Rivera Insurance Settlement

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is this case about?
  2. Why is there a notice?
  3. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
  4. What is this class action lawsuit?
  5. Why is there a settlement?
  6. Why did I receive a Class Notice?
  7. What are the benefits of the settlement?
  8. What are my options?
  9. What do I do if I want to participate in the settlement?
  10. What did I give up to stay in the Class?
  11. What should I have done if I wanted to be excluded from the settlement?
  12. If I excluded myself, can I get benefits from this settlement?
  13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  14. How did I tell the Court that I wanted to object to the settlement?
  15. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?
  16. What happens if I did nothing?
  17. When was the fairness hearing?
  18. Did I have to go to the hearing?
  19. Could I have spoken at the hearing?
  20. What are the important dates and deadlines of the settlement?
  21. Are there more details about the settlement?
  22. How do I get more information?
  23. When will settlement payments be sent out to Class Members?
  24. How were the awards calculated?
  25. My last name has changed due to marriage or divorce. How can I get my last name updated on my check?
  26. I didn't get a check and I believe I am a Class Member. What can I do?
  1. What is this case about?

    Plaintiff Molly Rivera filed a lawsuit in Superior Court for San Diego County alleging that certain Renewal Service Fees charged by Reliant General Insurance Services and Occidental Fire & Casualty Company of North Carolina (“Defendants”) were not disclosed properly under California law.  Molly Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 37-2016-00014373-CU-BT-CTL. Renewal Service Fees are the $9 fee—referred to on billing statements as a “Service Fee”—that are paid at the beginning of a new policy term by Class Members who renewed their insurance policy, and who paid their premium in full. Defendants deny any liability, wrongdoing, or damages.  Ms. Rivera and Defendants agree that it is desirable that this Lawsuit be settled.  This settlement has been approved by the Court. 

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  2. Why is there a notice?

    A Court authorized the notice because you had a right to know about a  settlement of this class action lawsuit, and about all of your options, before the Court decided whether to approve the settlement.  Since the Court did approve the settlement, the  administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the settlement allows.  Because your rights are affected by this settlement, it is important that you read this notice carefully.

    If you received a notice, it is because Defendants' records show that you are a potential Class Member.  The Class is composed of all holders of policies-- insured by Occidental Fire & Casualty Company of North Carolina and sold through Reliant General Insurance Services-- who paid their premium in full when renewing their Policy, and who paid one or more Renewal Service Fees from April 29, 2012 to December 14, 2017.

    The settlement resolves all claims in this case.  The person who sued is called the Plaintiff and the company sued is called the Defendant. 

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  3. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

    The Settlement provides relief for all Class Members, who are described as all California residents who paid in full for one or more one-month policies of insurance through Reliant for which Occidental was the insurer and for which Reliant and/or Occidental billed and collected one or more Renewal Service Fees during the Class Period.  The Class Period is April 29, 2012 through December 14, 2017.  

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, excluded from the class are any present or former officers and/or directors of Defendants, and any person who made a timely election to be excluded from the proposed Class.  Persons who timely elected to be excluded from the proposed Class shall be excluded with respect to all Policies under which they would otherwise be eligible for a Settlement Check.  Additionally, if any holder of a jointly-held Policy made a timely election to be excluded from the Class, then all joint policyholders on the Policy will be excluded.

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  4. What is this class action lawsuit?

    A class action is a lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. A representative plaintiff asserts claims on behalf of the entire class.

    The Representative Plaintiff filed this Action alleging that certain Renewal Service Fees charged by Reliant General Insurance Services and Occidental Fire & Casualty Company of North Carolina were not disclosed properly under California law.

    Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, and the Court has not made a determination in favor of Plaintiff or Defendants.

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  5. Why is there a settlement?

    The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or Defendant. Both sides agreed to a settlement instead of going to trial. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation. The Representative Plaintiff and her attorneys believe the settlement is best for all Class Members.

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  6. Why did I receive a Class Notice?

    If you received a Class Notice in the mail, then Defendants’ records show that you are a Class Member.  The Class is composed of all California residents who paid in full for one or more one-month policies of insurance through Reliant for which Occidental was the insurer and for which Reliant and/or Occidental billed and collected one or more Renewal Service Fees during the Class Period.  The Class Period is  April 29, 2012 through December 14, 2017.

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  7. What are the benefits of the settlement?

    Since the settlement was approved by the Court, Defendants have paid a settlement fund totaling $292,500. Class Members are eligible to receive a pro rata share of the settlement fund that remains after payment of settlement administration expenses, attorneys’ fees and costs, and any service award to the Representative Plaintiff.

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  8. What are my options?

    Class Members had the following options:

     1.  You could have done nothing.  If you are a class member and you wanted to participate in the settlement, you didn't have to do anything.  You will automatically receive a check for your share of the settlement benefits, but you will give up your right to sue Defendants about the claims in this case. 

     2.  You could have excluded yourself from the settlement, which is also known as opting out of the settlement.  If you asked to be excluded, you will not receive any money as part of this settlement, but you will retain any rights you may have to sue Defendants for the claims in this case.

     3.  You could have objected to the settlement.  If you did not like something about the settlement, you could have written to the Court about why you believe the settlement is unfair in any respect.

    4.  You could have gone to the fairness hearing or hired an attorney to appear for you at your own expense, but you were not required to do either.  

    More information about these options can be found in the Class Notice and in the answers to other FAQ's.

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  9. What do I do if I want to participate in the settlement?

    To receive your settlement payment, you do not have to do anything. Your interest as a member of the Settlement Class will be represented by the Plaintiff and Class Counsel. You will be bound by any judgment arising from the settlement. Since the settlement was approved at the fairness hearing in May, you will receive a check for your share of the net settlement fund.

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  10. What did I give up to stay in the Class?

    After the Court's approval of the Settlement, upon the Efective Date, Representative Plaintiff and all Class Members and their past, present, or future agents, legal representatives, trustees, parents, subsidiaries, predecessors, estates, heirs, assigns, successors, executors, and administrators, do hereby fully, finally, and forever released, acquit, relinquish, and discharge to the fullest extent permitted by law, all Released Claims, as defined in the Settlement Agreement, section V., against all Releasees.

    For purposes of the Settlement Agreement and the Final Order and Judgment, the term "Released Claims" shall mean any and all causes of action, claims, suits, damages, equitable relief, legal relief, and demands or rights, whether class, individual or otherwise in nature, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, liquidated or unliquidated, accrued or unaccrued, fixed or contingent, including but not limited to, declaratory relief or any other kind of action based on any tortious conduct of the Releasees, contractual violation(s), statutory violation(s), regulatory violations, or common law that have been, could have been, may be, or could be alleged or asserted now or in the future by Representative Plaintiff or any Class Member against the Releasees (or any of them) in the lawsuit or in any other court action or before any administrative body (including any Department of Insurance or other regulatory body), tribunal or arbitration panel arising out of:

    a.  Defendants' charging or collection of Renewal Service Fees;

    b.  Defendants' disclosure, non-disclosure, and/or characterization regarding Renewal Service Fees; and

    c.  Defendants' compliance and/or noncompliance with California Insurance Code §§ 381, 383, and any other contractual, statutory, regulatory, or common law provision that relates or may relate to Renewal Service Fees. 

    This Release expressly does not apply to any claims which arise out of conduct occurring after the execution of the Settlement Agreement.

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  11. What should I have done if I wanted to be excluded from the settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must have mailed a completed Opt-Out Form or letter, postmarked no later than May 10, 2018, to to the Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services Settlement Administrator.  The deadline has passed and it is now too late to request exclusion.  

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  12. If I excluded myself, can I get benefits from this settlement?

    No.  If you excluded yourself, you are not part of the settlement. 

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  13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    All class members are represented by Vincent J. Bartolotta, Jr. and Jarrett S. Charo of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP.  You are not responsible for any portion of their fees.  Class Counsel  represents the interests of the Settlement Class. You may hire your own attorney to advise you, but if you hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for paying that attorney's fees.  Please see FAQ 22 for Class Counsel's contact information. 

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  14. How did I tell the Court that I wanted to object to the settlement?

    You could have told the Court that you objected to the settlement or some part of it and stated the reasons why you were objecting. To object, you must have filed with the Court, and served on Class Counsel and Counsel for the Defendants,  a written Objection saying that you objected to the proposed settlement in Molly Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services, Inc., et al no later than May 10, 2018.  The deadline has passed and it is now too late to object. 

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  15. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don't want to be part of the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the lawsuit no longer affects you.

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  16. What happens if I did nothing?

    If you did nothing, and are a Class Member, you will receive a payment in July 2018 since the Court approved the settlement.  Unless you excluded yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the legal issues in this case ever again.

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  17. When was the fairness hearing?

    The Court held a fairness hearing on May 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 67 of the Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Diego, located at 330 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 to decide: (1) whether the proposed settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate; (2) whether the Final Order and Judgment should be entered and the claims against Defendants should be dismissed with prejudice; and (3) whether to approve Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees of up to 30% of the settlement fund, costs not to exceed $18,000, and a service award for Ms. Rivera not to exceed $1,500.  The settlement was approved and these fees and awards will be paid from the settlement fund.  You will not owe any money for these fees, costs, or awards.

     

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  18. Did I have to go to the hearing?

    No. Class Counsel represented the Settlement Class at the fairness hearing. If you sent any objection, you did not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed and mailed your written objection on time, the Court considered it. 

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  19. Could I have spoken at the hearing?

    You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the fairness hearing. To do so, you must have sent a Notice of Intention to Appear saying that you intend to appear at the fairness hearing.   Your Notice of Intention to Appear must have been filed with the Court and served on Class Counsel and Counsel for the Defendants no later than May 10, 2018.  

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  20. What are the important dates and deadlines of the settlement?

    These are the important dates and deadlines associated with this case:

    If you wished to exclude yourself from the settlement, you must have submitted a written request for exclusion from the settlement postmarked no later than May 10, 2018.  For more information on excluding yourself from the settlement, please see FAQ 11.

    If you wished to object to the terms of the settlement, you must have filed your objection with the Court and served it on Class Counsel and Defendants' counsel no later than May 10, 2018.   For more information on filing an objection, please see FAQ 14. 

    The Court held a fairness hearing on May 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.  For more information on the fairness hearing, please see FAQ 17.

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  21. Are there more details about the settlement?

    The full Settlement Agreement, the Class Notice,  the  First Amended Complaint, and the Preliminary Approval Order can be accessed on this website on the Case Documents page.

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  22. How do I get more information?

    If you have any questions, you can contact the Settlement Administrator at Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 404041, Louisville, KY 40233-4041, or Class Counsel toll -free at 1-866-963-4433 or at the below contact address:

    Vincent J. Bartolotta, Jr.

    Jarrett S. Charo

    Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP

    2550 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor

    San Diego, California 92103

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  23. When will settlement payments be sent out to Class Members?

    Settlement payment checks will be sent to Class Members with current addresses in July 2018.  If you are a Class Member and do not receive a check by the end of July, please write to the Settlement Administrator and let us know.  Please be sure your letter includes your full  name, current address, telephone number, and email address if you have one.  The address for the Settlement Administrator is as follows:

    Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services Settlement Administrator

    P.O. Box 404041

    Louisville, KY 40233-4041

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  24. How were the awards calculated?

    Award amounts have been determined pursuant to the Settlement Agreement.  You may view the case documents on the Court Documents menu page of this website for more information.

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  25. My last name has changed due to marriage or divorce. How can I get my last name updated on my check?

    Please return the original check along with a copy of the proof of name  change, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, showing your previous name and current name and your government-issued ID such as a driver's license and send it to the Settlement Administrator as follows:

    Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services Settlement Administrator

    P.O. Box 404041

    Louisville, KY 40233-4041.

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  26. I didn't get a check and I believe I am a Class Member. What can I do?

    If you believe you are a Class Member and you do not receive a check by the end of July, please write to the Settlement Administrator and let us know.  Please be sure your letter includes your full  name, current address, telephone number, and email address if you have one.  The address for the Settlement Administrator is as follows:

    Rivera v. Reliant General Insurance Services Settlement Administrator

    P.O. Box 404041

    Louisville, KY 40233-4041

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