Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the Notice issued and why should I read it?
The Court has authorized the posting of the notice so that it could be viewed by Class Members. The notice explains the legal rights and options that a Class Member may exercise before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.
Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida is overseeing this case known as In re: Checkers Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 8:19-cv-01386-VMC-CPT. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. Checkers is called the Defendant.
What is this lawsuit about?
The lawsuit claims that Checkers was responsible for the Data Breach and asserts claims such as: breach of implied contract, negligence, negligence per se, unjust enrichment, declaratory judgment, breach of confidence, and violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and California Unfair Competition Law.
Checkers denies these claims. Checkers claims, among other things, that the restaurants affected by the Data Breach were independently owned by franchisees and were not owned or controlled by Checkers itself. No court has made any judgment or other determination of any wrongdoing or violation of the law.
Why is this lawsuit a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” or “Representative Plaintiffs” sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. Together, all of these people are called a “Class” or “Class Members.” In this case, the Representative Plaintiffs are Breandan Cotter and Jack Dinh. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
Why is there a Settlement?
The Court did not issue a ruling in favor of the Representative Plaintiffs or Checkers. Rather, both sides, with the assistance of a mediator, agreed to a settlement. The Settlement is not an admission that Checkers did something wrong, but rather is a compromise to end the lawsuit. By agreeing to settle, both sides avoid the cost and risk of a trial, and people who submit valid claims will get compensation. The Representative Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and, thus, best for the Settlement Class.
WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT?
How do I know if I am included in the Settlement?
You are included in the Settlement Class if you reside in the United States and made a credit or debit card purchase at any affected Checkers or Rally’s restaurant during the period of the Data Breach. For a list of affected Checkers and Rally’s restaurants and the exposure window of the Data Breach for each affected location, click here.
Specifically excluded from the Settlement Class are:
(i) Checkers and its officers and directors; (ii) all Settlement Class Members who timely and validly request exclusion from the Settlement Class; (iii) the Judge or Magistrate Judge to whom the Action is assigned and, any member of those Judges’ staffs or immediate family members; and (iv) any other person found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be guilty under criminal law of initiating, causing, aiding or abetting the criminal activity or occurrence of the Data Breach or who pleads nolo contendere to any such charge.
What if I am not sure whether I am included in the Settlement?
A list of affected Checkers and Rally’s restaurant locations and the exposure window of the Data Breach for each affected location is provided here. If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement, you may call 1-833-384-0111 with questions. You may also write with questions to:
Checkers Data Breach Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS–WHAT YOU GET IF YOU QUALIFY
What does the Settlement provide?
The Settlement will provide cash payments and/or Vouchers that may be used at any Checkers or Rally’s restaurant to people who submit valid claims.
You may submit a claim for either type of relief. In order receive cash payment or Vouchers, you must submit a Claim Form on or before the Claims Deadline (October 28, 2020).
What payments are available for Documented Expense Reimbursement?
Settlement Class Members are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $5,000 (in total) for documented out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the Data Breach, such as:
- costs and expenses spent addressing identity theft or fraud;
- losses caused by restricted access to funds (i.e., costs of taking out a loan, ATM withdrawal fees);
- preventative costs including purchasing credit monitoring, placing security freezes on credit reports, or requesting copies of credit reports for review;
- late fees, declined payment fees, overdraft fees, returned check fees, customer service fees, and/or card cancellation or replacement fees;
- unauthorized charges on credit or debit cards that were not reimbursed;
- other documented losses that were not reimbursed; and
- up to four (4) hours of documented time spent remedying issues relating the Data Breach (calculated at the rate of $20.00 per hour).
Failure to provide the required documentation for the Documented Expense Reimbursement Claim will cause the claim to be treated as an Attested Expense Reimbursement Claim as detailed in Question 9.
What payments are available for Attested Expense Reimbursement?
Settlement Class Members who attest that they used a credit or debit card at an affected Checkers and Rally’s restaurant location during the Data Breach, but do not have documentation to support their claim, are eligible to submit a Claim Form to receive four (4) Vouchers of $5.00 each, that may be used at any Checkers or Rally’s restaurant. Vouchers are valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance and are freely transferrable.
HOW DO YOU SUBMIT A CLAIM?
How do I get a payment?
To receive a payment, you must complete and submit a Claim Form. Claim Forms may be submitted online, along with documentation (for Documented Expense Reimbursement claims) here. Claim Forms may also be downloaded and printed here or requested by mail by calling 1-833-384-0111 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, provide the required documentation, and mail it postmarked no later than October 28, 2020 to:
Checkers Data Breach Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
How will claims be decided?
The Settlement Administrator will initially decide whether the information provided on each Claim Form is complete and valid. The Settlement Administrator may require additional information. If you do not provide the required documentation for the Documented Expense Reimbursement Claim, your claim will be treated as an Attested Expense Reimbursement Claim. If you do not provide the required information for an Attested Expense Reimbursement Claim, the claim will be considered invalid and will not be paid. Class Counsel and Checkers also will have an opportunity to challenge any claims determined to be valid by the Settlement Administrator.
Approved Claims are those submitted in a timely manner and found to be valid, and in an amount approved, by the Settlement Administrator.
When will I get my payment?
The Court will hold a hearing on December 8, 2020 to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court 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 all the Claim Forms to be processed. Please be patient.
REMAINING IN THE SETTLEMENT
What am I giving up as part of the Settlement?
If the Settlement becomes final and you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will remain a Settlement Class Member and you will give up your right to sue Checkers for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against Checkers are described in Article X of the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” Checkers and all related people or entities described in Section 2.26 of the Settlement Agreement for claims related to the Data Breach. The Settlement Agreement is available here.
The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. Specifically, as defined in Section 2.27 of the Settlement Agreement, “Released Claims” mean any and all claims, rights, rights of set-off and recoupment, demands, actions, obligations, and causes of action of any and every kind, nature, and character, known and unknown, including without limitation, negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, breach of implied contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of confidence, invasion of privacy, misrepresentation (whether fraudulent, negligent, or innocent), unjust enrichment, bailment, wantonness, failure to provide adequate notice pursuant to any breach notification statute or common law duty, any federal, state, or local statutory or regulatory claims, including, but not limited to, pursuant to consumer protection laws, unfair and deceptive trade practice laws, and further including, but not limited to, any and all claims for damages, injunctive relief, disgorgement, declaratory relief, equitable relief, attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, pre-judgment interest, credit monitoring services, the creation of a fund for future damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, special damages, exemplary damages, restitution, the appointment of a receiver, and any other form of relief that any Settlement Class Member has, has asserted, could have asserted, or could assert against any of the Released Persons based on, relating to, concerning, or arising out of the Data Breach Incident (including but not limited to the theft or compromise of Personal Information) or the allegations, facts, or circumstances described in the Litigation and/or Complaint.
If you have any questions you can talk to the law firms listed in FAQ 19 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
If you do not want to be part of this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Checkers about the issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement Class. This is called excluding yourself from – or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of – the Settlement Class.
If I exclude myself, can I get a payment from this Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to any benefits from the Settlement, but you will not be bound by any judgment in this case.
If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Checkers for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Checkers (and the released persons and entities) for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class to start your own lawsuit or to be part of any different lawsuit relating to the claims in this case. If you exclude yourself, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.
If you are requesting exclusion because you want to bring your own lawsuit based on the matters alleged in this class action, you may want to consult an attorney and discuss whether any individual claim that you may wish to pursue would be time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations or repose.
How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must complete and sign a request for exclusion electronically, or by mailing your request to the Settlement Administrator at the address below. To exclude yourself by mail, send a letter that says you want to be excluded from the Settlement in In re: Checkers Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 8:19-cv-01386-VMC-CPT. Include your name, address, and signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked by October 28, 2020, to:
Checkers Data Breach Settlement Administrator
ATTN: Exclusion Request
PO Box 58220
Philadelphia, PA 19102
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?
You can tell the Court that you do not agree with all or any part of the Settlement, Class Counsel’s request for attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses, and/or the request for service awards for the Representative Plaintiffs. The Court will consider your views in its decision to approve the Settlement. If the Court denies approval, no settlement payments will be sent out, and the lawsuits will continue. To object, you must file a written objection in this case, In re: Checkers Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 8:19-cv-01386-VMC-CPT, with the Clerk of the Court.
Your objection must state: (1) your full name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if any); (2) information identifying you as a Settlement Class Member, including proof that you are a member of the Settlement Class; (3) your signature and the signature of your duly authorized attorney or other duly authorized representative (along with documentation setting forth such representation); (4) a written statement of all grounds for the objection, including whether your objection applies only to you, a specific subset of the class, or the entire class, accompanied by any legal support for the objection that you believe is applicable; (5) the identity of all counsel representing you, if any; (6) a statement confirming whether you intend to personally appear and/or testify at the final fairness hearing; and (7) a list of all class action settlement agreements to which you have lodged an objection within the last five (5) years.
To be considered, your objection must be postmarked to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court Middle District of Florida no later than October 28, 2020.
Clerk of the Court
United States District Court
Middle District of Florida
Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse
801 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, FL 33602
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like the Settlement and why you do not think it should be approved. You can object only if you are a member of the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class and do not want to receive any payment from the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because you are no longer a member of the Settlement Class and the case no longer affects you.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
Do I have a lawyer in this case?
Yes. The Court appointed Tina Wolfson and Bradley K. King of Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC, Jean Sutton Martin of Morgan & Morgan, and Abbas Kazerounian and Jason Ibey, Esq. of Kazerouni Law Group, APC as Class Counsel to represent the Settlement Class. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses of $575,000, to compensate Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement and will be the only payment to them for their efforts in achieving this Settlement and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis.
Class Counsel will also ask the Court for a service awards up to $2,500 each for the Representative Plaintiffs Breandan Cotter and Jack Dinh.
Any award for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses for Class Counsel, and service awards to the Representative Plaintiffs must be approved by the Court. The Court may award less than the amounts requested. Class Counsel’s papers in support of final approval of the Settlement and their application for attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and service awards will be filed no later than October 24, 2020 and will be posted on the Settlement website.
THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold a Final Approval hearing at 10:00 AM on December 8, 2020, at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse, Courtroom 14B, 801 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33602. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are timely objections, the Court will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing if such a request has been properly made. The Court will also rule on the request for an award of attorneys’ fees and reasonable costs and expenses, as well as the request for service awards for the Representative Plaintiffs. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website or call 1-833-384-0111.
Do I have to attend the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will present the Settlement Agreement to the Court. You or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your own expense, but you are not required to do so. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection on time with the Court and submitted it according to the instructions provided in FAQ 17, the Court will consider it.
May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must file an objection according to the instructions in FAQ 17, including all the information required. Your objection must be postmarked to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Tampa Division) no later than October 28, 2020.
IF YOU DO NOTHING
What happens if I do nothing?
If you do nothing, you will not get any compensation from this Settlement and after the Settlement is granted final approval and the judgment becomes final, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Checkers (and other related persons and entities, as specified in the Settlement Agreement) about the Data Breach, ever again.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
How do I get more information?
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available here. You may also call the Settlement Administrator with questions or to request a Claim Form be mailed to you by calling 1-833-384-0111 or emailing email@example.com.