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Ruiz v. Republic Title Company

Atty. No. 41106

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS

COUNTY DEPARTMENT, CHANCERY DIVISION

JANIE E. RUIZ, Plaintiff

v.

REPUBLIC TITLE COMPANY, Defendant

Judge Richard A. Siebel

 

NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION AND PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

TO: All persons who participated in settlements of the purchase, sale or refinance of residential, Illinois real estate in which Republic Title Company was the settlement agent from February 1, 1998 to the date of Final Approval of this settlement, and all of such persons, parents, siblings, spouses, children or any other family members, and their subsidiaries, affiliates, successors and assigns, but excluding Settlement Defendants and their affiliates.

PLEASE READ THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.

THIS IS NOT A NOTICE OF A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU.

YOU MAY BENEFIT FROM READING THIS NOTICE.

WHAT THIS LAWSUIT IS ABOUT

Plaintiff Janie E. Ruiz filed this action in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division against defendant Republic Title Company. Another case, Nolan v. Republic Title Company, 03 CH 3749, is also currently pending against Republic Title Company and is covered by the settlement. On behalf of a class, plaintiff alleged that defendant overcharged for recording documents, including, but not limited to, mortgages, deeds, assignments of mortgages, and releases of mortgages, with county recorders. Plaintiff alleged that this practice violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, 815 ILCS 505/2 et seq., and constituted and resulted in the unjust enrichment of the defendant. The Court dismissed all claims except plaintiff’s claim for unjust enrichment. Defendant does not admit to any wrongdoing, and denies that it is liable for the claims alleged.

Judge Siebel has granted preliminary approval of a settlement agreement, subject to a fairness hearing which will take place on April 4, 2006 at 2:00 p.m., in Room 2305 of the Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602.

You are being sent this notice because you appear to be a member of the class as defined above. This notice explains the nature of the lawsuit and the terms of the settlement, and informs you of your legal rights and obligations.

NO ADMISSION OF LIABILITY BY DEFENDANT

By settling this lawsuit, the defendant is not admitting that it has done anything wrong. Defendant expressly denies that it did anything wrong.

THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

Plaintiff and defendant have agreed to the settlement described below. If you wish to receive monetary recovery under the settlement, you must return the claim form attached to this notice and a copy of your HUD-1 settlement statement (if any) by the required deadline. If you timely return a claim form and HUD-1 settlement statement (if any), and if you were overcharged and the settlement is finally approved, you will be sent a check for your portion of the settlement.Settlement Fund. Defendant agrees to pay the sum of $324,521 to create a Settlement Fund. Plaintiff Jamie Ruiz and Tom Nolan, the plaintiff in Nolan v. Republic Title Company, will each petition the Court for payment of an incentive award of $5,000 for serving as class representatives to be paid from the settlement fund prior to distribution. After deduction of attorney’s fees and costs, discussed below, the balance of the fund will be distributed to class members who timely submit a claim form. Defendant will determine the amount of the claimant’s actual overcharge, if any, and the claimant will receive payment from the fund in the amount of his or her overcharge, if any. However, in the event that the total overcharges of the claimants exceed the balance of the fund, each claimant’s share will be reduced pro rata prior to distribution. There are some individuals who were not overcharged or were undercharged. If a review of a claimant’s file shows no overcharge or an undercharge, the claimant will not receive payments from the Settlement Fund.

Attorney’s Fees. Class Counsel will petition the Court for an attorney’s fees and costs in an amount not to exceed 25% of the Settlement Fund. ($81,130.25) The attorney’s fees and costs will be paid from the Settlement Fund prior to distribution. Class Counsel will not request additional fees or costs from defendant or the class members and defendant will not oppose or cause to be opposed an request for approval of attorney’s fees and costs in an amount not to exceed 25% of the Settlement Fund.

Costs. Defendant will pay for the costs incurred for the sending of the class notice, checking each claimant’s file, and mailing out settlement checks.

Release. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will be part of the class. By staying in the class, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you, and you give the Defendant a “release.” A release means you can’t sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Republic Title Company about the claims or issues in this lawsuit ever again.

CLASS COUNSEL’S OPINION OF THE VALUE OF THE SETTLEMENT

Plaintiff has alleged that defendant overcharged for recording documents, including, but not limited to, mortgages, deeds, assignments of mortgages, and releases of mortgages, with county recorders. Defendant performed an audit to determine the amount of overcharges paid by class members. The $324,521 is approximately the total amount of overcharges.

Because a claim form is required and based upon that audit, Class Counsel believes that claimants are likely to receive the full amount of overcharges which occurred in their transactions, and that any deduction, if necessary will be minimal. Because the Settlement Fund consists of the total approximate overcharges, Class Counsel believes that the settlement is in the best interest of the class members, and that the class members should accept this settlement.

CORRECT ADDRESS

If this notice was forwarded by the Postal Service, or if it was otherwise sent to you at an address which is not current, you should immediately send a letter to the address listed below stating your past and current addresses plus the case name (Ruiz v. Republic Title Company), and number (No. 04 CH 8043):

Printers Inc.

333 S. Main St.

Benton, Illinois 62812

If any of the persons to whom this notice is sent have died or are divorced, you should send a letter to the same address explaining who is entitled to this claim. Include any supporting documentation (such as a divorce decree) with this letter.

FAIRNESS HEARING

A hearing will be held on the fairness of the proposed settlement. At the hearing, the Court will be available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed settlement, including the amount of the award to plaintiffs’ counsel of costs and attorney’s fees. The hearing will take place on April 4, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Siebel in Room 2305 of the Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO ATTEND THIS HEARING UNLESS YOU PLAN TO OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT.

YOUR OPTIONS

1. If you wish to receive a portion of the settlement proceeds, you must complete and return the claim form attached to this notice. The claim form asks for certain information including a HUD-1 settlement statement, if available. The claim form must be postmarked by January 16, 2006. If you submit a timely claim and the settlement is finally approved by the Court, you will receive a check in the amount of the overcharge of the recording fees in your real estate transaction. If you were not overcharged, you will not receive a check. You will be represented by the attorneys for plaintiff without additional charge. Or, if you prefer, you may enter your own appearance or ask the Court to allow you to participate in the settlement through your own attorney. If you wish to participate on your own or through your own attorney, an appearance must be filed with the Court by January 4, 2006. If you participate through your own attorney, it will be at your expense.

2. You have the right to exclude yourself from both the class action and the settlement by filing a written request for exclusion with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602. The request for exclusion must be received by the Clerk of the Court on or before January 4, 2006, and must refer to your name, address, and the name and number of the case. You must also serve copies of the request for exclusion on each of the attorneys for the plaintiff and for the defendant listed below by the same date.

Michelle R. Teggelaar (12094)

Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC

120 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1800

Chicago, IL 60603

(Counsel for Plaintiff and the Class)

Leland H. Chait

McGuire Woods LLP

77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 4100

Chicago, Illinois 60601

(Counsel for the Defendant)

3. If you object to the settlement, and wish to submit an objection rather than simply exclude yourself from the class action, you must file your written objection with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602. The objection must be received by the Clerk of the Court on or before January 4, 2006, and must refer to the name and number of the case. You must also serve copies of your objection on each of the attorneys for the plaintiff and for the defendant listed above by the same date. Any objection must include your name and address, the name and number of the case, and a statement of the reasons why you believe that the Court should find that the proposed settlement is not in the best interests of the class. If you do file an objection you may also appear at the hearing before the Court on April 4, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS HEARING. Please note that it is not sufficient to simply state that you object. You must state reasons why the settlement should not be approved.IMPORTANT: THE COURT REQUIRES THAT ANY REQUESTS FOR EXCLUSION OR OBJECTIONS BE RECEIVED BY THE CLERK BY JANUARY 4, 2006. IF YOU MAIL A REQUEST FOR EXCLUSION OR OBJECTION, YOU BEAR THE RISK OF THE REQUEST FOR EXCLUSION OR OBJECTION NOT BEING RECEIVED BY THE CLERK BY THE DEADLINE.

If you choose to exclude yourself from the class action and settlement you will not receive payment under this agreement.

If the settlement is not approved, the case will proceed as if no settlement had been attempted. There can be no assurance that if the settlement is not approved, the class will recover more than is provided in the settlement or, indeed, anything.

This description of the case is general and does not cover all of the issues and proceedings thus far. In order to see the complete file, including a copy of the settlement agreement, you should visit the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, IL 60602. The Clerk will make the files relating to this lawsuit available to you for inspection and copying at your own expense.

INQUIRIES

Any questions you or your attorney have concerning this notice should be directed to:

Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC (12094)

120 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1800

Chicago, IL 60603

312-739-4200

312-419-0379 (fax)

edcombs@aol.com

www.edcombs.com

Please include the case name and number, your name and your current return address on any letters, not just the envelopes.

DO NOT CONTACT THE JUDGE REGARDING THIS NOTICE

CLAIM FORM

RE: RUIZ V. REPUBLIC TITLE COMPANY, No. 04 CH 8043 (12094)

IMPORTANT: THIS CLAIM FORM MUST BE POSTMARKED ON OR BEFORE

JANUARY 16, 2006, AND MAILED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:Printers Inc.

333 S. Main St.

Benton, Illinois 62812

Please Print the following information Legibly:

Name(s): ________________________________________

Current Address: ________________________________________

________________________________________

Social Security Number(s): ________________________________________

Property Address of Transaction

Closed by Republic Title Company

(if different from above): ________________________________________

________________________________________

Property (or Tax) ID Number (PIN)

of property involved in Transaction

Closed by Republic Title Company:________________________________________

Address At Time of Closing:

(If different from above) ________________________________________

________________________________________

Please check one of the following:

_______ I am attaching to this claim form a HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

 

_______ I cannot locate the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. I swear under penalty of perjury that the following is true to the best of my knowledge:

On ____________________I was a party to a closing performed by Republic Title Company.

Date

By signing this claim form, I understand that I will be bound by the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement, including the release of claims and the Covenant not to sue provisions in that agreement.

__________________________

(YOUR SIGNATURE)

___________________________

(SIGNATURE OF CO-OWNER, if applicable)