NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
- The Settlement resolves a lawsuit alleging that AMKO Auto, Inc. (“AMKO” or “Defendant”) violated certain requirements imposed by the Maryland Transportation Code §15-311.3 and the Maryland Consumer Protection Act §13-101. AMKO denies any liability or wrongdoing; however, to avoid further costs and risks from continuing the lawsuit, Defendant has agreed to pay $76,366.96 into a settlement fund as compensatory damages to eligible settlement class members.
- Eligible Settlement Class Members include all persons who (1) signed a retail installment sales contract, lease, and/or other purchase contract with AMKO between October 1, 2015, and March 28, 2017; (2) signed a Spot Delivery Agreement in the same transaction; (3) did not receive funding from a third party finance company in the same transaction; and (4) did not receive the return of his/her trade-in vehicle and/or other money or property given to the AMKO as a part of the transaction may be eligible to receive a settlement check.
- 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:
|EXCLUDE YOURSELF||Choose to not participate in the Settlement. This is the only option that allows you to pursue a separate lawsuit against AMKO about the legal claims in this case.|
|OBJECT||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.|
|DO NOTHING||You will have a settlement check sent to you in an amount based upon AMKO’s records where 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?
Rodney Oliver (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of all members of the proposed settlement class, has asserted that AMKO violated certain requirements imposed by Maryland state law. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that AMKO did not comply with Maryland’s spot delivery law and consumer protection law when it sold vehicles contingent on financing that had not yet been granted by a third party and failed to return monies paid by the consumer during the Class Period. AMKO denies any liability or wrongdoing.
- Why is this a class action?
In a class action, a person called a Class Representative (here, Rodney Oliver), sues on behalf of similarly situated people who have similar claims. All these people are Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
- Why is there a Settlement?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiff or Defendant. The Plaintiff thinks he could have prevailed at a trial. The Defendant thinks 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 his 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 (1) signed a retail installment sales contract, lease, and/or other purchase contract with the AMKO between October 1, 2015, and March 28, 2017 (“Class Period”); (2) signed a Spot Delivery Agreement in the same transaction; (3) did not receive funding from a third party finance company in the same transaction; and (4) did not receive the return of his/her trade-in vehicle and/or other money or property given to the AMKO as a part of the transaction.
- 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, Ingmar Goldson, at (240) 780-8829.
- What does the Settlement provide?
Settlement Class Members will be entitled to receive a share of the Settlement Fund based upon the amount of money that was not returned to them according to AMKO’s records. The Settlement Agreement provides that any unclaimed funds will be donated to Civil Justice Inc. and the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. The Settlement Agreement also sets forth other requirements and potential payments from the Settlement Fund.
- 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.
- When would I receive funds if I am included?
The Court will hold a hearing on November 19, 2018, 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 AMKO Auto, Inc. action.” You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than October 22, 2018 to: AMKO Auto, Inc. Settlement, c/o Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 404020, Louisville, KY 40233-4020.
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 anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue the Defendant or the other entities released in the Settlement agreement in the future regarding the legal issues in this case.
- What happens if I don’t exclude myself?
Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant 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, do not send in a claim form to ask to participate in this Settlement.
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has appointed The Frasher Law Firm, P.C. and The Goldson Law Office, LLC, 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 and Counsel for AMKO will attempt to settle on an amount for attorney’s fees for Class Counsel. If the parties do not reach a Settlement, Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. The fees would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement. AMKO will also pay for costs of administration. In addition, Class Counsel will ask for payment of $4,200.00 to Rodney Oliver for his 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 Rodney Oliver v. AMKO Auto, Inc., CAL17-07839. 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 October 22, 2018 and by sending it to: Rodney Oliver v. AMKO Auto, Inc., CAL17-07839, Clerk of Court, Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, 14735 Main Street, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. 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 case 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 November 19, 2018 at the Court, [Circuit Court For Prince George’s County 14735 Main Street , Upper Marlboro, MD 20722 ]. 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. The Court may also decide the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs to be paid to Class Counsel.
- Do I have to come to the Hearing?
No. Class Counsel and AMKO’s 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 Rodney Oliver v. AMKO Auto, Inc.; CAL17-07839. Be sure that you meet the criteria in Section 4 above. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than October 22, 2018, 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.
- 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 during regular business hours at the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, at 14735 Main Street, Upper Marlboro, MD 20722. If you wish to communicate with Class Counsel identified above, you may do so by calling Ingmar Goldson at (240) 780-8829 or writing to The Goldson Law Office, LLC at 1734 Elton Rd. Suite 210, Silver Spring, MD 20903. You may also call Ryan Frasher at (317) 300-8844.