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SEATTLE, May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- JND Legal Administration announces that a settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought against the City of Palo Alto regarding a Utility Users Tax ("UUT") collected for the City by telephone service providers and included in telephone bills. In a class action, the Plaintiff(s) or "Class Representative(s)" sue for all people with similar claims. Together these people are called a "Class" or "Class members." The Class Representative here claims that the UUT was unlawfully collected on certain tax-exempt telephone services. The City denies that any UUT was unlawfully collected. The Court did not decide who is right. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement to avoid the cost and risks of further litigation and to provide benefits to Class members. The Class Representative and her lawyers, called "Class Counsel," believe that the settlement is in the best interest of all Class members. The Court has appointed the law firms of Girardi | Keese, Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney, LLP, and Steele Cooper Law as Class Counsel. Girardi Keese entered into bankruptcy proceedings in December 2020 and is no longer serving as Class Counsel.

The Class includes all persons, individuals, non-corporate entities, and corporations who have paid the City of Palo Alto UUT imposed on certain services between August 1, 2006 and December 18, 2014. For more details on the affected services and who qualifies as a Class member, go to www.UtilityUsersTax.com.

If you are a member of the Class, you may (i) participate in the settlement, (ii) object to the settlement, or (iii) do nothing. If you choose to participate in the settlement and are eligible for a refund payment, you must submit a claim form and supporting documents to request a payment. If you believe the settlement is unfair or unreasonable, you may object to the settlement. Written objections must be submitted to Staats v. City of Palo Alto Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 91225, Seattle, WA 98111, or by email to info@UtilityUsersTax.com, no later than August 30, 2021. If you do nothing, you will not receive any money. However, you will still be bound by the settlement, if it is approved by the Court. For more information about your rights and options, go to www.UtilityUsersTax.com.

The City will make a settlement fund of $1,275,000 available for refund payments (less attorney's fees, reimbursement of costs which currently total approximately $197,000, and a $10,000 Class Representative incentive payment, not to exceed a combined total of $425,000). You are only eligible for a refund payment if you paid the City's UUT on telephone service between December 24, 2013 and December 18, 2014. Class members who are eligible for a refund payment will receive the following amounts per qualifying telephone line: $8.50 per line for the first five phone lines, $7.50 per line for the next five phone lines, and $6.50 per line for all remaining phone lines. To request a refund payment, go to www.UtilityUsersTax.com or call 1-888-681-1079 to get a claim form. Send the claim form and supporting documents to Staats v. City of Palo Alto Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 91225, Seattle, WA 98111 or by email to info@UtilityUsersTax.com, no later than August 30, 2021.

The Court will hold a hearing on September 2, 2021, to determine whether to approve the settlement and award attorney's fees, reimbursement of costs which currently total approximately $197,000, and a $10,000 Class Representative incentive payment (not to exceed a total of $425,000). You may attend the hearing at your own expense, but you don't have to. You may appear at the hearing and make an oral objection even if you don't submit a written objection. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings before the judge overseeing this case are currently being conducted remotely with the assistance of a third-party service provider, CourtCall. If that remains the case at the time of the hearing, Class members who wish to appear at the hearing should contact Class Counsel to arrange a remote appearance through CourtCall, at least three days before the hearing if possible. Any CourtCall fees for an appearance by an objecting Class member will be paid by Class Counsel.

To learn more visit www.UtilityUsersTax.com or call 1-888-681-1079.

 

SOURCE JND Legal Administration

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