A revised $600,000 class action settlement was preliminarily approved by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on November 14, 2013. The settlement resolves claims that OfficeMax North America Inc. illegally collected customers’ zip codes during debit and credit card transactions, in violation of California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, which prohibits retailers from asking for personally-identifiable information as a condition of a credit card payment. The settlement includes all customers who used a credit card to purchase items at a California OfficeMax store and whose zip code information was requested and collected by the cashier between March 1, 2010 and February 22, 2011. A $5 merchandise voucher will be distributed to potential Class Members, totaling a possible $600,000. Class Members who submit a valid, timely claim will receive a $10 OfficeMax voucher.
A prior settlement was rejected by the court in July 2013. The California federal judge took issue with the prior settlement because of the decision to pay Class Members solely in $5 and $10 OfficeMax vouchers. Judge Rogers found that a May 2013 decision from the Ninth Circuit prohibited calculation of attorneys’ fees in a class action lawsuit based on the value of vouchers which may or may not be redeemed. Under the Class Action Fairness Act, the Ninth Circuit had held that fees must be based on the value of vouchers that are actually redeemed, not the number distributed.
In the revised settlement, the plaintiffs assured Judge Rogers that the “amount of attorneys’ fees and costs will be determined by the court after the redemption period for the merchandise vouchers has ended and the redemption rate has been determined.” Under the terms of the new settlement agreement, class counsel can apply for fees and costs between $200,000 and $500,000; OfficeMax, however, retains the right to contest a request for fees in excess of $200,000.
A final fairness hearing has been set for March 25, 2014.
The case is styled Dardarian, et al. v. OfficeMax North America Inc., Case NO. 4:11-cv-00947 (N.D. Cal.).
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