A Court authorized this notice to let you know about a proposed Settlement with the Defendant. You have legal rights and options that you may act on before the Court decides whether to approve the proposed Settlement. You may be eligible to receive a cash payment as part of the Settlement. This notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
Judge David B. Atkins of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, is overseeing this class action. The case is called Willis v. iHeartMedia, Inc., Case No. 2016 CH 02455 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cnty., Ill.). The people who filed the lawsuit, Nicholas Willis and Beth Shvarts, are the Plaintiffs. The company they sued, iHeartMedia, is the Defendant. You need not live in Illinois to get a payment under the Settlement.Top
A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs—in this case, Nicholas Willis and Beth Shvarts––sue on behalf of a group of people who have similar claims. Together, this group is called a “Class” and consists of “Class Members.” In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the class. After the Parties reached an agreement to settle this case, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement and recognized it as a case that should be treated as a class action for settlement purposes.
This lawsuit alleges that iHeartMedia (or its radio stations) sent text messages advertising the goods and services of iHeartMedia’s marketing partners. Plaintiffs allege that these text messages were often sent in response to a song request or contest entry for its radio stations, and that they violated a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, because consumers did not agree to receive the text messages.
iHeartMedia denies Plaintiffs’ claims of wrongdoing and contends that it acted with consumers’ consent. No court has decided who is right. The parties are instead entering into the Settlement to avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation. The Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by iHeartMedia. More information about the lawsuit can be found in the “Court Documents” section of this website.Top
The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiffs or Defendant should win this case. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement. That way, they can avoid the uncertainty and expense of ongoing litigation, and Class Members will get compensation now rather than years from now—if ever. The Plaintiffs and their attorneys (“Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of the Class Members.Top
The Court decided that this Settlement includes a Class of “all Persons in the United States to whom Defendant iHeartMedia, Inc. sent (or had sent on its behalf) an Advertising Text Message to his or her cellular telephone from October 16, 2013 through April 19, 2016.” An “Advertising Text Message” is any text message that contains material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services.Top
The text messages covered by this Settlement were text messages sent by iHeartMedia (or on its behalf) advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods or services. The text messages were often sent in response to a consumer’s text-message song request to or contest entry for a radio station.Top
Cash Payments to Class Members: iHeartMedia has agreed to create an $8.5 million Settlement Fund, from which Class Members who submit valid claims will receive cash payments. To get a payment, Class Members must submit a valid claim before September 8, 2016 (28 days after the Final Approval Hearing). The amount Class Members will receive will depend on the total number of valid claims received. If the number of valid claims is low, then the amount of individual payments will go up. But if the number of valid claims is high, then the amount of individual payments will go down.
Change in iHeartMedia’s Practices: As part of the Settlement, iHeartMedia has agreed that it will maintain procedures to obtain recipients’ prior express written consent to receive text messages on their cell phones if it performs text message advertising in the future.Top
If you are a Class Member and you want to get settlement benefits, you must complete and submit a valid Claim Form by September 8, 2016 (28 days after the Final Approval Hearing). An online claim form is available on this website and can be filled out and submitted online. If you received a postcard in the mail about the Settlement, the postcard will tell you how to submit a claim form. You can also get a paper claim form by calling (844) 850-7145. We encourage you to submit a claim online. It’s faster, and it’s free.
The Claim Form requires you to provide the following information: (1) your name, address, and email address, (2) the cellular telephone number at which you received the Advertising Text Messages, and (3) a sworn statement that you received the text messages without first providing your consent.Top
The hearing to consider the fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for August 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. If the Court approves the Settlement, eligible Class Members whose claims were approved by the Settlement Administrator will be sent a check. Please be patient. All checks will expire and become void 90 days after they are issued.Top
Yes, the Court has appointed lawyers Rafey S. Balabanian and Benjamin H. Richman of Edelson PC, Jeremy M. Glapion of the Glapion Law Firm, and Ari Marcus of Marcus & Zelman, as the attorneys to represent you and other Class Members. These attorneys are called “Class Counsel.” In addition, the Court appointed Plaintiffs Nicholas Willis and Beth Shvarts to serve as the Class Representatives. They are Class Members like you. Class Counsel can be reached by calling 1-866-354-3015.Top
You don’t need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. If you want your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. For example, you can ask your lawyer to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to represent you.Top
Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses of up to $3,400,000.00 and will also request a collective incentive award of $5,000.00 for the Class Representatives. The Court will determine the proper amount of any attorneys’ fees and expenses to award Class Counsel and the proper amount of any award to the Class Representatives. The Court may award less than the amounts requested. Any money not awarded will stay in the Settlement Fund to pay Class Members.Top
If you do nothing, you will receive no payment under the Settlement, you will be in the Class, and if the Court approves the Settlement, you will also be bound by all orders and judgments of the Court. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant for the claims or legal issues being resolved by this Settlement.Top
If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive no payment under the Settlement and you will no longer be a member of the Class. You will keep your right to start your own lawsuit against Defendant for the same legal claims made in this lawsuit. You will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments related to the Class and the Defendant in this class action.Top
You can send a letter stating that you want to be excluded from the Settlement in Willis v. iHeartMedia, Inc., Case No. 16 CH 02455 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cnty, Ill.). Your letter must also include your (1) name and address, (2) the cellular telephone number at which you received the Advertising Text Messages, (3) a statement that you wish to be excluded from the Class, and (4) your signature. You must mail your exclusion request no later than July 8, 2016 to:
Willis v. iHeartMedia Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 30222
College Station, TX 77842-3222
You can’t exclude yourself on the phone or by email.Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.Top
No. If you exclude yourself, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.Top
If you do not exclude yourself from the Class, 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 deny approval by filing an objection. To object, you must file a letter or brief with the Court stating that you object to the Settlement in Willis v. iHeartMedia, Inc., Case No. 16 CH 02455 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cnty, Ill.), no later than July 8, 2016. Your objection should be sent to the Circuit Court of Cook County at the following address:
Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County - Chancery Division
Richard J. Daley Center, 8th Floor
50 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
The objection must be in writing, must be personally signed, and must include the following information: (1) your full name and current address, (2) the cellular telephone number on which you believe you received the text messages at issue, (3) a statement that you believe you are a Class Member, (4) the specific grounds for your objection, (5) all documents or writings that you desire the Court to consider, (6) 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 your objection or who may profit from the pursuit of your objection, and (7) a statement indicating whether you (or your counsel) intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing. If you are represented by a lawyer, he or she must file an appearance or seek pro hac vice admission to practice before the Court.
In addition to filing your objection with the Court, you must send copies of your objection and any supporting documents to both Class Counsel and the Defendant’s lawyers at the addresses listed below:
Benjamin H. Richman
350 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654
WILSON ELSER LLP
555 South Flower St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on the settlement website its request for attorneys’ fees and incentive award on June 24, 2016.Top
Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself from the Class 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.Top
The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on August 11, 2016, before the Honorable David B. Atkins in Courtroom 2102 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602. The purpose of the hearing is for the Court to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class. At the hearing, the Court will hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, including those related to the amount requested by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the incentive award to the Class Representatives.
Note: The date and time of the fairness hearing are subject to change by Court Order. Any changes will be posted at the settlement website, www.radiotextmessagesettlement.com.Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. You are, however, 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 your written objection was filed or mailed on time and meets the other criteria described in the Settlement, the Court will consider it. You may also pay a lawyer to attend, but you don’t have to.Top
Yes. If you do not exclude yourself from the Class, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the proposed Settlement. If you filed an objection (see Question 18 above) and intend to appear at the hearing, you must state your intention to do so in your objection.Top
This notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement available at www.radiotextmessagesettlement.com, contact Class Counsel at 1-866-354-3015, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County – Chancery Division, Richard J. Daley Center, 8th Floor, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE JUDGE, OR THE DEFENDANT WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR CLAIMS PROCESS.Top