Why did I get a notice?

You or someone in your family may have had a consumer loan agreement directly with or that was assigned to FCCU for a loan used to purchase property repossessed and sold by FCCU.

The Court sent you a short-form notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit in which you may be a class member, and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, FCCU will reduce covered debts and judgments by 35% of what was owed after the class member’s property was repossessed and sold or after judgment was taken against the class member.  If the 35% reduction would exceed the outstanding amount of the debt or judgment, the debt or judgment will be released or deemed satisfied, although class members will not receive refunds in that event.  Class members may also receive payments, as described more fully in this package.

This notice explains in greater detail about the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

The Court in charge is the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court for St. Louis City, Missouri, and the case is First Community Credit Union v. Zachary A. Levison, Case No. 1122-AC08888-01.

What is this lawsuit about?

The lawsuit claimed that certain notices the borrowers received in connection with FCCU attempting to collect their loans and repossessing and selling their property failed to comply with statutory requirements. You can read the claims in more detail in the Counterclaim.

Why is this a class action?

In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Zachary A. Levison) sue for other people who have similar claims. All of these people who have similar claims are a “Class” or “Class Members.” One court and one lawsuit resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class. Circuit Judge Bush is in charge of this class action.

Why is there a settlement?

The parties disagree over who would have won at trial and what Levison or the potential Class would have recovered if they had won at trial. Levison believed that he could recover 10% of the principal amount of his loan and the interest charge and other relief. FCCU believed that Levison and the Class were not entitled to anything. To resolve the dispute, and because both parties are unsure of what would have happened in a trial, they agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get money and other benefits. The Class Representative and the attorneys believe the settlement is fair and equitable for all Class Members.

How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

Judge Bush decided everyone who fits this description is a Class Member: all persons: (a) who obtained a Missouri Certificate of Title for a motor vehicle naming FCCU as the lienholder and used or bought said motor vehicle primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; or who are named as borrowers or buyers with a Missouri address on a consumer loan or consumer financing agreement with FCCU or assigned to FCCU; (b) whose loan or financing agreement was secured by personal-property collateral that was used or bought for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; (c) whose personal-property collateral was repossessed from September 20, 2006 to September 20, 2011.  Excluded from the above-defined Class are people who would otherwise be within its scope but who filed for any bankruptcy proceeding at any point after obtaining the loan or entering into the financing agreement referenced above, or who had a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding pending when they obtained the loan or entered into the financing agreement referenced above.

Are there exceptions to being included?

If you contracted with FCCU, that alone does not make you a Class Member. You are a Class Member only if FCCU repossessed your consumer property from September 20, 2006 to September 20, 2011.  You are also not a Class Member if you filed for bankruptcy any time after obtaining your consumer loan from FCCU or if you had a Chapter 13 bankruptcy pending at the time that you obtained your consumer loan from FCCU.

What does the settlement provide?

FCCU has agreed to provide the Class with settlement benefits valued over $3,835,000, which includes:

Money

FCCU has agreed to create a $450,000 fund to pay: (a) Class Members who contracted with FCCU or were co-borrowers on an agreement with FCCU; (b) the attorneys’ fees and expenses for representing the Class and administering this settlement; and (c) Zachary A. Levison for his services as Class Representative. This amount is called the “Cash Fund.”

Deficiency Write-Off

After the Effective Date (as defined in the Agreement), FCCU will write off 35% of (i.e. reduce by 35%) any debt from a loan where FCCU repossessed and sold your property because of its claim that you broke promises in your agreement with FCCU.  FCCU will calculate and apply the 35% reduction based on the original deficiency balance that was owed after FCCU sold your property.  If what you currently owe on the debt is less than the 35% reduction, FCCU will write off the debt completely, although you will not receive any refund.  FCCU will no longer attempt to collect the portion of the debt that is written off, although the portion that is not written off may still be subject to collection.  The value of this benefit to the Class (i.e. the total dollar amount of the portions of debts (called “Deficiency Balances”) being written off because of the settlement) is over $3,385,000. This amount is called the “Deficiency Write-Off.”

Judgment Write-Off

FCCU has sued certain Class Members and obtained money judgments in court against them regarding the Deficiency Balances. After the Effective Date of the settlement, FCCU will write off (i.e. reduce) each of the outstanding money judgments by 35%.  FCCU will calculate and apply the 35% reduction based on the amount of the judgment that was originally taken against you or on the amount of the original Deficiency Balance that existed after your property was sold, whichever amount is greater.  If what you currently owe on the judgment is less than the 35% reduction, FCCU will write off the judgment completely and file a notice to the court stating that the judgment has been satisfied, although you will not receive any refund.  FCCU will no longer attempt to collect the portion of each judgment that is written off, although the portion that is not written off may still be subject to collection. The value of this benefit to the Class (i.e. the total dollar amount of the portions of judgments being written off because of the settlement) is approximately $905,000. This amount is called the “Judgment Write-Off.”

What can I get from the settlement?

Every Class Member will receive money and the benefits of the Deficiency Write-Off and the Judgment Write-Off. The average payment Class Members will receive is $37.45, the maximum is $139.44, and the minimum is $2.42.

The amount of the payment you receive depends on the amount of money you borrowed and the interest rate on your loan.

How can I get my settlement benefits?

Do nothing to receive the settlement benefits.

When would I get my settlement benefits?

The Court will hold a hearing on April 18, 2016, to decide whether to approve the settlement. Even if Judge Bush approves the settlement, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain how an appeal will be resolved and how long it will take. Some appeals take more than a year. Please be patient. You will receive your payment if the settlement is approved and after that approval becomes a “final judgment” (i.e. after any appeals are resolved or the time for appealing has passed).

What am I giving up to get settlement benefits or stay in the Class?

Unless you exclude yourself by following the procedure below, you are a part of the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against FCCU about the legal issues in this case. For example, you will not be able to make any independent claim against FCCU arising from the written notices (right-to-cure notices, repossession notices, deficiency notices) that this lawsuit is about. Staying in the Class also means that all of the Court’s orders in this lawsuit will apply to you and legally bind you. To see exactly the legal claims and defenses that you give up if you get settlement benefits, please view the Settlement Agreement.

How do I get out of the settlement?

To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter by mail saying you want to be excluded from First Community Credit Union, Case No. 1122-AC08888-01. Include your name, address, telephone number, last four digits of your Social Security Number, and the name of any other person on your agreement with FCCU, along with your signature. The exclusion request must be signed by you and by any co-borrower on your agreement, unless the co-borrower is deceased, in which case you must include a death certificate with your request. You cannot exclude yourself by having an actual or purported agent or attorney acting for you or a group of Class Members sign the letter. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than March 31, 2016, to:

First Class, Inc./ J13111- FCCU
5410 W Roosevelt Rd, Ste 222
Chicago, IL 60644-1490

If you ask to be excluded, you will get no settlement benefits, and you cannot object to the settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may sue (or continue to sue) FCCU about the claims asserted in this lawsuit.

If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue FCCU for the same thing later?

No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue FCCU for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion deadline is March 31, 2016. Exclusion requests postmarked later than this date will not be honored.

If I exclude myself, can I get benefits from this settlement?

No. But you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against FCCU about the same claims made in this lawsuit.

Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court appointed Martin L. Daesch, Jesse B. Rochman and their law firm, Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC to represent you and other Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. They are experienced in handling similar cases against credit unions and banks. More information about these lawyers and their firm is available at http://www.onderlaw.com. You need not hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

How will the lawyers get paid?

Class Counsel has prosecuted this litigation on a contingent basis and has incurred or advanced all costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees associated with the lawsuit since their investigation of claims against FCCU began in 2011. Class Counsel has not been paid for their work or received reimbursement for the expenses they have incurred or advanced on behalf of the Class Representative and Class Members. Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of approximately 10% of the value of the settlement benefits, not to exceed $400,000, to them for attorneys’ fees and expenses and payment of $5,000 to Zachary A. Levison for his services as Class Representative. The fees and expenses would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, negotiating the settlement, and paying the costs to administer the settlement.

How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the settlement?

If you’re a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can explain why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter saying you object to First Community Credit Union v. Zachary A. Levison, Case No. 1122-AC08888-01. Your letter must include your name, address, telephone number, facsimile number (if available), email address (if available), last four digits of your Social Security Number, a statement of your objections, and the reasons and facts that you contend support your objections. Your objection must include any documents (including loan documents) you rely upon to support your objection and identify any witnesses you plan to use at the Fairness Hearing (described below). If there is other evidence (e.g., documents) that you rely upon for your objection, you must attach copies to your objection. If you plan to use expert witnesses concerning your objection, you must provide—with your objection—an expert report for each expert outlining the expert’s opinions and the facts and reasons for the expert’s opinions. You must also state whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing and provide copies of any evidence you intend to use at the hearing. Finally, you must sign and date the objection and include a statement in substantially the following form: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that all of the information in the objection is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).”

Mail the objection to the Court, to Class Counsel, and to FCCU’s Counsel at the separate addresses provided below. Your objection must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2016:

Court Class Counsel FCCU’s Counsel
Circuit Clerk’s Office
10 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Martin L. Daesch
Jesse Rochman
Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC
110 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Thomas M. Martin
Joseph E. Bant
Lewis Rice LLC
1010 Walnut St., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64106

If an attorney is submitting the objection for you, besides information and materials discussed above, the objection must include the name, address, telephone number, facsimile number (if available), and email address (if available) of your attorney and a detailed description of the legal authorities supporting each objection.
If you file an objection, Class Counsel or FCCU’s Counsel may notice and take your deposition, consistent with the Missouri Supreme Court Rules, at an agreed-upon location before the Fairness
Hearing, and seek any documentary evidence or other tangible things relevant to the objection. Failure by an objector to comply with discovery requests may cause the Court to strike the objection and otherwise deny that person the opportunity to be further heard. The Court reserves the right to tax the costs of any such discovery to the objector or objector’s counsel should the Court determine the objection is frivolous or is made for an improper purpose.

What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?

Objecting is telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 10:30 a.m. on April 18, 2016, at the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, 10 N. Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63101, in Division 4. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Bush will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to pay to Class Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take

Do I have to come to the hearing?

No. Class Counsel will answer questions that Judge Bush may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time with all the required information, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but that is unnecessary.

May I speak at the hearing?

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. You may speak either in favor of or against the settlement. To speak in favor of the settlement, you must send a letter saying it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in First Community Credit Union v. Zachary A. Levison, Case No. 1122- AC08888-01.” Include your name, address, telephone number, last four digits of your Social Security Number, and your signature. Your “Notice of Intention to Appear” must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2016, and be sent to the Circuit Clerk’s Office, Class Counsel, and FCCU’s Counsel, at the three addresses below:

Court Class Counsel FCCU’s Counsel
Circuit Clerk’s Office
10 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Martin L. Daesch
Jesse Rochman
Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC
110 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Thomas M. Martin
Joseph E. Bant
Lewis Rice LLC
1010 Walnut St., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64106

If you plan to speak at the Fairness Hearing to tell the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement, you must submit an objection as detailed in question 18, and include with that objection a statement that you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing. The identity of any witnesses or experts that you plan to present at the Fairness Hearing, with evidence that you intend to present at the Fairness hearing, must also be included with your objection.

You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself or if you do not send in a request with the required information and documents.

Are there more details about the settlement?

This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by clicking that link.

How do I get more information?

You can call 1-866-828-4699 toll free or write to First Class, Inc./ J13111- FCCU, 5410 W Roosevelt Rd, Ste 222, Chicago, IL 60644-1490 for information to help you determine whether you are a Class Member.