Keith Jerome, et al. v. Elan 99, LLC
Keith Jerome et al. v. Elan 99, LLC Settlement
Cause No. 2018-02263

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A Court authorized the Notice to let you know about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit, including the right to receive a settlement payment if you qualify or other options you may have, before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. If the Court approves the parties’ Settlement Agreement, and after any appeals are resolved, settlement payments will be made to those who qualify. The Notice explains the Lawsuit, the proposed Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who may be eligible for them, and how to get them.

  • The Lawsuit alleges that from November 1, 2016 and continuing to January 8, 2018 (“Class Period”) Defendant violated Section 92.019 of the Texas Property Code by assessing and collecting from residential tenants rent late fees at the Elan 99 West apartment community in Harris County, Texas which were in excess of the statutorily allowed rate. Defendant maintains that it properly assessed and collected the fees, and has denied all claims and allegations that it acted wrongfully or unlawfully.

  • In a class action, one or more people called a “Class Representative” (in this case the Plaintiffs, Keith Jerome and Akira Jerome) filed a lawsuit on behalf of other individuals who are believed to have similar claims. All these people are a “Class” and each individual in the class is a “Class Member.” One court resolves the case for all Class Members, except for those Class Members who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Class Representatives, Defendant and other affiliated entities, as set forth in the Class Action Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement") have agreed to settle this case. The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendant and has not found that Defendant did anything wrong. Instead, both sides agreed to settle the Lawsuit. That way, the parties avoid the cost and expense of further litigation, a trial and potentially an appeal, and the people who qualify for a settlement payment will get some compensation. The Class Representative and their attorneys think the proposed Settlement is fair and is in the best interest of all Class Members. The proposed Settlement does not mean that Defendant did anything wrong; no trial has occurred and Defendant has not been found to have done anything wrong.

  • To see if you are eligible for benefits from this Settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Class Member.

  • The Class consists of all persons, who, during the Class Period, (i) were residential tenants of Elan 99 West apartments under written leases where Defendant served as an owner or landlord, (ii) were assessed or paid late fees on past due rent, and (iii) did not execute a renewal lease on or after January 8, 2018 (approximately 117 Households).

    Certain exceptions apply as to who is a Class Member, as described in Question 6.

  • Excluded from the Class are: (a) the judge(s) assigned to this case and his or her staff; (b) governmental entities; (c) Defendant and its affiliates; (d) persons adjudged to be bankrupt; and (e) persons who have previously released Defendant of the claims raised by the Lawsuit.

  • This series of questions may help you determine if you are a Class Member. Please answer all of the questions in the order presented below.

     

    Question Yes or Don't Know No
    Are you a current or former residential tenant at Elan 99 West apartments in Texas who lived there under a lease agreement any month during November 1, 2016 and continuing to January 8. 2018? Continue. You are not a Class Member.
    Were you named a party to the residential lease? Continue. You are not a Class Member.
    Did you sign a renewal lease on or after January 8, 2018? You are not a Class Member. Continue.
    Did you ever provide an executed release for claims asserted in this Lawsuit? You are not a Class Member. You could be a Class Member.
    Have you been adjudged bankrupt since the time you moved into the Elan 99 West apartments? You are not a Class Member. You could be a Class Member.
  • If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call 713-651-1771 with questions.

  • Defendant has agreed to pay (i) $75,000 (the “Settlement Payment”) to provide for payments to the Participating Class Members (those Class Members who do not exclude themselves from the Class) and costs of administration in excess of $5,000; (ii) $5,000 in direct payment for costs of administration; (iii) $67,500 in Class Counsel Attorneys’ fees and litigation costs (see Question 18); (iv) $2,500 as an enhancement award to the Class Representatives (see Question 18); and (v) $2,500 as a contribution to the Salvation Army (which, as part of its mission, assists veterans with housing costs).

  • Each Household that has at least one Participating Class Member will receive a portion of the Settlement Payments in proportion to the amount of the allegedly excessive rent fees they were assessed and paid by that Household. The formula to be used for determining the payment is contained in the Settlement Agreement, which is available on the website. If the Household has more than one Participating Class Member, the disbursement will be mailed to the first-listed tenant on the lease.

    No Participating Class Member will need to submit a claim form to receive payment. Participating Class Members forfeit any Settlement check not cashed by 120 calendar days from the issuance date printed on such Settlement check.

    If the proposed Settlement is approved by the Court, the Settlement Payments will be mailed by the Third Party Administrator no more than 30 days following the Effective Date of the Settlement.

  • You do not have to take any action to get a settlement payment. If the proposed Settlement is approved by the Court, payments will be mailed no more than 30 days following the Effective Date of the Settlement.

  • Settlement payments will be mailed no more than 30 days following the Effective Date of the Settlement. The Court approved the Settlement after the Final Approval Hearing on April 5, 2019. However, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain when and how these appeals will be resolved, and resolving them can take time. Please be patient.

  • Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you cannot individually bring claims against Defendant over the claims and/or potential claims settled in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you stay in the Class, you are agreeing to “release and discharge” the Released Parties as described in Section 2.15 of the Settlement Agreement. You can view or print a copy of the Settlement Agreement, which provides more information, on the Important Documents page. The Settlement Agreement specifically describes the released claims in necessarily accurate legal language. Talk to Class Counsel (see Questions 17 and 18 in the section “The Lawyers Representing You”) or your own lawyer if you have questions about the released claims or what is being released by this proposed Settlement.

  • If you want to keep the right to individually bring claims against Defendant over the claims and/or potential claims settled in this case, which means you will not receive a payment from the Settlement Fund, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from this Settlement. This is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the settlement class.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was March 22, 2019 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to individually bring claims against Defendant for the claims and/or potential claims that this settlement resolves. The Settlement Agreement posted on the website describes in more detail the claims and/or potential claims that this settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Class to sue Defendant on your own over the claims and/or potential claims resolved by this settlement. The exclusion deadline was March 22, 2019 and has passed.

  • No. If you exclude yourself, you will not get a payment from this Settlement.

  • The Court appointed the law firms of Britton D. Monts, The Monts Firm (Austin, Texas), R. Martin Weber, Jr. and Richard E. Norman, Crowley Norman, LLP (Houston, Texas), and Jason W. Snell, The Snell Law Firm PLLC (Austin, Texas) to represent you and other Class Members as “Class Counsel.” You do not have to individually pay Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, and have that lawyer appear in court for you in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court for an amount to cover attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of their expenses. Class Counsel may ask for up to $67,500 for fees and expenses. Class Counsel will also ask that the Class Representatives receive up to $2,500 for representing the Class, and that Defendant make a donation to The Salvation Army in the amount of $2,500. Defendant has agreed to not oppose a request for fees, expenses and enhancement awards in or up to those amounts. The Court may award less than the amount requested. No later than March 8, 2019, Class Counsel will file a motion for approval of their application for attorneys' fees and expenses and the enhancement award for the Class Representative. The motion will be available on Important Documents page.

  • You can tell the Court if you do not agree with the Settlement or some part of it.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was March 22, 2019 and has passed.

  • Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the proposed Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the proposed Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you. If you object, and the Court approves the Settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result.

  • The Court held a hearing to decide whether to approve the proposed Settlement. You may have attended and you may have asked to speak, but you did not have to.

  • The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. [CT], on April 5, 2019, in the Courtroom of 55th Judicial District Court in Harris County, Texas located at 201 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77002. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and will conduct a hearing on whether to approve the proposed Settlement. Any Class Member may enter an appearance with the Court through an attorney. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who ask to speak about an objection according to Question 19 above. The Court also will decide how much to award Class Counsel for fees and expenses for representing the Class and whether and how much to award the Class Representative for representing the Class.

    Notice: On April 5, 2019, the Court approved the Settlement as fair and reasonable. Please continue to monitor the case website for the most up to date information.

  • If you filed a written objection, you or your lawyer acting on your behalf may have attended the Final Approval Hearing, but you were not required to do so. Class Counsel and/or Defense Counsel answered any questions that the Court had. But, you were welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. You also may have paid your own lawyer to attend, but it was not necessary, unless you chose to have a lawyer appear on your behalf.

    Notice: On April 5, 2019, the Court approved the Settlement as fair and reasonable. Please continue to monitor the case website for the most up to date information.

  • If you submitted a proper written objection to the settlement, you or your lawyer acting on your behalf may have spoken at the Final Approval Hearing. You could not speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the settlement.

    Notice: On April 5, 2019, the Court approved the Settlement as fair and reasonable. Please continue to monitor the case website for the most up to date information.

  • If you do nothing, you will receive a settlement payment in the mail if you otherwise qualify and the Court approves the proposed Settlement. You will also be giving up your right to individually bring claims against Defendant regarding the claims and/or potential claims resolved by this Settlement.

  • This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which is available on the Important Documents page. If you have questions call 713-651-1771. Do not contact the Court.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Keith Jerome et al. v. Elan 99, LLC
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91343
Seattle, WA 98111