The Court directed that this Notice be provided because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement that has been reached in this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and after objections or appeals, if any, are resolved, the Claims Administrator appointed by the Court will distribute the payments that the Settlement allows. This Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what payments are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.
The Court in charge of this case is the Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of King. The case is known as Clopp et. al. v. Pacific Market Research, LLC et. al., Case No. 21-2-08738-4 KNT (the “Lawsuit”). The persons who filed the Lawsuit are called the Plaintiffs and the entity they sued, Pacific Market Research, is called the Defendant.
The Lawsuit claims that Pacific Market Research is liable for the Ransomware Attack and asserts claims for: violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and negligence. The Lawsuit seeks, among other things, payment for persons who were injured by the Ransomware Attack.
Pacific Market Research has denied and continues to deny all of the claims made in the Lawsuit, as well as all charges of wrongdoing or liability against it.
In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Gary Steve Clopp, Shlon Smithson, and LeeAnn Crawford) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. Together, all these people are called a Class or Class members. One Court and one judge resolves the issues for all Class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.
The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Pacific Market Research. Instead, the Plaintiffs negotiated a settlement with Pacific Market Research that allows both Plaintiffs and Pacific Market Research to avoid the risks and costs of lengthy and uncertain litigation and the uncertainty of a trial and appeals. It also allows Settlement Class Members to obtain payment without further delay. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is in the best interest of all Settlement Class Members. This Settlement does not mean that Pacific Market Research did anything wrong.
Who is included in the Settlement?
You are part of this Settlement as a Settlement Class Member if you are an individual whose personal information may have been accessed by a third party in the ransomware attack on Pacific Market Research disclosed by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries in July 2021. If you previously received a notification from Pacific Market Research of the Ransomware Attack then you may be a class member.
Yes. Specifically excluded from the Settlement Class are: (i) Pacific Market Research; (ii) any agent, affiliate, parent, or subsidiary of Pacific Market Research; (iii) any entity in which Pacific Market Research has a controlling interest; (iv) and officer or director of Pacific Market Research; (v) any successor or assign of Pacific Market Research; (vi) any Judge to whom this case is assigned as well as his or her staff and immediate family; (vii) all Settlement Class Members who timely and validly request exclusion from the Settlement Class; (viii) the Judge assigned to evaluate the fairness of this settlement; and (ix) 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 occurrence of the Ransomware Attack or who pleads nolo contender to any such charge.
The Settlement Benefits – What you get if you Qualify
The Settlement will provide payments to people who submit valid claims.
There are two types of payments that are available: (1) Expense Reimbursement (Question 8, below) and (2) Extraordinary Expense Reimbursement (Question 9, below). Pacific Market Research’s total aggregate payments for Expense Reimbursement and Extraordinary Expense Reimbursement shall not exceed $250,000. You may submit a claim for either or both types of payments. In order to claim each type of payment, you must provide related documentation with the Claim Form.
Additionally, if you received a now expired credit monitoring code from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Pacific Market Research has paid to extend the time period for you to redeem existing and unredeemed credit monitoring codes until the claim deadline stated below. The Settlement also provides that Pacific Market Research has spent at least $32,646 in improved information security enhancements since the Ransomware Attack, and Pacific Market Research will commit to continuing security enhancements in each of years 2022, 2023, and 2024.
Class Members are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $250 (in total) for the following categories of out-pocket expenses resulting from the Ransomware Attack:
- bank fees, long distance phone charges, cell phone charges (only if charged by the minute), data charges (only if charged based on the amount of data used), postage, or gasoline for local travel;
- fees for credit reports, credit monitoring, or other identity theft insurance product purchased between July 1, 2021 and the date of the Preliminary Approval Order (if Settlement Class Member makes affirmative statement that it was purchased primarily because of the Ransomware Attack);
- reimbursement of up to three hours of documented lost time (at $20 per hour) spent dealing with the Ransomware Attack, e.g., time spent dealing with replacement card issues, reversing fraudulent charges, but only if at least one full hour was spent, and only if the time can be documented with reasonable specificity by answering the questions on the Claim Form.
Class Members who had other extraordinary unreimbursed monetary losses because of information compromised as part of the Ransomware Attack are eligible to make a claim for reimbursement of up to $2,500. As part of the claim, the Class Member must show that: (1) it is an actual, documented, and unreimbursed monetary loss; (2) the loss was more likely than not caused by the Ransomware Attack; (3) the loss occurred during the time period from May 22, 2021 through and including the end of the applicable claims period; (4) the loss is not already covered by one or more of the categories in Question 8; and (5) a reasonable effort was made to avoid or seek reimbursement for the loss (including exhaustion of all available credit monitoring insurance and identity theft insurance).
More details are provided in the Settlement Agreement, which is available HERE.
How to get Benefits – Submitting a Claim Form
To ask for a payment, you must complete and submit a Claim Form. Claim Forms are available HERE, or you may request one by mail by calling 1-833-540-2223. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, and submit it online or mail it postmarked no later than May 24, 2022 to:
Pacific Market Research Claims Administrator
c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville
PO Box 3116
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
The Claims Administrator will initially decide whether the information provided on a Claim Form is complete and valid. The Claims Administrator may require additional information from any claimant. If the required information is not timely provided, the claim will be considered invalid and will not be paid.
If the claim is complete and the Claims Administrator denies the claim entirely or partially, the claimant will be provided an opportunity to have their claim reviewed by an impartial Claim Referee who has been appointed by the Court.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on May 27, 2022 to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether any appeals can be resolved favorably, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. It also takes time for all the Claim Forms to be processed, depending on the number of claims submitted and whether any appeals are filed. Please be patient.
Remaining in the Settlement
You do not have to do anything to remain in the Settlement, but if you want a payment you must submit a Claim Form online or postmarked by May 24, 2022.
If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue Pacific Market Research, the State of Washington, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and other related entities for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against Pacific Market Research are described in Section 1.21 of the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” Pacific Market Research and all related people or entities as described in Section 6 of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available HERE.
The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions about what this means you can talk to the law firms listed in Question 18 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense.
Excluding yourself from the Settlement
If you do not want a payment from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Pacific Market Research, the State of Washington, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and other related entities about issues in the Litigation, 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.
No. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be entitled to any benefits of the Settlement, but you will not be bound by any judgment in this case.
No. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you give up any right to sue Pacific Market Research, the State of Washington, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and other related 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.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from the Settlement in Clopp et. al. v. Pacific Market Research, LLC et. al., Case No. 21-2-08738-4 KNT. Your letter must also include your name, address, and signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than May 24, 2022 to:
Pacific Market Research Claims Administrator
c/o Postlethwaite & Netterville
PO Box 3116
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
The Lawyers Representing You
Yes. The Court appointed Timothy W. Emery and Patrick B. Reddy of Emery Reddy, PLLC, 600 Stewart Street, Suite 1100, Seattle, Washington 98101 to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, Class Counsel will ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses in the amount not to exceed $146,000. Class Counsel will also request approval of an incentive award of $2,333.33 for the Class Representatives. If approved, these amounts, as well as the costs of notice and settlement administration, will be paid separately by Pacific Market Research and will not reduce the amount of total payments available to Settlement Class Members.
Objecting to the Settlement
You can tell the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement or some part of it.
If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you do not like it or a portion of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. The Court will consider your views before making a decision. To object, you must file with the Court and mail copies to Class Counsel and Pacific Market Research’s Counsel a written notice stating that you object to the Settlement in Clopp et. al. v. Pacific Market Research, LLC et. al., Case No. 21-2-08738-4 KNT.
Your objection must include:
- your full name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
- information or proof showing you are a Settlement Class Member;
- the reasons why you object to the Settlement, including any documents supporting your objection;
- the name and address of your attorney, if you have retained one;
- the name and address of any attorneys representing you that may appear at the Final Fairness Hearing;
- a statement confirming whether you and/or your counsel intend to personally appear and/or testify at the Final Fairness Hearing;
- a list, by case name, court, and docket number, of all other cases in which you (directly or through a lawyer) have filed an objection to any proposed class action settlement within the last three years;
- a list, by case name, court, and docket number, of all other cases in which your lawyer (on behalf of any person or entity) has filed an objection to any proposed class action settlement within the last three years;
- your signature or the signature of your attorney or other duly authorized representative (along with documentation illustrating representation).
Your objection must be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of King, 516 Third Avenue, Room E-609, Seattle, WA 98104 no later than May 24, 2022. You must also mail copies of your objection to Class Counsel and Pacific Market Research’s Counsel postmarked no later than May 24, 2022, at all of the addresses below.
PACIFIC MARKET RESEARCH’S COUNSEL
Timothy W. Emery
James R. Morrison
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class in this Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you have no basis to object or submit a Claim Form because the Settlement no longer affects you.
The Court’s Final Fairness Hearing
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 9:00a.m. on May 27, 2022, in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of King, by Zoom in Courtroom E815. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will take into consideration any properly-filed written objections and may also listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing (see Question 20). The Court will also decide whether to approve fees and costs to Class Counsel, and the incentive awards to the Class Representatives.
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you file an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. You may also hire your own lawyer to attend, at your own expense, but you are not required to do so.
Yes, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must follow the instructions provided in Question 20 above. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
If You Do Nothing
If you do nothing, you will not receive any compensation from this Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, you will be bound by the Settlement Agreement and the Release. This means you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Pacific Market Research or related parties about the issues involved in the Lawsuit, resolved by this Settlement, and released by the Settlement Agreement.
Getting More Information
Yes. This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement, which is available HERE, or by writing to the Pacific Market Research Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 3116, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.
Email Info@DataResearchSettlement.com, call 1-833-540-2223, or write to the Pacific Market Research Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 3116, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.
Credit Monitoring Codes
If you received a now expired credit monitoring code from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Pacific Market Research has paid to extend the time period for you to redeem existing and unredeemed credit monitoring codes until May 24, 2022.
Please visit the link below to redeem your code. You may also visit the link or call the toll-free number for additional information.
- Toll-free phone number: 1-833-909-3909
- Enrollment URL: https://response.idx.us/washington