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McGee v. Triad of Alabama LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division

January 18, 2019

JULIE S. McGEE; ADAM PARKE MICHAEL HALL; as the named Executor of the Estate of Sandra Ha and JACK WHITTLE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
TRIAD OF ALABAMA, LLC, d/b/a FLOWERS HOSPITAL, Defendant.

          ORDER AND FINAL JUDGMENT

          W. KEITH WATKINS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Julie S. McGee, Adam Parker, Michael Hall, and Jack Whittle (the Representative Plaintiffs) filed a Second Amended Class Action Complaint against Defendant Triad of Alabama, LLC d/b/a Flowers Hospital in 2014. (Doc. # 25.) On July 18, 2018, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement. (Doc. # 123.)[1]

         On December 17, 2018, the court held a fairness hearing to determine the answers to six questions. First, are the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement fair, reasonable, and adequate for the settlement of all claims pending in this action? Second, should the court approve the Settlement Agreement? Third, should the court enter judgment dismissing the Released Claims with prejudice in favor of Defendant and against all persons or entities who are Settlement Class Members? Fourth, should the court approve the plan of distribution proposed in the Settlement Agreement as a fair and reasonable method to allocate the Settlement proceeds among the Settlement Class Members? Fifth, what is a reasonable award of attorneys' fees and expenses to Class Counsel? And sixth, how much should be awarded as Class Representative Awards?

         Settlement Class Members and Defendant were represented by counsel at the fairness hearing. No objectors appeared before, during, or after the hearing. Notice of the hearing, substantially in the form approved by the court, was mailed to all Settlement Class Members at the addresses in Defendant's records. (Doc. # 131-1.)

         Before the court are the Representative Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Proposed Settlement, Final Certification of the Class, an Incentive Award to the Class Representatives and an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses (Doc. # 130) and Class Counsel's Petition for Award of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses Related to Class Settlement and an Incentive Award to the Class Representatives (Doc. # 127). The parties consent to the entry of this Order. Based on the submissions of the parties and the arguments of counsel, it is ORDERED that:

         1. The court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, the Representative Plaintiffs, all Settlement Class Members, and Defendant. The court adopts as its findings of fact all stipulated and uncontradicted facts submitted by the parties about this proposed class settlement, both in writing and in court at the fairness hearing.

         2. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the court confirms the certification of this action as a class action on behalf of the following Class:

All non-hospital patients of Flowers Hospital, as defined on page four of the certification order, whose personal identifying information or protected health information was stolen or may have been stolen from Flowers Hospital by Kamarian Millender and/or his accomplice(s). Excluded from the class are the (i) owners, officers, directors, employees, agents and/or representatives of Defendant and its parent entities, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, and/or assigns, and (ii) the court, court personnel, and members of their immediate families.

         Also excluded from the Class are any individuals who previously requested exclusion from the Class.

         3. The court finds that the 2018 amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 do not apply here. Those amendments apply to cases filed before December 2018 only if it is “just and practicable” to do so. H.R. Doc. No. 115-119, at 2 (2018). Applying the amendments to this action is not practicable because all proceedings about class certification (other than final approval) took place under the prior rule. That said, the court finds that the Settlement Agreement, the parties' submissions, and the arguments made at the fairness hearing satisfy the amended requirements for approval of the Settlement Agreement.

         4. On September 20, 2018, the Settlement Administrator mailed notices of the proposed settlement (the Notice) by First-Class mail to the Settlement Class Members as shown on the records maintained by Defendant. (Doc. # 131-1.) The Notice fully complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, due process, and all other applicable laws. By December 14, 2018, 61 of approximately 1, 196 Settlement Class Members had returned claim forms. No objections to the proposed Settlement Agreement were filed.

         5. All Settlement Class Members who could be identified with reasonable effort were given due and adequate notice of the proceedings, of the pendency of this action as a class action, and of the proposed Settlement Agreement. The form and method of notifying the Settlement Class Members of the proceedings, of the pendency of this action as a class action, and of the terms and conditions of the proposed Settlement Agreement satisfied Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, due process, and any other applicable law, constituted the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and provided due and sufficient notice to all persons and entities entitled to notice.

         6. Because the Settlement Class Members received due and adequate notice of the proceedings, as well as a full opportunity to participate in the fairness hearing, it is determined that they are bound by this Order and Final Judgment.

         7. The Settlement Agreement and the terms of the Settlement as described in the Settlement Agreement and the Notice are approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Settlement Class Members and the Settling Parties are directed to consummate the Settlement Agreement in accordance its terms and conditions. The benefits provided to any one Class Representative or Class Member are fair and equitable relative to the other Class Representatives and Class Members.

         8. The Second Amended Class Action Complaint is dismissed without costs, except as provided in the ...


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