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Gunthert v. Bankers Standard Insurance Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

March 8, 2019

GERARD R. GUNTHERT and ABBY B. GUNTHERT, individually and on behalf of all those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
BANKERS STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         WHEREAS, Plaintiffs Gerard R. Gunthert and Abby B. Gunthert (the “Guntherts” or “Class Plaintiffs”) on behalf of themselves and a settlement class of similarly-situated persons (defined below as the “Settlement Class”) and Defendant Bankers Standard Insurance Company (“Bankers Standard, ” and together with the Plaintiffs, the “Parties”) entered into a Settlement Agreement[1] dated October 2, 2018; and

         WHEREAS, the Court entered an Order on October 17, 2018 (“Preliminary Approval Order”), preliminarily approving the Settlement, preliminarily certifying the Settlement Class for settlement purposes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(3), ordering that notice be disseminated to the Settlement Class, scheduling a Fairness and Final Approval Hearing for March 5, 2019, and providing Settlement Class Members with an opportunity to opt-out of the Settlement Class and/or object to the proposed Settlement or to Class Counsel attorneys' fees and costs and/or the Plaintiffs' service awards; and

         WHEREAS, the Court held a Fairness and Final Approval Hearing on March 5, 2019 to determine whether to grant final approval to the Settlement Agreement; and

         WHEREAS, the Court is contemporaneously issuing a Judgment that, among other things, certifies the Settlement Class, approves the Settlement Agreement, and dismisses the Settlement Class Members' claims with prejudice as to Bankers Standard;

         NOW THEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:

         1. Incorporation of Settlement Documents. This Order Approving Settlement (the “Order”) incorporates and makes a part hereof the Settlement Agreement, including all exhibits thereto. The Settlement Agreement and all exhibits thereto shall be referred to collectively as the “Settlement Agreement.” 2. Jurisdiction. The Court has personal jurisdiction over all Settlement Class Members (as defined below) and has subject matter jurisdiction over this Action, including, without limitation, jurisdiction to approve the Settlement Agreement, grant final certification of the Settlement Class for settlement purposes, and dismiss the Action with prejudice.

         3. Final Settlement Class Certification and Definition. The Settlement Class this Court preliminarily certified is hereby finally certified for settlement purposes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(3). The Settlement Class is defined as follows:

All insureds of Bankers Standard who pursued a claim under their homeowners policy for covered losses to their real property located in Georgia due to fire, water, mold, or foundation/structural damage occurring between January 15, 2010 and May 1, 2018.
Specifically excluded from the Settlement Class are: (a) Defendant's employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives; (b) federal judges who have presided over this case and any member of the Court's staff and immediate family; and (c) all Persons who have timely opted-out of the Settlement Class pursuant to the requirements in the Agreement.

         “Settlement Class Member” as used herein means any person in the Settlement Class who is not properly opted out of or otherwise excluded from the Settlement Class.

         4. Issue for Certification. The issue that the Court is deciding on a class-wide basis is whether the terms of the proposed Settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(e) and governing law construing that Rule. In making that determination, the Court also has considered, as discussed herein, whether proper notice of the Proposed Settlement was given under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(c)(2)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(e)(1) to the Settlement Class and any other relevant persons so that the Settlement Agreement's terms will have binding effect.

         5. Adequacy of Representation. The Class Plaintiffs and Class Counsel have fully and adequately represented the Settlement Class for purposes of entering into and implementing the Settlement Agreement and have satisfied the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(a)(4).

         6. Notice. The Court finds that the distribution of the Notice and the notice methodology were implemented in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Court's Preliminary Approval Order. The Court further finds that the Notice was simply written and readily understandable, and that the Notice and notice methodology: (a) constituted the best practicable notice; (b) constituted notice that was reasonably calculated, under the circumstances, to apprise Settlement Class Members of the pendency of the Action and the claims in the Action, their rights to object to the proposed Settlement and to appear at the Fairness and Final Approval Hearing, and their right to exclude themselves from the Settlement Class; (c) were reasonable and constituted due, adequate, and sufficient notice to all persons entitled to notice; and (d) met all applicable requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States Constitution (including the Due Process Clause), the Rules of the Court, and any other applicable law.

         7. Final Settlement Approval. The terms and provisions of the Settlement Agreement have been entered into in good faith and are hereby fully and finally approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate as to, and in the best interests of, the Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class, and in full compliance with all applicable requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States Constitution (including the Due Process Clause), the Rules of the Court, and any other applicable law. The Settling ...


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