JPMorgan Chase received final court approval to pay up to $12 million to settle a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action brought by Chase mortgage and home equity loan borrowers who claimed they received automated calls to their cell phones without consent.
The case initially settled in 2012 for a maximum amount of $9 million and a minimum of $7 million. But after receiving preliminary approval for the deal, an objector notified the California federal court that despite being a class member, he had not received notice of the settlement.
In response, the parties launched a 17-month investigation that revealed an additional 1,498,593 class members. In order to provide notice to the “Group 2” class members and provide approximately the same amount of payment as those in Group 1 (the initial class members identified), JPMorgan agreed to chip in more money, to increase its total payment up to $12 million.
Like Group 1, Group 2 included two subclasses: Subclass A, the individuals who actually received cell phone calls, and Subclass B, individuals whose numbers were included in the defendant’s records but did not receive a call (such as co-borrowers). The latter group would benefit from the injunctive relief promised by JPMorgan to comply with the TCPA going forward, according to the plaintiff’s unopposed motion for preliminary approval.
Knowing the ratio of how many claims were filed by potential class members from Group 1 (a rate of 4.72 percent or 55,872 claimants set to receive $69.97), the parties agreed to a dollar amount that would provide the same payment for Group 2. With an additional 1,303,112 Subclass A claimants, the parties estimated that 61,507 would file claims using the same 4.72 percent historical rate from the Group 1 Subclass A members.
To that end, the defendant agreed to pay up to $4,428,637 for the Group 2 claimants as well as an additional $125,000 in attorney’s fees and up to $580,500 in additional notice and administration costs—or a total of up to another $5,134,137. The amount of payment for Group 2 claimants is capped at $69.97 but could be decreased on a pro rata basis if more than the projected 61,507 claims are received. The attorney for the objector will receive $345,000, paid from the total attorney’s fees received by class counsel.
“This Group 2 Settlement follows the Group 1 Settlement, and adds a substantial amount of money to pay the Group 2 claims, pay additional notice and claims administration costs, and pay for additional attorney’s fees and costs,” the plaintiff told the court.
On February 5, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel granted final approval to the settlement and dismissed the case.
To read the unopposed motion for preliminary approval of the settlement in Connor v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, click here.
To read the court’s final judgment and order of dismissal, click here.
Why it matters: Final approval for the deal ends a long litigation process for the parties and results in yet another eight-figure TCPA settlement, following in the footsteps of a recent $40 million deal and Capital One’s record-breaking $75 million agreement.