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Woods v. Standard Insurance Company

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

September 15, 2017

BRETT F. WOODS AND KATHLEEN VALDES, FOR THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiffs,
v.
STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, AN OREGON INSURANCE COMPANY, MARTHA QUINTANA, A NEW MEXICO RESIDENT, AND THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION, v.

          Robert E. Hanson Matthew E. Jackson Attorneys for Plaintiffs and the Class

          CARPENTER LAW OFFICE LTD William H. Carpenter Timothy A. Daniels Ryan K. McComber Figari & Davenport, LLP Attorneys for Defendants Standard Insurance Company and Martha Quintana

          Lisa E. Pullen Civerolo, Gralow & Hill P.A. Attorney for State of New Mexico General Services Department Risk Management Division

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF FINAL APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND EXPENSES AND CLASS REPRESENTATIVE INCENTIVE FEES

          THE HONORABLE KAREN B. MJOLZEN, UNITED STATES CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER having come before the Court on the Plaintiffs'/Class Representatives' Motion and Memorandum in Support of Final Approval of Settlement and Application for Approval of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses and Class Representative Incentive Fees, the Court having entered its Order of Preliminary Approval, and having conducted a Final Fairness Hearing to determine whether the proposed settlement should be approved as fair, adequate, and reasonable on September 14, 2017, the Court concludes that the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, and that it should be approved.

         It is, therefore, ORDERED as follows:

1. The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this suit and all parties to this lawsuit. The Court approves the Settlement Agreement and its terms and conditions, which are incorporated herein as part of this Order.
2. The terms used in this Order shall have the same meaning as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
3. The Court finds that the proposed Class is adequately represented by the named Plaintiffs, Brett F. Woods and Kathleen Valdes, and by experienced class action attorneys Charles Peifer, Robert Hanson, and Matthew Jackson, Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P. A. and William H. Carpenter, Carpenter Law Office Ltd. (collectively "Class Counsel").
4. The Court finds that the form and method of notice given to the Class, including the individualized emailed and mailed notice to persons based on information provided by Defendant State of New Mexico, General Service Department, Risk Management Division ("the State"), was practical and complied with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e), satisfied the requirements of due process, was the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and constituted due and sufficient notice of the Settlement Agreement and its terms, the Final Fairness Hearing, and other matters referred to in the Notice. The notice given to the Class was reasonably calculated under the circumstances to inform them of the pendency of the claims involved in this case, of all material elements of the proposed Settlement, and of their opportunity to exclude themselves from, object to, or comment on the Settlement and to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing.
5. The lengthy settlement negotiations, informal discovery, and independent investigation by the attorneys in this matter to date, and the factual record compiled, suffices to have enabled the Settling Parties to make an informed decision as to the fairness and adequacy of the proposed Settlement.
6. The Court finds that those potential Class Members who have timely opted out of the Settlement Class as of August 25, 2017 as listed in the filings with the Court (specifically the Joint Notice of Opt-Outs, [Doc. No. 99, filed 9/8/17]) are hereby excluded from the Class.
7. Those Class Members who have filed timely and valid requests to be excluded from the Class ("Opt-Out Claimants") are not bound by this Order. They shall not receive any benefits under the Settlement Agreement. This Order shall not bar any Opt-Out Claimant from prosecuting any individual claims that he or she may have in a separate lawsuit.
8. The Court held a Final Fairness Hearing on September 14, 2017, to consider the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the proposed Settlement. Class Members were given full opportunity to participate at the Final Fairness Hearing. The Court was advised of any objections to the Settlement, has given fair consideration to any such objections and to the adequacy of the notice given to the Class. Specifically, the Court considered, inter alia: (1) whether the proposed Settlement was fairly and honestly negotiated; (2) whether the value of an immediate recovery outweighs the mere possibility of future relief after protracted and expensive litigation; (3) the judgment of the Parties and their respective counsel that the Settlement is fair and reasonable; (4) the plan of distribution as set forth in the Settlement; and (5) the ...

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