Class members are now able to make their claims for the Ford Exhaust settlement. Here's the settlement site.
As many of you may have noticed, there has been a bit of a delay with the Ford exhaust settlement – so we’re here to fill you in on what’s been going on.
The agreed-upon settlement went through a final approval hearing back in June – but, unfortunately, someone has issued an appeal to a higher court.
An Appeal? What’s That About?
Essentially, an appeal being issued means that someone (in this case, a class member) wasn’t happy with the settlement terms and now the United States Court of Appeals (USCA) for the 11th Circuit is going to review the settlement.
From here, the circuit court could either overturn the settlement and give qualifications that need to be met in a new settlement deal - or it could find that the terms are fair to the parties involved and let it stand as is.
OK – So Why Did They Appeal?
The class member who issued the appeal (Gabi Canales) determined that the settlement was unfair to class members because the attorneys who have been working on the case were set to make $5 million – thus leaving less for the class members. We spoke to one of the attorneys handling the case (Jordan Lewis) and he believes her claims are meritless. If you take a look at Ms. Canales' representation (Christopher Bandas) you can see why this may be case - since he has been called out for being a serial objector.
It should be noted that Ms. Canales had made several objections to the settlement before the final approval hearing – but the district court where the case was originally filed found that the attorneys’ hourly rates were not excessive and the fees and costs were sufficiently documented. (Below, you can read up on the settlement, the objections that were made and how the court overseeing the case handled them.)
What Should We Do Now?
Since the settlement can’t move forward until the appellate court reaches a decision, we’re going back to playing the waiting game. It’s impossible to know how long the process will take but a motion to dismiss the appeal has been filed – and if the motion is successful, it could cut months off the process.
It looked like we were nearing the finish line, but now the journey (that started back in June 2014, by the way) just got a little bit longer. Hang in there and we’ll post more updates as we find them.