Sanborn, et al. v. Viridian Energy, Inc. Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions

Answers

1. What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

The class action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Viridian’s energy customers and alleges that the company charged an excessive variable rate for gas and electricity regardless of fluctuations in the underlying wholesale market price.   Separate class action lawsuits were filed both in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and allege that Viridian breached its contracts with customers and its duty of good faith and fair dealing, and also violated various consumer protection laws.   Viridian denies any wrongdoing, and contends that its variable rates were adequately disclosed, consistent with its representations, and properly calculated based on the relevant market factors for electric and gas service.

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2. Why is this brought as a class action?

Answer:

In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue for all people who have similar claims.  Together, these people are called a “Settlement Class” or “Class Members.”  One court resolves the legal issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

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3. Why is there a settlement?

Answer:

After several years of litigation and more than a year of negotiations, the parties have agreed to a settlement in order to make monetary or other benefits available to Viridian’s current and former energy customers.   A settlement avoids the uncertainty, risks, and delay of litigation.   Both the Class Representatives and their attorneys believe that the settlement is fair and in the best interests of the Class.

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4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

Answer:

Class Members entitled to receive a monetary payment or credit benefit under the settlement include all current and former Viridian customers enrolled in a variable rate plan between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016.

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5. How do I know which class I am in?

Answer:

Eligible Class Members fall in one of two classes: “Average Usage Class Members” (customers with an average annual utilization rate of 25,000 or less kilowatt hours or 2,500 or less therms) and “Above-Average Usage Class Members” (customers with an average annual utilization rate of more than 25,000 kilowatt hours or more than 2,500 therms).

You should have received a mailed postcard notice or an emailed notice. On the notice, it states which variable rate you were enrolled in and whether you are an "Average Usage Class Member" or an "Above-Average Usage Class Member."

For further information, please visit the 'Important Documents' section of this website, where you can find the Settlement Agreement, copies of the Notice Materials and other relevant documents that may assist you in determining which class you are in. You may also contact the Settlement Administrator by using the Contact Us portion of this website or by calling the Settlement Administrator at one of the phone numbers listed in Question 6.

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6. What does the settlement provide?

Answer:

If you timely submit a valid claim form or forms, your payment under the settlement depends on whether you are a gas or electric customer (or both), the amount of your energy usage, how long you were a Viridian customer, and whether you elect to receive a cash payment by check, or a credit on your future bills if you are a current Viridian customer or sign up again for energy service from Viridian.

If you submit a valid claim form for each Notice you received and you are eligible for reimbursement, you will be paid on ALL accounts associated with each Notice you received.

The total aggregate value of the settlement from which cash settlement payments will be made is $18,500,000.   This amount will be used to pay Class Members’ “Cash Benefit Option” (described below), administration costs of the class action settlement, and attorneys’ fees and expenses.   Should the total Calculated Loss of the valid claims filed by Class Members exceed the $18.5 million settlement fund minus Court-approved fees and expenses, each claimant’s award will be reduced pro rata.  

 

The Settlement Amounts You Can Claim

Cash Benefit Option

 

If you choose to receive a check (as opposed to a credit on your future bills), your cash benefit payment will be the following for each gas and/or electric account for which you submit a valid Claim Form:

   

Average Usage Class Members: A cash payment of the greater of $5.00 or 65% of the “Calculated Amount” up to $425.00 based upon a formula that compares the variable rate that you were charged by Viridian per kilowatt hour (for electricity) or therm (for gas) based on Viridian’s records, against a weighted average of the relevant utility’s Price to Compare during that same period of time, adjusting for, among other things, the cost for green energy and Viridian’s costs and margin (the “cash option”).

Above-Average Usage Class Members: A cash payment of the greater of $10.00 or 65% of the “Calculated Amount” up to $500.00 based upon a formula that compares the variable rate that you were charged by Viridian per kilowatt hour (for electricity) or therm (for gas) based on Viridian’s records, against a weighted average of the relevant utility’s Price to Compare during that same period of time, adjusting for, among other things, the cost for green energy and Viridian’s costs and margin (the “cash option”).

 

The “Calculated Amount” is the difference between the (i) actual payment made by each Class Member during the period in which the Class Member was enrolled in a Viridian variable rate electricity and/or gas plan during the Class Period based on Viridian’s records (or reasonable, good-faith estimates where records are incomplete or inconsistent), and (ii) amount the Class Member would have paid during that same period if the Class Member paid the Price to Compare (“PTC”), plus one cent ($0.01) per kilowatt hour/therm, plus a 20% margin.   The PTC is a good faith estimate of the price that the customer’s relevant public utility would have charged for the supply portion of the electric or gas service, based on reasonably available information. The PTC will be based on a weighted average price per therm or kilowatt hour charged by the relevant public utility for the duration of the period in which the Class Member was enrolled in a Viridian variable rate electricity and/or natural gas plan during the Class Period.   The one-cent addition reflects an estimated average premium charged by public utilities for green energy.  

 

Billing Credit Option

 

Class Members who are current customers at the time a Claim is made or former customers (who wish to re-enroll with Viridian) who have a Calculated Amount above zero dollars ($0.00), shall be entitled in lieu of seeking a Cash Benefit, to a benefit of a credit of eight dollars and fifty cents ($8.50) per month on their future Viridian energy bills for a maximum of twelve (12) months (i.e., a maximum value of one hundred and two dollars ($102.00)), to be credited at the end of the Settlement Class Member’s service period (or twelve (12) months, whichever comes first).   Former Customers who elect this option must re-enroll within one-hundred-eighty (180) days from the end of the Claim Period.   If you choose this option, but your Calculated Amount is zero dollars ($0.00) or less, you will be provided the cash benefit option described above.

 

To find out more information, please call 1-844-491-5745 if you are an Average Usage Class Member or 1-855-887-3483 if you are an Above Average Usage Class Member.

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7. How can I get a payment?

Answer:

To qualify for payment, you must timely submit the Claim Form using the Class Member Identifier contained on the front of the post card or at the top of the email that you received.   You can mail the Claim Form.   You can also submit an online Claim Form on this website. If you want to download a claim form and mail it, you can print it and mail it to the Settlement Administrator at the address below or request a copy of the claim form by calling 1-844-491-5745 if you are an Average Usage Class Member or 1-855-887-3483 if you are an Above Average Usage Class Member.  If you cannot find the postcard mailed to you  or the email sent to you, please call the Settlement Administrator.

                                            Sanborn v. Viridian Energy Settlement Administrator  

                                            P.O. Box 42779   

                                            Philadelphia, PA 19101-2779

You must submit your Claim Form online by 11:59 p.m. ET   or by mail, postmarked by June 14, 2018

Incomplete or untimely Claim Forms will render you ineligible to receive any payment under the settlement.   Payments will only be made if the Court approves the settlement and it becomes final.

By submitting a Claim Form, you are agreeing to release all Defendants from any potential claims you might have regarding your energy purchases from these companies.

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8. What happens if I don't send in a claim form?

Answer:

If you don’t send in a Claim Form and don’t exclude yourself from the settlement as described in the next section below, you will still be bound by all the terms of the settlement, including releasing any applicable federal and state law claims, and will not receive any payment from the settlement fund.

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9. What does excluding myself from the settlement mean?

Answer:

If you don’t want a payment or credits from the settlement, then you may exclude yourself (i.e. opt-out) from the settlement.   To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must submit a statement to the Settlement Administrator with your name, address, and phone number stating ““I/We request to be excluded from the Settlement Class and Settlement in the Viridian Action.”   To be considered valid , your opt-out statement must be returned to the Settlement Administrator at the address below, so that it is postmarked or received on or before May 15, 2018. 

                                            Sanborn v. Viridian Energy Settlement Administrator  

                                            P.O. Box 42779   

                                            Philadelphia, PA 19101-2779

If you choose to opt out of the settlement: (1) you will not get any settlement payment; and (2) you cannot object to the settlement.   By opting out, you will not be legally bound by the settlement, and may still pursue your own claims against Viridian at your own expense if they are still timely under the applicable statute of limitations.

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10. How can an objection be made?

Answer:

If you fall within the definition of a Class Member, you may object to the settlement.  You may not object to the Settlement if you exclude yourself from the lawsuit by opting out.  To object, you must mail a written objection to the Settlement Administrator at:

                                            Sanborn v. Viridian Energy Settlement Administrator

                                            Attention: James Prutsman

                                            P.O. Box 42779

                                            Philadelphia, PA 19101-2779

Do not file your objection with the Court.

Your objection must include (a) the name of the case, Sanborn, et al. v. Viridian Energy, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-01731 ; (b) your name, address, email, telephone number, and signature; (c) a statement of the nature of the objection, and the reasons and grounds for the objection; (d) copies of any papers you intend to present to the Court in support of the objection at the Fairness Hearing; (e) a statement of whether the objector intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and, if the objector intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing through hired counsel, then the identity of all attorneys representing the objector who will appear at the Final Approval Hearing; (f) a list of all persons who will be called to testify in support of the objection, if any; (g) a statement of the objector’s membership in the Settlement Class, including all the information required by the Claim Form; and (h) a detailed list of any other objections that the objector or his, her, or its counsel have submitted in any state or federal court during the previous five (5) years.   If the objector or his, her, or its counsel have not objected to any other class action during the previous five (5) years, then the objector shall affirmatively state so in his, her, or its objection.  

Your objection must be mailed so that it is received no later than May 15, 2018.   You have the right to retain a lawyer at your own expense to file your objection.   If your lawyer intends to appear at the Fairness Hearing, your lawyer must mail his/her notice of intention to appear before the Court to the Settlement Administrator at the address above.   Do not file your intention to appear with the Court.

Members of the Settlement Class who do not timely make their objections in this manner will be deemed to have waived all objections and shall not be entitled to be heard at the Final Fairness Hearing.

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11. Who is Class Counsel?

Answer:

The Court has appointed the following lawyers as Class Counsel to represent you and the class of customers:


  • Lead Class Counsel:   Robert Izard, Craig Raabe, and Seth Klein of Izard, Kindall & Raabe, 29 South Main Street, Suite 305, West Hartford, CT 06107

    • (800) 797-5499

       

  • Lead Class Counsel: Steven L. Wittels, J. Burkett McInturff, and Tiasha Palikovic of Wittels Law, P.C.

    • (914) 319-9945

 

  • Class Counsel:   Jonathan Shub of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C.

    • (215) 238-1700

       

  • Class Counsel:  Daniel Hymowitz and Andre Belenky of Hymowitz Law Group, PLLC.

    • (718) 807-9900

 

  • Class Counsel:   Richard Greenfield of Greenfield & Goodman LLC and Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, P.C.

    • (917) 495-4446

       

Class Counsel have worked for more than three years without pay or any guarantee of obtaining a recovery for Viridian’s current and former customers as described in the settlement notice.   In a class action, it is customary for the attorneys representing the class to request a legal fee and reimbursement of expenses.   Thus, Class Counsel will ask the Court for reimbursement of reasonable litigation costs and Service Awards for the class representatives in an amount up to 24% ($4,500,000). The award of fees and expenses will be applied against and reduce the $18,500,000 settlement amount. Class Counsel will ask the Court to authorize Service Awards of $5,000 to each of the named Class Representatives for their significant contributions in bringing this action and providing important information used to achieve the settlement.   The Service Awards are also in recognition of the risks these individuals took in coming forward publicly. The Service Awards will be paid from any award of Class Counsels’ attorneys’ fees and expenses.  

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12. What is a Fairness Hearing?

Answer:

The Court will hold a final Fairness Hearing on the fairness and adequacy of the proposed settlement and its terms, on June 25, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Stefan R. Underhill of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut , 915 Lafayette Boulevard, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604 .   You do not have to appear at this Fairness Hearing.

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13. How do I get more information about the settlement?

Answer:

You can contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-844-491-5745 if you are an Average Usage Class Member or 1-855-887-3483 if you are an Above Average Usage Class Member. On this website you can also find the Claim Form, important pleadings (such as the complaint) and the full Settlement Agreement.  

You may also contact Lead Class Counsel with any questions.   Lead Class Counsel may be contacted as follows:


                                    Seth R. Klein, Esq.                  

                                    Izard, Kindall & Raabe, LLP  

                                    29 South Main Street, Suite 305  

                                    West Hartford, CT 06107  

   

                               Steven L. Wittels, Esq.  

                               Wittels Law, P.C.  

                               18 Half Mile Road  

                               Armonk, New York 10504


You can also review the full court file for Sanborn, et al. v. Viridian Energy, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-01731 , during regular business hours in the Clerk’s Office at 915 Lafayette Boulevard, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604 .

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by the Settlement Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call (844) 491-5745

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Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Important Dates

  • Exclusion Deadline

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018 You must complete and mail your request for exclusion form so that it is received no later than May 15, 2018.
  • Objection Deadline

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018 You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than May 15, 2018.
  • Claim Form Deadline

    Thursday, June 14, 2018 You must submit your Claim Form on-line no later than June 14, 2018, or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is received no later than June 14, 2018.
  • Final Approval Hearing Date

    Monday, June 25, 2018 The Final Approval Hearing is scheduled for June 25, 2018. Please check this website for updates.

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