Wornicki v. Brokerpriceopinion.com
Brokerpriceopinion Settlement Claims Administrator
13-cv-03258

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The purpose of the Notice is to let Settlement Class Members know that a proposed Settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit entitled Wornicki, et al. v. Brokerpriceopinion.com, et al., Case No. 1:13-CV-03258-PAB-KMT. If you are a Settlement Class Member, as defined in Question 4, you have legal rights and options that you may act on before the Court decides whether to approve the proposed Settlement. Because your rights will be affected by this Settlement, it is extremely important that you read the Notice carefully. The Notice summarizes the Settlement and your rights under it. 

  • In a class action, one or more people, called class representatives, sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people are a class, or class members. One court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the class.

    Here, the Class Representatives allege that Defendants failed to pay brokers for the broker price opinions the brokers completed on Defendants’ behalf. The Class Representatives allege that Defendants were unjustly enriched by failing to pay the brokers. The Class Representatives seek to be paid for the broker price opinions they complete and for Defendants to timely pay brokers for the broker price opinions they complete going forward.

    The Court has certified a class for settlement purposes (the “Settlement Class”). U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer (the “Court”) is in charge of this class action. Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, and deny that this case would be certified as a class action in litigation.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Brokerprice. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for the Settlement Class.

  • The Settlement Class includes: All persons and entities who provided broker price opinions on behalf of Brokerpriceopinion.com, Inc., First Valuation, LLC, First Valuation Services, LLC, First Valuation Technology, LLC, Cartel Asset Management, LLC, Walter Coats, or ValuTech, Inc. between December 2, 2007 and the date of preliminary approval and who have not been paid for their services in accordance with Defendants’ terms of payment.

  • The Settlement Agreement provides the following:

    Brokerprice will pay a total $1,571,676 to cover: payments to the class, attorneys’ fees and costs, service awards for Class Representatives, and the costs of administering the settlement. This total amount will be paid to the Settlement Administrator in installments over 47 months. From the fund created by these installments, the Settlement Administrator will make a total of five distributions to Settlement Class Members who file timely, valid claims. With each distribution, the Settlement Administrator will also withdraw funds to cover attorneys’ fees and costs, service awards, and administration costs as approved by the court. The installments and distributions will be made as follows:

    Payment of Installments. Brokerprice will pay $10,000 towards settlement administration costs within ten days following entry of the order preliminarily approving the Settlement. Brokerprice will pay $135,000 within five days of the Settlement’s “Effective Date,” which occurs after the Court grants final approval to the Settlement and the deadline to appeal settlement approval has run or any appeals are resolved. Brokerprice will pay an additional $30,000 within 30 days after the Effective Date. Brokerprice will then pay $30,000 every 30 days for a period of 46 months, except that in the last month Brokerprice will pay $46,676. Broker price will make the payments to a Settlement Administrator that will hold the funds in trust for Settlement Class Members who file valid claims. Brokerprice will have 30 days to cure any missed payment. If Brokerprice misses a payment and fails to cure within 30 days, then the Settlement and release of claims will be null and void.

    Payments for Amounts Owed to Brokers. Brokerprice will pay $1,020,000 for amounts due and owing to the Settlement Class. The Settlement Administrator will divide this pro rata among Settlement Class Members who file timely, valid claims in five distributions. The first distribution will be in the amount of $31,324 and will occur within 40 days following the Effective Date. The second distribution will be in the amount of $258,000 and will occur one year after the first distribution. The third distribution will be in the amount of $258,000 and will occur one year after the second distribution. The fourth distribution will be in the amount of $258,000 and will occur one year after the third distribution. The fifth distribution will be in the amount of $214,676 and will occur ten months after the fourth distribution.

    Changes to Brokerprice’s business practices. Brokerprice agreed to pay all brokers within ninety days for each BPO that the brokers complete and deliver to Brokerprice. Brokerprice shall maintain a cash reserve in the amount of $240,000 dedicated to the payment of persons completing and delivering BPOs. Brokerprice shall begin contributing $18,000 per month to such a cash reserve within ninety days following entry of an order preliminarily approving the Settlement. Brokerprice also has agreed not to use calling scripts, standardized emails or other communications in an attempt to delay payment or alter payment terms for BPOs. Brokerprice has agreed to employ a compliance manager who shall review training material, train staff, and oversee vendor payment practices. If Brokerprice fails to timely make a payment to a broker or to comply with the terms of the Settlement, the Settlement and release will be null and void.

    Attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. Brokerprice agreed to pay up to $500,000 to compensate Class Counsel for the time they spent and the expenses they incurred prosecuting this case. The Court must approve Class Counsel’s requested attorney’s fees. If the Court awards less than this amount, the difference will be added to the award to the Settlement Class. Any fee awarded to Class Counsel will be paid in five equal distributions over 47 months according to the schedule set forth in section 14 below. No amount will revert to Defendants.

    Class Representatives’ service awards. Brokerprice agreed to pay the Class Representatives, Kathy Wornicki and Edward Laine, Service Awards of up to $5,000 each. These awards compensate the Class Representatives for their time and efforts prosecuting this case. The Class Representatives’ Service Awards will be paid in five equal distributions over a period of 47 months according to the schedule set forth in Question 14 below. The Court must approve the Class Representatives’ requested service awards. If the Court awards less than this amount, the difference will be added to the award to the Settlement Class. No amount will revert to Defendants.

    Notice costs. Brokerprice will pay the cost of sending notice to the Settlement Class and administering the Settlement. This cost is estimated to be $41,676. Of this amount, Brokerprice will pay $10,000 towards settlement administration costs within ten days following entry of the order preliminarily approving the Settlement. The remaining $31,676 will come from the first installment paid by Brokerprice.

    Excess or Unclaimed Amounts. Any excess or unclaimed portion of this settlement fund will revert to the class and, if administratively feasible, be distributed pro rata to Settlement Class Members who filed timely, valid claims. If it is not administratively feasible to distribute residual funds, the funds will be distributed to a charity proposed by the Parties and approved by the Court. Under no circumstances will any portion of this settlement fund revert to Brokerprice. Under no circumstances will any portion of this settlement fund revert to Brokerprice.

  • Each person who submits a Claim Form will receive a proportionate share of the $1,020,000 that Brokerprice agreed to pay to brokers for past amounts due. The determination of each Settlement Class Member’s share will be based on information from Defendants’ business records. Your share of the Settlement will depend on the number of Settlement Class Members who submit claims and will be calculated according to the following formula:

    • $1,020,000 divided by the total amount Defendants owe all brokers as set forth in Defendants' business records times the amount owed to the individual Settlement Class Member.


    For example, assume Defendants owe all claimants $5,000,000 and owe Class member Mary $5,000. Claimant Mary’s pro rata share of the Class Payment would be $1,020,000/$5,000,000 x $5,000 = $1,020.

  • The deadline to submit a Claim Form was October 31, 2017.

  • The Court held a Fairness Hearing on May 18, 2018 to decide whether to approve the Settlement and granted Final Approval on September 20, 2018. Appeals may still follow. Once the Effective Date has passed, the Settlement Class will be paid according to the following schedule:

    Distribution Date Amount
    First Distribution 40 days after Effective Date $31,324
    Second Distribution One year after First Distribution $258,000
    Third Distribution  One year after Second Distribution $258,000
    Fourth Distribution One year after Third Distribution $258,000
    Fifth Distribution Ten Months after Fourth Distribution $214,676

     

  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class and you will be a Settlement Class Member. That means you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants regarding the claims that are subject to the Settlement. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    The Settlement Agreement (available at the Important Documents page) describes the claims you are releasing and against whom you are releasing claims in detail, so read it carefully. To summarize, the release includes, but is not limited to, claims for breach of contract, fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment arising from Brokerprice’s failure to pay brokers for all the broker price opinions they complete in accordance with the terms of the agreements.

  • If you don't want payment from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Brokerprice, then you had the option to  remove yourself from the Settlement Class. This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class. The deadline to opt out of the Settlement Class was October 31, 2017.

    If you opted out, you will not get any payment, and you could not object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Brokerprice in the future.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up any right to sue Brokerprice for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you already have a lawsuit that may relate to the claims being released as part of this class Settlement, you should speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must have excluded yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit. The exclusion deadline was October 31, 2017.

  • No. If you excluded yourself, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.

  • The Court has appointed Beth E. Terrell, Jennifer Rust Murray and Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC; Jeffrey A. Berens and Berens Law LLC; and, Stefan Coleman and the Law Offices of Stefan Coleman LLC as Class Counsel to represent you and other Settlement 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.

  • Class Counsel asked the Court to approve payment of up to $500,000 to them for attorneys’ fees and costs. This payment would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement. Class Counsel also requested a service award of $5,000 each for the two Class Representatives to compensate them for their time and effort. If the Court awards less than these amounts, the amount of the reduction will be added to the amount awarded to Settlement Class Members that will be distributed on a pro rata basis according to the schedule set forth in section 8 above. Class Counsel and the Class Representatives will be paid according to the following schedule:

    Installment Date Attorney Fee Amount Service Award Amount
    Installment One 40 days after Effective Date $100,000 $1,000
    Installment Two One year after Installment One $100,000 $1,000
    Installment Three One year after Installment Two $100,000 $1,000
    Installment Four One year after Installment Three $100,000 $1,000
    Installment Five Ten Months after Installment Four $100,000 $1,000

     

  • If you are a Settlement Class member and you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you had the option to object to the Settlement. The deadline to file an objection with the Court was October 31, 2017.

     

  • Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You could object only if you stayed in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself from the Settlement Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you excluded yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court held the final fairness hearing on May 18, 2018 at 2:30 P.M. Mountain Time before the Honorable Philip A. Brimmer at the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse in Courtroom A701, Denver, Colorado 80294. The purpose of the hearing was for the Court to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the class. At the hearing, the Court heard any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, including those related to the amount requested by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the service awards to the Class Representatives.

    The Court granted final approval on September 20, 2018. 

    Note: Any important updates will be posted to this website.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you had the option to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you sent an objection that was filed or mailed on time, and met the other criteria described in the Settlement Agreement, the Court considered it.

  • If you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you had the option to ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the proposed Settlement Agreement. If you filed an objection (see Question 15, above) and wished to appear at the hearing, you had the option to state your intention to do so in your objection. The Court held the final fairness hearing on May 18, 2018. 

  • If you did nothing, you’ll get no money from this Settlement. But, unless you excluded yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Brokerprice about the legal issues released in this case.

  • This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which you may review on the Important Documents page. You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to Jennifer Murray, Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, 936 North 34th Street, Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98103.

  • You can write to Brokerprice Settlement, Claims Administrator, PO Box 6878, Broomfield, CO 80021, or browse this website, where you will find answers to common questions about the Settlement, a Claim Form, plus other information to help you determine whether you are a member of the Settlement Class. You also may write to Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, 936 North 34th Street, Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98103.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE JUDGE, OR THE DEFENDANT WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR CLAIMS PROCESS.

  • If you would like to update your name, you must mail a written name change request to the Claims Administrator at the below address, along with proof of your name change. Valid proof of name change includes, but is not limited to, a copy of a marriage license, divorce decree, or court order.

    Brokerpriceopinion Settlement
    Claims Administrator
    PO Box 6878
    Broomfield, CO 80021

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Brokerpriceopinion Settlement
Claims Administrator

PO Box 6878
Broomfield, CO 80021