A federal court authorized this because you have the right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your rights and options before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. This notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.
The Hon. Fernando M. Olguin of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division is overseeing this class action. The case is known as Dodge, et al. v. PHH Corporation, et al., Case No. 8:15-cv-01973-FMO-AFM (the “Action”). The people who filed this lawsuit are called the “Plaintiffs” and the companies they sued, PHH Corporation, PHH Mortgage Corporation, PHH Broker Partner Corporation (together the “PHH Defendants”), PHH Home Loans, LLC, RMR Financial, LLC, NE Moves Mortgage LLC (together the “PHH Home Loans Defendants”), Realogy Group LLC, Realogy Holdings Corp., Realogy Intermediate Holdings LLC, Title Resource Group LLC, West Coast Escrow Company, TRG Services Escrow, Inc., Equity Title Company, NRT LLC, Realogy Services Group LLC, and Realogy Services Venture Partner LLC (together the “Realogy Defendants”), are all called the “Defendants.”Top
The Plaintiffs claimed that borrowers who closed on a mortgage loan with the PHH Defendants or the PHH Home Loans Defendants during the Class Period were improperly referred for title-, escrow-, and closing-related services to Title Resource Group LLC or its affiliates (who are among the Realogy Defendants) in exchange for certain things of value and that this practice violated a federal statute called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. § 2607, et seq.
The Defendants deny these and all other claims made in the Action. By entering into the Settlement, the Defendants are not admitting that they did anything wrong.Top
In a class action, one or more people, called the Class Representatives (in this case Neil Dodge, Sheri Dodge, Ram Agrawal, and Sarita Agrawal), sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. Together all of these people are called a Class or Class Members. One court resolves all of the issues for all Class Members, except for those Class Members who exclude themselves from the Class.Top
The Class Representatives and the Defendants do not agree about the claims made in this Action. The Action has not gone to trial and the Court has not decided in favor of either the Class Representatives or the Defendants. Instead, the Class Representatives and the Defendants have agreed to settle the Action. The Class Representatives and their lawyers believe the Settlement is best for all Class Members because of the risks associated with continued litigation and the nature of the defenses raised by the Defendants.Top
If you received a Notice in the mail, you are a Class Member. Specifically, you are included in the Class as a “Class Member” if on or after November 25, 2014 and on or before November 25, 2015, you (1) closed on a mortgage loan originated by PHH Corporation, PHH Mortgage Corporation, PHH Home Loans, LLC, or any of their affiliates (including loans where PHH Mortgage Corporation provided origination services on behalf of any PLS Partners), and (2) paid title-, escrow-, or closing-related charges in connection with that mortgage loan to Title Resource Group LLC or any of its affiliates.
For a list of Affiliates of (1) PHH Corporation, (2) PHH Mortgage Corporation, and (3) PHH Home Loans LLC; and PLS Partners please click here.Top
The Defendants will create a $17,000,000 Settlement Fund. After deducting court-approved attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, service awards to the Class Representatives, taxes due on any interest earned by the Settlement Fund, if necessary, and any notice and claims administration expenses, the balance (“Net Settlement Fund”) will be distributed to Class Members.Top
Your share of the Net Settlement Fund will depend on, among other things: (i) the number of Class Members who exclude themselves from the Class; (ii) the amount of administrative costs, including the costs of notice; (iii) the amount awarded by the Court for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and service awards to the Class Representatives; and (iv) the results of Claim Forms submitted by Class Members who contest their payment amounts.Top
Based on Defendants’ records, the Claims Administrator and the Class Representatives estimate you might receive a payment between 15% and 20% of the Amount Paid which comes from Defendants’ business records, and reflects the total amount of the fees shown either on Lines in the 1100 series of your HUD-1 Settlement Statement, or in the section of your Closing Disclosure form, corresponding to the title-, escrow-, and closing-related charges that you paid to Title Resource Group LLC or its affiliates at closing of your real estate transaction that is a subject of the Action.
If you agree with the Amount Paid listed on your Notice, you don’t need to do anything.Top
If you disagree that the Amount Paid listed on your Notice accurately reflects the total amount of title-, escrow-, and closing-related charges that you paid to Title Resource Group LLC or its affiliates at closing of your real estate transaction that is a subject of the Action, you may submit a Claim Form specifying what you believe to be the accurate Amount Paid. Claim Forms are available at www.realestatefeesettlement.com or by calling 866-651-8299. Be sure to follow the Claim Form’s instructions, and submit all requested information and supporting documents. The Claims Administrator will review your Claim Form and, based upon the information it contains, determine your final Settlement payment. Claim Forms are due by May 14, 2018.Top
If the Court grants final approval of the Settlement, you will receive a Settlement payment in the form of a check. The check will be mailed to the same address as this Notice or the address provided on your Claim Form. If you move before you receive your Settlement payment, you will need to notify the Claims Administrator in writing of your new address.Top
If you are a Class Member and you do not exclude yourself, you are choosing to remain in the Class. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. You won’t be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants and the Defendants’ Releasees about the legal issues in this Action and released by the Amended Stipulation of Settlement.
The specific rights you are giving up are called Released Plaintiffs’ Claims (see next Question).
The Defendants’ Releasees are PHH Corporation, PHH Broker Partner Corp., PHH Mortgage Corporation, Realogy Intermediate Holdings LLC, Realogy Holdings Corp., Realogy Group LLC, Realogy Services Venture Partner LLC, Realogy Services Group LLC, Title Resource Group LLC, West Coast Escrow Company, TRG Services Escrow, Inc., Equity Title Company, NRT LLC, PHH Home Loans, LLC, RMR Financial, LLC, NE Moves Mortgage LLC, and the PLS Partners, all and each of them, and all and each of their respective past and present parents, subsidiaries, and affiliated corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other entities, the predecessors and successors in interest of any of them, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents, members, partners, representatives, attorneys, insurers, and assigns, in their capacities as such.Top
The Released Plaintiffs’ Claims are any and all claims, actions, causes of action, rights or liabilities, whether arising out of federal, state, foreign, or common law, including Unknown Claims, of any Class Member, which exist or may exist against any of the Defendants’ Releasees by reason of any matter, event, cause or thing that were or could have been alleged: (a) based on the facts, circumstances, transactions, events, occurrences, acts, omissions or failures to act alleged in the Action, including all RESPA claims; and (b) related to the relationships among Defendants’ Releasees alleged in Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amended Complaint (Dkt. 115) and Settlement Services performed by, obtained by, or paid to any of Defendants’ Releasees in the Class Members’ real estate transactions that are the subjects of the Action. “Settlement Services” has the meaning set forth in RESPA, 12 U.S.C. § 2602(3). Released Plaintiffs’ Claims do not include any claims relating to the enforcement of the Settlement, any claims of any person or entity who submits a Request For Exclusion that is accepted by the Court, or any rights Class Members may have in In re PHH Lender Placed Insurance Litigation, No. 12-01117-NLH-KMW (D. N.J. Jan. 19, 2017).
Further detail and information about what you are agreeing to and giving up is detailed in the Stipulation of Settlement, which is available here on the case documents page.Top
Yes, the Court has appointed Daniel S. Robinson, Robinson Calcagnie, Inc., and Evan C. Borges, Greenberg Gross LLP, as Class Counsel to represent Class Members for the purposes of this Settlement. You may hire your own lawyer at your own cost and expense if you want someone other than Class Counsel to represent you in this Action.Top
Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award them attorneys’ fees of up to $5,100,000 and for reimbursement of costs and expenses of up to $50,000. They will also ask the Court to approve $2,500 service awards ($10,000 total) to the Class Representatives. If awarded, these amounts will be deducted from the Settlement Fund before making payments to Class Members. The Court may award less than these amounts. Any amounts awarded by the Court will come out of the Settlement Fund.Top
If you are a Class Member and want to keep any right you may have to sue or continue to sue the Defendants or the Defendants’ Releasees on your own based on the claims raised in this Action or released by the Released Plaintiffs’ Claims, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself from – or “opting out” of – the Settlement.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must fully complete and sign a Request For Exclusion. A Request For Exclusion form is available here or by calling 866-651-8299. Mail your Request For Exclusion to the Claims Administrator at the address below, postmarked no later than May 14, 2018:
Dodge v. PHH Corporation Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 404041
Louisville, KY 40233-4041
You cannot exclude yourself by telephone or by e-mail.Top
No. If you exclude yourself, you are telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement. You can only get a payment if you stay in the Settlement and submit a valid Claim Form, if necessary.Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendants or the Defendants’ Releasees for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Action to start or continue with your own lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants or the Defendants’ Releasees. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.Top
If you are a Class Member, you can tell the Court that you do not agree with all or any part of the Settlement. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. To object, you must mail a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in Dodge, et al. v. PHH Corporation, et al., Case No. 8:15-cv-01973-FMO-AFM. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, signature, a statement containing all of the reasons you object to the Settlement, and documents sufficient to prove your membership in the Class, including the property address and date of closing of any real estate transaction that you had during the Class Period. You must also include copies of any documents you wish the Court to consider. Mail the objection to the address listed below, postmarked by May 14, 2018:
Clerk of the Court
United States District Court
Central District of California
350 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Objecting is simply telling the Court you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class (that is, do not exclude yourself). Requesting exclusion is telling the Court you do not want to be part of the Class or the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.Top
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on August 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, United States District Judge for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 350 W. 1st Street, 6th Floor, Courtroom 6D, Los Angeles, California 90012.
At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve the Settlement. If there are objections, the Court will consider them, and the Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and whether to make service awards to the Class Representatives.Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mail your written objection on time the Court will consider it.Top
Yes. If you wish to attend and speak at the Fairness Hearing, you must indicate this in your written objection (see Question 18). Your objection must state that it is your intention to appear at the Fairness Hearing, and must identify any witnesses you may call to testify or exhibits you intend to introduce into evidence at the Fairness Hearing. If you plan to have your attorney speak for you at the Fairness Hearing, your objection must also include your attorney’s name, address, and phone number.Top
If you are a Class Member and you do nothing, you will receive a Settlement payment. You will also give up rights explained in Questions 11 and 12, including your right to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants and the Defendants’ Releasees about the legal issues in this Action and released by the Amended Stipulation of Settlement.Top
This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. Complete details are provided in the Amended Stipulation of Settlement. The Amended Stipulation of Settlement and other related documents are available here via the Case Documents page. You may also write to Dodge v. PHH Corporation Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 404041, Louisville, KY 40233-4041. Publicly-filed documents can also be obtained by visiting the office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Central District of California or reviewing the Court’s online docket.
If you have questions you may contact Class Counsel at:
Robinson Calcagnie, Inc.
Greenberg Gross LLP
Please do not contact the Court regarding this notice. The Court cannot answer any questions.Top