Permanent General’s records indicate that you were insured under an automobile policy and requested cancellation of the policy at some point between January 25, 2016, to April 11, 2022. A Court decided to allow a class action lawsuit to proceed against Permanent General related to allegations that it breached its insurance contracts by the practices complained of in this lawsuit.
The Parties have entered into a Proposed Settlement to resolve this case, and the Court has ordered that you be sent the Notice because you have a right to know your options before the Court decides whether to finally approve the Proposed Settlement. If the Court finally approves it, Permanent General will issue settlement payments to everyone in the Settlement Class who timely submits a valid claim to the extent that they are owed a refund.
The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Proposed Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.
Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, currently is overseeing this case. The case is known as Connor et al. v. Permanent General Assurance Corporation, No. 9:20-cv-81979-WPD (S.D. Fla.). The people who sued, Dorine Connor and Myrtle Pugh, are called the “Plaintiffs” and are also referred to as “Class Representatives.” Permanent General is called the “Defendant.”
Plaintiffs allege that Permanent General breached its insurance contracts and was unjustly enriched by failing to provide proper refunds of unearned premiums when Florida customers voluntarily canceled their automobile insurance. The Court granted Plaintiffs’ cross-motion for summary judgment, in part, but did not determine the amount of damages to be awarded. Permanent General denied and continues to deny the allegations against it. The parties have reached a Settlement Agreement that provides for a Proposed Settlement.
In a class action lawsuit one or more people, called the “Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives,” represent a larger group of people called “Class Members” or the “Class” who may have similar claims against the “Defendant.” In this case, the Class Representatives are the Plaintiffs, Dorine Connor and Myrtle Pugh. In a class action, one court resolves the specific issues in dispute for all Class Members, except those who exclude themselves from the Class. United States District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas has jurisdiction over this case.
Here, the Court previously decided that this lawsuit can be a class action and move toward a trial because it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts. Specifically, the Court found that the Class Members are sufficiently numerous, there are questions of law and fact that are common to all Class Members that predominate over questions affecting individual Class Members, the Class Representatives’ claims are typical of those of the Class, the Class Representatives and Class Counsel are adequate to represent the Class, and proceeding as a Class is superior to the alternatives. Notwithstanding the prior certification of the case as a class action, the Settlement Agreement provides for a Settlement Class such that class certification shall be for settlement purposes only.
More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to be a class action for settlement purposes is in the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, which is available on the Important Documents page.
Both sides agreed to a compromise settlement to avoid the cost and risk of a trial and a possible appeal. The Settlement also ensures that the class members affected will get compensation and relief to the extent that they qualify. In return, Permanent General gets a general release of all claims against it regarding the cancellation refund claims that were made or could have been made in the lawsuit. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe the Settlement is in the best interests of everyone affected.
Who Is In The Settlement
The parties have reached a settlement, which defines the settlement class (the “Class” or “Settlement Class” or “Class Members”) as:
All citizens residing in the State of Florida, who, between January 25, 2016, and April 11, 2022, were (1) insured under an Automobile Insurance Policy sold or issued by Permanent General containing the same or similar “Refund of Premium” provision under the policy’s “Cancellation and Non-Renewal” section as found in Plaintiffs Connor’s and Pugh’s policies, and who (2) had their policies cancelled at the insured’s request, and who (3) had paid a premium that was held by Permanent General and still unearned on the effective date of cancellation.
Settlement Class Members will be identified exclusively based on information in Permanent General’s own records.
Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (1) any in-house or outside counsel for Permanent General and the immediate family members of such persons; (2) employees of Permanent General; (3) any members of the judiciary assigned to the Action and their staff; (4) the Parties’ counsel in the Action; and (5) any persons whose claims which have already been fully paid or resolved, whether by direct payment, appraisal, arbitration, settlement, release, judgment, or other means.
If you received notice of the Settlement by email or postcard, then the parties believe that you may be a member of the Settlement Class based upon Permanent General’s records.
If you still are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement as a Settlement Class Member, you can get additional information at the Important Documents page or obtain free assistance by calling the Settlement Administrator appointed by the Court at 1-855-307-4277.
The Settlement Benefits - What You Can Get
Pursuant to the terms of the Proposed Settlement, Permanent General will provide compensation only to those Settlement Class Members who submit complete, timely, and valid claims. Total payments to Settlement Class Members shall not exceed $2,700,000.00. The amount paid on timely and valid claims will not be reduced by any court-awarded attorneys’ fees or expense reimbursement.
Settlement Class Members who submit a complete, valid and timely Claim Form will receive a settlement check for 105% of the amount of a short-rate cancellation refund to the extent that they are owed a refund as determined pursuant to the terms of the Settlement.
How You Get A Settlement Payment - Submitting A Claim Form
To qualify for a settlement payment, you must submit a completed and signed Claim Form by February 20, 2023. You can submit the claim form in two ways: First, you can electronically file the Claim Form at Submit Claim according to the instructions on the website. Second, you may choose to mail your claim form by filling it out completely and returning it to the Settlement Administrator by U.S. Mail to PGAC Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103. For those Claim Forms that are sent by U.S. Mail, they must be postmarked by February 20, 2023. Mailed Claim Forms that are not postmarked or are postmarked after that date will not be considered for payment. For those Claim Forms that are submitted electronically through the settlement website, they must be submitted by 12:00 a.m. on February 20, 2023.
To receive instructions on submitting a Claim Form, please contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-307-4277, visit the Submit Claim page, or email the Settlement Administrator at info@ShortRateCancellationSettlement.com.
Submit only one claim form, even if you had multiple policies with Permanent General.
You do not need to submit any documentation with your Claim Form. The Claim Form is simple to complete and tells you exactly what information you need to submit. Make sure you follow all instructions on the Claim Form. If you need any assistance completing the Claim Form or need any instructions regarding the Claim Form, please call or write the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-307-4277 or PGAC Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
The Court will hold a final fairness hearing on January 20, 2023, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement after that, and if anyone filed an objection, there could be appeals. If there are any appeals, these appeals could delay payment of claims, possibly for more than a year. Updates will be provided on this website.
Under the Settlement, “Released Claims” means: any and all claims, actions, demands, lawsuits, rights, liabilities, declarations, damages, losses, attorneys’ fees, interest, expenses, costs and causes of action, whether accrued or unaccrued, known or unknown, fixed or contingent, including without limitation contractual or extra-contractual claims or damages (inclusive of statutory and common law bad faith claims), claims or damages at law or in equity, or penalties and punitive claims or damages of any kind or description which now exist or heretofore existed, by or on behalf of any Settlement Class Member against Permanent General, including without limitation those which have been or could have been asserted in the Action, arising out of or relating to the claims certified by the Court in this Action and covered by this Settlement during the Class Period.
Under the Settlement, the “Released Persons” means: Permanent General, a wholly owned subsidiary of Permanent General Companies, Inc., under the ultimate control of parent company American Family Mutual Holding Company, and its predecessors, successors, parent companies, agents, subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, and assigns; its present and former officers, directors, employees, insurers, attorneys, and assigns; and/or anyone acting or purporting to act for it or on its behalf.
IF YOU DO NOTHING
If you do nothing, you’ll get no money from the Settlement and you will release all claims against the Released Persons about the legal issues in this case, as discussed above.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
Yes. The Court appointed the following lawyers to represent all the members of the Settlement Class:
|R. Brent Irby
IRBY LAW, LLC
2201 Arlington Ave. S
Birmingham, AL 35205
Telephone: (205) 936-8281
|Jordan A. Shaw
Zachary D. Ludens
110 Southeast 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Telephone: (954) 989-6333
Facsimile: (954) 989-7781
|J. Matthew Stephens
James M. Terrell
Courtney C. Gipson
METHVIN, TERRELL, YANCEY, STEPHENS & MILLER, P.C.
The Highland Building
2201 Arlington Ave. S
Birmingham, AL 35205
Telephone: (205) 939-0199
Facsimile: (205) 939-0399
These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for contacting these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, however, you may hire one at your own expense.
You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel are working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. You can ask him or her to appear in Court for you in this case if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.
Under the terms of the Settlement, the lawyers can ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses up to $950,000.00. This award is to compensate and reimburse the multiple law firms that have litigated this case for almost two (2) years, expending more than one thousand hours of attorney time pursuing this case on behalf of the Class and the Settlement Class. This work included prevailing on class certification at the trial court level, prevailing on two motions for summary judgment, and negotiating the Settlement.
Any award of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses will NOT reduce the money available to Settlement Class Members who submit valid and timely claims. Likewise, the costs to administer the Settlement and to provide notice to the Settlement Class will NOT reduce the money available to Settlement Class Members who submit valid and timely claims.
Opting Out Of The Class Action
Previous notice of the Court’s certification of this Class Action was originally sent to Class Members in June 2022. If you were sent the previous notice of the Class’s certification and did not already exclude yourself from the class action, you have an opportunity to exclude yourself from or “opt-out” of the Settlement Class and the Class Settlement. As such, if you do not wish to participate in this Class Action or Class Settlement, you should write to the Settlement Administrator stating an intention to “opt out” of or exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. Written notice must be provided to the following:
PGAC Settlement Administrator
Attn: Exclusion Request
P.O. Box 58220
Philadelphia, PA 19102
This written notice must be sent to the Settlement Administrator not later than November 19, 2022. Any attempt to opt out by notice to the Clerk of the Court, the Court, or any person other than the Settlement Administrator shall be of no effect. Any attempt to opt out that is not sent to the Settlement Administrator within the deadlines set forth in the Settlement Agreement shall be of no effect.
Objecting To The Settlement
If you’re a Settlement Class Member and do not opt out of the Settlement, you may object to any part of the Proposed Settlement you don’t like, and the Court will consider your views. You must submit any objection in writing and must provide evidence of your membership in the Settlement Class. The procedures for submitting written objections are set out below. A written objection (and any support for it) must be filed with the Clerk of Court and received no later than December 19, 2022 (the “Objection Deadline”) by all the following:
|Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse
299 East Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
|Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.
QUINTAIROS, PRIETO, WOOD & BOYER, P.A.
9300 S. Dadeland Blvd., 4th Floor
Miami, FL 33156
|R. Brent Irby
IRBY LAW, LLC
2201 Arlington Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
If you hire an attorney in connection with making an objection, that attorney must file with the Court and serve on the counsel identified above a notice of appearance. The notice of appearance must be filed with the Court and received by the three addressees above no later than the Objection Deadline. If you do hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for payment of all fees and expenses that the attorney incurs on your behalf. If you want to object, you must file your objection in writing to the Court. Your objection must include:
(a) a caption or title that identifies it as “Objection to Class Settlement in Connor, et al. v. Permanent General Assurance Corporation, No. 9:20-cv-81979-WPD (S.D. Fla.)”;
(b) your full name, signature, home address and telephone number, or other information sufficient to identify the Settlement Class Member;
(c) a notice of intention to appear, either in person or through an attorney, with the name, address, and telephone number of the attorney, if any, who will appear;
(d) certification that you are a member of the Settlement Class;
(e) a statement of each objection(s) asserted;
(f) a detailed description of the basis and facts underlying and supporting each objection;
(g) a detailed description of the legal authorities, if any, underlying and supporting each objection;
(h) copies of exhibits and/or affidavits, if any, you may offer during the hearing;
(i) a list of all witnesses, if any, you may call to testify at the hearing, along with a summary of each witness's anticipated testimony;
(j) the signature, full name, firm name, and business address of all attorneys who have a financial interest in the objection;
(k) the last four digits of your policy number(s) for your Florida automobile policies with Permanent General; and
(l) disclosure of any other class action settlements to which you or any or your agents or representatives, successors or predecessors have objected, including disclosing the number of times you have objected to a class action settlement within the preceding five years, the caption of each case, the counsel representing you in each prior objection, and a copy of any orders related to any prior objections.
If you make a written objection to the Settlement as set out above, you may request to speak - either in person or through an attorney hired at your own expense - at the Final Fairness Hearing the Court has set to consider whether to give final approval to the Settlement Agreement. You are not required to attend the hearing. Lack of attendance at the Final Fairness Hearing will not prevent the Court from considering your objection. If you (or your attorney) intend to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing, you must file with the Court and serve on the parties identified above a notice of intent to appear, and your attorney (if you hire one) must file a notice of appearance with the Clerk of Court. Again, the notice of intent to appear must be filed with the Court, and received by the parties above, no later than the Objection Deadline.
If you do not file an objection as described above, you will be deemed to have waived any and all objections to the Settlement, to have consented to the Court’s certification of and jurisdiction over the Settlement Class, and to have released the claims as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time on January 20, 2023 in Courtroom 205B, at the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 299 East Broward Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. You are not required to attend the hearing but may do so if you wish. If there are objections that have been submitted in writing in advance of the hearing, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have made a prior written request to speak at the hearing. The Court will also decide whether to pay Class Counsel the amount they are requesting for attorneys’ fees and expenses. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.
Obtaining Additional Information
The Notice is just a summary, and you are entitled, if you wish, to read the entire Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement and some other documents filed in this lawsuit can be found online at the Important Documents page.
You can call or write to the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-307-4277 or PGAC Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103 or info@ShortRateCancellationSettlement.com.
Please do not contact the Court or Clerk of Court with any questions regarding this case.