How do I get my money from class-action lawsuit after settlement?
June 28, 2014 9:53 AM   Subscribe

A few months ago, I joined a class of plaintiffs in the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation. The defendants settled a month ago. When do I get my money?

Wikipedia article on the lawsuit here. (In case you're wondering, I feel pretty good about my participation in this particular class-action lawsuit since what the defendants were doing was clearly illegal and unethical.)

On May 23, 2014, the defendants (Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe) agreed to settle for $324.5 million.

So now what? When do I get my money or get to hear anything? I tried contacting the lawyers through their web interface a few weeks ago, but haven't heard anything back. In fact, so far I've not heard anything at all from the lawyers pursuing this action since I signed on as a plaintiff many months ago.

I guess essentially I'm asking how long these things usually take post-settlement, what to expect, and whether any action is needed on my part.
posted by splitpeasoup to Law & Government (9 answers total)
From your link's own FAQ page:


Question: When will I get my payments?


The Court will hold a final Fairness Hearing on May 1, 2014, to decide whether to approve the settlements. If the Court approves the settlements, there still may be appeals of that decision. If an appeal is filed, it is hard to estimate how long it might take for it to be resolved, but it can take a lot of time, perhaps more than a year. Settlement payments to Settlement Class Members will be distributed if the settlements are approved, and after appeals, if any, are resolved.

Updates regarding the settlements and when payments may be made will be posted on the settlement website.


So it sounds like you should keep checking that website for updates, and expect any payment to take a year--maybe May 2015?

Good luck!
posted by The Minotaur at 10:05 AM on June 28, 2014

The judge hasn't approved the settlement yet. (possible wsj paywall link warning)
posted by dcjd at 10:48 AM on June 28, 2014

Class action suits generally take quite a while to disburse claims to participants in the suit. The attorneys are representing many thousands of individual people; I would not expect that you will have any personal contact with them, or even their assistants/paralegals/etc.

The FAQ at the link your provide is a start. Pay attention to whatever communications you receive from them, make sure you update your mailing address as appropriate, etc.
posted by dfriedman at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2014

Here's a quick primer on class action settlements.

Even though the parties reach a settlement together, the district court judge still has to approve it to make sure it's fair and meets other legal standards. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a judge to reject a settlement.

Class members also have the right to object to the settlement if they think it's unfair. That could lead to the district court judge rejecting the settlement. If the district court judge denies their objections, they may be able to appeal, further slowing things down.

Assuming there are no objections and the district court judge approves the settlement, it will still take some time for notice to get out to all the class members and the checks to be mailed.
posted by yarly at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2014

I'd add only that the approval mechanism is for your protection. This isn't the plaintiffs' attorneys dragging their feet; it's the court making sure that the rights of absent class members are being served.
posted by ewiar at 11:50 AM on June 28, 2014

And soon, that check for $3.72 will be in your mailbox.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:43 PM on June 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

It takes a very, very long time to get everything finalized and settled. Your best bet is to stop waiting, and let the tiny check be a surprise when it comes.
posted by colin_l at 2:44 PM on June 28, 2014

Lest the "tiny check" comments demoralize you: I joined a similar class action suit (Microsoft temps) several years ago expecting to get enough to buy a snowcone, and I got a check for just over $12,000. That's not typical, but it is possible. We were paid out I think 18 months after the settlement.
posted by KathrynT at 4:51 PM on June 28, 2014

Thanks, all!
posted by splitpeasoup at 5:07 PM on June 28, 2014

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