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Medgebow v. Checkers Drive-In Restaurancts, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

September 18, 2019

JOEL MEDGEBOW, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CHECKERS DRIVE-IN RESTAURANCTS, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, AWARDING SERVICE AWARD, ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS, AND FINAL JUDGMENT

          BETH BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Plaintiff’s Application for Service Award, Attorneys’ Fees, and Costs, ECF No. [19], and the Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement, ECF No. [21] (together, the “Motions”). On May 28, 2019, this Court granted preliminary approval to the proposed class action settlement set forth in the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) between Plaintiff Joel Medgebow (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of himself and all members of the Settlement Class,[1] and Defendant Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (“Checkers”) (collectively, the “Parties”). ECF No. [17]. The Court also provisionally certified the Settlement Class for settlement purposes, approved the procedure for giving Class Notice to the Settlement Class Members, and set a Final Approval Hearing to take place on September 17, 2019.

         On September 17, 2019, the Court held a duly noticed Final Approval Hearing to consider: (1) whether the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement are fair, reasonable and adequate; (2) whether a judgment should be entered dismissing Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint on the merits and with prejudice in favor of Checkers and against all persons or entities who are Settlement Class Members herein who have not requested exclusion from the Settlement Class; and (3) whether and in what amount to award counsel for the Settlement Class as Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses and whether and in what amount to award a Service Award to Plaintiff. See ECF No. [22]. Accordingly, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Motions, ECF Nos. [19], [21], are GRANTED as follows:

         I. JURISDICTION OF THE COURT

         1. The Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties and the Settlement Class Members, venue is proper, and the Court has subject matter jurisdiction to approve the Settlement Agreement, including all Exhibits thereto, and to enter this Final Order and Judgment. Without in any way affecting the finality of this Final Order and Judgment, this Court retains jurisdiction as to all matters relating to administration, consummation, enforcement, and interpretation of the Settlement Agreement and of this Final Order and Judgment, and for any other necessary purpose.

         2. The Settlement Agreement was negotiated at arm’s length by experienced counsel who were fully informed of the facts and circumstances of this litigation (the “Litigation” or the “Action”) and of the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions. The Settlement Agreement was reached after the Parties engaged in mediation and extensive settlement discussions and after the exchange of information, including information about the size and scope of the Settlement Class. Counsel for the Parties were therefore well positioned to evaluate the benefits of the Settlement Agreement, taking into account the expense, risk, and uncertainty of protracted litigation.

         3. The Court finds that the prerequisites for a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been satisfied for settlement purposes for each Settlement Class Member in that: (a) the number of Settlement Class Members is so numerous that joinder of all members thereof is impracticable; (b) there are questions of law and fact common to the Settlement Class; (c) the claims of Plaintiff are typical of the claims of the Settlement Class he seeks to represent; (d) Plaintiff and Class Counsel have and will continue to fairly and adequately represent the interests of the Settlement Class for purposes of entering into the Settlement Agreement; (e) the questions of law and fact common to the Settlement Class Members predominate over any questions affecting any individual Settlement Class Member; (f) the Settlement Class is ascertainable; and (g) a class action is superior to the other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.

         II. CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS

         4. Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court finally certifies the Settlement Class, as identified in the Settlement Agreement: All persons in the United States (i) identified in the Settlement Class List (ii) who between January 28, 2018 and May 28, 2019 (the “Class Period”), attempted to unsubscribe from receiving text messages from Checkers’ short code 88001, by texting “stop,” “cancel,” “unsubscribe,” “end,” “quit,” “optout,” “opt out,” “remove,” “cancelar,” “arret,” or “arrette” (or any variation thereof) and were subsequently sent text message advertisements or promotions from Checkers to their cellular telephone and did not re-subscribe to receive text messages. Persons meeting this definition are referenced herein collectively as the “Settlement Class,” and individually as “Settlement Class Members.” 1. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this class specifically excludes persons in the following categories: (A) individuals who are or were during the Class Period officers or directors of Checkers or any of its respective affiliates; (B) the district judge and magistrate judge presiding over this case, the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, their spouses, and persons within the third degree of relationship to any of them; and (C) all persons who file a timely and proper request to be excluded from the Settlement Class in accordance with Section III(D) of the Settlement Agreement.

         III. APPOINTMENT OF CLASS REPRESENTATIVES AND CLASS COUNSEL

         5. The Court finally appoints attorneys Seth Lehrman of Edwards Pottinger, LLC and Joshua Eggnatz and Michael Pascucci of Eggnatz Pascucci, P.A. as Class Counsel for the Settlement Class.

         6. The Court finally designates Plaintiff Joel Medgebow as the Class Representative.

         IV. NOTICE ...


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