Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc.
Santander Consumer USA Settlement
2:18-cv-1534

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A class action lawsuit entitled, Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, No. 2:18-cv-1534  (the “Action”).  The Complaint in the Action claims that the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” letter that Santander Consumer USA Inc. (SC) sent to certain Ohio customers after repossession of their vehicle did not comply with parts of the Ohio Uniform Commercial Code (“OUCC”), the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (“CSPA”), and the Ohio Retail Installment Sales Act (“RISA”) because the notices’ sale date included the phrase “on or after.”  For more detailed information as to Plaintiff’s allegations, you may review a copy of Plaintiff’s Complaint on the Important Documents tab.

    SC denies the claims and contends its notices complied with Ohio law and resulted in no harm to consumers.

    The Parties have now settled this lawsuit and a Settlement Administrator has issued this notice.  In connection with the settlement, SC has agreed to waive each class member’s deficiency balance, request tradeline deletions from the credit reporting agencies, and to make certain cash payments to members of the class. 

  • In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims.  All those people together are the “Class” or “Settlement Class Members.”  The Class Representative and Settlement Class Members together are the “Plaintiffs,” and, in this case, SC is the “Defendant.” One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in either Plaintiff’s or SC’s favor and will not do so if the proposed settlement is approved.  The Settlement will end all the claims against SC in the Action and avoid the uncertainties and costs of further litigation and any further trial.

    Plaintiff has agreed to a settlement of this action after considering, among other things: (1) the substantial benefits to Plaintiff and the proposed class under the terms of the Settlement Agreement; (2) the risks, costs, and uncertainty of protracted litigation, especially in consumer actions such as these, as well as the difficulties and delays inherent in such litigation; and (3) the desirability of consummating the Settlement Agreement promptly in order to provide effective relief to Plaintiff and the proposed class.

    The proposed settlement does not suggest that SC has or has not done anything wrong, or that Plaintiff and the proposed Class would or would not win their case if it were to go to trial.

  • You are a Settlement Class Member if you are an Ohio resident who:

    1. purchased a motor vehicle;
    2. as part of the purchase transaction, entered into a RISC where the RISC was assigned to SC;
    3. where, during the period of January 1, 2013 to the date the Court certifies and finally approves the class for settlement purposes only, SC repossessed the vehicle and sent, subsequent to repossession, a “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” Letter; and
    4. where the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” Letter had a vehicle sale date that included the phrase “on or after.”

     

    If you received a deficiency balance waiver in connection with any action initiated by the Attorney General of any state against SC related to your RISC or loan account with SC in or around May 2020, you are not a member of the Settlement Class and your rights will not be affected by the Settlement unless you also made a payment towards your deficiency balance after your vehicle was repossessed.

    If you received a Notice in the mail, Defendant’s records indicate you are a Class Member. If you are not sure whether you qualify as a Class Member, you can contact the Settlement Administrator.

  • If the proposed settlement is approved, then all Settlement Class Members will receive certain benefits.  In addition, some Settlement Class Members will be eligible to receive partial cash refunds, as described below.  If the settlement is not approved, then Settlement Class Members will not get any benefits of the settlement and the parties will go back to Court for further proceedings, possibly including a trial.

    Benefits For All Settlement Class Members:  SC will eliminate the deficiency balance of each Settlement Class Member, setting it to zero.  The deficiency balance is the amount SC claims it is still owed after the car was repossessed and sold.  The deficiency balances are disputed debts, and they are being eliminated to resolve disputed claims in this litigation, including claims for statutory damages and violations of the OUCC, CSPA, and RISA.  More than $333 million in claimed deficiency balances will be eliminated, and SC will ask credit reporting agencies to delete the tradelines for these loan accounts from the Settlement Class Members’ credit reports.

    Cash Benefits For Settlement Class Members Who Made Payments After Car Was Sold:  SC will create a Settlement Fund of $1.9 million.  If you paid any money toward your deficiency balance after your repossessed car was sold, then you will get a cash payment from the Settlement Fund.  Your payment will be calculated by comparing what you paid SC after your car was sold to the total of such payments Settlement Class Members made to SC.  It will also depend on how much money remains in the Settlement Fund after the payment of settlement administrative costs in excess of $65,000 and any incentive payment to the Class Representative.

    IF ELIGIBLE, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO RECEIVE THESE BENEFITS.

  • If you are a Class Member and do not opt out, these benefits are automatic. You need simply wait and not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class and you will receive these benefits.

  • In exchange for the benefits described in the Notice, and if the Court grants final approval of the settlement, all Settlement Class Members who do not opt out of the settlement are giving up (also called “releasing”) their right to sue SC for claims related to the repossession of their vehicle, the collection of a deficiency balance, or the reporting of a deficiency balance to a credit bureau, or any other claims that were or could have been brought based upon the facts alleged in the Action, including any claims under the OUCC, CSPA, and RISA.

    You will be enjoined and barred from initiating or continuing any lawsuit or other proceeding against SC if those claims are included among those released in the Settlement.

    As part of this Settlement, the Court has preliminarily enjoined all Settlement Class Members and/or their representatives (who do not timely exclude themselves from the Class) from maintaining, commencing, prosecuting, or pursuing any Released Claim as Settlement Class Members or otherwise against SC (or against any of their related parties or affiliates).

    Upon final approval of the settlement, Plaintiffs and SC will ask the Court to make this injunction permanent.  All Settlement Class Members will be bound by this permanent injunction.

    The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents page and provides more detail regarding the Release.

  • Once the deadlines for opting out and objecting to the settlement set forth below have passed, the Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing on April 5, 2021 to decide whether to approve the settlement.  If the judge approves the settlement and there are no appeals, SC will promptly waive your deficiency balance and request that credit reporting agencies remove your tradeline within sixty (60) days of the Final Approval Order.  We estimate that checks for the cash payment benefit will be mailed around July 6, 2021. However, because it is always possible for there to be unexpected delays or appeals, it is possible that these benefits will be delayed by a year or more, or that an appeals court will determine that the benefits may not be conferred.

    We will provide regular updates of the status of the Settlement. Please check the website for the most up-to-date information.

  • If you remain in the class, you can tell the Court you do not agree with the settlement or some part of it.

    You can ask the Court to deny approval by filing an objection.  You cannot ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or reject the settlement.  If the Court denies approval, no settlement benefits will be conferred and the lawsuit will continue.  If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

    Any objection to the proposed settlement must be in writing.  If you file a timely written objection, you may, but are not required to, appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney.  If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for hiring and paying that attorney.

    All written objections shall be filed with the Clerk of Court either by mailing them to the Office of the Clerk, Joseph P. Kinneary U.S. Courthouse, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Room 121, 85 Marconi Boulevard, Columbus Ohio 43215, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and must be filed or postmarked on or before March 4, 2021.

    All written objections must include:

    1. the case name and number;
       
    2. the name, address, telephone number of the Settlement Class Member objecting and, if represented by counsel, of his/her counsel;
       
    3. the basis for objection; and
       
    4. a statement of whether he/she intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either with or without counsel.
  • You may exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by mailing a written notice to the Settlement Administrator by March 4, 2021.

    Your written notice must include:

    1. the name of the lawsuit, Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Case No. 2:18-cv-1534;
       
    2. your full name, current address, and telephone number;
       
    3. a statement expressing your intent to exclude yourself from the Settlement; and
       
    4. your original signature.

    If you exclude yourself, then you cannot receive any settlement benefits, but you do not release any potential rights you may have relating to the legal issues in the lawsuit. You can also object. If you do not exclude yourself, then you or your lawyer can appear before the Court and object to the Settlement. Your written objection must be filed with the Court no later than March 4, 2021.

  • The Court has decided that the lawyers at Frederick & Berler LLC are qualified to represent you and all Settlement Class Members.  These lawyers have been designated as “Class Counsel” based on a determination that they are capable and experienced in handling complex consumer class actions.

     

    Ronald I. Frederick
    FREDERICK & BERLER LLC
    767 East 185th Street
    Cleveland, Ohio 44119
    216-502-1055
    216-566-9400 (fax)
    ronf@clevelandconsumerlaw.com

    Daniel P. Goetz
    WEISMAN, KENNEDY & BERRIS CO., L.P.A.
    1600 Midland Building
    101 W. Prospect Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44115
    dgoetz@weismanlaw.com

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to $2,500,000 for their attorneys’ fees and costs.  The Court may award less than the requested amount.

  • If, after all cash benefits are distributed, residual funds remain in the Settlement Fund (e.g., because of uncashed checks), up to $65,000 of that residue will revert to SC to cover the costs of settlement administration.  Any residue in the Settlement Fund in excess of $65,000 shall be distributed evenly to the following cy pres charitable recipients: Legal Aid of Columbus and Legal Aid of Cleveland.

  • The Court will hold a fairness hearing on April 5, 2021 at 9:30 AM Eastern Time, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Joseph P. Kinneary U.S. Courthouse, 85 Marconi Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43215, Room 301, before the Honorable Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., United States District Judge.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fairness hearing may be conducted telephonically or virtually.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  The Court may also decide how much to pay Class Counsel and the Class Representative.  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approval the settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.  The fairness hearing may be postponed without further notice to the Class.  If you plan to attend the hearing, you should check www.OhioNOISettlement.com or the Court’s PACER site at https://ecf.ohsd.uscourts.gov, to confirm that the date has not been changed.

  • No.  Class Counsel will represent you and will answer any questions Judge Sargus may have.  But you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send a comment (including an objection), you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it.  As long as you submitted in on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the fairness hearing.  To do so, you must send a letter to the Office of the Clerk at the address listed in section 11, saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear at the Fairness Hearing in Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Case. No. 2:18-cv-1534.”  You must include your name, address, telephone number, and signature.  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked or emailed no later than March 4, 2021 and must include copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence that you plan to present to the Court. This requirement may be excused upon a showing of good cause.

    You cannot speak at the hearing if you have opted out or excluded yourself, because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Notice is intended to be a summary of the terms of the Settlement.  The Settlement Agreement, Complaint, and the Notice are all available on the Important Documents tab.

    You may also obtain this information by contacting the Settlement Administrator at (888) 681-1076, class counsel at Frederick & Berler LLC at (216) 502-1055 or Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. at (216) 781-1111, by accessing the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.ohsd.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the Office of the Clerk for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at 85 Marconi Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43215, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT.

  • If your contact information changes, please submit your new contact information to the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel via the Contact Us page, by email at info@OhioNOISettlement.com, or in writing at:

    Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91389
    Seattle, WA 98111

    Please include the case name, your full name, your previous mailing address, and your current mailing address for verification purposes.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91389
Seattle, WA 98111