About The Settlement
You were sent a notice in 2021 describing a lawsuit captioned Leen Abusalem v. The Standard Market, LLC, Case No. 2019 L 000517 (the “BIPA Action”) that was brought in this Court. The notice informed you that Leen Abusalem (“Abusalem”) was appointed Class Representative and Abusalem’s attorneys were appointed Class Counsel. The Class Representative and Class Counsel won a judgment pursuant to a settlement in the BIPA Action in 2021 and have sought to collect that judgment from Standard Market’s insurer, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (“West Bend”), in this case.
The Court has ordered the Settlement Administrator to send this notice to you because the parties have reached a settlement and, according to records produced in the BIPA Action, you appear to be a member of the Settlement Class defined above.
In a class action, one or more people called class representatives sue on behalf of a group or a “class” of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
In the BIPA Action, Abusalem filed a class action lawsuit alleging that The Standard Market, LLC (“Standard Market”) violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/15 et seq., (“BIPA”), by disclosing biometric identifiers or information to third parties. In 2021, the court in the BIPA Action entered judgment in favor of Abusalem and the class and against Standard Market in the amount of $2,086,000, representing $1,000 for each of 2,086 employees (the “BIPA Judgment”). As part of the BIPA Judgment, Standard Market paid $200,000 toward the BIPA Judgment. Abusalem determined that Standard Market could not pay all of the BIPA Judgment except through the proceeds of its insurance from West Bend. Abusalem agreed to take an assignment of Standard Market’s rights against West Bend in exchange for an agreement not to collect the balance of the BIPA Judgment from Standard Market’s non-insurance assets. At the time of the BIPA Judgment, West Bend had already filed this lawsuit seeking a declaration that the general liability and umbrella insurance policies it issued to Standard Market did not cover the claims in the BIPA Action. Now, to avoid the expense and risk of continuing litigation and collection efforts, Abusalem and West Bend (the “Parties”) have agreed to settle the case. The Parties have proposed a settlement that, if finally approved by the Court, will resolve the Settlement Class’s claims about the BIPA Judgment and West Bend’s obligations to pay it.
West Bend has agreed to make available $1,250,000 (the “Settlement Fund”) to pay the Settlement Class members, to pay a service award to Abusalem for serving as the “Class Representative,” to pay the cost of notifying the Settlement Class and administering the settlement, and to pay attorney’s fees and expenses to Abusalem’s attorneys as Class Counsel. Each member of the Settlement Class that does not opt out and timely submits an approved Claim Form will be mailed a check for $750, subject to pro rata reduction if total claims would otherwise exhaust the Settlement Fund. The Court has preliminarily approved this settlement, subject to a fairness hearing as discussed below.
The Court appointed Abusalem to be the “Class Representative” and appointed her attorneys, David J. Fish of Fish, Potter, Bolaños, P.C. and Phillip A. Bock and David M. Oppenheim of Bock Hatch & Oppenheim, LLC, as “Class Counsel” to represent the Settlement Class. At the fairness hearing, Class Counsel will request that the Court approve an incentive award of $6,000 from the Settlement Fund for the Class Representative for her services on behalf of the Settlement Class. Class Counsel will also request that the Court award them 40% of the Settlement Fund ($500,000) as attorney’s fees, plus expenses, to be paid from the Settlement Fund. You may enter your appearance in this case through an attorney of your choice, at your own expense, but you are not required to do so.
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and should be approved. At that fairness hearing, the Court will hear any objections and arguments about the proposed settlement, including about the attorney’s fees and expenses requested by Class Counsel and the incentive award requested for the Class Representative. The fairness hearing will take place on October 2, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., in Courtroom 1004 of the Circuit Court of DuPage County, 505 County Farm Road, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
You are not required to attend this hearing unless you object. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the fairness hearing may occur by videoconference, in whole or in part. If the Court does not approve the settlement, the litigation will proceed as if no settlement has been attempted. If the settlement is not approved, there is no assurance that the Settlement Class will recover more than is provided in the settlement, or anything at all. The Court may change the date or time of the final approval hearing without further notice to the Settlement Class.
This description of the litigation is general and does not cover all the issues and proceedings. If you have specific questions, you may write to Class Counsel at the address above in paragraph number D(4). Include the case number, your name, and your telephone number. Or, you may call Class Counsel, Phillip Bock, at 312-658-5501, or David Fish, at 630-355-7590. You may contact the Settlement Administrator, Analytics Consulting LLC, by calling 888-686-8920. To obtain a copy of the settlement agreement, click here. To review the Class Action Complaint and other documents in this case, you may visit the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of DuPage County, 505 County Farm Road, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, where files relating to this lawsuit will be available for inspection and copying at your own expense.
Please do not contact West Bend or its attorneys, the Clerk of the Court, the Judge, or the Judge’s staff, because they cannot answer your questions or give you advice about this settlement.