UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CASE NO. 10 cv 1777 AJB NLS

The purpose of this Notice is: (a) to advise you of a proposed settlement (the “Settlement”) of this civil action (“Action”) against Weltman in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (the “Court”);(b) to summarize your rights under the Settlement, including the possibility that you may receive a settlement check; (c) to inform you of a Court hearing to consider the final approval of the Settlement (the Fairness or Final Approval Hearing”); (d) to advise you how to make a claim for a portion of the Settlement Fund; and (e) to inform you how to obtain additional information.

The Action claims that Defendant Weltman violated a provision of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C., Section 227(b)(l)(A)(iii), by calling approximately 617,875 debtors on their cellular phones to collect debts.

Those persons were called on their cell phones by Defendant Weltman and they make up the Settlement Class, defined in the Settlement Agreement as “Class Members”, and they are eligible for a monetary payment of up to $70.00. Those persons are defined in the Settlement Agreement as:

All persons with unique cell phone numbers within the United States who were called by Weltman as identified in Weltman’s records, between August 25, 2006 and August 25, 2010, on their paging service, cellular telephone service, mobile radio service, radio common carrier service, or other service for which they were charged for the call, through the use of any predictive dialer and/or automatic telephone dialing system as set forth in 47 U.S.C. Section 227(b)(l)(A)(iii) or artificial or prerecorded voice, which resulted in a contact, i.e., a live connection or a prerecorded voice message, identified by Weltman from their records in discovery and confirmatory discovery as one of the approximately 617,875 unique cell phones they called, and as will be identified in Weltman’s records to be provided to the Claims Administrator (hereinafter referred to as the “Settlement Class”).

Under the Settlement, and subject to Court approval, Weltman will pay up to $70.00 to each of those persons that Weltman called on their cell phones if those persons make a timely and valid claim, either by telephone, online or by letter, as detailed below.

A Settlement Fund of $525,000.00 (“Settlement Fund”) will be established upon the Court’s final approval of the Settlement. The Settlement also calls for payment of certain costs from that Settlement Fund including the $5,000 incentive payment paid to the Class Representative. If the remaining amounts in the fund do not permit each submitted claim to be paid $70.00 because of the amount of claims submitted, each submitted claim will be on a pro-rata basis from the amounts remaining.

If too few claims are received, Weltman will still be required to pay from that Settlement Fund the full amount of $70.00 for all claims submitted, plus an amount to a charity that equals the difference between the total of those submitted claims and $150,000.00. Therefore, in addition to the claims administration costs, Weltman will be paying a minimum of $150,000 for claims and to a charity as part of the settlement, with the difference between the submitted claims total and $150,000 a “cy pres” award. If a cypres is required, the charity will be chosen by the parties and approved by the Court.

Subject to Court approval, Weltman will also pay $5,000 as an incentive payment to Plaintiff Mohammed Sarabi for his efforts in litigating this case and $225,000 as attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel.

To make a claim, you can either, 1) Call 888-398-5161 2) file your claim online at this website www.weltmantcpa.com; or 3) send a written claim by mail addressed to: Sarabi Settlement, ILYM Group, Inc. P.O. Box 57087 Irvine, CA 92619. However, to make a claim, you must be a person whose name is on the list of approximately 600,000 cell phone numbers called (you likely received a post card notice if you were on that list and your address with Weltman was current) to make a claim. However, to make certain the right person receives the payment, you must provide the last four numbers of your social security number and provide a current address for mailing any monetary compensation. That address and other current information will not be provided to Weltman for collecting any debts but will be kept confidential by and used only by the Claims Administrator for processing your claim.

Upon final approval of the Settlement, the Action will be dismissed with prejudice and the individual plaintiffs and Class Members who do not request exclusion from the Class will be deemed to release and forever discharge Weltman and related persons and entities from any and all claims arising from the facts alleged in the Action that they have and/or could assert against Weltman for violation of the TCPA. Your legal rights are affected whether you act or do not act. Read this notice carefully.

Your Legal Rights and Options in this Settlement:

Do Nothing Stay in the lawsuit. If the Court approves the settlement, you will be eligible to make a claim for a monetary settlement in an amount up to $70.00, or it could be less, depending on the total amount of claims received.
Go to a Hearing Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement.
Object Write to the Court and explain why you don’t like the settlement.
Exclude Yourself Get no payment. This is the only option that allows you to be part of any other lawsuit against Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. about the legal claims on this case.

WHAT THIS NOTICE CONTAINS

SUMMARY OF LAWSUIT AND SETTLEMENT

BASIC INFORMATION

  • 1. Why did I get a post-card with a Notice?
  • 2. What is this lawsuit about?
  • 3. What is a class action?
  • 4. Why is there a settlement?
  • 5. Am I eligible to be part of the settlement?

THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET

  • 6. What does the settlement provide?

HOW DO YOU GET THE MONETARY PAYMENT

  • 7. How can I get a monetary payment?
  • 8. When would I get my payment?
  • 9. What am I giving up by getting my monetary payment and staying in the Class?

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

  • 10. How do I get out of the settlement?
  • 11. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant Weltman for the same thing later?
  • 12. If I exclude myself, can I get the monetary payment?

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

  • 13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  • 14. How will the lawyer be paid and what other costs are there to be paid and by whom?

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

  • 15. If I want to object to the settlement, how do I do so?
  • 16. What’s the difference between “objecting” and “excluding yourself

THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING

  • 17. When and where will the Court decide whether to give final approval to the settlement?
  • 18. Do I have to come to the hearing?
  • 19. What if I want my own lawyer to attend the fairness hearing?

IF YOU DO NOTHING

  • 20. What happens if I do nothing at all?

GET MORE INFORMATION

  • 21. Are there more details about the settlement?

BASIC INFORMATION

1. Why did I get a post-card with a notice?

Plaintiff has sued Weltman for calling people on their cellular telephones, with an autodialer or by a prerecorded voice message between August 25, 2006 through August 25, 2010 (the “Class Period”). While it denies all liability, Weltman has agreed to settle Plaintiff’s Lawsuit by agreeing to 1) pay each person called in the Class Period up to $70.00 (or less depending on how many persons make claims); and 2) an injunction whereby Weltman agrees they will not call people on their cell phones with an autodialer or by a prerecorded voice message. If you received a post-card directing you to either this website or to call ILYM Group, Inc. (the Claims Administrator), that means Weltman’s records indicate that you were one of the approximately 618,417 individuals called by Weltman on their cell phones during the Class Period. As a result, the parties to this Lawsuit have agreed that you are entitled to make a claim for compensation of up to $70.00 because the persons called by Weltman on their cell phones in the Class Period have a claim for compensation for such alleged illegal conduct. The Court has given a preliminary approval to this proposed settlement and at that time ordered the post-card notice to be sent to you, and this Notice to be placed on the website. As a Class Member, you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about all your options, before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the settlement. If the Court approves it, payment of the settlement will be made.

This Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

The Court in charge of the case is the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, and the case is known as Sarabi v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A., Case No. 10 cv 1777 AJB NLS. The person who sued, Mohammed Sarabi, is called the Plaintiff, and the company he sued, Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. is called the Defendant.

2. What is the lawsuit about?

Plaintiff alleges that Weltman called persons on their cell phone between August 25, 2006 through August 25, 2010 with either an autodialer or by a prerecorded voice message, or both, without that person’s prior express consent. Plaintiff sought statutory damages as set forth in the statute prohibiting the conduct, of up to $500 for each call negligently made and up to $1,500 for each call made intentionally. Defendant denies it violated the statute by making such calls, but admits it made calls to cell phones.

3. What is a class action?

In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Plaintiff Mohammed Sarabi), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a “Class” or, in other words, “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who ask to be excluded from the Class. U.S. District Court Judge Anthony J. Battaglia is the judge assigned to this lawsuit. He has appointed Judge Herbert B. Hoffman (Ret.) to serve as a Special Master for purposes of making a formal recommendation to the Court in deciding whether this matter should be preliminarily and finally approved.

4. Why is there a settlement?

The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or the Defendant. Instead, both sides have voluntarily agreed to a settlement before any trial which provides for several benefits: (1) Weltman will set aside a Settlement Fund of $525,000.00, from which a monetary payment will be paid of up to $70.00 per claimant, depending on how many claims are made; 2) an agreed-upon injunction will be put in place whereby Wellman agrees to have a Court Order entered that will prohibit any such similar conduct for at least 12 months; 3) a minimum payment will be made by Weltman in the amount of $150,000, which would be paid to a charity even if no one made a claim; and 4) Weltman will pay the attorneys’ fees of Class Counsel representing Plaintiff and the Class, so there is no reduction in the Settlement Fund for such attorneys’ fees. Upon taking all matters into consideration, the Class Representative and his attorneys think the settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.

5. Am I eligible to be part of the settlement?

The Parties agreed and the Judge confirmed that the following persons should be included in the monetary portion of the Settlement:

All persons with unique cell phone numbers within the United States who were called by Weltman as identified in Weltman’s records, between August 25, 2006, and August 25, 2010, on their paging service, cellular telephone service, mobile radio service, radio common carrier service, or other service for which they were charged for the call, through the use of any predictive dialer and/or automatic telephone dialing systems set forth in 47 U.S.C, Section 227(b)(l)(A)(iii) or artificial or prerecorded voice which resulted in a contact, i.e., a live connection or a prerecorded voice message identified by Weltman from their records in discovery and confirmatory discovery as one of the approximately 600,000 unique cell phones they called, and as identified in Weltman’s records to be provided to the Claims Administrator (hereinafter referred to as the “Settlement Class”).

If you received a post-card Notice mailed directly to you, it means our records indicate that you fit this description, and thus are a “Class Member.” If you did not receive a post-card notice mailed directly to you, and you believe you might be a Class member, you find out by calling the Claims Administrator and providing your name and last four digits of your social security number.

THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET

6. What does the settlement provide?

A. Each Class Member who has not requested to exclude himself or herself (“opted out”) from the settlement may receive a payment of up to $70.00 (or less, depending on the number of claims made). A Settlement Fund of $525,000 will be set aside by Weltman to pay 1) all such claims; and, 2) for a $5,000 incentive payment to be paid to the Plaintiff subject to Court approval. If the amount of claims submitted to be paid from the Fund is less than $150,000, then Weltman has agreed to pay the difference between the amount of claims paid and $150,000 to a charity under what is called a cy pres award. That charity will be chosen by the parties and must be approved by the Court.

B. In addition, Weltman agrees to a twelve month Court-ordered injunction to prevent them from making similar calls to cell phones. Pursuant to the Stipulated Injunction, Weltman shall use procedures now and in the future to verify before calling whether the telephone numbers to be called are cell phone numbers. That shall be done by “scrubbing” such lists of potential numbers, that is comparing such numbers to be called to commercially available lists of known cell phone numbers or by any such other commercially feasible manner to achieve the same result. If any such telephone number is determined to be a cell phone number, Weltman agrees that it will not call such number by a predictive dialer and/or an autodialer or with a prerecorded voice message, without evidence of express consent as that term has been defined by the TCPA and Federal Communications Commission as prohibited by 47 U.S.C. Section 227 et seq. The Stipulated Injunction will lapse and expire 12 (twelve) months after the Effective Date. Defendant has the right to seek relief from this Court in any manner available to limit, eliminate, or modify or annul the obligations set forth in this Stipulated Injunction based upon a change in the relevant or applicable state or federal law.

C. Weltman will also pay the sum of $225,000 for attorneys’ fees of litigation incurred by the Plaintiff on behalf of the Class or such lower amount that the Court might order.

D. If there are still funds left in the Settlement Fund after paying all submitted claims, including paying the minimum payment of the $150,000 agreed upon as a minimum payment for claims and/or cy pres, and after paying the incentive payment to Plaintiff, any amount remaining in the Settlement Fund will revert back to Weltman.

7. How can I get the monetary payment?

You can obtain the monetary payment (up to $70.00 per claim) pursuant to this settlement by either:

1) Calling the Claims Administrator at 1- 800-398-5161 its toll-free Number during the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm EST;

2) Submitting a claim online at this website (www.weltmantcpa.com); or

3) Submitting a claim in writing and mailed to the Claims Administrator:

Sarabi Settlement ILYM Group, Inc. P.O. Box 57087 Irvine, CA 92619

In order to submit a claim, if you are a Settlement Class member, you need only provide the following information about yourself: (1) your name; (2) your current address for mailing the Settlement payment, if different from the postcard notice address; and (3) your last four digits of your social security number to confirm your identity. You may also provide a telephone number if you agree to do so, in order to allow the Claims Administrator to contact you if there are any problems. Upon making a claim, the only requirement in order for you to be entitled to receive the monetary payment from the Settlement Fund is whether your name is on the list of the approximately 600,000 persons in the Settlement Class. The Settlement Agreement incorporated in the Court’s Order provides that none of the information you give to the Claims Administrator is going to be given to Weltman, including any updated addresses or telephone numbers. Therefore, if you still happen to owe money to Weltman for some reason, participating in this Settlement and/or providing current contact information will not negatively affect you in Weltman’s collection efforts against you. However, this settlement does not resolve, waive or dispose of any obligation or debt that you may owe to Weltman or to any creditor for whom Weltman may have been trying to collect.

8. When would I get my payment?

The Court will hold a hearing on January 18, 2013, to decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement. If the Judge hearing the case grants final approval, and there is no appeal of the approval ruling, the ruling will become final by law in thirty days from the date of the ruling. If so, the Claims Administrator will attempt to pay all claims within 30 days of that date, i.e., 60 days from the Court’s ruling. Also, there may be appeals. If so, the approval order does not take effect until those appeals are resolved. It’s always uncertain whether and when these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. If that occurs, please be patient.

9. What am I giving up to get my monetary payment and by staying in the Class?

As an eligible Class Member, unless you exclude yourself you are a member of the Class. That means that you cannot sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant Weltman about the issues relating in any way to the facts alleged in this case, including the fact that Weltman called you on your cellular telephone. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. All Class Members will, be bound by a “Release of Claims,” a copy of which is attached as an Appendix to this notice. The Release of Claims describes exactly the legal claims that you give up as a member of the Class. Please carefully read the Release of Claims.

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

If you do not want to participate in this settlement, or you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the Defendant Weltman on your own, about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the settlement. This is called “excluding yourself from or “opting out” of the Class.

10. How do I get out of the settlement?

To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter by mail saying that you want to be excluded from Sarabi v. Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis Co., L.P.A. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than December 28, 2012, 10 days after the Claims Period to the Claims Administrator at the following address:

Sarabi Settlement
ILYM Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 57087
Irvine, CA 92619

You cannot exclude yourself on the phone or by email. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any settlement payment, and you cannot object to the settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.

11. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant Weltman for the same thing later?

No. Unless you exclude yourself you give up any right to sue the Defendant Weltman for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit against either or both of these entities, and you are not certain if that lawsuit is about any of the issues in this case, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion deadline is December 28, 2012.

12. If I exclude myself, can I get the monetary payment?

No.

13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Douglas J. Campion, of the Law Offices of Douglas J. Campion, and Joshua B. Swigart, of Hyde & Swigart, both of San Diego, California, as well as the Kazerouni Law Group APC, of Santa Ana, California have been approved by the Court to represent you and other Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for this lawyer as Weltman is agreeing to pay the amount of fees awarded by the Court as fair and reasonable as part of the Settlement.  If you want to be personally represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your expense.

14. How will the lawyer be paid and what other costs are there to be paid and by whom?

Subject to the Court’s approval, Weltman is agreeing to pay Class Counsel an amount up to $225,000 for attorneys’ fees, and costs of litigation advanced by Class Counsel (costs are approximately $ 15,000) for the Class. Class Counsel intends to request that the Court award $225,000 for attorneys’ fees plus costs at the Final Approval hearing, to be paid separately from the Settlement Fund.

The parties have agreed that $225,000 for attorneys’ fees is reasonable and Weltman will not object to any fees and costs that does not exceed that amount. The Court has to approve of that request, and may award less than that amount. In addition, Class Counsel will seek approval of the amount of $5,000 to be paid from the Settlement Fund to the class representative Mohammed Sarabi for his efforts in bringing and assisting in the litigation of this case. Class Counsel will also seek Court approval of the costs of giving Notice and providing claims administration in this case, estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000.

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

15. If I want to object to the settlement, how do I do so? As a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you do not 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 letter saying that you object to the Sarabi v. Weltman,Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. settlement, and include the Case No. 10-cv-1777 JLS NLS. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, and the reasons you object to the settlement. Mail the objection to the following addresses no later than December 28, 2012.

Clerk of the Court U.S. District Court,
Southern District of California
940 Front Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Douglas J. Campion, Esq.
Law Offices of Douglas J. Campion
409 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 303
San Diego, CA 92108

Tim J. Vanden Heuvel, Esq.
LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH, LLP
701 B Street, Ste. 1900
San Diego, CA 92101

You may also ask the Court for permission to speak at the fairness hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Sarabi v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. L.P.A.”, Case No. 10-cv-1777 AJB NLS. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to appear must be postmarked no later than December 28, 2012 and be sent to the Court, Class Counsel and Defendant’s counsel at the above addresses.

You cannot object or speak at the hearing if you “excluded yourself” from the Class.

16. What’s the difference between “objecting” and “excluding yourself?”

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not 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’S FAIRNESS HEARING

The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to give final approval to the settlement. You may attend and you may speak, but you don’t have to. The hearing is called a fairness hearing or final approval hearing.

17. When and where will the Court decide whether to give Final Approval to the settlement?

The Court will hold a final fairness hearing on January 18, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at U.S. District Court, 940 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101 before the Honorable Herbert B. Hoffman (Ret.). At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. If anyone has asked to speak at the hearing, Judge Hoffman will listen to them at that time. The Court will decide based upon Judge Hoffman’s recommendation after the hearing whether to approve the settlement as fair and reasonable, to give final approval to the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs that Class Counsel seek for their representation of the Class, and to the incentive payment to be provided to the Class representative for bringing and litigating this action. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

18. Do I have to come to the hearing?

No. Class Counsel will answer questions Judge Hoffman may have that are directed to the Class, but you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.

19. What if I want my own lawyer to attend the fairness hearing?

At your own expense, you may have your own lawyer appear for you if you like. If you hire your own lawyer, that lawyer must send a Notice of Appearance which is postmarked no later than, December 28, 2012. The Notice of

Appearance must be sent to the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel and Defendant’s counsel at the following addresses:

Douglas J. Campion, Esq.
Law Offices of Douglas J. Campion
409 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 303
San Diego, California 92108

Tim J. Vanden Heuvel, Esq.
LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH, LLP
701 B Street, Ste. 1900
San Diego, CA 92101

20. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do nothing, you will be part of the Class and you will receive the benefits detailed above, including the monetary payment if you make a claim. The injunction by which Weltman agreed not to continue making calls to cellular phones will occur regardless if you are part of the Class, if the Court approves the Settlement.

You will also be precluded from being part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant Weltman about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

GET MORE INFORMATION

21. Are there more details about the settlement?

This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in a Settlement Agreement, which is part of the Court file, a public record. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement or review any other part of the papers relating to the lawsuit by examining the records of this case, Sarabi v. Weltman Weinberg & Reis Co. L.P.A., Case No. 10-cv-1777 JLS NLS at the Clerk’s office at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 940 Front Street, San Diego, California 92101. The clerk’s office has the ability to make copies of any such public documents for you. Also, all filed documents in the case, including the settlement documents, are available for viewing online through the Court’s Pacer document review system.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THIS NOTICE

Dated: September 4, 2012 by Order of The U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, San Diego, California 92101.