FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BASIC INFORMATIONWHY IS THERE A NOTICE?
The Court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about the Settlement, and all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the Settlement. The Notice explains the nature of the lawsuit that is the subject of the Settlement, the general terms of the Settlement, and your legal rights and options.
Judge Leigh Martin May of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is overseeing this case captioned as Abrams v. The Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc., No. 1:22-cv-04297-LMM. The person who brought the lawsuit is called the Plaintiff, Laura Abrams. The entity being sued, The Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc., is called the Defendant.
The lawsuit claims that Defendant was responsible for the Data Security Incident and asserts claims such as: negligence; breach of contract; unjust enrichment; invasion of privacy; and violation of O.C.G.A. Section 13-6-11.
Defendant denies these claims and says it did not do anything wrong. No court or other judicial entity has made any judgment or other determination that Defendant has any liability for these claims or did anything wrong.
In a class action, one or more people called class representatives or representative plaintiffs sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. Together, all of these people are called a class, and the individuals are called class members. One court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.
The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiff or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement. The Settlement avoids the cost and risk of a trial and related appeals, while providing benefits to members of the Settlement Class (“Settlement Class Members”). The Class Representative appointed to represent the Settlement Class and the attorneys for the Settlement Class think the Settlement is best for all Settlement Class Members.
WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT?HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?
You are affected by the Settlement and potentially a member of the Settlement Class if you reside in the United States and your Private Information may have been compromised in connection with the Data Security Incident, including if you were mailed a notification by or on behalf of SCAD regarding the Data Security Incident.
Only Settlement Class Members are eligible to receive benefits under the Settlement. Specifically excluded from the Settlement Class are (1) the judge presiding over the class action lawsuit and her direct family members; (2) the Defendant, its subsidiaries, parent companies, successors, predecessors, and any entity in which the Defendant or its parents have a controlling interest and their current or former officers, directors, and employees; and (3) Settlement Class Members who submit a valid request to be excluded from the Settlement.
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement, you may call 1-888-230-9714 with questions. You may also write with questions to:
Abrams v. The Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc.
c/o Atticus Administration
PO Box 64053
St. Paul, MN 55164
THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET IF YOU QUALIFYWHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
The Settlement provides that Defendant will fund the following payments up to a total of $375,000: (a) $25 per hour, up to a total of $125, for Settlement Class Members who attest that the time claimed was actually spent as a result of the Data Security Incident; (b) up to $5,000 for reimbursement of your documented Out-of-Pocket Losses reasonably traceable to the Data Security Incident; and (c) a pro rata $50 payment, subject to adjustment as set forth below.
The $50 pro rata payment will be dispersed after the distribution of attorneys’ fees, Class Counsel’s litigation expenses, Notice and Administrative Expenses, and other Settlement benefits to claimants. The other Settlement benefits are also subject to pro rata reduction as needed in the event that the total claims exceed the $375,000 cap on payments to be made by Defendant, and payments may also be increased on a pro rata basis until the Settlement Fund is distributed. Payment of (1) attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and (2) the costs of notifying the Settlement Class and administering the Settlement will also be paid out of the Settlement Fund.
Also, as part of the Settlement, Defendant either has undertaken or will undertake certain reasonable steps to further secure its systems and environments.
Settlement Class Members who submit a claim are eligible to receive:
a) Reimbursement of actual, documented, unreimbursed Out-of-Pocket Losses resulting from the Data Security Incident (up to $5,000 in total), such as the following incurred on or after August 22, 2022:
• any costs incurred from credit monitoring services or ordering copies of your credit report;
• late fees, declined payment fees, overdraft fees, returned check fees, customer service fees, and/or card cancellation or replacement fees;
• late fees from transactions with third parties that were delayed due to fraud or card replacement;
• unauthorized charges on credit, debit, or other payment cards that were not reimbursed;
• parking expenses or other transportation expenses for trips to a financial institution to address fraudulent charges or receive a replacement payment card;
• costs incurred obtaining credit freezes; and
• other expenses that are reasonably attributable to the Data Security Incident that were not reimbursed.
b) Compensation for time spent (lost time) remedying issues related to the Data Security Incident, up to 5 hours at $25.00/hour for time spent in response to the Data Security Incident for a total amount of up to $125.
c) A potential residual cash payment of the remainder funds, which is estimated to be $50 but may adjusted upward or downward pro rata based on how many other claims are made.
HOW DO YOU SUBMIT A CLAIM?HOW DO I GET A BENEFIT?
To receive a benefit under the Settlement, you must complete and submit a claim for that benefit (a “Claim”). Every Claim must be made on a form (“Claim Form”) available at HERE or by calling 1-888-230-9714. Claim Forms will also be sent to Settlement Class Members as part of the postcard Notice and tear-off Claim Form that will be mailed to Settlement Class Members. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, provide the required documentation, and submit it according to the instructions on the Claim Form.
The Settlement Administrator will decide whether and to what extent any Claim made on each Claim Form is valid. The Settlement Administrator may require additional information. If you do not provide the additional information in a timely manner then the Claim will be considered invalid and will not be paid.
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing on September 19, 2023 at 10:00 am. ET to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals from that decision and resolving those can take time, perhaps more than a year. It also takes time for all the Claim Forms to be processed. Please be patient.
WHAT DOES DEFENDANT GET?WHAT AM I GIVING UP AS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?
The Defendant gets a release from all claims covered by this Settlement. Thus, if the Settlement becomes final and you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will be a Settlement Class Member and you will give up your right to sue Defendant and other persons (“Released Parties”) as to all claims (“Released Claims”) arising out of or relating to the Data Security Incident. This release is described in the Settlement Agreement, which is available at HERE. If you have any questions you can talk to the law firms listed in Question 18 for free or you can talk to your own lawyer.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
If you do not want to be part of this Settlement, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. This is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.IF I EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I GET A PAYMENT FROM THIS SETTLEMENT?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to receive any benefits from the Settlement, but you will not be bound by any judgment in this case.
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Defendant (and any other Released Parties) for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class to start your own lawsuit or to be part of any different lawsuit relating to the claims in this case. If you want to exclude yourself, then do not submit a Claim Form to ask for any benefit under the Settlement.
To exclude yourself, send a letter that says you want to be excluded or opt-out from the Settlement in Abrams v. The Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc., No. 1:22-cv-04297-LMM (N.D. Georgia). The letter must: (a) state your full name, address, and telephone number; (b) contain your personal and original signature or the original signature of a person authorized by law to act on your behalf; and (c) state unequivocally your intent to be excluded from the Settlement. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked by July 10, 2023, to:
Abrams v. The Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc.
Attn: Exclusion Request
PO Box 64053
St. Paul, MN 55164
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENTHOW DO I TELL THE COURT THAT I DO NOT LIKE THE SETTLEMENT?
You can tell the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement or some part of it by objecting to the Settlement. The Court will consider your views in its decision on whether to approve the Settlement. The Court can only approve or deny the Settlement and cannot change its terms. To object, you must mail your objection to the Clerk of the Court and the Settlement Administrator, at the mailing addresses listed below, postmarked by no later than the Objection Deadline, July 10, 2023:
|Clerk of the Court
Richard B. Russell Federal Building
2211 United States Courthouse
75 Ted Turner Drive, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3309
|Atticus Administration, LLC
PO Box 64053
St. Paul, MN 55164
Your objection must be written and must include all of the following: (1) the name of the proceedings; (2) the Settlement Class Member’s full name, current mailing address, and telephone number; (3) a statement of the specific grounds for the objection, as well as any documents supporting the objection; (4) the identity of any attorneys representing the objector; (5) a statement regarding whether the Settlement Class Member (or his/her attorney) intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing; (6) a statement identifying all class action settlements objected to by the Settlement Class Member in the previous five years; and (7) the signature of the Settlement Class Member or the Settlement Class Member’s attorney.
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like the Settlement and why you do not think it should be approved. You can object only if you are a Settlement Class Member. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class and do not want to receive any payment from the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, then you have no basis to object because you are no longer a member of the Settlement Class and the case no longer affects you. If you submit both a valid objection and a valid request to be excluded, you will be deemed to have only submitted the request to be excluded.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOUDO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?
Yes. The Court appointed Terence R. Coates, Dylan J. Gould, and Justin C. Walker of Markovits, Stock & DeMarco, LLC, 119 E. Court Street, Suite 530, Cincinnati, OH 45202 and N. Nickolas Jackson, The Finley Firm, P.C., 3535 Piedmont Road, Building 14, Suite 230, Atlanta, GA 30305 as Class Counsel to represent the Class. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, then you may hire one at your own expense.
Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award for attorneys’ fees up to $125,000, plus litigation expenses not to exceed $10,000. Defendant has agreed not to object to any award of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses up to those amounts, to the extent they are approved by the Court. This payment for any attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel will be made out of the Settlement Fund. Any such award would compensate Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement and will be the only payment to them for their efforts in achieving this Settlement and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis.
Any award for attorneys’ fees and expenses for Class Counsel must be approved by the Court. The Court may award less than the amount requested. Class Counsel’s papers in support of final approval of the Settlement will be filed no later than September 5, 2023, and their application for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses will be filed no later than June 26, 2023, and will be posted on the settlement website.
THE COURT’S FINAL APPROVAL HEARINGWHEN AND WHERE WILL THE COURT DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT?
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. ET on September 19, 2023, at 2167 Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 75 Ted Turner Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303, Courtroom 2107 or by remote or virtual means as ordered by the Court. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are timely and valid objections, then the Court will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing if such a request has been properly made. The Court will also rule on the request for an award of attorneys’ fees and reasonable costs and expenses. After the hearing the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so Class Counsel recommends checking this website or calling 1-888-230-9714.
No. Class Counsel will present the Settlement Agreement to the Court. You or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your expense, but you are not required to do so. If you send an objection, you do not have to visit the Court to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection on time with the Court and mailed it according to the instructions provided above, the Court will consider it.
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the final fairness hearing. To do so, you must file an objection according to the instructions above, including all the information required. Your objection must be mailed to the Clerk of the Court and Settlement Administrator postmarked no later than July 10, 2023.
IF YOU DO NOTHINGWHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOTHING?
If you do nothing you will not get any money from this Settlement. If the Settlement is granted final approval and the judgment becomes final, then you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant and the other Released Parties based on any of the Released Claims related to the Data Security Incident, ever again.
GETTING MORE INFORMATIONHOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION?
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement itself. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE. You may also call the Settlement Administrator with questions or request a Claim Form at 1-888-230-9714.
The Notice is approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT DIRECTLY IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT. Please contact the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel if you have any questions about the Settlement.