At Class Action Claims Recovery (CAC Recovery), companies that have filed a claim often express concerns to us over who will know about the filing of their claim, and if it will cause harm to relationships with their partners or vendors.
Here are a few simplified answers, which are explained in more detail below, to help address those concerns:
- Names of companies filing claims are generally not public record;
- The settling defendant will not pay more because you filed a claim;
- The settling defendant is settling based on potential liability to all parties, not just based on your relationship with the settling defendant;
- By filing a claim, you proactively confirm with the settling defendant that you release them of any future claims on the same issue, providing them certainty on their liabilities;
- Filing a claim does not mean you are saying the settling defendant did anything wrong.
So let’s now address these items more thoroughly.
First, your name as a claimant is not normally filed in public court records. Generally, the only parties to know will be the court-approved claims administrator, those you assign to gather data, and yourself. The claims administrators, class counsel and defendants’ attorneys typically do not file with the court the names of the parties filing; each company (or filing claimant) is assigned a unique identifying number, or their names are obscured in some other way to ensure privacy.
Another concern that we sometimes hear is, “I have a good relationship with my vendor who paid into the settlement; will filing a claim cause them to pay more and create any trouble or tension?” In the majority of cases, the settling defendant pays a fixed amount into the settlement fund regardless of who files a claim. Each claimant will receive a pro rata share of the settlement fund based on a plan of allocation. No matter how many parties file claims, the defendant will not have to pay more than this fixed amount. Whether there are 100 claims or 1,000 claims, the dollar amount will not change, and no more funds will need to be paid into the settlement pool just because additional companies file a claim.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that final approval of the settlement may not be granted should participation by claimants fall below a certain threshold.
Additionally, companies are sometimes under the assumption that if they do not file a claim, this will have a positive impact on the settling defendant. However, a settlement provides benefits to both the defendant and the claimant. Filing a claim in an existing settlement helps your vendor that paid into the settlement by assuring them that you will not sue in the future on this same issue. A potential claimant not filing a claim may deny the defendant these benefits. For example, the defendant may be unsure if you didn’t file a claim because you were not properly notified of the settlement, thus exposing them to additional liabilities on the issues covered by the settlement. By filing a claim, you proactively confirm with the settling defendant that you release them of any future claims on the same issue, providing them certainty on their liabilities.
Separately, you have the option to “opt-out” of the settlement. But this opt-out action can be viewed unfavorably by the settling defendant. If you opt-out, the settling defendant may assume you chose not to participate in the settlement so that you can preserve the option to sue for more in the future. As part of filing your claim, you waive the right to sue in the future on the same issue. If you don’t file a claim and don’t opt-out, you are technically bound by the terms of the settlement without receiving any of the benefits of the settlement. However, by filing a claim the settling defendant now has certainty that there will be no issues at a later date with your company claiming damages.
It is also important to point out that when you file a claim you are not saying the defendant did anything wrong. Generally, the settling parties do not admit fault in the settlement. Similarly, by filing a claim, you are not asked to attest to any legal claims against the settling party. You are only asked to attest to the information you provide on the claim form and to waive any rights to future claims on the same issue.
Finally, in a busy corporate environment, we know it can seem daunting to add the task to find internal resources to gather and analyze data to file a claim, find third party data to supplement any missing claim information and interacting with the claims administrator. This is where CAC Recovery comes in to assist. Our associates have over 20 years of management experience in leading class action claims administration efforts. We simplify the claims process for our clients, and our deep industry connections and in-depth knowledge of the filing process helps to maximize class action payouts for our clients. If you believe your company may qualify for a class action settlement, contact us so we can put you on the path to maximizing recovery while minimizing efforts.