Frequently Asked Questions
Why am I getting this notice?
Midland’s records identify you as someone who from August 5, 2006, through February 2, 2015, may a) have received a collection letter from Brachfeld Law Group (“BLG”) concerning a debt allegedly owed to Midland and/or b) have been sued by Midland where BLG was Midland’s attorney AND excluded yourself from the class in Vassalle v. Midland Funding, LLC, United States District Court, No. 3:11-cv-0096 (N.D. Ohio).
What is the case about?
Plaintiffs make two claims in this lawsuit.
1. Midland purchased allegedly unpaid credit card accounts from lenders, and then tried to collect on them. It hired BLG, a law firm, to collect some of these accounts in California. This lawsuit claims that when BLG collected supposed debts for Midland, BLG did not have enough information to know whether the debts were actually owed to the original lender by the person being dunned, and that BLG’s lawyers did not properly investigate the validity of the debt before trying to collect, nor properly oversee the collection process.
2. When there was no response to a lawsuit that Midland and BLG filed, defendants generally obtained judgments by default. To obtain these judgments, Midland and BLG submitted false affidavits to the courts.
The lawsuit asserts that these practices are unfair and fraudulent business practices under the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “Rosenthal Act”), California Civil Code section 1788, and the Unfair Competition Law, California Business and Professions Code section 17200.
What is the settlement?
BLG has agreed to establish a cash settlement fund of $700,000. This amount is the entire remaining balance of BLG’s insurance policy. BLG went out of business in 2015, has no remaining property or bank accounts, and its insurance policy is the only asset available to the Class. BLG has been using the insurance money to pay for its defense of this lawsuit. Any further litigation against BLG will continue to deplete the insurance money. The settlement will stop this depletion and make the money available to the Class instead. Subject to Court approval, any unclaimed funds will be distributed to the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a statewide not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization.
BLG has also agreed to provide deposition and trial testimony in the ongoing prosecution of the class action against the non-settling defendants. In exchange, all claims against BLG will be released.
What is the current status of the case?
The Court has not made any decisions about who is right or who will win the case.
The Class and BLG have agreed to a settlement. In reaching the settlement, they have avoided the cost and time of a trial. The Class has agreed to this settlement to preserve BLG’s insurance proceeds so that this money can be paid to the Class Members rather than being used by BLG to pay to defend the action. The Class will ask the Court to approve the settlement with BLG as fair, adequate and reasonable.
The case against Midland has not been settled. The lawsuit between the Class and Midland will continue.
Is there any money available now?
No, not yet. Even if the settlement is approved by the Court, neither the Class nor Class Counsel will be paid right away because the case is still pending against Midland. The money will be distributed at the conclusion of the action, when all claims have been resolved. There will be additional notice to you when there is a distribution.
What about attorneys’ fees?
Class Counsel intends to seek an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses of 30% of the settlement fund. The Court will decide whether to approve this request. Class Counsel will not be paid any fees until the case is over. Your right to object to this application is described below. At the conclusion of the case, Class Counsel may seek an additional award of attorneys’ fees if additional funds are recovered from Midland. You will have the right at that time to object to that application.
Your rights and options
YOU MUST DECIDE WHETHER TO BE PART OF THE SETTLEMENT OR ASK TO BE EXCLUDED BEFORE THE FAIRNESS HEARING, AND YOU HAVE TO DECIDE THIS NOW.
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing you will be legally bound by whatever ruling the Court makes on the fairness of the settlement.
Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, you will not be able to bring, or continue, a separate lawsuit against BLG based on the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit.
Why would I ask to be excluded?
If you exclude yourself, you will keep any right you have to sue or continue to sue BLG in a separate case. However, if you exclude yourself from the Class -- sometimes called “opting-out” — you will not be entitled to benefit from the settlement between the Class and BLG.
How do I ask the Court to be excluded from the settlement?
If you wish to ask to be excluded, you must send a letter, postmarked by August 26, 2021, addressed to Reimann v. Midland, Attn: Exclusion Request, P.O. Box 58220, Philadelphia, PA 19102 stating that you want to opt out of the settlement. Be sure to include your name and address and remember to sign the letter. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT.
Can I object to the settlement?
If you want to object to the proposed settlement with BLG, you should do so by filing a written objection with the Court and sending a copy to Class Counsel by August 26, 2021. The Court’s address is:
Alameda County Superior Court
1221 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Class counsels’ addresses are:
BRAMSON, PLUTZIK, MAHLER & BIRKHAEUSER, LLP
2125 Oak Grove Road, Suite 125
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Telephone: (925) 945-0200
Attn. Daniel E. Birkhaeuser.
THE NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER
7 Winthrop Square, 4th Fl.
Boston, MA 02110
Telephone: (617) 542-8010
Attn: Charles Delbaum
LAW OFFICE OF IAN CHOWDHURY
700 N. Valley St., Suite B #15595
Anaheim, CA 92801
Telephone: (661) 242-1898
Should I get my own lawyer?
If you choose to accept the Settlement, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. If you want your own lawyer, you can choose one to represent you separately. However, you will be responsible for paying that lawyer.
For more information and updates on the litigation’s progress on this website. You may also contact one of the lawyers listed on FAQ 10.