WATERS, ET AL. V. HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION OF HAWAII, ET AL., CIVIL NO. 05-1-0815-05 EEH,
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT, STATE OF HAWAII
NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
If you resided in a Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (now known as Hawaii Public Housing Authority) project-based Section 8 projects between May 6, 2003 to present and purchased your own electric utilities, this Notice may affect your rights. Please read it carefully.
NOTICE IS GIVEN THAT:
Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (now known as the Hawaii Public Housing Authority or HPHA), HHA Wilikina Apartments Project, Inc., and Stephanie Aveiro, acting in her official capacity as the Executive Director of HPHA, (collectively referred to as the State). The suit alleges that the State violated its rental agreements with project-based Section 8 tenants who are members of the Plaintiff Class by failing to increase utility allowances provided to such tenants as utility rates increased. In order to avoid further expense, additional delay and the risk of litigation, the State has reached a tentative agreement with Plaintiffs and their attorneys (Class Counsel) to settle the lawsuit on the terms described in this Notice.
If you wish to take part in this settlement, you must request a claim form AND submit the completed form by June 12, 2007. Claim forms can be obtained at www.hawaiiclassaction.com/waters/settlement or by requesting a claim form from Class Counsel identified at the end of this notice.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT AND IMPORTANT DEADLINES
Submit A Claim Form
Receive the benefits of this
Claim Filing Deadline is
JUNE 12, 2007
Receive no payment and no credit towards amount Defendants claim you owe
them. This option allows you to file your own lawsuit against Defendants,
at your own risk and expense, for the legal claims in this case.
Opt-out deadline is
APRIL 30, 2007
Object in Writing
Write to the Court about why you dont like the settlement and attend the Final Approval and Fairness Hearing on Wednesday, June 20, 2007, at 2:30 p.m.
Deadline to file objections is
MAY 30, 2007
Receive no cash payment and give up rights to bring a claim against Defendants for the legal claims in this case. You may, however, receive a credit towards amounts Defendants claim you owe them.
Judge Elizabeth E. Hifo of the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii, is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is called Waters, et al. v. Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, et al., Civil No. 05-1-0815-05 EEH. The Court has granted preliminary approval of the
settlement with the State. The Court will decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement after reviewing objections filed by May 30, 2007. Payments will be distributed only if the Court approves the settlement. If you have questions, contact Class Counsel at the number or address listed on the next page.
Please do not contact the Court about this lawsuit or the settlement. The Court cannot assist you or answer any questions. If you need additional assistance, please contact Class Counsel at the number or address listed at the end of this notice.
The Settlement Benefits
The proposed settlement with the State provides for payment of $155,000 into a Settlement Fund to satisfy the claims of all Class Members. The settlement amount agreed to by the Parties is inclusive of the Class Counsels attorneys fees and costs. The State has agreed to pay Class Counsel, from the settlement amount, attorneys fees and costs of $38,750 (25 percent of the Settlement Fund).
After payment of the attorneys fees and costs and reduction of the Settlement Fund for class members who opt-out, the balance of the Settlement Fund will be distributed as a reimbursement to eligible households of the Plaintiff Class on a pro rata basis (a percentage of the total amount of utility allowance reimbursements for the eligible household during the period from May 1, 2003 to December 31, 2005). However, the reimbursement amount to eligible households shall first be
applied to any delinquent amount (set-off amount) which the household owes to the State (e.g., for delinquent rents or damages charges). The balance of any reimbursement amount, if any, shall then be disbursed to the eligible household. Class Counsel has not reviewed the set-off amounts for accuracy or merit. This settlement will not affect a Class Members right to dispute the legitimacy of the set-off amount.
The amount a Class Member is entitled to under the Settlement Agreement may be as much as $1,200.00 before deductions for attorneys fees and costs and set-offs.
Any monies remaining in the Settlement Fund following disbursement to Class Counsel and all eligible households which have not opted-out shall revert to the State of Hawaii. Any disputes between eligible class members and the State concerning the amount of reimbursement will be resolved by arbitrator John Komeiji, whose decisions shall be binding.
Payments will be made only if the Court approves the settlement. If eligible class members whose claims total more than $10,000 in the aggregate opt-out, the settlement will not become final.
How to Participate in the Settlement
If you wish to take part in this settlement, you must request a claim form AND submit the completed form by June 12, 2007.
Cash payment will be mailed to Class Members only after the Court grants final approval of the settlement with the State. This process will likely take several months AND IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE PAYMENT BEFORE AUGUST 1, 2007.. Claim forms, additional information and updates may be obtained by visiting www.hawaiiclassaction.com/waters/settlement or by contacting Class Counsel at the number or address listed below.
How to Request Exclusion
If you do not wish to participate in the settlement, you may opt-out by submitting a written request to Class Counsel at the address below no later than April 30, 2007. If you opt-out, you will not be bound by the settlement, WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY OF THE SETTLEMENT FUND, and will reserve any rights you may have against the State. You will have the right to pursue your own lawsuit against the State at your own risk and expense. Note that your lawsuit must be filed within a fixed time period.
Additional information about the lawsuit, the complete Settlement Agreement, key pleadings, and a printable claim form may be obtained by visiting www.hawaiiclassaction.com/waters/settlement or by contacting Class Counsel at the number or address listed below.
Shelby Anne Floyd, Esq.
ALSTON HUNT FLOYD & ING
74-5620 Palani Road, Suite 104
Kailua-Kona, Hawai`I 96740
Gavin K. Thornton, Esq.
LAWYERS FOR EQUAL JUSTICE
P.O. Box 37952
Honolulu, Hawai`I 96837-0952
WATERS, ET AL. V. HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT