Elizabeth Russett, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Insurance Service Charge Settlement
Case No. 19-cv-07414

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A Court authorized the notice because Class Members have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

    The Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is overseeing this case. The case is called Russett, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Case No. 7:19-cv-07414-KMK. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. The Defendant is The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

  • In a class action, one or more people called class representatives (in this case, Elizabeth Russett, Beth Calabrese, and Jan Bullard) sue on behalf of a group or a “class” of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • This lawsuit claims that Defendant violated New York law by charging its customers an additional fee based on the method by which they chose to pay their monthly premiums. Defendant denies any wrongdoing and denies the Plaintiffs’ allegations. The Court has not determined who is right. Rather, the Parties have without admitting liability agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation.

  • The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiffs or the Defendant should win this case. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation, and Class Members will get compensation sooner rather than, if at all, after the completion of a trial.

  • The Court decided that everyone who fits the following description is a member of the Settlement Class:

    Persons with a New York mailing address who from June 21, 2016 to and through May 28, 2020 were charged by Defendant an additional rate or fee or a differential in the rate or fee based on the method by which they chose to make payments.

     
  • A Settlement Fund has been created totaling $595,000.00. Class Member payments as well as the cost to administer the Settlement, the cost to inform people about the Settlement, attorneys’ fees, and awards to the Class Representatives, will come out of this fund.

    A detailed description of the settlement benefits can be found in the Settlement Agreement.

     
  • If you have an active insurance service account with Northwestern Mutual, you will automatically receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund via a credit to your account, so long as you do not request to be excluded from the Settlement Class. If you close your insurance service account May 28, 2020, then you will receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund in the form of a check issued to you, rather than via a credit to the account.

    If you have a closed insurance service account, the deadline to file a claim was November 20, 2020 and has passed. 

     
  • The hearing to consider the fairness of the settlement is scheduled for October 6, 2020. If the Court approves the settlement, eligible Class Members whose claims were approved by the Settlement Administrator will receive their payment within 60 days after the Settlement has been finally approved and/or after any appeals process is complete. Class Members with an active insurance services account will receive their payments in the form of a credit to their account. Class members with a closed insurance services account will receive their payment in the form of a check, and all checks will expire and become void 180 days after they are issued.

  • If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue the Defendant and other Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against the Defendant are described in the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” the Defendant and certain of its affiliates, employees and representatives as described in Section 3.2 of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself, you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available through the “court documents” link on the website.

    The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions you can talk to the lawyers listed in Question 11 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.

  • If you have an active insurance service account with Northwestern Mutual, once the Settlement becomes Final, you will receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund based on the total amount of service charges you paid via your account between June 21, 2016 and May 28, 2020.

    If you have a closed insurance service account with Northwestern Mutual, you must submit a claim to receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund in the form of a check, based on the total amount of service charges you paid via your account between June 21, 2016 and May 28, 2020. If you have a closed insurance account and do nothing, you won’t get a share of the Settlement benefits and will give up your rights to sue the Defendant about the claims in this case.

  • The Court has appointed Bursor & Fisher, P.A to be the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” They believe, after conducting an extensive investigation, that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your expense.

  • Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and costs may be paid out of the Settlement Fund in an amount to be determined by the Court. The fee petition will seek no more than one-third of the Settlement Fund; the Court may award less than this amount. Under the Settlement Agreement, any amount awarded to Class Counsel will be paid out of the Settlement Fund.

    Subject to approval by the Court, the Class Representatives may be paid up to $5,000 each from the Settlement Fund.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was August 3, 2020 and has passed. 

     
  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was August 3, 2020 and has passed. If you excluded yourself prior to the deadline, you gave up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was August 3, 2020 and has passed. If you excluded yourself prior to the deadline, you will not receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was August 3, 2020 and has passed.

  • 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 Settlement no longer affects you.

  • The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 and ruled the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interest of the Settlement Class. The Court approved the Settlement and the request for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the request for an incentive award to the Class Representative.

  • The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

  •  The deadline to file a  “Notice of Intent to Appear in Russett, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company" was August 3, 2020 and has passed.  

  • This Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to Insurance Service Charge Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91306, Seattle, WA 98111. You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-928-2554 or Class Counsel at 1-646-837-7150 if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read the full Notice carefully.

For More Information

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

Mail
Insurance Service Charge Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91306
Seattle, WA 98111