Defendants about the legal claims in this case.
|Write to the Court about why you do not like the Settlement.
|GO TO A HEARING
|Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement.
|You will have a settlement check sent to you in an amount based upon the Defendants’ records when the Court approves the Settlement at a Final Approval Hearing.
- These rights and options – and the deadlines to exercise them – are explained in this notice.
- The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the Settlement. Payments will be made if the Court approves the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. Please be patient.
- What is this lawsuit about?
Alison Assanah-Carroll (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of all members of the proposed settlement class, has asserted that the Defendants violated the law by collecting rent while the property was unlicensed. In this matter, the Maryland Supreme Court has already determined that those who voluntarily paid rent during the unlicensed period cannot get any portion of their rent back without showing that the rental unit was in a state of disrepair such that they sustained actual damages. However, the Supreme Court of Maryland determined that rent may be considered damages for those who made late payments as a result of collection activity.
- Why is this a class action?
In a class action, a person called a Class Representative (here, Alison Assanah-Carroll), sues on behalf of similarly situated people who have similar claims. All these people are Class Members. One court proceeding may resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
- Why is there a Settlement?
Though the Supreme Court of Maryland has ruled that the Plaintiff may have a claim, the Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiff or Defendant. The Plaintiff thinks she could have prevailed at a trial. The Defendants think the Plaintiff would not have prevailed at trial. But there was no trial. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they avoid the cost and risks of a trial, and the people affected may get compensation. The Class Representative and her attorneys think the Settlement is best for all Class Members.
- How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
The Court has decided that everyone who fits the description below is a Settlement Class Member:
All persons who were leaseholders in the Temple Gardens apartment building at 2601 Madison Avenue in Baltimore, MD during the time that the property was unlicensed: Between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020.
- I’m still not sure if I am included.
If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can ask for free help. You can call Class Counsel, Joseph Mack, at (443) 423-0464 or Ingmar Goldson, at (240) 780-8829.
- What does the Settlement provide?
The Settlement provides $200,000 in total compensation to class members. The class fund will be divided as follows:
- Leaseholders will receive the greater of $300 or 68% of payments made six or more days late for rental obligations from the unlicensed period.
- In addition to the $200,000, the settlement provides a cancellation of all still-unpaid rental debt that was incurred during the between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020
The Settlement Agreement provides that any unclaimed funds will be donated to Civil Justice Inc.
- What do I do if I think I am included?
If you believe you are a Settlement Class Member and desire to participate in the Settlement, you should do nothing – you are automatically included if you meet the criteria in Section 4 above. Just let the class administrators know if you move or plan to move so that the check arrives at the correct destination.
- When would I receive funds if I am included?
The Court will hold a hearing on August 1, 2023, 11:00 a.m., to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the judge approves the Settlement, after that, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. Please be patient.
- What am I giving up to stay in the Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant or the other entities released in the Settlement Agreement about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
- Can I exclude myself from the Class?
If you do not wish to participate in this Settlement, you must send a letter which is signed by you and which includes the following statement: “I request to be excluded from the Settlement in the Law Offices of Edward J. Maher action.” You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than July 9, 2023, to: Maher Settlement, c/o Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 23369, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3369.
You cannot exclude yourself on the phone or by fax or email. If you ask to be excluded, you will not participate in the Settlement, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by the Settlement that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue the Defendants or the other entities released in the Settlement agreement in the future regarding the legal issues in this case. Whether or to what extent any such lawsuit would be successful is uncertain.
- What happens if I don’t exclude myself?
Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendants and the other entities released in the Settlement agreement for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, involving the same claims that this Settlement resolves, you should speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. If you have a pending lawsuit on matters not addressed in this Settlement, you may continue that lawsuit against the Defendant.
- If I exclude myself, can I participate in this Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any of the compensation or benefits of the class members who do not exclude themselves.
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has appointed The Goldson Law Office, LLC and The Law Offices of Joseph S. Mack to represent you and other Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
- How will Class Counsel be paid?
Class Counsel has billed over $170,809.06 in the 2.5 years that this case has been in litigation. Class Counsel will seek a total of $150,000 minus the total cost of the class action administration (estimated to be $11,881.00). In addition, Class Counsel will request payment of $6,000.00 to Alison Assanah-Carrol for service as a Class Representative.
- How can I object to the Settlement?
If you are a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you object and the Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter to the Court saying that you object to the class Settlement in Assanah-Carroll v. Law Offices of Edward J. Maher, P.C., et al. (Case No. CCB-20-2376). The written objection must (a) contain information sufficient to allow the parties to confirm that you are a member of the Settlement Class; and (b) include a statement of your specific objections, as well as any documents that you would like the Court to consider. You must file the objection with the Court no later than July 9, 2023, and by sending it to: Assanah-Carroll v. Law Offices of Edward J. Maher, P.C., et al. (Case No. CCB-20-2376), Clerk of United States District Court, District of Maryland, 101 W Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21201. The Court may address objections at a hearing described in section 17 below.
- What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement, in whole or in part. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a hearing, called a Final Approval Hearing, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. The Final Approval Hearing will be held on August 1, 2023, 11:00 a.m. at the Court, Hearing Room 3D United States District Court, District of Maryland, 101 W Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21201. At the Approval Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections or requests to be heard, the Court may consider them at the Final Approval Hearing. Objectors who fail to properly or timely file their objections with the Court, or to send them as provided above, shall not be heard during the Final Approval Hearing, nor shall their objections be considered by the Court.
- Do I have to come to the Hearing?
No. Class Counsel and the Defendants’ Counsel will answer questions the Court may have; however, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.
- May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” in Assanah-Carroll v. Law Offices of Edward J. Maher, P.C., et al. (Case No. CCB-20-2376). Be sure that you meet the criteria in Section 4 above. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than July 9, 2023, and be sent to the Clerk of the Court and Class Counsel at the addresses in Section 15 above. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.
- What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing, you will still participate in this Settlement and receive a check at the address where this Notice was sent.
- How do I get more information?
The foregoing is only a summary of the circumstances surrounding the litigation, the claims asserted, the class, the Settlement, and related matters. You may seek the advice and guidance of your own private attorney, at your own expense, if you desire. For more detailed information, you may review the pleadings, records, and other papers on file in this litigation, which may be inspected at any time online via the Federal Courts’ electronic filing system. If you wish to communicate with Class Counsel identified above, you may do so by calling Joseph Mack at (443) 423-0464 or emailing the Law Offices of Joseph S. Mack at email@example.com. You may also call Ingmar Goldson at (240) 780-8829.
You may also review the documents on the website: http://www.goldsonlawoffice.com/AC-class-action/