The lawsuit that is being settled is entitled Brower v. Northwest Community Credit Union. The case is a “class action.” That means that the “Named Plaintiff,” Angelique Brower, is an individual who is acting on behalf of a group that includes all members of Defendant who reside in Oregon who were charged multiple NSF or OD fees on their accounts for the same transaction presented to Defendant for collection during the Class Period—from October 1, 2015 through February 28, 2021—which request for collection initially was rejected for insufficient funds, but subsequently was re-presented to Defendant for collection on one or more additional occasions resulting in additional NSF and/or OD Fees. The persons in this group are collectively called the “Class Members.”
The Named Plaintiff claims she was improperly charged NSF and/or OD fees. Defendant does not deny that it assessed the Named Plaintiff NSF and/or OD fees but denies that its practices give rise to claims for damages by the Named Plaintiff or any Class Member. Defendant specifically maintains that it properly and lawfully assessed all fees in accordance with the terms of its agreements, disclosure, and applicable law.Back To Top
In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Named Plaintiff’s lawyers’ job to identify when a proposed settlement offer is good enough that it justifies recommending settling the case instead of continuing to trial. In a class action, these lawyers, known as Class Counsel, make this recommendation to the Named Plaintiff. The Named Plaintiff has the duty to act in the best interests of the Class as a whole and, in this case, it is her belief, as well as Class Counsel’s opinion, that this settlement is in the best interest of all Class Members for at least the following reasons:
There is legal uncertainty about whether the Court (or eventually a trial court judge or a jury) will find that Defendant breached its agreements with members or otherwise acted improperly by assessing the NSF and/or OD fees that are the subject of this case. There also is uncertainty about whether the Named Plaintiff’s claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no recovery or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Named Plaintiff was to win at trial, there is no assurance that the Class Members would be awarded more than the current settlement amount, and it may take years of litigation before any payments would be made. By settling, the Class Members will avoid these and other risks and the delays associated with continued litigation.
Although Defendant disputes Plaintiff’s claims, it has agreed to settle to avoid the costs, distractions and risks of further litigation. Thus, even though Defendant denies that it did anything improper, it believes settlement is in its best interest and in the best interests of all of its members.Back To Top
If you received a Notice in the mail or via email and reside in Oregon, then Defendant’s records indicate that you are a Class Member who is entitled to receive a payment or credit to your account.Back To Top
You have three options: (1) do nothing and you will receive a payment according to the terms of this Settlement; (2) exclude yourself from the Settlement (“opt out” of it); or (3) participate in the Settlement but object to it. Each of these options is described in a separate section below.Back To Top
If you do nothing, you will receive Settlement Funds by credit to your account if you are still a member of Defendant when the Settlement is paid or via check mailed to your residence of record if you are not a member of Defendant when the Settlement is paid at the close of the claims period.
The November 3, 2022 Opt-out and Objection deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting Opt-out or Objection submissions.Back To Top
If you do not like the Settlement and you believe that you could receive more money by pursuing your claims on your own (with or without an attorney that you could hire) and you are comfortable with the risk that you might lose your case or get less than you would in this Settlement, then you may want to consider opting out.
If you believe the Settlement is unreasonable, unfair, or inadequate and the Court should reject the Settlement, you can object to the Settlement terms. The Court will decide if your objection is valid. If the Court agrees, then the Settlement will not be approved and no payments will be made to you or any other Class Member. If your objection (and any other objection) is overruled, and the Settlement is approved, then you will still get a payment.Back To Top
The Court has to decide that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate before it will approve it. The Court already has decided to provide preliminary approval of the Settlement, which authorized the Notice. The Court will make a final decision regarding the Settlement at a “Final Approval Hearing,” which is currently scheduled for January 12, 2023, at 8:30 a.m.Back To Top
Defendant has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $745,000.00. As discussed separately below, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs and a service award to the Named Plaintiff, will be paid out of this amount. The balance of the Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members proportionally. Additionally, as a result of this lawsuit, Defendant has implemented changes to its disclosures that clarify Defendant’s NSF and OD fee practices.Back To Top
Class Counsel will request that the Court award up to one third (33 1/3%) of the value of the Settlement as attorneys’ fees plus reimbursement of litigation costs incurred in prosecuting the case. The Court will decide the amount of the attorneys’ fees based on a number of factors, including the risk associated with bringing the case, the amount of time spent on the case, the amount of costs incurred to prosecute the case, the quality of the work, and the outcome of the case.Back To Top
Class Counsel on behalf of the Named Plaintiff will request that the Court award her up to $7,500 apiece for her role in securing this Settlement on behalf of the Class. The Court will decide if a Service Award is appropriate, and if so, the amount of the award.Back To Top
The balance of the Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members proportionally. Class Members will receive a check for the amount they are entitled to receive from the Settlement Administrator.Back To Top
No. Any amount you are entitled to under the terms of the Settlement will be distributed to you unless you choose to exclude yourself from the Settlement, or “opt out.” Excluding yourself from the Settlement means you choose not to participate in the Settlement. You will keep your individual claims against Defendant, but you will not receive a payment. In that case, if you choose to seek recovery against Defendant, then you will have to file a separate lawsuit or claim.Back To Top
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing (explained in FAQ 20-FAQ 22) on January 12, 2023, at 8:30 a.m., to consider whether the Settlement should be approved. If there are no objections and the Court approves the Settlement, then the Settlement Administrator should begin paying claims within approximately forty days of the Court’s approval. However, if someone objects to the Settlement, and the objection is sustained, then there is no Settlement. Even if all objections are overruled and the Court approves the Settlement, an objector could appeal, and it might take months or even years to have the appeal resolved, which would delay any payment.Back To Top
The November 3, 2022 Opt-out deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting Opt-out submissions.Back To Top
If you opt out of the Settlement, you will preserve and not give up any of your rights to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this case. However, you will not be entitled to receive a payment from this Settlement.Back To Top
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to a payment.Back To Top
The November 3, 2022 Objection deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting Objection submissions.Back To Top
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not believe the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate for the Class, and asking the Court to reject it. You can object only if you do not opt out of the Settlement. If you object to the Settlement and do not opt out, then you are entitled to a payment if the Settlement is approved, but you will release claims you might have against Defendant. Excluding yourself, or opting out, is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement, and do not want to receive a payment or release claims you might have against Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit.Back To Top
If the Court sustains your objection, or the objection of any other Class Member, then there is no Settlement. If you object, but the Court overrules your objection and any other objection(s), then you will be part of the Settlement.Back To Top
The Court will hold a Final Approval or Fairness Hearing on January 12, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. 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 award Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and how much the Named Plaintiff should get as a “Service Award” for acting as the Class Representative.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You may attend if you desire to do so. If you have submitted an objection, then you may want to attend.Back To Top
If you have objected, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must include with your objection, described in FAQ 17, above, the statement, “I hereby give notice that I intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.”Back To Top
If you do nothing at all, and if the Settlement is approved, then you may receive a payment that represents your share of the Settlement Fund. You will be considered a part of the Class, and you will give up claims against Defendant for the conduct identified in the Settlement. You will not give up any other claims you might have against Defendant that are not released in this Settlement.Back To Top
The Court ordered that the lawyers and their law firms referred to in the Notice as “Class Counsel” will represent you and the other Class Members.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will be paid directly from the Settlement Fund.Back To Top
The Court will be asked to approve the amount of attorneys’ fees at the Final Approval Hearing. Class Counsel will file an application for fees and costs and will specify the amount being sought as discussed above. You may review a physical copy of the fee application here.
For additional information about the Settlement and/or to obtain copies of the Settlement Agreement, the pleadings in this case, or to change your address for purposes of receiving a payment, you can view the Important Documents page of this website or contact the Settlement Administrator at the address below:
Brower v. Northwest Community Credit Union
P.O. Box 3605
Portland, OR 97208-3605
Multnomah County Courthouse
1200 SW 1st Ave
Portland, OR 97204
ATTN: Jeffrey Kaliel
1100 15th St. NW, 4th Flr.
Washington, DC 20005