Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did I get this notice?
- What is this lawsuit about?
- Why is this a class action?
- Why is there a settlement?
- How do I know if I am a part of the settlement?
- What can I get from the settlement?
- When will I receive these benefits?
- I want to be a part of the settlement. What do I do?
- What am I giving up if I remain in the settlement?
- How much will the Class Representative receive?
- How do I get out of the settlement?
- If I exclude myself, do I still receive benefits from this settlement?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- Is this a fair settlement?
- What is the Defendant's view of this settlement?
- How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
- Where and when is the final approval hearing?
- How do I get more information?
- What happens if I do nothing?
1. Why did I get this notice?
You received the Notice because you were identified as a person to whom Defendant Follett Higher Education Group, Inc. ("Defendant") sent a text message to your cell phone.
2. What is this lawsuit about?
This lawsuit claims that Defendant violated a federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") by sending unsolicited text messages to cell phones without prior express consent. Defendant filed an answer to the lawsuit denying all liability.
3. Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Lijana Shestopal), sue on behalf of a group (or a "Class") of people who have similar claims regarding receipt of unwanted text messages sent by Defendant.
4. Why is there a settlement?
To avoid the cost, risk, and delay of litigation, the Parties reached a settlement agreement as to Plaintiff's and the Class's claims.
5. How do I know if I am a part of the settlement?
For settlement purposes, the Court has certified a Class consisting of all people who meet the following definition:
All individuals in the United States to whose wireless telephones Defendant, it affiliates, subsidiaries, or an agent or contractor on one of their behalves, sent a nonemergency text message through the use of automatic telephone dialing system, from October 9, 2011, up to and including December 24, 2015.
Class Counsel estimates that, based on Defendant's records, there are approximately 1,884,821 people in the Class.
6. What can I get from the settlement?
If you submit a valid claim form, which was attached at the end of the Notice, by February 3, 2017, you will remain in the Class and you will be entitled to a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund after deduction of: (a) Settlement Administration Expenses; (b) the Fee Award; and (c) Incentive Award to the Class Representative (the "Class Fund"). The Settlement Fund is $3,500,000. The Settlement Administration Expenses are expected to be $499,000. The Fee Award is expected to be 35% of the Settlement Fund after expenses (a) and (c), above, are deducted (approximately $1,049,300). The Fee Award is subject to Court approval. The Incentive Award is expected to be $3,000, subject to Court approval.
Below is a chart the estimates what each Settlement Class Member may receive based on the percentage of Settlement Class Members submitting valid claims:
|Percentage of Claiming Class Members
||Estimated Settlement Payment
These numbers are estimates only. The exact amount that Settlement Class Members receive will depend on the percentage of Settlement Class Members who submit valid claim forms. That percentage is still unknown, and it could be less than 1% or more than 10%.
7. When will I receive these benefits?
You will receive these benefits approximately 90 days after the Court enters a Final Approval Order. This estimation is premised on the assumption that no objections are received and no appeal is filed.
8. I want to be a part of the settlement. What do I do?
You must submit a claim form by either: (1) filing through this website by selecting the File a Claim menu option; or by mail to Shestopal v. Follett Higher Education Group Settlement Administrator, PO BOX 43436, Providence RI 02940-3436. You must submit your claim form by February 3, 2017. If your claim form is approved, you will receive a Cash Award. There can only be one Cash Award per Class Member. If you do not submit a valid claim form, you will not be considered for a Cash Award.
Depending on the value of your Cash Award, you may be asked to fill-out a W-9 for tax reporting reasons. The W-9 will be mailed to you along with a letter containing further instructions. If you do not complete a W-9 when requested, your Cash Award may be subject to a tax withholding.
9. What am I giving up if I remain in the settlement?
By staying in the Class, all of the Court's orders will apply to you, and you give Defendant a "release." A release means you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant about the claims or issues in this lawsuit with respect to receipt of unwanted text messages.
10. How much will the Class Representative receive?
The Plaintiff, Lijana Shestopal, will receive a payment of $3,000 for her individual statutory damages under the TCPA and for her services to the Class Members. This payment is subject to the Court's Approval.
11. How do I get out of the settlement?
To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from Lijana Shestopal v. Follett Higher Education Group, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-8980 (N.D. Ill.). Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request so that it is postmarked no later than February 3, 2017, to:
Shestopal v. Follett Higher Education Group Settlement Administrator
PO BOX 43436
Providence RI 02940-3436
12. If I exclude myself, do I still receive benefits from this settlement?
No, you will not receive anything resulting from the settlement, but you will have the right to sue Defendant over the claims raised in this case, either on your own or as a part of a different lawsuit. If you exclude yourself, the time you have in which to file your own lawsuit (called the "statute of limitations") will begin to run again. You will have the same amount of time to file the suit that you had when this case was filed.
13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has appointed the law firm of Siprut PC to serve as Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers; however, they will receive a payment from the Settlement in an amount to be determined by an approved by the Court on a later date. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
14. How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will be paid reasonable attorneys' fee and costs from the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel will seek a Fee Award of 35% of the Settlement Fund, after the deduction of Settlement Administration Expenses and the Incentive Award.
15. Is this a fair settlement?
Class Counsel believes the settlement is fair. The claim asserted on behalf of the Class against Defendant is under the TCPA, which is a federal statute that provides for both individual actions and class actions. In an individual action, the person bringing the suit may recover (i) any actual damages suffered; or (ii) statutory damages of $500. Damages may be trebled upon a showing of a willful or knowing violation.
In this case, the Settlement Fund of $3,500,000 will be divided among the Class Members who submit valid claims. As illustrated in Question 6 above, if 5% of the class submit valid claims, then each of those class members will receive approximately $20.68.
16. What is the Defendant's view of this settlement?
As stated above, Defendant filed an answer denying that its text message were sent without the requisite consent that violate the TCPA. Defendant desires to settle the claims of the Class to avoid the expense, burden, and uncertainty of further litigation, and to put to rest all claims related to its text messages that are the subject of this lawsuit.
17. How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
If you are a Class member, you can object to the Settlement. In order to object to the Settlement, you must send a written objection (such as a letter or legal brief) stating that you object and the reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. Your objection must be personally signed by you and include: (1) your name, address, telephone number; (2) a sentence stating under penalty of perjury that you are a member of the Settlement Class; (3) the name and number of the case: Lijana Shestopal v. Follett Higher Education Group, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-8980 (N.D. Ill.); (4) the factual basis and legal grounds for your objection to the Settlement; (5) the identity of any witnesses whom you may call to testify at the Final Approval Hearing; and (6) copies of any exhibits you may seek to offer into evidence at the Final Approval Hearing. Your written objection must indicate whether your lawyer(s) intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer who intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing also must enter a written Notice of Appearance of Counsel with the Clerk of the Court no later than February 3, 2017, and must include the full caption and case number of each previous class action case in which that counsel has represented an objector. You must also file your objection so that it is postmarked no later than February 3, 2017 to:
Clerk of the Court
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago IL 60604
You must also send a copy of your objection to:
Shestopal v. Follett Higher Education Group Settlement Administrator
PO BOX 43436
Providence RI 02940-3436
18. Where and when is the final approval hearing?
The Court will hold a hearing on March 23, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 2525 of the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604. The purpose of the hearing will be for the Court to determine whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interests of the Class and to determine the appropriate amount of compensation for Class Counsel. At that hearing, the Court will be available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed settlement.
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS HEARING TO BENEFIT FROM THIS SETTLEMENT. The hearing may be postponed to a later date without notice.
19. How do I get more information?
The Notice is only a summary of the proposed settlement. You can view or download a complete copy of the settlement agreement by reviewing available posted Court documentation on this website. You can also call for more information at (855) 306-9630, or contact Class Counsel directly at: Joseph J. Siprut of Siprut PC, 17 N. State Street, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60602; Telephone: (312) 236-0000; Facsimile: (312) 878-1342; E-mail: email@example.com.
20. What happens if I do nothing?
If you do nothing, you are still a member of the Class but will not receive any payment. All of the Court's orders will apply to you, and you give Defendant a "release." A release means you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant about the claims or issues in this lawsuit with respect to receipt of unwanted text messages between October 9, 2011 and December 24, 2015.