United States District Court, D. Kansas
JIN NAKAMURA, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION d/b/a WELLS FARGO DEALER SERVICES, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. CRABTREE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on plaintiff Jin Nakamura's
Unopposed Motion for Certification of Settlement Class and
Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement (Doc. 126). For
reasons explained below, the court grants plaintiff's
individually and on behalf of the proposed Settlement Class,
and defendant Wells Fargo Bank National Association d/b/a
Wells Fargo Dealer Services (“Wells Fargo”), have
agreed, subject to court approval, to settle this case under
the terms set forth in the September 25, 2018, Settlement
Agreement (“Settlement Agreement”). Plaintiff has
moved for an order granting preliminary approval of the
court has reviewed the parties' Settlement Agreement and
attached exhibits, the record in this case, counsel's
briefs and arguments, and supporting exhibits. The court
preliminarily finds, for purposes of settlement only, that
this action meets all the prerequisites of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23. All the defined terms contained in this
Order have the same meanings as the definitions provided in
the Settlement Agreement.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT:
court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this
lawsuit and the settling parties.
court preliminarily approves the Settlement Agreement,
subject to further consideration at the final Fairness
Hearing, described below. The court directs the parties to
perform and satisfy the terms and conditions of the
Settlement Agreement, for which entry of this Order is a
condition. When making this determination, the court has
considered: (1) whether the proposed settlement was
negotiated fairly and honestly; (2) whether serious questions
of law and fact exist; (3) whether the value of immediate
recovery outweighs the mere possibility of future relief
after protracted litigation; and (4) the parties'
judgment about the fairness and reasonableness of the
proposed settlement. See Rutter & Willbanks Corp. v.
Shell Oil Co., 314 F.3d 1180, 1188 (10th Cir. 2002).
court will hold a final approval hearing (“Fairness
Hearing”) on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 9:00
a.m., at the Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse, 500
State Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, in Courtroom 476,
to determine: (1) whether the proposed settlement on the
terms and conditions that the Settlement Agreement provides
is fair, reasonable, and adequate to the Settlement Class and
should be approved by the court; (2) whether final judgment
should be entered; (3) the amount of fees, costs, and
expenses that the court should award plaintiff's counsel;
and (4) the amount of any incentive award the court should
award the class representative. Attendance at the hearing is
not mandatory, and Settlement Class members need not appear
or take any other action to indicate their approval of the
proposed Settlement Agreement. If the court changes the date,
time, or location of the hearing, Class Counsel and the
Settlement Administrator promptly must post notice of that
change to the settlement website.
settlement purposes only, the court preliminarily certifies
this action as a class action under Rule 23 on behalf of the
Settlement Class, defined below:
All servicemembers who, before the servicemember entered
military service, paid a deposit or installment on a motor
vehicle loan originated, acquired, and/or serviced by Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., its predecessors, successors, subsidiaries,
and assigns (“Wells Fargo”), and whose motor
vehicle subject to the loan was repossessed by Wells Fargo
while the servicemember was in active military service
without a court order authorizing the repossession between
January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2017, and have not already
released their claims.
definition adequately identifies the people who are: (1)
entitled to relief; (2) subject to being bound by a final
judgment; and (3) entitled to the best notice practicable
under Rule 23(c)(2). In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales
Practices Litig., No. 07-MD-1840-KHV, 2014 WL 5431133,
at *13 (D. Kan. Oct. 27, 2014). The court is mindful that
“[c]lass action settlements are premised upon the
validity of the underlying class certification.” In
re Integra Realty Res., Inc., 354 F.3d 1246,
1261 (10th Cir. 2004). Class certification is appropriate if
the district court finds, after conducting a “rigorous
analysis, ” that the proposed class satisfies the
requirements of Rule 23. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 351 (2011). “Confronted with
a request for settlement-only class certification, a district
court need not inquire whether the case, if tried, would
present intractable management problems, see [Fed. R. Civ.
P.] 23(b)(3)(D), for the proposal is that there be no
trial.” Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521
U.S. 591, 620 (1997). “But other specifications of the
Rule-those designed to protect absentees by blocking
unwarranted or overbroad class definitions-demand undiluted,
even heightened, attention in the settlement context.”
court finds that, in the context of this proposed settlement
only, the prerequisites to class certification under Rule
23(a) are satisfied:
a. The Settlement Class is so numerous that joinder of all
members is impracticable.
b. There are numerous questions of law and fact common to all
members of the Settlement Class, and the claims of the named
plaintiff in this action are typical of the ...