General Case Information
The purpose of this website is to let you know that a proposed settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit entitled Adama Jammeh, et al v. HNN Associates, LLC, Gateway, LLC, Columbia Debt Recovery, LLC d/b/a Genesis Credit Management, LLC, and William Wojdak, Case No. 2:19-cv- 00620-JLR. Judge James L. Robart of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington preliminarily approved the proposed settlement. You have legal rights and options that you may act on before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the proposed settlement. Because your rights will be affected by this settlement, it is extremely important that you read the information on this website carefully
Based on a review of Defendants’ business records you have been identified as a possible member of one of the Classes certified by the Court on September 9, 2020. HNN’s records show that at some time before February 1, 2019, you moved in to a property managed by HNN in Washington, moved out on or after July 12, 2017 and HNN allegedly either (1) collected a security deposit from you without providing a move-in checklist that stated the condition of the unit’s walls, floors, countertops, carpets and appliances (the “Move-In Form” Class); or (2) HNN mailed a statement to you regarding HNN’s basis for retaining a deposit more than 21-days after you moved out of the unit (the “Late Statement” Class); or (3) you moved in to an HNN managed property after July 31, 2016 and your deposit was forfeited by HNN (the “Forfeiture” Class).
You may be a member of the Columbia Debt Recovery (“CDR”) Class if you received at least one written collection demand letter regarding your HNN account, which was placed with CDR between February 13, 2017 and January 31, 2019.
You may also be a member of the CDR FDCPA Subclass if you received at least one written collection demand on or after July 12, 2018.
In a class action, one or more people, called “class representatives” (in this case Adama Jammeh, Oumie Sallah, and Cynthia Quintero), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All those people are a “class” or “class members.” One court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the class.
The Class Representatives challenged HNN’s practices of utilizing certain move-in checklists, the timing of mailing a statement to past tenants regarding the basis for retaining a security deposit, the forfeiting of security deposits under certain circumstances, charging allegedly false and exaggerated move-out fees, allegedly refusing requests for a joint move-out inspection, allegedly forcing tenants to vacate their apartments and then retaining their security deposits, and CDR’s practices of allegedly collecting or attempting to collect the allegedly false and exaggerated fees charged by HNN, collecting or attempting to collect interest on charges that were allegedly backdated and allegedly threatening to report the debt to credit bureaus if the debt was not paid. The Class Representatives allege that HNN’s and CDR’s conduct violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Washington Collection Agency Act, Washington’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The Court certified the Classes and Subclass. U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart is in charge of this class action.
Defendants deny the Plaintiffs’ claims and deny that the Classes were properly certified.
The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. This avoids the cost of a trial, and the people affected will benefit from the settlement. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the settlement is best for all Class Members under the circumstances. HNN and CDR have not admitted fault or that they violated any laws, but Defendants and their attorneys agree that a settlement is in all parties’ best interests.
Who Is In The Settlement?
You are a member of one of more of the HNN Classes if you moved into an HNN managed property in Washington before February 1, 2019 and:
- You moved out on or after July 12, 2017, and HNN collected a deposit or security from you without providing a move-in checklist that stated the condition of the walls, floors, countertops, carpets, and appliances in the unit (the “Move-In Form” Class); or
- You moved out on or after July 12, 2017, and HNN mailed a statement of HNN’s basis for retaining a deposit to you more than 21-days after you moved out of an HNN-managed unit (the “Late Statement” Class); or
- You moved in to an HNN managed property after July 31, 2016, and your deposit was forfeited by HNN (the “Forfeiture” Class).
You are a member of the CDR Class if you are a former tenant of an HNN managed property in Washington, and HNN placed your account in collections with CDR between February 13, 2017 and January 31, 2019, and CDR sent at least one written collection demand to you.
You are a member of the CDR FDCPA Subclass if CDR sent at least one written collection demand to you on or after July 12, 2018.
The Classes do not include any persons who validly request exclusion from the Settlement, as described under Question 11.
If you have questions about whether you are a part of the Classes or the Subclass, you may call 1-855-349-7023.
The Settlement Benefits – What You Get
The settlement requires Defendants to establish a Settlement Fund in the amount of $1,600,000 that will be used to pay Settlement Awards to Class Members, statutory damages and service awards totaling no more than $12,000 to the Class Representatives, up to $600,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, and settlement administration costs estimated at $27,067, subject to Court approval. If the Court awards anything less than the amounts requested for Plaintiffs’ statutory damages, service awards, or attorneys’ fees and costs, then the difference shall be allocated to payment of Settlement Awards.
In addition to monetary relief, the Settlement requires Defendants to provide the following injunctive relief related to Class Members’ HNN accounts:
- Within 30 days of full execution of the Settlement Agreement, CDR will cease all efforts to collect any amounts in excess of the principal amounts allegedly owed by Class Members on their HNN accounts;
- Within 30 days of the Effective Date of the Settlement, CDR will request deletion of all tradelines relating to Settlement Class Members’ HNN accounts that CDR or any related person or entity has reported to any “consumer reporting agency” as that term is defined in 15 U.S.C. § 1681 (“Credit Bureaus”) and will not re-report any of these alleged
- Within 30 days of the Effective Date of the Settlement, CDR will file satisfactions of any judgment CDR has obtained against Settlement Class Members on their HNN accounts in excess of the Principal amount in compliance with RCW 56.100(1).
- Within 30 days of the Effective Date of the Settlement, CDR will cease to add prejudgment interest on HNN
A list of important dates and deadlines regarding this Settlement can be found towards the bottom of the Home Page.
Each Settlement Class Member for whom the Class Administrator has a deliverable address will be sent a check comprising of their Settlement Award. The amount you will receive depends on the Class or Classes to which you belong.
- Members of the HNN Classes will receive a Settlement Award equaling approximately 70% of the amount of your security deposit not refunded by HNN.
- Members of the CDR Class will receive a Settlement Award equaling approximately 70% of the amount you paid to CDR in interest or other collection costs or fees.
- Members of the CDR FDCPA Subclass will receive an additional award equaling the Settlement Class Member’s pro rata share of the $30,000 from the Settlement Fund allocated to FDCPA statutory damages. This award will be approximately $20.
Your estimated award may increase or decrease depending on factors such as, but not limited to, the outcome of any challenge by Class Members to the settlement and the number of Class Members who effectively exclude themselves from the settlement.
Settlement Award checks that are not cashed within 90 days after the issue date on the check will be voided.
If you request to be excluded from the settlement, you will not receive any payment from the settlement.
How You Get A Payment
If you received a postcard Notice and are eligible for a Settlement Award, you will automatically receive that award. You do not need to submit a claim form or contact anyone unless you need to update your mailing address. If you did not receive a postcard Notice but believe you are in the Classes, you must call 1-855-349-7023.
The Court will hold a hearing on June 9, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the hearing date changes, this website will be updated. If the Court approves the settlement, the parties will then have to wait up to 30-days to see whether there is an appeal. An appeal can take up to a year or more to resolve. In the event of an appeal, information about the appeal’s progress will be posted on this website.
If there is no appeal, Class Counsel expect the payments to be sent out within sixty-five days of the Court’s approval of the settlement.
Unless you exclude yourself, you will be part of the Classes. That means you may not sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against HNN, any property managed by HNN, CDR, or William Wojdak regarding claims that are the same or similar to the ones in this lawsuit. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
The Settlement Agreement describes the claims you are releasing (the “Released Claims”) and against whom you are releasing claims (the “Released Parties”) in detail, so read it carefully. To summarize, the Release includes claims that arise out of relating to Move-Out Charges or procedures, Defendant HNN’s collection or retention of a security deposit, claims under RCW 59.18.260 and RCW 59.18.280, forfeiture of a security deposit, imposition of move-out charges, CDR’s debt collection efforts related to Class Members and their HNN Accounts, and/or payments to Defendants of any amount above the move-out charges reflected on the final move-out statement issued to a Settlement Class Member by HNN, including, but not limited to, claims based on a violation of the CAA, FDCPA, RLTA, CPA, and any other statutory or common law claim. Any claims you may have for wrongful eviction by HNN are not released. In addition, you keep any defenses or counterclaims you may have if HNN or CDR files a collection lawsuit against you.
If you are currently involved in another lawsuit against one of the Defendants in this lawsuit, or contemplating filing such a lawsuit, you should consult with your own attorney to determine whether you need to opt out of this settlement.
Excluding Yourself From The Settlement
If you don’t want a payment from this settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue one or more of the Defendants in a different case, then you must remove yourself from the Classes. This is called excluding yourself – or “opting out” – of the settlement.
To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a written letter to the Class Administrator at the address provided below. Your opt-out request must include your name and address and should state that you do not want to be a Class Member. Opt-out requests must be postmarked on or before the Opt-out deadline on May 7, 2021.
Opt-out requests may be mailed to:
Jammeh v. HNN Associates
c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville
PO Box 3637
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637
You cannot exclude yourself on the phone, by fax, or by email. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any payment, and you cannot object to the settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Defendants in the future.
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Defendants and any property HNN manages for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you already have a lawsuit relating to HNN’s move-out charges or CDR’s debt collection practices regarding your HNN account, you should speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from these Classes to continue your own lawsuit. The exclusion deadline is May 7, 2021.
No. You will not receive any monetary benefits if you exclude yourself and additional settlement benefits described in section 6 will not apply to you.
The Lawyers Representing You
The Court has decided that Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC, Law Office of Paul Arons, and Leonard Law and are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. Together, these lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” More information about Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC, Law Office of Paul Arons, and Leonard Law, their practices, and their experience is available at www.terrellmarshall.com, www.aronsconsumerlaw.com, and www.seattledebtdefense.com.
You will not be separately charged for these lawyers; they will be compensated for their time and reimbursed for their costs out of the Settlement Fund in whatever amounts are approved by the Court. If you want your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to $600,000 to them for attorneys’ fees and their out-of-pocket expenses. These payments will pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the settlement. Class Counsel will also request service awards of no more than $12,000 for the Class Representatives to compensate them for their time and effort, and statutory damages. Class Counsel’s complete request for fees, costs, and incentive awards to the Class Representatives will be posted to this website thirty days before the deadline for class members to opt-out of or object to the settlement. The Court may award less than these amounts.
Objecting To The Settlement
If you are a Class Member and you do not exclude yourself from the Classes, you can object to the settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You may give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. The Court cannot change the terms of the settlement. The Court can only approve or deny the settlement.
To object, you must file your objection by mailing a hand-signed, written letter to the Court at the address provided below. The letter must include:
- the following case name and number: Jammeh v. HNN Associates, LLC, et al, Case No. 2:19-cv- 00620-JLR;
- your name, address, telephone number, and email address, and if represented by counsel, of your counsel;
- your specific objections to the settlement (i.e., why you think the Court should not approve the settlement); and
- a detailed list of any other objections submitted by you and/or your counsel, to any class actions in any court, whether state or otherwise, in the United States in the previous five (5) years. If you or your counsel have not objected to any other class action settlement in any court in the United States in the previous five (5) years, you must affirmatively state so in your written
The objection must be postmarked no later than May 7, 2021. If the settlement is approved, you will still be eligible to receive a payment under the settlement.
Objections to the settlement must be filed with the Court by mailing your letter to:
U.S. District Court
700 Stewart St.
Seattle, WA 98101
Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Classes. Excluding yourself from the settlement is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Classes. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing
Update: The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on June 9, 2021 by Zoom. You may attended the hearing virtually using the public call in information provided below. The purpose of this hearing is for the Court to determine whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interest of the Classes. At the hearing, the Court will hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed settlement, including those related to the amount requested by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the service awards and damages payments to the Class Representatives. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
Public call in information:
- Call-in number: 1-669-254-5252
- Meeting ID: 160 128 3690
For additional information check the Court’s calendar: https://www.wawd.uscourts.gov/court-calendar/telephone-conferences.
Note: The date and time of the fairness hearing are subject to change by Court order. Any changes will be posted on this website.
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You are welcome to come to the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection you don’t have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as your written objection was filed or mailed on time, and meets the other criteria described in the Settlement Agreement, the Court will consider it. You may also pay a lawyer to attend, but you don’t have to.
If you do not exclude yourself from the Classes, you may ask the Court for permission for you or your attorney to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the Settlement Agreement. If you filed an objection (see Question 16 above) and intend to appear at the hearing, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” in Jammeh v. HNN Associates, LLC, et al, Case No. 2:19- cv-00620 JLR.” Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, that you are a Class Member, and your signature. If you are represented by your own attorney, he or she must file a notice of appearance with the Court no later than ten (10) days before the Final Approval Hearing. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be received at the address in Question 16, no later than ten (10) days before the hearing date, June 9, 2021. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself.
If You Do Nothing
If you do nothing, you will be a member of one or more of the Classes and you will be eligible to receive settlement benefits
Getting More Information
This Notice summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to the Class Administrator at the address in Question 24.
First review all the information on this website. If you still have questions, you can call 1-855-349-7023 toll free or write to the Class Administrator at, P.O. Box 3637, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637.
|Jammeh v. HNN Associates
c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville
PO Box 3637
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3637
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE JUDGE, OR DEFENDANTS WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT.