HAITHAM ALRAMLI V YACHT CLOSER LLC, ET AL

CASE NO.: CACE-18-018912 In the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit In and For Broward County, Florida

  1. Why is this notice being sent to me?

    1. Plaintiff, Haitham Alramli, reached a proposed settlement with Yacht Closer, LLC and YachtCloser Financial, LLC (collectively “YachtCloser” or the “Settling Defendants”), not only for himself, but on behalf of a settlement class defined as follows:

      All persons who from August 3, 2014 to the present entered into an agreement with YachtCloser to arrange an extension of credit with third-party lenders for which YachtCloser was paid a fee for arranging credit services.

      If you received this notice, then the Settling Defendants’ records reflect that you may be a member of the Settlement Class. The purpose of this notice is to inform you of the terms of the proposed settlement and the benefits available under it, to inform you how this lawsuit and the settlement may affect your legal rights, how you may submit a claim under the settlement, and to advise you of the steps you must take if you wish to exclude yourself from the settlement.

  2. What is the lawsuit about?

    1. A class action Complaint was filed by Haitham Alramli (“Class Representative”) against YachtCloser alleging that YachtCloser violated Fla. Stat. §817.7001, et seq., known more commonly as the “Florida Credit Service Organization Act” (“CSOA”). In the Complaint, the Class Representative alleged that YachtCloser did not comply with the CSOA with respect to the form and content of the contracts and disclosures to consumers YachtCloser did business with, resulting in undisclosed fees being charged to Class Members (“Commission Fee”).

      The Court has made no determination regarding correctness or validity of any of the claims or defenses in this lawsuit. Instead, the parties have entered into a settlement agreement in the hopes of ending the time, expense, and uncertainty of litigation.

       

  3. Who represents the Settlement Class?

    1. Settlement Class Counsel is Robert W. Murphy, Esq., of the Law Office of Robert W. Murphy, 1212 Southeast 2nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.

  4. What are the settlement terms?

    1. Settling Defendants have agreed to establish a settlement a fund of $90,000 (“Settlement Fund”) for the payment of settlement benefits to approximately 119 Class Members. As discussed below, attorney’s fees, litigation costs, a Service Award to the Class Representative, and the costs paid to a third-party Claims Administrator to administer the settlement (including mailing this notice) will be paid by YachtCloser separate and apart from the Settlement Fund. The settlement payments shall be made jointly in the event of co-borrowers on a Loan Agreement account and shall be mailed to address of the primary obligor. Payment will be made by check, which will expire if not cashed within 90 days (“Settlement Payment Check”). Funds from unclaimed Settlement Payment Checks and funds allocated to class members who have opted-out of the settlement up to $5,000 will be donated to the National Consumer Law Center as a cy pres award.

  5. How much will I receive from the Settlement Fund?

    1. Each Class Member who does not exclude themselves from the Settlement (“Participating Class Member”) will receive a payment (“YachtCloser Commission Refund”) in amount that is proportionate to the amount of the Commission Fee paid to YachtCloser as a result of a loan of the Class Member bears to the Class Fund. To learn the approximate amount of your YachtCloser Commission Refund, you may access it here.

  6. How will the lawyer be paid? What will the Class Representative receive?

    1. Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve attorney’s fees and litigation expense (“Attorney Fee Request”) in the amount of $100,000 to be paid by YachtCloser separate from the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to approve an Incentive Award (“Incentive Award”) of $5,000 to be paid from the Settlement Fund to the Class Representative for the time and resources he has spent helping the lawyer on behalf of the whole Class. The Court may award less than the requested amount to both Class Counsel and the Class Representative.

      No Class Member will owe or pay anything for attorney’s fees and expenses or the Incentive Award. Any award of attorney’s fees and expenses or the Incentive Award will be paid separate from the Settlement Fund.

      The cost of administrating the settlement (“Settlement Administration Expense”), including the cost of sending this notice and the mailing of Settlement Checks will be paid by YachtCloser apart from the Settlement Fund. The Court must approve the attorney’s fees and expenses for Class Counsel and the Incentive Award for the Class Representative. The Court will conduct a hearing on the Attorney Fee Request of Class Counsel and the Incentive Award to the Class Representative at the same time of the final approval hearing.

  7. Is the settlement final?

    1. The settlement of this lawsuit is not yet final. It will not take effect unless and until the Court approves the settlement and until all appellate court review is exhausted or the time for seeking all such review has expired, as explained more fully in the settlement agreement.

  8. How do I make a claim under the settlement?

    1. You do not need to take any further action in order to make a claim under the settlement. If you have received this notice, you have been identified as a putative class member. If you do not exercise your right to opt out of the class action (as discussed in Question 9), your Settlement Payment Check will be mailed to you at the same address or the address of the primary obligor in the event of joint borrowers on the Loan Agreement account.

  9. If the Court finally approves the Settlement, what will happen to any claims I may have against Yacht Closer, LLC and YachtCloser Financial, LLC?

    1. If the settlement becomes final, it will result in a release by the Class Representative and all members of the Settlement Class of all claims, known or unknown, which were or which could have been brought against Settling Defendants. This means if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will not be able to sue or join another lawsuit against the Settling Defendants for such claims.

  10. Why is Class Counsel recommending the settlement?

    1. The attorney in this lawsuit reached this settlement after weighing the risks and benefits to the Settlement Class of settling this lawsuit as compared to those of continuing it. The factors that were considered include the uncertainty of the claims, as well as other legal issues that have not yet been determined by the Court. Settlement Class Counsel balanced these and other substantial risks in determining that the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate in light of the circumstances and is in the best interests of the class.

  11. What if I do not want to participate in the settlement?

    1. You do not have to be included in this settlement. If you want to exclude yourself from the settlement, write a letter that sets forth your name, address, and that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class. This letter must be signed by you and mailed by U.S. mail postmarked no later than June 10, 2021 to the following address: Boat Loan CSOA Class Action, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23680, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3369; Telephone: (888) 768-7138, with a copy also being sent by U.S. Mail to Robert W. Murphy, 1212 Southeast 2nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 and to Charles E. Stoecker, Esq. and Thomas M. Hanson, Esq., McGlinchey Stafford, One East Broward Blvd., Suite 1400, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.  

      You will be bound by the settlement agreement and final judgment of the Court unless you submit a valid and timely request for exclusion from the Settlement Class.

  12. What if I want to object to the settlement?

    1. The Court has scheduled a fairness hearing on June 30, 2021 at 3:15 pm at the Broward County Courthouse, 201 S.E. 6th Street, Courtroom WW15165, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. The purpose of this hearing is to, among other things, consider whether to give final approval to the settlement.

      Any member of the Settlement Class may appear at the hearing. Any member of the Settlement Class may also oppose the settlement at the hearing. However, you must first file a written notice of objection with the Clerk of the Court, 201 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301.  The filing must include:

          (a)    A statement of each objection asserted;
          (b)    A detailed description of the facts underlying each objection;
          (c)    A detailed description of the legal authorities supporting each objection;
          (d)    A statement of whether the objector intends to appear and argue at the Fairness Hearing and, if so, how long the objector anticipates needing to present the objection;
          (e)    A list of witnesses whom the objector may call by live testimony, oral deposition testimony, or affidavit during the Fairness Hearing;
          (f)    A list of the exhibits and documents that the objector will offer during the Fairness Hearing, along with copies of such exhibits and documents;
          (g)    The name and contact information, if any, of counsel for the objector; and
          (h)    A detailed statement of any personal or financial interest of the objector or his/her counsel in the outcome of this Class Action, determination of the objection, Preliminary Settlement Approval, the Final Order, or Final Judgment.

      In addition to filing your objection with the Court, you must also mail copies of your objection to Robert W. Murphy, 1212 Southeast 2nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, and to Charles E. Stoecker, Esq. and Thomas M. Hanson, Esq., McGlinchey Stafford, One East Broward Blvd., Suite 1400, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Each objection must be postmarked by June 10, 2021.

      As a result of the effect of COVID-19 on court operations, the final approval hearing may occur telephonically. If you or your attorney plan to attend the hearing, please contact Class Counsel (see Question 13) prior to the hearing to obtain updated information, including a toll free call-in number in the event of a telephonic hearing.

  13. How can I obtain additional information?

    1. This notice is only a summary of the settlement. If you would like more information, please contact Settlement Class Counsel at (954) 763-8660 or [email protected].

      Additionally, you may access the Important Documents section to review copies of pertinent court filings and to learn the approximate amount of your YachtCloser Commission Refund. You will need your Notice ID and PIN.

      Do not contact the Court with any questions; the Court cannot provide you with legal advice. Any questions should be directed to class counsel or your own attorney.