Sarah Poutsch v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, et al., Case No. CV-2011-01210
Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County, New Mexico

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this settlement. To view the answer to a question, please click on the question from the list below. The answers to these questions will be updated periodically to reflect the current status of the settlement.

BASIC INFORMATION

  1. Why did I get a Notice Package in the mail?
  2. Which USAA companies are part of the settlement?
  3. What is this lawsuit about?
  4. Why is this a class action?
  5. Why is there a settlement?

WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT

  1. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
  2. Who is a Distribution Class Member?
  3. I'm not sure if I'm a Distribution Class Member. How do I know if USAA's Vehicle Specification System database shows that my vehicle is equipped with a qualifying passive antitheft device?
  4. Are there exceptions to being included?
  5. I'm still not sure if I am included.

THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS—WHAT YOU GET IF YOU QUALIFY

  1. What does the settlement provide?
  2. What is a "Property and Casualty Insurance Policy" (also called a "P&C Policy")?
  3. What is a "Current Policyholder"? If I'm a Current Policyholder, what do I need to do to participate in the settlement?
  4. What is a "Former Policyholder"? If I'm a Former Policyholder, what do I need to do to participate in the settlement?
  5. I'm a Former Policyholder. When/where should I send my Address Verification Form?
  6. I'm a Distribution Class Member. How much will my payment be? What is my share of the Settlement Fund?
  7. I'm a Distribution Class Member. When will I get my payment?
  8. What if I disagree with the amount of my payment?
  9. I already received a refund from USAA regarding New Mexico antitheft discounts. Is that refund different from this settlement?
  10. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Settlement Class?

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
(FOR DISTRIBUTION CLASS MEMBERS ONLY)

  1. I'm a Distribution Class Member. How do I get out of the settlement?
  2. What is a "Legally Authorized Representative"?
  3. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants for the same thing later?
  4. If I exclude myself, can I get a payment from this settlement?

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

  1. Do I have a lawyer in the case?
  2. How will the lawyers be paid? What is the Class Representative Incentive Award?

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

  1. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the settlement?
  2. What's the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

THE COURT'S FINAL APPROVAL HEARING

  1. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
  2. Do I have to come to the Hearing?
  3. May I speak at the Hearing?

IF YOU DO NOTHING

  1. What happens if I do nothing at all?

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

  1. How do I get more information about the settlement?

 

BASIC INFORMATION

1. Why did I get a Notice package in the mail?

You received a Court-authorized Notice package because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action, and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give "final approval" to the settlement.  If the Court approves the Parties' Class Action Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement"), and after any objections and appeals are resolved, payments will be made to those who qualify. 

The Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available under the settlement, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

Judge Nan Nash of the Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, is overseeing this class action.  This case is known as Sarah Poutsch v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, et al., Case No. CV-2011-01210.  The person who sued is called the Plaintiff, and the companies she sued are called the Defendants.

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2. Which USAA companies are part of the settlement?

This settlement includes United Services Automobile Association ("USAA"), USAA Casualty Insurance Company ("USAA CIC"), USAA General Indemnity Company ("USAA GIC"), and Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company ("Garrison"). The Notice and these FAQs also sometimes refer to these USAA companies as "Defendants."

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3. What is this lawsuit about?

The lawsuit claims that the USAA Defendants did not automatically give certain of their New Mexico automobile insurance policyholders a 10% discount off their comprehensive coverage when they had qualifying passive antitheft devices as standard equipment in their cars. 

The USAA Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, and maintain that they have complied with and exceeded their obligations under New Mexico law.  The Parties, however, have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of continued litigation.

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4. Why is this a class action?

In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called "Class Representatives" (in this case, Sarah Poutsch) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a "Class" or "Class Members." One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

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5. Why is there a settlement?

Both sides agreed to a settlement to avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of further litigation. The Class Representative and Class Counsel think that the settlement is in the best interest of the Settlement Class and that the settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable.

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WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT

6. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

You are a Settlement Class Member if you have or had a New Mexico auto policy with comprehensive coverage issued by a USAA company from January 28, 2005 through May 28, 2013.

See FAQs 7-8, below, for the definition of a "Distribution Class Member."  See FAQ 9, below, for exceptions to the Settlement Class definition.

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7. Who is a Distribution Class Member?

A "Distribution Class Member" is a Settlement Class Member who, from January 28, 2005 to September 30, 2007, had comprehensive coverage for at least one policy period on a vehicle equipped with a passive antitheft device as standard factory-installed equipment, as identified by the USAA companies' Vehicle Specification ("VSS") database, and did not receive an antitheft device discount of at least 10% of the earned premium for comprehensive coverage for that policy period.

Only Distribution Class Members are entitled to a monetary payment from this settlement. (See FAQ 11, below.)

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8. I'm not sure if I'm a Distribution Class Member. How do I know if USAA's Vehicle Specification System database shows that my vehicle is equipped with a qualifying passive antitheft device?

If you were sent a Notice package by the Settlement Administrator postmarked on August 16, 2013, that means that USAA's records show you are or were a policyholder under a New Mexico auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage from January 28, 2005 through September 30, 2007; that one or more of your vehicles were equipped with a passive antitheft device according to USAA's Vehicle Specification System ("VSS") database during that time period; and that you did not receive at least a 10% discount on your comprehensive insurance coverage for the qualifying vehicle(s) for one or more of those policy periods. This means that, according to USAA's records, you are a Distribution Class Member.

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9. Are there exceptions to being included?

Yes. Excluded from the Settlement Class are (i) all officers, employees, and agents of the USAA Defendants, Class Counsel, and their immediate families; (ii) any members of the judiciary assigned to the lawsuit, and their immediate families; and (iii) the USAA Defendants' counsel of record and their immediate families.

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10. I'm still not sure if I am included.

If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help. You can call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-527-4193 or send an e-mail to mail@poutschsettlement.com.

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THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS—WHAT YOU GET IF YOU QUALIFY

11. What does the settlement provide?

The Settlement Fund for Distribution Class Members will be $400,000.00, from which will be deducted the Attorneys' Fees and Expense Award and any Incentive Award for the Class Representative.  (See FAQ 26 for an explanation of those terms.)  A qualifying Distribution Class Member is eligible to receive his or her share of the remaining funds.

If the Court approves the settlement, qualifying Distribution Class Members will receive payments as follows:

1. "Current Policyholders" with an active "P&C Policy" on May 28, 2013 (see FAQs 12 and 13 for the definitions of these terms):

  • If you were a Current Policyholder on May 28, 2013, and continue to have an active P&C Policy with a USAA company when the payments are ready to be distributed to qualifying Distribution Class Members, you will automatically receive a credit to your P&C Policy account in the amount of your share of the Settlement Fund.
  • If you were a Current Policyholder on May 28, 2013, but no longer have an active P&C Policy with a USAA company when the payments are distributed to qualifying Distribution Class Members, you will receive a check in the amount of your share of the Settlement Fund, less any amount you owe on your account.

    NOTE:  If you were a "Current Policyholder" on May 28, 2013, you do not need to submit an Address Verification Form or do anything else to qualify for a payment, even if you are not a current policyholder when the payments are distributed.  You still automatically qualify for a credit or check as calculated under the terms of the settlement.

2. "Former Policyholders" as of May 28, 2013 (see FAQ 14 for the definition of this term):

If you were a Former Policyholder on May 28, 2013, you must submit an Address Verification Form by December 3, 2013 in order to qualify for a payment. If you submit a timely Address Verification Form, you will receive a payment as follows:

  • If you do not have an active P&C Policy when the payments are ready to be distributed to qualifying Distribution Class Members, you will receive a check in the amount of your share of the Settlement Fund, less any amount you owe on your account.
  • If you do have an active P&C Policy when payments are distributed to qualifying Distribution Class Members, you will automatically receive a credit to your P&C Policy account in the amount of your share of the Settlement Fund.

FAQs 14-15 explain this process in more detail. 

Only Distribution Class Members are eligible for a payment under the settlement. 

In addition, Settlement Class Members have already received the benefits of a USAA Refund Program approved by the Superintendent of Insurance (see FAQ 19 below), and all Settlement Class Members will receive the following additional benefit from the settlement:  The USAA Defendants have agreed that, for at least two years after this settlement is final, they will continue their current practice that, when a policyholder initially requests a New Mexico automobile insurance policy or adds a vehicle to an existing New Mexico policy, the USAA Defendants will check a database to see if the policyholder's vehicle has a qualifying antitheft device; if it does, the USAA Defendants will automatically apply the appropriate antitheft device discount, unless the policyholder instructs otherwise.  Paragraph 74 of the Settlement Agreement explains this in more detail.  You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement here.

The USAA Defendants have agreed to pay the Attorneys' Fees and Expense Award, and any Incentive Award to the Named Plaintiff, from the Settlement Fund.  (See FAQ 26, below, for more details.)  The USAA Defendants will also pay the costs of settlement notice and administration. 

If the settlement becomes final, the lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice, and the USAA Defendants will receive a complete release and discharge of the claims asserted in the lawsuit.  (See FAQ 20 for more details.)

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12. What is a "Property and Casualty Insurance Policy" (also called a "P&C Policy")?

A Property and Casualty Insurance Policy (also called a "P&C Policy") is an automobile, homeowners, renters, or fire insurance policy issued by the USAA Defendants or their affiliates and subsidiaries.

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13. What is a "Current Policyholder"? If I'm a Current Policyholder, what do I need to do to participate in the settlement?

A "Current Policyholder" is a Distribution Class Member who had an active P&C Policy with any of the USAA Defendants or their affiliates and subsidiaries on May 28, 2013.

If you are a Current Policyholder, you do not have to submit an Address Verification Form (or do anything else) to get a payment.  Your payment will be calculated and then distributed according to the process in FAQ 11(1).

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14. What is a "Former Policyholder"? If I'm a Former Policyholder, what do I need to do to participate in the settlement?

A "Former Policyholder" is a Distribution Class Member who did not have an active P&C Policy with any of the USAA Defendants or their affiliates and subsidiaries on May 28, 2013.

If you are a Former Policyholder, you (or your "Legally Authorized Representative"—see FAQ 22 for an explanation of that term) must submit an Address Verification Form by December 3, 2013 in order to qualify for a payment.  If you do that, your payment will be calculated and then distributed according to the process in FAQ 11(2).  If you do not submit an Address Verification Form by December 3, 2013, you will not be eligible for a payment.

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15. I'm a Former Policyholder. When/where should I send my Address Verification Form?

If you are a Former Policyholder on May 28, 2013, you (or your Legally Authorized Representative) must send an Address Verification Form in order to be eligible for a payment under this settlement.

If you received a Notice package, the Address Verification Form is at the end of the package.  You must fill it out completely (providing your current address) and send the Form so that it is postmarked by December 3, 2013 to the following address:

Poutsch Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 3614
Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

If you are a Distribution Class Member's Legally Authorized Representative (see FAQ 22), you must also fill out the second page of the Address Verification Form and provide your own contact and other information. 

Alternatively, instead of mailing the Address Verification Form, you may complete the Address Verification Form on this settlement website by clicking here.  The deadline for doing so is December 3, 2013.

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16. I'm a Distribution Class Member. How much will my payment be? What is my share of the Settlement Fund?

If the Court approves the settlement, the USAA companies will create a Settlement Fund of $400,000.00, from which will be deducted the Attorneys' Fees and Expense Award and any Incentive Award for the Class Representative. A qualifying Distribution Class Member will be eligible to receive his or her share of the remaining funds.

The exact amount each qualifying Distribution Class Member will receive cannot be calculated until (1) the Court approves the settlement; (2) attorneys' fees and costs, and any Class Representative incentive award, are deducted from the Settlement Fund; and (3) the number of participating Distribution Class Members is determined.  In addition, each Distribution Class Member's share of the Settlement Fund will vary depending on, among other things, the amount of the premium he or she paid for comprehensive coverage.  In general, the maximum amount each qualifying Distribution Class Member is eligible to receive is a payment or credit based on 75% of the discount that Plaintiff claims that USAA should have applied.  For a detailed explanation of this process, see Paragraphs 70-73 of the Settlement Agreement

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17. I'm a Distribution Class Member. When will I get my payment?

The exact date that qualifying Distribution Class Members will receive credits or checks (the "Distribution Date") is not known at this time.

The Court will hold a hearing on November 12, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain time) to decide whether to approve the settlement.  If the Court approves the settlement (see the section "The Court's Final Approval Hearing," below), there may be appeals.  It's always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time.

If the Court approves the settlement, and the settlement becomes final (in other words, any appeals have been finally resolved), the Distribution Date will be as follows:

(1) for qualifying Distribution Class Members who will have a credit posted to their accounts, the Distribution Date will generally be twenty-eight (28) days after the settlement  becomes final.

(2) for qualifying Distribution Class Members who will receive a check, the Distribution Date will generally be eighty-four (84) days after the settlement becomes final.   

This website will post updates on the Distribution Dates. Or you can call us toll-free at 1-866-527-4193 or send an e-mail to mail@poutschsettlement.com to learn the status.

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18. What if I disagree with the amount of my payment?

All calculations under this settlement are final, binding, and nonappealable. Distribution Class Members do not have the right to object to the calculation of their payment, or the decision whether they are eligible for payment. If the USAA Defendants and Class Counsel disagree about the calculations, the Court will resolve them.

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19. I already received a refund from USAA regarding New Mexico antitheft device discounts. Is that refund different from this settlement?

The USAA companies learned that from October 1, 2007, to September 23, 2011, they had inadvertently omitted providing antitheft device discounts to certain New Mexico auto policyholders who had qualifying passive antitheft devices.  In November and December 2011, the USAA companies issued premium refunds to New Mexico policyholders who, from October 1, 2007 to September 23, 2011, had insured vehicles equipped with passive antitheft devices as standard factory-installed equipment as identified by the USAA companies' Vehicle Specification System ("VSS") database, but who did not receive a passive antitheft device discount of at least 10% on the earned premium for comprehensive coverage (the "Refund Program").  This Refund Program, as well as USAA's reinstatement of an antitheft device discount, provided benefits to Settlement Class Members.

The settlement provides that, for the policy periods covered by the Refund Program, the USAA Entities fully compensated those persons who received premium refunds as a result of this Refund Program.  Therefore, to the extent you received a refund for a policy period as a result of the Refund Program, you are not eligible to receive additional payments from this settlement for that particular policy period.  But you may still be eligible to receive a payment from this settlement as a Distribution Class Member if you qualified for, but did not receive, at least a 10% antitheft device discount to your comprehensive coverage from January 28, 2005 to September 30, 2007.

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20. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Settlement Class?

Only Distribution Class Members may exclude themselves from the settlement.  If you are a Distribution Class Member, unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class, and that means that you can't sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the USAA Defendants about the legal issues in this case (the "Released Claims").  It also means that all of the Court's orders will apply to you and legally bind you.  If you stay in the Settlement Class, you will agree to "release and discharge" the USAA Defendants as described in Paragraphs 29-31, 81-85, and 87 of the Settlement Agreement.

Settlement Class Members who are not Distribution Class Members are not permitted to exclude themselves from the settlement.  All of the Court's orders will apply to these Settlement Class Members and will legally bind them, and all such Settlement Class Members will "release and discharge" certain "Released Claims."  For these Settlement Class Members (i.e., those who are not Distribution Class Members), "Released Claims" do not include claims for monetary damages regarding antitheft device discounts.   

A complete copy of the Settlement Agreement can be obtained here. The Settlement Agreement specifically describes the Released Claims in necessarily accurate legal terminology.  Talk to Class Counsel (see the section on "The Lawyers Representing You") or your own lawyer if you have questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.

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EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
(FOR DISTRIBUTION CLASS MEMBERS ONLY)

21. I'm a Distribution Class Member. How do I get out of the settlement?

If you are a Distribution Class Member, and you don't want a payment from this settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out.  This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as "opting out" of the Settlement Class.
 
Settlement Class Members who are not Distribution Class Members are not permitted to exclude themselves from the settlement.  All of the Court's orders will apply to these Settlement Class Members and will legally bind them.

If you are a Distribution Class Member, to exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator by first-class mail with a clear statement that you want to be excluded from the Poutsch v. USAA settlement. 

Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.  If you are sending the request to be excluded as the "Legally Authorized Representative" of a Distribution Class Member (see FAQ 22 for the definition of that term), you must include any information or documents that confirm your appointment or status as a Legally Authorized Representative.  Requests for exclusion must be submitted individually by a Distribution Class Member or his or her Legally Authorized Representative, and not on behalf of a group or class of persons.  If you have a personal lawyer, your lawyer may assist you with your exclusion request, but you must sign the exclusion request, unless the lawyer is also your Legally Authorized Representative.  Also, if your policy is a jointly held policy, then all joint policyholders will be considered one Distribution Class Member; if any holder of a jointly held policy makes a timely request to be excluded from the Settlement Class, all policyholders on that policy will be excluded from the Settlement Class.

You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than October 15, 2013, to:

Poutsch Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 3614
Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

You can't exclude yourself on the phone, by e-mail, or on the website.  If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any money from the settlement, and you cannot object to the settlement or intervene in the case.  You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.  You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants.

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22. What is a "Legally Authorized Representative"?

"Legally Authorized Representative" means an administrator/administratrix, personal representative, or executor/executrix of a deceased Settlement Class Member's estate; a guardian, conservator, or next friend of an incapacitated Settlement Class Member; or any other legally appointed person or entity responsible for handling the business affairs of a Settlement Class Member.

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23. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants for the same thing later?

No.  Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the USAA Defendants for the claims that this settlement resolves.  If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.  You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your own lawsuit.

Remember, the exclusion deadline is October 15, 2013.

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24. If I exclude myself, can I get a payment from this settlement?

No. If you exclude yourself, you are not eligible for a payment under the settlement. But you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against the USAA Defendants.

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THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

25. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court has appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members:

John G. Jacobs
Bryan G. Kolton
JACOBS KOLTON, CHTD.
55 West Monroe Street
Suite 2970
Chicago, IL 60603
Telephone: (312) 427-4000
Facsimile: (312) 268-2425

Shane Youtz
Gabrielle Valdez
YOUTZ & VALDEZ, P.C.
900 Gold Avenue S.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Telephone: (505) 244-1200
Fax: (505) 244-9700

Ira Neil Richards
Kenneth I. Trujillo
Gary M. Goldstein
SCHNADER HARRISON SEGAL & LEWIS LLP
1600 Market Street, Suite 3600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: (215) 751-2000

These lawyers are called Class Counsel. The Court has also appointed as Lead Counsel the law firm of Jacobs Kolton, Chtd. You will not be charged for services performed by Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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26. How will the lawyers be paid? What is the Class Representative Incentive Award?

Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve a payment of up to $254,000.00 for attorneys' fees, plus reimbursement of reasonable litigation expenses (together, the "Attorneys' Fees and Expense Award"), to be paid from the Settlement Fund set up by the USAA Defendants. Class Counsel will also ask for a payment of up to $1,500.00 to Sarah Poutsch for her services as Class Representative (the "Class Representative Incentive Award"), to be paid from the Settlement Fund. The Court may award less than these amounts. Defendants have agreed not to oppose the request for fees and expenses up to these amounts. If you are a Settlement Class Member (or a Settlement Class Member's Legally Authorized Representative), you can object to the Attorneys' Fees and Expense Award or Class Representative Incentive Award by following the procedure for objecting to the settlement. (See FAQ 27—"How do I tell the Court I don't like the Settlement?")

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OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

27. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the settlement?

If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself, you can tell the Court that you don't agree with the settlement or some part of it.  All Settlement Class Members have the right to object to the settlement.

If you're a Settlement Class Member (or a Settlement Class Member's Legally Authorized Representative, see FAQ 22), and you haven't excluded yourself from the settlement, you can object to the proposed settlement if you don't like it, or you can also try to intervene in the case.  However, you cannot object if you have excluded yourself.  In other words, you must stay in the case as a Settlement Class Member in order to object to or intervene in the case. 

You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the settlement.  The Court will consider your views. To object, you must (a) mail your objection to the Settlement Administrator and (b) file it with the Court.  To be timely, your objection must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked by October 15, 2013, and must be filed with the Court by no later than October 15, 2013, at the following addresses:

Address of Settlement Administrator:
Poutsch Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 3614
Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

Mailing Address of Court:
Case No. CV-2011-01210
P.O. Box 488
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103
(See FAQ 29 for the address of the courthouse.)

Note:  You may mail your objection to the Court, but it must be received by the Court and filed by October 15, 2013.  See Paragraphs 62-66 of the Settlement Agreement for more information on how to object to or intervene in the settlement.

Your objection must include all of the following: (a) contain a heading which includes the name of the case and case number (Poutsch v. USAA, Case No. CV-2011-01210); (b) provide your full name, address, telephone number, and signature; (c) indicate the specific reasons why you object to the settlement; (d) contain the name, address, bar number, and telephone number of your counsel, if you're represented by an attorney.  If you are represented by an attorney, he/she or it must comply with all applicable laws and rules for filing pleadings and documents; (d) provide a list of other cases in which you or your counsel has appeared either as an objector or counsel for an objector in the last five years; and (e) state whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through counsel.  All objections must be signed by the objecting Settlement Class Member (or his or her Legally Authorized Representative), even if the Settlement Class Member is represented by counsel.

If you do intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing to object to the settlement, you must also provide with your written objection a detailed statement of the specific legal and factual basis for each objection, a list of any witnesses you will call at the Hearing with each witness' address and summary of the witness' testimony, a detailed description of all evidence you will offer at the Hearing with copies of the exhibits attached, and documentary proof of your membership in the Settlement Class. You or your lawyer may appear at the Final Approval Hearing if you have filed a written objection as provided above.  (See the section on the "Court's Final Approval Hearing" below.)  If you have a lawyer file an objection for you, he or she must follow all rules, and you must list the attorney's name, address, bar number, and telephone number in the written objection filed with the Court.

Unless you submit a proper and timely written objection, according to the above requirements, you will not be allowed to object or appear at the Final Approval Hearing.  Furthermore, if you want to intervene as a party to the case, you must file a motion to intervene with the Court by October 15, 2013, so that the Parties can respond to the motion.  If you fail to do so, you won't be able to intervene in the case. 

Please note that any objections or motions must be submitted by an individual Settlement Class Member or his or her attorney, not as a member of a group, class, or subclass.  The only exception is that an objection may be submitted on behalf of an individual Settlement Class Member by his or her Legally Authorized Representative (see FAQ 22 for a definition of that term).

 

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28. What's the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

Objecting is simply telling the Settlement Court that you don't like something about the settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don't want to be part of the Settlement Class.

All Settlement Class Members have the right to object to the settlement. Only Distribution Class Members have the right to exclude themselves from the settlement.  If they do exclude themselves, however, they may not object to the settlement.  If you are a Distribution Class Member, and you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object, because the case no longer affects you. 

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THE COURT'S FINAL APPROVAL HEARING

29. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

The Court will hold a hearing called a "Final Approval Hearing" (also known as a "Fairness Hearing") to decide whether to approve the settlement.  If you have not excluded yourself from the settlement, you may attend the Final Approval Hearing and you may ask to speak, but you don't have to.

The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing to decide whether to finally approve the proposed settlement.  You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don't have to do either one.

The Final Approval Hearing will be on November 12, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain time) before Judge Nan Nash at the Bernalillo County Courthouse, 400 Lomas Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102.  

At this Hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed settlement and all of its terms are adequate, fair, and reasonable.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  The Court may listen to people who have asked for permission to speak at the Hearing and complied with the other requirements for objections explained in FAQ 27 above.  The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for fees and expenses for representing the Settlement Class and whether and how much to award the Class Representative for representing the Settlement Class.

At or after the Hearing, the Court will decide whether to finally approve the proposed settlement. There may be appeals after that.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

The Court may change deadlines without further notice to the Settlement Class.  To keep up on any changes in the deadlines, please contact the Settlement Administrator or review this website.

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30. Do I have to come to the Hearing?

No.  Class Counsel will answer any questions asked by the Court.  But you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you intend to have a lawyer appear at your expense on your behalf at the Final Approval Hearing, your lawyer must enter a written notice of appearance of counsel with the Clerk of the Court no later than October 15, 2013, and you must comply with all of the requirements explained in FAQ 27.

If you send an objection, you don't have to come to Court to talk about it.  So long as you mailed your written objection on time and complied with the other requirements for a proper objection, the Court will consider it.

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31. May I speak at the Hearing?

If you submitted a proper written objection to the settlement, you or your lawyer acting on your behalf may speak at the Hearing.  To do so, you must send a Notice of Intention to Appear and follow the procedures set out in FAQ 27.  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked no later than October 15, 2013, and it must be filed with the Clerk of the Court by that same date.  See FAQ 27 for the mailing addresses.  (The courthouse address is provided in FAQ 29.)  You cannot speak at the Hearing if you excluded yourself.

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IF YOU DO NOTHING

32. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you are a Distribution Class Member: Unless you exclude yourself, you will be part of the Settlement Class and this settlement, and you won't be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the legal issues in this case, ever again.  If you do not exclude yourself, and you are a Current Policyholder, you do not have to do anything to receive a payment.  You will receive a credit or a check automatically.  (See FAQ 11(1) for more details.)  If you do not exclude yourself, and you are a Former Policyholder, you'll get no money from this settlement unless you send an Address Verification Form, as explained in FAQs 14-15.

If you are not a Distribution Class Member: You do not have the right to exclude yourself.  You will be bound by the settlement if the Court approves it.  You do have the right to object to the settlement, but you must follow all the requirements for objecting (see FAQ 27).

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GETTING MORE INFORMATION

33. How do I get more information about the settlement?

You may obtain additional information by:

  • Calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-527-4193 to ask questions and receive copies of documents, or e-mailing the Settlement Administrator at mail@poutschsettlement.com.
  • Writing to the Settlement Administrator at the following address:
  • Poutsch Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 3614
    Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

  • Visiting this website, where you will find other information to help you.
  • Reviewing legal documents that have been filed with the Clerk of Court in this lawsuit at the Court offices stated in FAQ 29 above during regular office hours.
  • Contacting Class Counsel listed in FAQ 25 above.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE JUDGE OR THE COURT CLERK TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS LAWSUIT OR NOTICE.

THE COURT WILL NOT RESPOND TO LETTERS OR TELEPHONE CALLS.  IF YOU WISH TO ADDRESS THE COURT, YOU MUST FILE AN APPROPRIATE PLEADING OR MOTION WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COURT'S USUAL PROCEDURES.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL USAA ABOUT THIS LAWSUIT OR SETTLEMENT.

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