Kyle Sullivan and Jeanne Sloan v. Wenner Media LLC
Magazine Subscription Settlement
1:16-cv-00960

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You received a postcard notice by direct mail if Defendant’s records show that you are a potential class member, and if those records included the mailing address to which the notice was sent.  The postcard notice referred you to an informational web site which included this more detailed Notice.

    The Court ordered that a Notice be sent to you because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of the class action against Defendant and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.  If the Court approves it, an administrator appointed by the Court will provide the subscription vouchers or payments (if applicable) that the Settlement allows.

    This Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.  Please read this Notice carefully.

    The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan has jurisdiction over this proposed Settlement.  The individuals who sued are called Plaintiffs, and the company they sued is called Defendant.

  • Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action lawsuit, the Action, against Defendant.

    In the Action, Plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that Defendant disclosed subscriber information in violation of Michigan law.  Defendant denies all allegations of wrongdoing and believes it complied with applicable law.  Defendant has asserted many defenses it believes would succeed at trial.  In agreeing to settle, Defendant maintains that it complied with the law and does not admit any wrongdoing.

  • In a class action, one or more Plaintiffs, called Class Representatives, sue on behalf of people who have similar claims.  In this case, the Class Representatives are Kyle Sullivan and Jeanne Sloan.  One court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the Class.  United States District Court Judge for the Western District of Michigan Janet T. Neff has jurisdiction over the case in which the parties have submitted this Settlement for approval.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendant.  Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement.  That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and settlement benefits go to the class members.  The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for the class members.

  • Judge Neff has preliminarily decided that everyone who fits this description is a class member:

    All persons with Michigan street addresses who received a subscription to Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, or Us Weekly and were subscribers between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011. 

  • The Class does not include Defendant, any affiliate, parent, or direct or indirect subsidiary, or any entity that has a controlling interest therein, or their current or former directors, officers, managers, employees, partners, advisors, counsel, and their immediate families.  The class also does not include any persons who validly request exclusion from the class.

  • If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can download and read the Settlement Agreement, and other Important Documents on this website.

  • Defendant will make available a Settlement Fund of not less than $1,100,000 in monetary and non-monetary relief in the form of magazine subscription vouchers, claim payments, costs of settlement administration and notice, Class Counsel’s fees and costs, and the Incentive Awards to Plaintiffs as awarded by the Court.

  • Defendant will provide a magazine subscription voucher or payment (as applicable) to each class member as described in the categories below.

    • Indirect Subscribers.  Class Members whose subscriptions to Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, or Us Weekly were obtained from third-party subscription agents, and who submit a timely and valid claim, will be sent a voucher or code redeemable for a six-month subscription to Rolling Stone.
    • Direct Subscribers.  Class Members whose subscriptions to Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, or Us Weekly were obtained directly from Defendant online or by returning a “blow-in” subscription form, and who submit a timely and valid claim, will be given an opportunity to submit a selection form indicating their choice to receive either a free, one-year subscription to Rolling Stone or a cash payment (“Cash Distribution Amount”).  The Cash Distribution Amount will be determined by a pro rata distribution of the Settlement Fund among the up to 57,619 Direct Subscriber Subclass Members, after deduction for (i) class notice and settlement administration costs, (ii) Court approved Class Counsel’s fees and costs, and (iii) Court approved Incentive Awards. The estimated Cash Distribution Amount is not expected to exceed $10.00.  Class Members who fall within the category of Direct Subscribers, but who do not submit a timely and valid Claim Form, will be sent a voucher or code redeemable for a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone.
  • To qualify for magazine subscription voucher or payment (as applicable), you must send in a claim form.  Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form (answering all questions truthfully), and submit it over the Internet no later than March 5, 2018, or print out a hard copy of the Claim Form, fill it out (answering all questions truthfully), sign it, and mail it to the Settlement Administrator with a postmark no later than March 5, 2018.  However, Class Members who fall within the category of Direct Subscribers as described above, but who do not submit a timely and valid Claim Form, will be sent a voucher or code redeemable for a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone.

  • The Court will hold a hearing on May 22, 2018 at 2:30 p.m., to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  If Judge Neff approves the Settlement after that, there may be appeals.  It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year.  It also takes time for Claim Forms to be processed.  Please be patient. The proposed Settlement contemplates distributing magazine subscription vouchers or payments (as applicable) to eligible class members ninety (90) days from the date the Settlement becomes final and not subject to appeal.

  • Unless you exclude yourself, you stay in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant about the legal issues in this case.  If the Settlement is approved and becomes final and not subject to appeal, then you and all class members release all “Released Claims” against all “Released Parties.”

    “Released Claims” means (i) any and all claims, rights (including rights to restitution or reimbursement), demands, actions, causes of action, suits, liens, damages, attorneys’ fees, obligations, contracts, liabilities, agreements, costs, expenses, or losses of any nature or description whatsoever; (ii) whether known or unknown, direct or indirect, matured or unmatured, contingent or absolute, existing or potential, suspected or unsuspected, equitable or legal, individual or representative; and (iii) whether based on the Video Rental Privacy Act, M.C.L. § 445.1711 (“VRPA”) or under federal statutory law, federal common law or federal regulation, or the statutes, constitutions, regulations, ordinances, common law, or any other law of any and all states or their subdivisions, parishes or municipalities; (iv) that arise out of or relate in any way to disclosure of Settlement Class Members’ personal information, including but not limited to, their name, address, and/or their subscription history; and (v) that have been, or could have been, brought in the Action, as well as any claims arising out of the same nucleus of operative facts as any of the claims asserted in the Action.  In addition, with respect to Representative Plaintiffs only, “Released Claims” includes all claims arising, or that could arise in the future, out of any conduct or omissions occurring as of the date of preliminary court approval of the Settlement that might be attributable to any of the Released Parties.  

    “Released Parties” means Wenner, Us Weekly LLC, Men’s Journal LLC, and Rolling Stone LLC, including their affiliates, parents, direct and indirect subsidiaries, agents, insurers, and any company or companies under common control with any of them, and each of their respective predecessors, successors and assigns (including, without limitation, American Media, Inc. (“AMI”) and Weider Publications, LLC (“Weider”)), past and present officers, directors, managers, employees, agents, servants, accountants, attorneys, advisors, shareholders, members, insurers, representatives, partners, vendors, issuers, or anyone acting on their behalf. 

  • To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a signed letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class in this Settlement.  Please be sure to include your name, address, the name of the magazine to which you subscribed, the case name and number, and your signature.  You must mail your exclusion request postmarked on or before March 5, 2018, to: 

    Magazine Subscription Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91345
    Seattle, WA 98111

    You can’t exclude yourself on the phone or by fax or email.

  • If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any magazine subscription voucher or payment (as applicable) from this Settlement.  Also you cannot object to the Settlement.  You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Action.  You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) Defendant in the future about the legal issues in this case.

  • No.  Unless you exclude yourself, you give up your right to sue Defendant and the other Released Parties for the claims that this Settlement resolves.  You must exclude yourself from this Class to pursue your own lawsuit.  Remember, your exclusion request must be postmarked on or before March 5, 2018.

  • No.  If you exclude yourself, do not send in a Claim Form to ask for any magazine subscription voucher or payment (as applicable) from this Settlement.  You may exercise any right you may have to sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against Defendant and the other Released Parties.

  • The Court appointed Gary F. Lynch of Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP and Daniel O. Myers of The Law Office of Daniel O. Myers to represent the Class.  These lawyers are called Class Counsel.  You will not be charged for these lawyers.  The Court will determine the amount of Class Counsel’s fees and costs, which Defendant will pay as part of the Settlement.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will request from the Court an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, and for an Incentive Award for the Plaintiffs for their time and effort in connection with this Action.  Defendant will pay Class Counsel’s fees and costs, and the Incentive Award as awarded by the Court from the Settlement Fund.  You have the right to object to the requested attorneys’ fees and costs, and Incentive Award.  Defendant will also pay the costs to administer the Settlement from the Settlement Fund.

    Class Counsel will file their application for attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs, and for the Incentive Awards to the Plaintiffs, by no later than January 18, 2018.  Class Counsel will file their papers in support of final approval of the Settlement by no later than March 26, 2018.  These papers will also be posted on the Important Documents webpage.

  • If you are a class member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it.  You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it.  The Court will consider your views.  To object, you must send a signed letter saying you object to the proposed Settlement in Kyle Sullivan and Jeanne Sloan v. Wenner Media LLC, No. 1:16-CV-00960 (W.D. Mich.).  Be sure to include (1) your name and address; (2) an explanation of the basis upon which you claim to be a Settlement Class Member, including the magazine to which you are or were a subscriber; (3) all grounds for the objection, including all citations to legal authority and evidence supporting the objection; (4) the name and contact information of any and all attorneys representing, advising, or in any way assisting you in connection with the preparation or submission of the objection or who may profit from the pursuit of the objection (the “Objecting Attorneys”); and (5) a statement indicating whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing (either personally or through counsel who files an appearance with the Court in accordance with the Local Rules).  If you or any of your Objecting Attorneys have objected to any class action settlement where you or your Objecting Attorneys asked for or received any payment in exchange for dismissal of the objection, or any related appeal, without any modification to the Settlement, then your objection must include a statement identifying each such case by full case caption.  Your objection and any supporting papers must be mailed to and actually received by Class Counsel at the following address no later than March 5, 2018:

    Gary F. Lynch
    Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP
    1133 Penn Avenue, 5th Floor
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement.  You can object only if you stay in the Class.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class.  If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court will hold a Settlement Hearing at 2:30 p.m. on May 22, 2018, at the United States District Court, 401 Federal Building, 110 Michigan Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  Judge Neff will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing.  The Court will also consider how much to pay Class Counsel.  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

  • No.  Class Counsel will answer questions Judge Neff may have.  You are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court and talk about it.  As long as your written objection is received on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.  Finally, you may seek to intervene in the Action, but you don’t need to do so.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Settlement Hearing.  To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” in “Kyle Sullivan and Jeanne Sloan v. Wenner Media LLC, No. 1:16-CV-00960 (W.D. Mich.).”  Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, that you are a class member, a list of any documents (if any) you want the Court to consider, the names of any witnesses who you want to testify, and your signature.  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be received at the address in Question 19, no later than March 5, 2018.  You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself. 

  • If you obtained a subscription to Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, or Us Weekly from a third-party subscription agent and you choose to do nothing at all, you will receive no subscription voucher under the Settlement and will give up your rights to assert any claims about the legal claims in the case against Defendant.  If you obtained a subscription to Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, or Us Weekly directly from Wenner Media LLC online or by returning a blow-in subscription form and you choose to do nothing at all, you will receive a free one-year subscription voucher to Rolling Stone magazine and will give up your rights to assert any claims about the legal claims in the case against Defendant.  Unless you exclude yourself from the Class, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant or the Released Parties about the legal issues in this case, ever again. 

  • This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement.  More details appear in the Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims (the “Agreement”).  Copies of the Agreement and the pleadings and other documents relating to the case are on file at the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan and may be examined and copied at any time during regular office hours at the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, 401 Federal Building, 110 Michigan Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. The Settlement Agreement is also available on the Important Documents webpage. 

  • You can visit the Important Documents page of the website to view and download the Claim Form, plus other information, including a copy of the Settlement Agreement.  You may also write to:

    Magazine Subscription Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91345
    Seattle, WA 98111

    You should not direct questions to the Court.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Magazine Subscription Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91345
Seattle, WA 98111