Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a notice?
A court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit known as Sebastian Gonzalez, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, LLP, et. al., Case No. 1:18-cv-20048-DPG and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give Final Approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
Judge Darrin P. Gayles of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida is overseeing this case. The person who sued, Sebastian Gonzalez, is called the “Plaintiff.” TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, LLP d/b/a Mid-Atlantic Sports Network a/k/a MASN, Hyundai Motor America, Inc. (“Hyundai”), and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“Mercedes”) are called the “Defendants.”
What is this litigation about?
The lawsuit alleges that the MASN sent, or caused to be sent, advertisement or telemarketing text messages to Plaintiff’s wireless telephone number without obtaining his prior express written consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act 47 U.S.C. § 227 (“TCPA”) and seeks statutory damages under the TCPA on behalf of the named Plaintiff and a class of all individuals in the United States. Plaintiff alleges that the text messages that MASN sent advertised goods sold by Hyundai and Mercedes; this is why they were also named as Defendants in this class action lawsuit.
The Defendants deny each and every allegation of wrongdoing, liability, and damages that were or could have been asserted in the litigation and that the claims in the litigation would be appropriate for class treatment if the litigation were to proceed through trial. The Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Settlement Agreement, and other case-related documents are posted here. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit. The Court has not decided who is right.
What is a class action?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as the “TCPA”) is a federal law that restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment. The Plaintiff here alleged that Defendants sent or caused to be sent marketing text messages to individuals without the requisite prior written consent in violation of the TCPA.
Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one person called the “Class Representative” (in this case, Plaintiff Sebastian Gonzalez) sues on behalf of himself and other people with similar claims.
All of the people who have claims similar to the Plaintiffs are members of the Settlement Class, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.
Why is there a settlement?
The Court has not found in favor of either Plaintiff or Defendants. Instead, both sides have agreed to a Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and if the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Claimants will receive the benefits described in the Notice. Defendants deny all legal claims in this case. Plaintiff and his lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE SETTLEMENT
To see if you are affected by the Settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Direct Purchaser Settlement Class Member.
Who is included in the settlement?
The Settlement includes all persons who received one or more text messages sent by or on behalf of TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, LLP from December 12, 2013 through the date that the proposed Settlement is approved by the Court. These people are called the “Settlement Class” or “Settlement Class Members.”
Excluded from the Settlement Class are (A) Defendant, Defendant’s subsidiaries, parent companies, successors, predecessors, and any entity in which their officers or directors have a controlling interest, Defendant’s officers, Defendant’s directors, and their immediate family members; (B) Class Counsel; and (C) the judges who have presided over the litigation and their immediate family members.
What If I am not sure whether I am included in the settlement?
If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class or have any other questions about the Settlement, you may call the toll-free number, 1-888-623-6170. You also may send questions to the Settlement Administrator:MASN Text Message Settlementc/o Settlement Administrator1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210Philadelphia, PA 19103
THE BENEFITS OF THE SETTLEMENT
What does the Settlement provide?
Defendants has agreed to pay $2,500,000 to create a cash Settlement Fund. $1,500,000 of the Settlement Fund is non-reversionary and cannot be returned to Defendants for any reason. The remainder of the Settlement Fund may be applied towards the Settlement depending on the amount of persons that timely submit valid Claim Forms. To determine whether the Settlement Fund actually paid out will increase beyond $1,500,000, each Settlement Class Member’s Claim will be multiplied by $75. The Settlement Fund will be used to pay an attorneys’ fee award and a Service Award to the Class Representative. The remainder of the Settlement Fund shall be distributed as cash payments to Settlement Class Members who submit valid Claims. The cash payments will be distributed on a pro rata basis to Settlement Class Members depending on the number of valid Claims filed. Each Settlement Class Member may file one Claim and receive one cash payment for each mobile telephone number texted.
How do I file a claim?
If you qualify for a cash payment, you must complete and submit a valid Claim Form. You can file your Claim Form online here or download a Claim Form here and send it by U.S. Mail to the address below. The deadline to file a Claim online or via mail is 11:59 p.m. EST on July 15, 2019.
If you received a Claim Form in the mail with a postcard summary of this Notice, simply complete, sign, and mail the form by U.S. Mail to the address below. The postage is pre-paid and there is no need for a stamp. Claim Forms submitted by mail must be postmarked on or before July 15, 2019 to:
MASN Text Message Settlement
c/o Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
No matter which method you choose to file your Claim Form, please read the Claim Form carefully and provide all the information required. Only one Claim Form may be submitted per Settlement Class Member for each mobile telephone number texted.
When will I receive my payment?
Payments to Settlement Class Members will be made only after the Court grants Final Approval to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved (see “Final Approval Hearing” below). If there are appeals, resolving them can take time. Please be patient.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
If you do not want benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself—or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
How do I get out of the settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a timely letter by mail to:
CLASS ACTION OPT OUT
ATTN: MASN Text Message Settlement
PO Box 58220
1500 John F Kennedy Blvd, Suite C31
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Your request to be excluded from the Settlement must be personally signed by you under penalty of perjury and contain a statement that indicates your desire to be “excluded from the Settlement Class” and that, absent of excluding yourself or “opting out,” you are “otherwise a member of the Settlement Class.”
Your exclusion request must be received by April 16, 2019. You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or on this Settlement Website.
You may opt out of the Settlement Class only for yourself.
If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Defendants for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for the claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class in order to pursue your own lawsuit.
What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you opt out of the Settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you.
The Settlement Agreement is available here. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the Releases and describes the Released Claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Settlement Class listed in FAQ 15 for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.
If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment?
No. You will not get a payment from the Settlement Fund if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court has appointed the following lawyers as “Class Counsel” to represent all members of the Settlement Class.
David P. Milian, Esq. and Ruben Conitzer, Esq.
CAREY RODRIGUEZ MILIAN GONYA, LLP
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.
How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel intend to request up to one-third of the value of the Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees plus reimbursement of reasonable, actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the litigation. The fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The Motion for these fees and expenses will be posted on the Settlement Website when they are filed with the Court. The Court will decide the amount of fees and expenses to award.
Class Counsel will also request that a Service Award of $10,000.00 be paid from the Settlement Fund to the Class Representative for his service as representative on behalf of the whole Settlement Class.
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
If you are a Settlement Class Member (and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class), you can object to any part of the Settlement. To object, you must timely submit a letter that includes the following:
- A heading that includes the case name and case number—Sebastian Gonzalez, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, LLP, et. al., Case No. 1:18-cv-20048-DPG.
- Your name, address, telephone number, the cell phone number at which you received text messages from Defendants from December 12, 2013 through February 14, 2019, and if represented by counsel, the name, bar number, address, and telephone number of your counsel;
- A signed statement stating, under penalty of perjury, that you received one or more text messages sent by or on behalf of Defendants from December 12, 2013 through February 14, 2019 and are a member of the Settlement Class;
- A statement of all your objections to the Settlement including your legal and factual basis for each objection;
- A statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either with or without counsel, and if with counsel, the name of your counsel who will attend;
- The number of times in which your counsel and/or counsel’s law firm have objected to a class action settlement within the five years preceding the date that you file the objection, the caption of each case in which counsel or the firm has made such objection, and a copy of any orders related to or ruling upon counsel’s or the firm’s prior objections that were issued by the trial and appellate courts in each listed case;
- A list of all persons who will be called to testify at the Final Approval Hearing in support of the objection; and
- Any and all agreements that relate to the objection or the process of objecting—whether written or verbal—between you or your counsel and any other person or entity.
If you wish to object, you must file your objection with the Court (using the Court’s electronic filing system or in any manner in which the Court accepts filings) and mail your objection to each of the following three (3) addresses, and your objection must be postmarked by April 16, 2019.
Clerk of the Court
United States District Court for
the Southern District of Florida
400 North Miami Avenue
Miami, FL 33030
Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP
1395 Brickell Avenue, Suite 700
Miami, FL 33131
Robert J. Herrington
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
1840 Century Park East, Suie 1900
Los Angeles, CA 90067
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.
THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for fees and expenses (“Final Approval Hearing”).
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing on May 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Miami. U.S. Courthouse, 400 North Miami Avenue, Miami FL 33030. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check back at this website periodically for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider the requests by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for a Service Award to the Class Representative. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. It is unknown how long these decisions will take.
Do I have to attend the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time to the proper addresses and it complies with all the other requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it is not necessary.
May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, your timely filed objection must include a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing (see FAQ 17).
You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
IF YOU DO NOTHING
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you are a Settlement Class member and do nothing, meaning you do not file a timely Claim, you will not get benefits from the Settlement. Further, unless you exclude yourself, you will be bound by the judgment entered by the Court.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
How do I get more information
For a complete, definitive statement of the Settlement terms, refer to the Settlement Agreement here. You also contact the Settlement Administrator by email at info@MASNTextMessageSettlement.com, or by calling the toll-free number, 1-888-623-6170, or by writing to:MASN Text Message Settlementc/o Settlement Administrator1650 Arch StreetSuite 2210Philadelphia, PA 19103