UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JAMES THOMPSON, III, individually
and on behalf of all others
RYDER SYSTEM, INC.,
CASE NO.: 1:22-cv-20552-ALTONAGA/Torres
NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND HEARING
A court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
This Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Hearing provides important information regarding your right to participate in or to opt out of a proposed settlement in a putative class action lawsuit (referred to in this notice as the “Settlement”). Named Plaintiff, James Thompson, III (“Plaintiff”), filed a lawsuit against Defendant, Ryder System, Inc. (“Defendant”) alleging Defendant provided he and other putative class members with a notice that did not adequately inform he and the class members of how to exercise their right to elect continuation health coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”). Plaintiff and Defendant are referred to in this notice together as the “Parties.” Defendant disputes the allegations and has asserted that the COBRA Notice complied with all applicable laws. That case is pending in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. The judge has not made any determination about who is right or wrong in the case. A summary of the claims asserted in the lawsuit and the proposed Settlement follows below:
- The notice at issue is referred to as a “COBRA” Notice and the continuation of health insurance coverage after separation of employment is called “COBRA continuation coverage,” after the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. The COBRA Notice is designed to provide former employees who were covered under employer sponsored group health care plans with information and details regarding their right to continue their healthcare coverage and the terms and conditions of that COBRA continuation coverage. 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a) (2), (a)(4), (c).
- The lawsuit generally alleges Defendant provided Plaintiff and other putative class members with a deficient COBRA Notice. More specifically, Plaintiff asserted that Defendant’s COBRA Notice did not adequately inform her and the putative class how to exercise their rights to elect COBRA continuation coverage because Defendant’s COBRA Notice: (i) failed to include an address indicating where COBRA payments should be mailed; (ii) failed to include a physical election form; and (iii) failed to identify the plan administrator. As a result of the alleged violations in the Complaint, Plaintiff sought statutory penalties, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses on behalf of himself and all others similarly-situated.
- Defendant denies that its COBRA Notice was deficient in any manner and denies that it has any liability to Plaintiff or their putative class whatsoever. Rather, Defendant has asserted that its COBRA Notice complied with any and all relevant laws, including COBRA and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
- At this point in the case, the presiding judge has not made any determination about who is right or wrong. Rather, instead of proceeding with potentially years of litigation with uncertain outcomes, the parties have agreed to resolve the lawsuit through a Court-supervised settlement to avoid further cost and uncertainty.
- The Parties seek to settle this dispute on behalf of Plaintiff and a “Settlement Class,” which the Parties have agreed to define as follows: “All participants and beneficiaries in the Defendant’s Health Plan who were sent a COBRA notice by Defendant, in the same or substantially similar form sent to Plaintiff, from February 24, 2018 to February 24, 2022, as a result of a qualifying event, as determined by Defendant’s records, and did not elect continuation coverage”.
- Membership in the Settlement Class will be determined based upon Defendant’s records reflecting who received the specific COBRA Notice at issue during the Class Period. It is estimated that the Settlement Class is comprised of 23,200 potential members.
- You received notice of this Settlement by mail which directed you to this website because Defendant’s records indicate that you are a “Settlement Class Member” and eligible to receive payment from this proposed class action settlement.
Your rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in this Notice. Here is a brief summary of your rights and options
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT
If you do nothing and the Court approves this Settlement, you will receive a settlement payment (the amount of which is described below). As a member of the Settlement Class, you will release Defendant and others from any potential liability regarding the COBRA Notice in this lawsuit only. No other claims are impacted by this lawsuit.
Ask to be Excluded by
June 16, 2023
If you do not want to be included in the case and the Settlement, you must take action to exclude yourself. This is called “opting out.” To opt out, you must send a written opt-out request to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by June 16, 2023. Your written opt-out request must (i) state the case name and; (ii) state your name, address, telephone number, and email address; and (iii) include your personal signature. If you elect to opt out, you may pursue your own individual action against Defendant for the claims raised in this case if you choose to do so.
Object by June 16, 2023
If you do not like the Settlement, or any of its specific terms, you may “object.” To object, you must file a written objection with the Court and send a copy of your objection to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by June 16, 2023. Your written objection must (i) state the case name and number; (ii) provide the specific grounds for your objection; (iii) state whether your objection pertains to just you individually, or all or some of the proposed Settlement Class; (iv) state your name, address, telephone number, and email address; (v) state whether you intend to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing, either with or without your own counsel; and (vi) include your personal signature (and your counsel’s signature, if you have your own representation). You may not file an objection if you opt out of the settlement.
Go to a Hearing on June 16, 2023
If you wish to be heard, you may attend the Final Approval Hearing and ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement. You are not required to attend the hearing. If you opt out, you may not present your opinions regarding the Settlement at the Final Approval Hearing.
The Court still has to decide whether to approve this settlement, which may take some time, as explained below.