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Spinelli v. Capital One Bank, USA

United States District Court, Eleventh Circuit

October 25, 2013

KENNETH SPINELLI, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
CAPITAL ONE BANK, USA, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER

VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court pursuant to an October 19, 2013, handwritten letter to the Court submitted by class member Tarvis Ellis. (Doc. # 260). For the reasons that follow, the Court construes the letter as a Motion to Enforce the Settlement Agreement and declines to exercise jurisdiction over the issues raised therein.

Discussion

Kenneth Spinelli, Arthur Griffin, and other Plaintiffs filed this action against Capital One Bank and Capital One Services, Inc. (collectively "Capital One") in state court on September 28, 2007. (Doc. # 2). Capital One removed the case to this Court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act on January 18, 2008. (Doc. # 1). After several amendments of the operative Complaint, the Plaintiffs filed the Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. # 142) on August 11, 2010, containing the following counts: (1) breach of contract and fraud in the inducement; (2) violation of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601; (3) violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fla. Stat. § 501.201; and (4) violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Acts of other states.

On August 13, 2010, the parties filed a Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement. (Doc. # 143). On August 16, 2010, the Court entered an Order preliminarily approving the settlement. (Doc. # 147). That Order defined the "Settlement Class" as follows:

(1) All natural persons who have or had Capital One credit card accounts in the United States and who enrolled in and were charged for Payment Protection on or after January 1, 2005 through July 31, 2010; or (2) all natural persons, who had a billing address in Florida at the time of enrollment in Payment Protection, who have or had Capital One credit card accounts and who enrolled in Payment Protection on or after September 28, 2003 through July 31, 2010. Any cardholder who filed for bankruptcy after enrolling in Payment Protection is excluded from the class.

(Doc. # 147 at 2).

The parties filed a Motion for Final Approval of the Settlement on November 5, 2010 (Doc. # 201), and the Court held a final fairness hearing on the Settlement on November 19, 2010 (Doc. # 229). On November 23, 2010, the Court entered its Order granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Plan of Allocation. (Doc. # 231). Therein, the Court finally certified the Settlement Class that it previously preliminarily certified. (Id. at 9-10). The Court also noted "the Class Representatives and all Final Settlement Class Members are deemed to have absolutely and unconditionally released and forever discharged the Released Parties from all Released Claims, and are forever barred and enjoined from commencing, instituting or maintaining any Released Claims against the Released Parties, or any of them, in any action in this or any other forum." (Id. at 11).[1]

The Court noted that "this settlement will resolve all known class action cases against Capital One involving Payment Protection. This global settlement includes at least eight other class action cases pending throughout the nation." (Id. at 8). The Court dismissed the case with prejudice and declined to retain jurisdiction over the matter to enforce the settlement or otherwise.[2] (Id. at 11).

Since that time, various parties and counsel have requested relief from the Court regarding the finality of the settlement. For instance, on August 3, 2012, Capital One filed its Motion to Enjoin Prosecution of Released Claims and for Sanctions. (Doc. # 246). Therein, Capital One sought an order enjoining the Attorneys General of the States of Hawaii and Mississippi from prosecuting cases against Capital One and seeking the imposition of monetary sanctions against the Golomb & Honik law firm. On August 22, 2012, the Court entered an Order denying the Motion to Enjoin Prosecution of Released Claims and for Sanctions. (Doc. # 253). The Court explained: "[T]he Court has no need to issue an injunction in aid of its jurisdiction.' This matter has been closed for over a year, and the Court declined to retain jurisdiction after disposing of the claims. The Court no longer has jurisdiction over this case and has no desire to preserve its long-relinquished jurisdiction." (Id. at 7).

At this juncture, Mr. Ellis seeks an order enforcing the settlement. (Doc. # 260). In his letter, Mr. Ellis indicates: "Please take notice that the Judgment entered in the above entitled case has not been satisfied which is in violation of the Equal [Protection] Clause and the 4th and 14th Amendments of the State and United States Constitution and Class Action Fairness Act." (Doc. # 260). Mr. Ellis also notes: "This Plaintiff never received no monies of this law suit: and I am still paying a Capital One law suit card payment every month. I have paid one card off, and still paying a monthly payment on another card;... I pray that this Court will make sure that I get due process of law soon." (Id.).

The Court notes that Mr. Ellis has tendered several letters to the Court indicating that he has not received settlement funds. See (Doc. ## 254, 258, 259, 260). As a courtesy to Mr. Ellis and with the aim that the parties could resolve the issue of a $20.00 class settlement payment without court intervention, the Court previously directed Capital One to address Mr. Ellis' concerns. (Doc. # 255). Capital One responded that it sent Mr. Ellis settlement funds in the amount of $20.00, which Mr. Ellis cashed on March 14, 2011. (Doc. # 256). The Court thereafter issued an Order finding the issue to be moot. (Doc. # 257).

It appears that Mr. Ellis is not satisfied with the Court's resolution of this matter. However, in the context of this long-closed case, the Court determines that it lacks ...


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