Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why did I receive this Notice of this lawsuit?
  3. Why did the parties settle?
  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?
  5. What options do I have with respect to the settlement?
  6. What are the critical deadlines?
  7. How do I decide which option to choose?
  8. What has to happen for the settlement to be approved?
  9. How much is the settlement?
  10. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay for attorneys’ fees and costs?
  11. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Class Representative a Service Award?
  12. How much will my payment be?
  13. Do I have to do anything if I want to participate in the settlement?
  14. When will I receive my payment?
  15. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
  16. What happens if I opt out of the settlement?
  17. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?
  18. What is the difference between objecting and requesting exclusion from the settlement?
  19. What happens if I object to the settlement?
  20. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
  21. Do I have to come to the hearing?
  22. May I speak at the hearing?
  23. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  24. Do I have to pay the lawyer for accomplishing this result?
  25. Who determines what the attorneys’ fees will be?
  26. GETTING MORE INFORMATION
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit that is being settled is entitled Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union. It is pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:20-cv-04380-DSF-KS. The case is a “class action.” That means that the “Class Representative,” Sylvia Varga, is an individual who is acting on behalf of current and former members who were purportedly improperly assessed APPSN Fees between May 14, 2016 and October 8, 2020 and Retry NSF Fees between May 14, 2016 and February 29, 2020. The Class Representative has asserted claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and money had and received.
    Defendant does not deny it charged the fees the Class Representative is complaining about, but contends it did so properly and in accordance with the terms of its agreements and applicable law. Defendant therefore denies that its practices give rise to claims for damages by the Class Representative or any Class Members.

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  2. Why did I receive this Notice of this lawsuit?

    You received this Notice because Defendant’s records indicate that you were charged one or more overdraft fees or NSF fees that are the subject of this action. The Court directed that this Notice be sent to all Class Members because each such member has a right to know about the proposed settlement and the options available to him or her before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

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  3. Why did the parties settle?

    In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Class Representative’s and her 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, the Class Representative’s lawyers, known as “Class Counsel,” make this recommendation to the Class Representative. The Class Representative 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.
    There is legal uncertainty about whether a judge or a jury will find that Defendant was contractually and otherwise legally obligated not to assess the fees at issue. And even if it was contractually wrong to assess these fees, there is uncertainty about whether the Class Representative’s claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Class Representative were 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.
    While Defendant disputes the allegations in the lawsuit and denies any liability or wrongdoing, it enters into the settlement solely to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and distraction of further proceedings in the litigation.

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  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

    If you received this Notice, then Defendant’s records indicate that you are a Class Member who is entitled to receive a payment or credit to your account.

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  5. What options do I have with respect to the settlement?

    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.

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  6. What are the critical deadlines?

    There is no deadline to receive a payment. If you do nothing, then you will get a payment.
    The deadline for sending a letter to exclude yourself from or opt out of the settlement is October 25, 2021.
    The deadline to file an objection with the Court is also November 16, 2021.

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  7. How do I decide which option to choose?

    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 may 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 and/or forgiveness of Uncollected Overdraft Fees, and will be bound by the settlement.
    If you want to participate in the settlement, then you don’t have to do anything; you will receive a payment if the settlement is approved by the Court.

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  8. What has to happen for the settlement to be approved?

    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 is why you received a Notice. The Court will make a final decision regarding the settlement at a “Fairness Hearing” or “Final Approval Hearing,” which is currently scheduled for December 13, 2021.

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  9. How much is the settlement?

    Defendant has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $1,590,000. It will also forgive Uncollected Overdraft Fees totaling $175,807, as defined in the Agreement.
    As discussed separately below, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and the costs paid to a third-party Claims Administrator to administer the settlement (including mailing and emailing Notice) will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The Net Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members entitled to Class Member payments based on formulas described in the Agreement.

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  10. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay for attorneys’ fees and costs?

    Class Counsel will request the Court to approve attorneys’ fees of not more than 25% of the Value of the Settlement, and will request that it be reimbursed for litigation costs incurred in prosecuting the case. The Court will decide the amount of the attorneys’ fees and costs based on a number of factors, including the risk associated with bringing the case on a contingency basis, 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.

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  11. How much of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay the Class Representative a Service Award?

    Class Counsel will request that the Class Representative be paid a Service Award up to the amount of $15,000 for her work in connection with this case. The Service Award must be approved by the Court.

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  12. How much will my payment be?

    The balance of the Settlement Fund after attorneys’ fees and costs, the Service Award, and the Claims Administrator’s fees, also known as the Net Settlement Fund, will be divided among all Class Members entitled to Class Member payments in accordance with the formulas outlined in the Agreement. Current members of Defendant credit union will receive a credit to their accounts for the amount they are entitled to receive. Former members of Defendant shall receive a check from the Claims Administrator. Class Members entitled to forgiveness of Uncollected Overdraft Fees shall receive this benefit automatically.

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  13. Do I have to do anything if I want to participate in the settlement?

    No. If you received this Notice, then you may be entitled to receive a Class Member payment and/or forgiveness of Uncollected Overdraft Fees without having to make a claim, unless you choose to exclude yourself from the settlement, or “opt out.”

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  14. When will I receive my payment?

    The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing on December 13, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. to consider whether the settlement should be approved. If the Court approves the settlement, then payments should be made or credits should be issued within 10 days of the Effective Date. 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.

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  15. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?

    If you do not want to receive a payment, or if you want to keep any right you may have to sue Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit, then you must exclude yourself, or “opt out.”
    To opt out, you must send a letter to the Claims Administrator stating that you want to be excluded. Your letter can simply state “I hereby elect to be excluded from the settlement in the Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union class action.” Be sure to include your name, the last four digits of your member number(s) or former member number(s), address, telephone number, and email address. Your exclusion or opt-out request must be postmarked by October 25, 2021, and sent to:

    Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union
    Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 43501
    Providence, RI 02940-3501

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  16. What happens if I opt out of the settlement?

    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 the settlement.

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  17. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?

    You can object to the settlement or any part of it that you do not like IF you do not exclude yourself, or opt out, from the settlement. (Class Members who exclude themselves from the settlement have no right to object to how other Class Members are treated.) To object, you must send a written document by mail or private courier (e.g., Federal Express) to the Claims Administrator at the address below. Your objection must include the following information:

    A statement of your intention to object to the settlement in the Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union class action;
    • Your name, address, telephone number, the last four digits of your member number(s) or former member number(s), and the contact information for any attorney you have retained in connection with this case;
    • A statement of the factual and legal basis for each objection and any exhibits you wish the Court to consider in connection with the objection;
    • A statement as to whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through an attorney, and, if through an attorney, identifying the attorney by name, address, and telephone number; and
    • Your signature.

    All objections must be postmarked no later than November 16, 2021, and must be mailed to the Claims Administrator as follows:

    Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union
    Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 43501
    Providence, RI 02940-3501

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  18. What is the difference between objecting and requesting exclusion from the settlement?

    Objecting is telling the Court that you do not believe the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate for the Class Members, 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 Class Member payment and/or forgiveness of Uncollected Overdraft Fees 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 Class Member payment or forgiveness of Uncollected Overdraft Fees, or release claims you might have against Defendant for the claims alleged in this lawsuit.

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  19. What happens if I object to the settlement?

    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.

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  20. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Approval or Fairness Hearing at 1:30 p.m. on December 13, 2021 at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which is located at 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA. 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 litigation costs and the amount of the Service Award to the Class Representative. The hearing may be virtual, in which case the instructions to participate shall be posted on the website at www.aafcuoverdraftsettlement.com and/or http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/honorable-dale-s-fischer.

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  21. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    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.

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  22. May I speak at the hearing?

    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 Question 17, above, the statement, “I hereby give notice that I intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.”

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  23. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court ordered that the lawyers and their law firms referred to in this Notice as “Class Counsel” will represent you and the other Class Members.

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  24. Do I have to pay the lawyer for accomplishing this result?

    No. Class Counsel will be paid directly from the Settlement Fund.

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  25. Who determines what the attorneys’ fees will be?

    The Court will be asked to approve the amount of attorneys’ fees at the Final Approval Hearing. Class Counsel will file an application for attorneys’ fees and costs and will specify the amount being sought as discussed above. You may review a physical copy of the fee application at the website established by the Claims Administrator.

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  26. GETTING MORE INFORMATION

    This Notice only summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are contained in the Settlement Agreement, which can be viewed/obtained online at www.aafcuoverdraftsettlement.com.
    For additional information about the settlement and/or to obtain copies of the Settlement Agreement, or to change your address for purposes of receiving a payment, you should contact the Claims Administrator as follows:

    Sylvia Varga v. American Airlines Federal Credit Union
    Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 43501
    Providence, RI 02940-3501

    For more information, you also can contact the Class Counsel as follows:

    Kaliel Gold PLLC
    Jeffrey Kaliel, Esq.
    Sophia Gold, Esq.
    1100 15th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20005
    Email: jkaliel@kalielpllc.com

    THE KICK LAW FIRM, APC
    Taras Kick, Esq.
    Jeffrey C. Bils, Esq.
    815 Moraga Drive
    Los Angeles, CA 90049
    Email: Taras@kicklawfirm.com

    WILENTZ, GOLDMAN &
    SPITZER, P.A.
    Kevin P. Roddy, Esq.
    90 Woodbridge Center Drive
    Suite 900, Box 10
    Woodbridge, NJ 07095
    Email: kroddy@wilentz.com

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