FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?
The lawsuit is called Roelif Carter v City of Ferguson and it is in the Circuit Court for St. Louis County, Missouri, Cause No. 14SL-CC004195. It alleges that a “Warrant Fee” and a “Failure to Appear Fee” charged by the City of Ferguson Municipal Court were illegal. The City of Ferguson asserts the warrant fee and failure to appear fee were legal. Both parties negotiated this settlement because they believe that the settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable. This settlement avoids the cost of future litigation and provides meaningful relief to the class.
WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION AND WHO IS INVOLVED?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Roelif Carter) sued on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The plaintiff who sued—and all the Class Members like him—are called the Plaintiffs. The city they sued (in this case, the City of Ferguson) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class.
WHY IS THIS LAWSUIT A CLASS ACTION?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or the City of Ferguson. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the costs and risks of a trial, the people affected will receive up to an 80% refund for warrant fees and/or failure to appear fees that they paid, forgiveness for any warrant fees and/or failure to appear fees charged but not paid, and injunctive relief. The Class Representative and his attorneys think the settlement is best for everyone.
AM I PART OF THE CLASS?
Judge Dueker decided that all Missouri citizens who paid the City of Ferguson warrant recall fees, failure to appear fees, or both, from December 8, 2009 through Present, are Class Members.
HOW DO I SUBMIT A CLAIM?
You may submit a claim by returning the Claim Form included in your Postcard Notice to the Settlement Administrator. You may also submit a claim through this website by clicking here.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOTHING AT ALL?
You won’t receive a refund unless you file a claim for that refund within 45 days of the date of the notice mailing, May 18, 2020. If you do not submit a claim, you will not be eligible for payment.
HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE FROM THIS SETTLEMENT?
If you submit a claim, you will receive a refund of up to 80% for each Warrant Fee and/or for each failure to appear fee you paid since December 8, 2009. You will receive a check by mail within 15 days if the settlement is finally approved by the Court on May 6, 2020. Ferguson has also agreed to forgive the need to pay warrant fees and/or failure to appear fees not yet paid. So, if you have not paid a warrant fee and/or failure to appear fee, but simply owe those fees, then those fees will be forgiven, and you will not have to pay them.
HOW DO I OBJECT TO THIS SETTLEMENT?
Any Class Member who wishes to object to this settlement and/or who wishes to be heard orally at the Final Approval Hearing must file with the Court (and serve copies on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel) a written Notice of Objection and file a claim as described. In order for an objection to be valid, YOU MUST FILE A CLAIM AND FOLLOW THE OBJECTION INSTRUCTIONS BELOW.
Any Objection must be postmarked no later than May 1, 2020. The Objection shall be in writing, verified by sworn affidavit, and state the name, address and telephone number of the individual making the Objection, along with a detailed statement of each objection asserted, including the legal and factual grounds for objection and reasons for appearing and being heard, and attach any documents the individual wishes to be considered in support of the objection
No objecting Class Member will be permitted to appear and object at the Final Approval Hearing unless he or she has timely filed the Objection with the Court (with service on Class Counsel and Defense Counsel), has timely filed a valid claim for a partial refund of Fees paid, and has filed a Notice of Intention to Appear with the Court.
Class Members or their attorneys intending to make an appearance at the Final Approval Hearing must, no later than May 1, 2020, file with the Court and serve Class Counsel and Defendant’s counsel with a Notice of Intention to Appear that (i) states how much time the Class Member and/or his/her attorney anticipates needing to present his or her objection, (ii) identifies by name, address, and telephone number the Class Member making the objection, and a summary of the testimony supporting the objection, (iii) identifies by name, address, and telephone number all witnesses the Class Member and/or his/her attorney intends to present testimony from, including a summary of the testimony, (iv) identifies all exhibits the Class Member and/or his/her attorney intends to offer in support of the objection(s) and attaches complete copies of all exhibits, and (v) contains the signature of the Class Member making the objection and a statement under penalty of perjury that the individual is a Class Member, i.e. that the individual paid a Fee during the relevant time period.
The Objection Deadline of May 1, 2020 has passed. You are no longer able to submit an objection.
DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?
The Court decided that the law firms of Campbell Law, LLC of St. Louis, Missouri, The Saint Louis University Law Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, and ArchCity Defenders of St. Louis, Missouri, are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. Together the law firms are called “Class Counsel.” They are experienced in handling similar cases against other municipalities. More information about these law firms, their practices, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.campbelllawllc.com, www.slu.edu/law and www.archcitydefenders.org.
SHOULD I GET MY OWN LAWYER?
You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
HOW WILL THE LAWYERS BE PAID?
As a result of this agreement, the attorneys in this case will request approximately 8% of the total settlement value in fees. The approval of fees is up to the court. The maximum fees requested are $400,000. Attorneys will also seek their expenses which will be no more than $20,000, and the class representative will receive $5,000.
DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE TRIAL?
You do not need to attend the trial. Class Counsel will present the case for the Plaintiff, and the City of Ferguson will present the defenses. You or your own lawyer are welcome to come at your own expense.
ARE MORE DETAILS AVAILABLE?
On this website, you will find the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, the Settlement Agreement, as well as a Claim Form. You may also speak to one of the lawyers by calling 1-888-588-3043, or by calling the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-900-8779. You may also write to the Settlement Administrator by writing to: Carter v. City of Ferguson C/O Atticus Administration, P.O. Box 64053, Saint Paul, MN 55164.