1. Why Did I Receive This Notice?
You signed a lease or a guarantee for business equipment with Northern Leasing Systems, Inc., or some other company that assigned that lease to Northern Leasing. The Court has directed that this Notice be sent to you to let you know about a class action lawsuit concerning that lease, about how it may affect you, and about your choices.
2. Where is the lawsuit being brought?
The lawsuit has been brought in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
3. What Is This Lawsuit About?
Plaintiffs, i.e., the persons who brought this lawsuit, allege that Northern Leasing overcharged each Class member, and wrongfully collected $4.95 every month towards Loss & Damage Waiver on every equipment. According to Plaintiffs, this was in violation of the Lease. The Court has granted partial summary judgment as to liability in favor of Plaintiffs on this claim. Northern Leasing has appealed that order, which appeal is currently scheduled to be heard by the appellate court in January 2011. If the appellate court reverses that order, there may be a trial on the issues of liability as well as damages. If the appellate court affirms that order, there will be a trial only on the issue of damages.
4. Why Is This a Class Action?
In a class action, one or more people sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. Here, all these people are called a Class (collectively) or Class Members. The court resolves the issues for all Class Members in one proceeding, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
Here, four small businesspersons have sued on behalf of the Class. From Northern Leasing’s records, it appears that you are a member of the Class.
5. Who Is in the Class?
Every person who signed or guaranteed a lease with Northern Leasing since January 1, 1999, except for Northern Leasing representatives and agents, and certain others.
6. How Do I Know if I Am Part of the Class?
The Class includes all persons and entities within the United States who signed a standard form of lease and personal guaranty as lessees and/or guarantors, with Defendant Northern Leasing Systems, Inc., as lessor or assignee, since January 1, 1999.
7. Who Is Not Included In The Class?
You are not included in the Class if you are an officer or director of Northern Leasing, or a member of the immediate families of any such officer or director, or if you hold any interest in any company or business affiliated with Northern Leasing. Representative, heirs, controlling persons, successors, and predecessors in interest or assigns of any such excluded party are also excluded.
You can also exclude yourself from the Class by sending a timely and valid request exclusion as detailed in the Class Notice.
8. How May I Benefit?
If you remain a member of the Class, you may be entitled to a refund of the overcharges if Plaintiffs, i.e., the persons who brought the lawsuit, prevail. If plaintiffs and the class do not prevail, you may not get anything.
9. How Do I Participate In The Class Action Lawsuit?
You do not need to do anything to participate in the class action. Unless you exclude yourself by timely submitting an opt-out notice, you will be part of the Class certified by the Court for purposes of this case.
10. Will I Be Responsible for Attorneys’ Fees or Costs and Expenses of the Lawsuit?
No. You will not be personally responsible for the payment of attorneys’ fees, costs or any other expenses for remaining a member of the Class.
11. What Am I Giving Up to Stay in the Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you cannot sue on your own or be part of any lawsuit against Northern Leasing or Defendants about the specific claims in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you whether the result is favorable or unfavorable. If you do not want to be part of this Class, but want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the Defendants on your own for the claims in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Class. This is called excluding yourself or “opting out” of the Class.
12. How Do I Get Out of the Class?
To exclude yourself from the Class, you must send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from Pludeman v. Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. You must include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, and identifying information for the equipment finance lease that you entered into with Northern Leasing. Your request to be excluded from the Class must be sent by first class mail, postage prepaid, and postmarked not later than January 13, 2011, addressed to (a) Class counsel; and (b) counsel for Defendants, both of which addresses are given below. If you request the exclusion on behalf of anyone other than yourself, you must describe your legal authority to make this request. Class counsel: Krishnan S. Chittur, Chittur and Associates PC, 286 Madison Avenue, Suite 1100, New York, New York 10017.
Counsel for Defendants: Moses & Singer LLP, Attn: Pludeman v NLS, The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10174-1299.
If you exclude yourself from the Class, you will not participate in any settlement, recovery or favorable judgment in the lawsuit, but you will also not by be bound any unfavorable judgment. You cannot exclude yourself on the telephone or by e-mail. If you ask to be excluded, you are not eligible to receive any further notices, and will not be entitled to participate, in this lawsuit. You will also not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
13. If I Do Not Exclude Myself, Can I Sue the Defendants for the Same Thing Later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendants for the claims in the Class Action lawsuit. If you have a lawsuit against any of the Defendants, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. Remember, the exclusion deadline is January 13, 2011.
14. If I Exclude Myself, Can I Receive Money from This Lawsuit?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money or other benefit from the Class Action lawsuit. But, you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit involving the Claims against the Defendants. In order to do so, you will need to hire your own attorneys and be personally responsible for the attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.
15. Do I Have a Lawyer in This Case?
The Court has appointed Krishnan Chittur, Esq., Chittur & Associates, P.C., 286 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10017, to represent you and other Class Members. You will not be personally charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
16. How Will the Lawyers Be Paid?
If they prevail, Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees, and for reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses which were advanced in connection with the lawsuit. Such sums as may be approved by the Court will be paid from any recovery or from Defendants. Class members are not personally liable for any such fees or expenses.
The attorneys’ fees and expenses requested will be the only payment to Class Counsel for their efforts in achieving a favorable result, if any, and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis. To date, Plaintiffs’ Counsel have not been paid for their services in conducting this litigation on behalf of the Plaintiffs and the Class, nor for their substantial out-of-pocket expenses.
17. What Happens if I Do Nothing at All?
If you do nothing, you will continue to be part of the Class and will continue to participate in the lawsuit so that any result, favorable or unfavorable, will be legally binding on you. But, unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Northern Leasing or other Defendants about the Claims in this case.
18. Where do I Get More Information?
This notice does not fully describe all of the claims and all the parties. The pleadings and all other records in this litigation maybe examined during regular office hours at the office of the Clerk, New York Supreme Court, New York County, 60 Center Street, New York, New York 10007. Some court documents are also accessible through the internet at http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/webcivilLocal/LCSearch?param=P You may also call 800-886-0320, or visit “www. Northernleasingclassaction.com”.