Class Action No. GD-19-008596 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I get this notice package?

    1. The Court approved this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves it, and objections and appeals (if any) are resolved, the Settlement Administrator will make the payments the settlement allows. 

      The Court in charge of the case is the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and the case is known as Helena Haddad, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. West-Aircomm Federal Credit Union, GD-19-008596.  The person suing is Helena Haddad, the Plaintiff (also called “Class Representative”) and the company being sued, West-Aircomm Federal Credit Union, is called the Defendant, or “WAFCU.”

      This package explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible, and how to get them.

      WAFCU’s records reflect that you and any co-borrower on your vehicle loan were sent one or more notices from WAFCU following the repossession and sale of your vehicle between June 13, 2013 through May 7, 2019.  WAFCU’s conduct post-repossession, including its use of these notices, forms the basis for this lawsuit.

  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    1. The lawsuit claims that WAFCU violated Pennsylvania’s Uniform Commercial Code by failing to send its borrowers in Pennsylvania (a) proper notice of disposition of collateral (“Repossession Notice”) after repossession of their vehicle(s), and (b) proper explanation of calculation of deficiency (“Deficiency Notice”) after the sale of the vehicle(s). 

      Specifically, Plaintiff asserts on behalf of herself and a class of borrowers that the Repossession Notice sent by WAFCU fail to advise the borrower of (1) the method of intended disposition; (2) the borrower’s right to an accounting of any unpaid indebtedness, and the charge (if any) for such accounting; and (3) a telephone number or mailing address from which additional information concerning the disposition and the secured obligation may be obtained. Plaintiff also asserts on behalf of herself and the Class that the Deficiency Notices fail to provide the statutorily mandated explanation of how WAFCU calculated a deficiency.

      WAFCU denies that its disclosures violated any law, and WAFCU asserts that it satisfied all of the legal requirements as to its notices.  WAFCU asserts other defenses.  WAFCU further contends that many of the members of the Class owe WAFCU money for balances still due on their accounts following the sale of their repossessed vehicle(s) at auction.

  3. Why is this a class action?

    1. In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case Helena Haddad), sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims.  All these people are “Class Members,” and grouped together are a “Class.”  One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.  WAFCU has challenged whether this case should proceed as a class action but has agreed not to oppose this case proceeding as a class for settlement purposes only.

  4. Why is there a settlement?

    1. Plaintiff believes the Class might have won more money than the settlement amount had the case gone to trial, but substantial delays and risks would have occurred, including the risk of the case not being certified as a class.  WAFCU believes that the claims asserted in the case are without substantial merit, and that the Plaintiff may have recovered nothing if there had been a trial.  But, there has been no trial.  Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement.  That way, they avoid the cost of a trial and appeal, and class members like yourself will get compensation and other settlement benefits promptly.  The Class Representative and her attorneys think the settlement is best for all Class Members.

  5. How do I know that I am part of the settlement?

    1. If you received this Notice in the mail, WAFCU’s records reflect that you are part of the Class.  The Court has preliminarily certified a Class, which includes borrowers on secured auto loans who were sent certain notices between June 13, 2013 through May 7, 2019 after their vehicle was repossessed. 

  6. What does the settlement provide for me?

      • Cash Component
        • WAFCU has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $300,000.00.  Approved administrative costs, Class Counsel fees and expenses, and a service award for the Class Representative will be paid from that fund.  The Net Fund that remains will be distributed to the members of the Class.  
        • The Net Fund will be distributed to you and the other members of the Class in proportionate to the amount of statutory damages you may claim, which is different for each Class Member.  There are approximately 59 secured obligations in the Class.

      If after the first distribution of checks to the Class, $30,000 or more remains in the Net Fund (from uncashed or undistributable checks), there will be a second distribution of checks to the Class.  A balance remaining after the second distribution will be paid to the following cy pres beneficiaries for consumer uses: 50% to Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (“IOLTA”), 25% to Neighborhood Legal Services based in Pittsburgh, PA, and 25% to Alliance for Consumer Protection, Beaver County.

      • Credit Reporting Relief:  Unless you reinstated your loan, WAFCU will request that the credit reporting agencies update your credit report to remove any reference to the WAFCU auto loan contract.  Details about how and when this will be done, and limits on WAFCU’s obligation to provide credit reporting relief are spelled out further in the Settlement Agreement.
  7. Tax Implications

    1. This settlement has potential tax implications for you.  The Settlement Administrator plans to issue IRS 1099-series forms for cash payments over $600. You may be required to furnish your Social Security Number to the administrator as a condition of payment of settlement proceeds over $600.  

  8. Do I need to do anything to get a payment or the credit reporting benefit

    1. No. You do not need to do anything further to remain in the Class.  You will get a payment automatically, assuming court approval of the Settlement. You will also get any credit reporting benefit automatically unless you reinstated your auto loan.

  9. When is the hearing on final approval of the proposed settlement?

    1. The Court will hold a hearing on June 9, 2023 at 9:30 A.M.. at Courtroom 820, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 to decide whether to approve the settlement.  If the Court approves the settlement after hearing, there may be appeals.  It is always uncertain whether there will be an appeal and if so, when it will be resolved. Resolving an appeal can take time, often well more than a year.  Please be patient.

  10. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?

    1. Unless you exclude yourself, you will stay in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against WAFCU related to your repossessed motor vehicle.  It also means that the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.  Unless you “opt-out” or exclude yourself from this case, you will automatically be deemed to have agreed to a “Release of Claims” which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you remain in the Class. The specific language of the release is set forth in the Settlement Agreement, which can be found on the website: www.West-AircommRepoSettlement.com.


  11. How do I get out of the settlement?

    1. To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator, with copies to counsel, by mail (first class, postage pre-paid) saying that you, as well as any and all other person(s) who signed your vehicle loan, want to be excluded from Helena Haddad, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. West-Aircomm Federal Credit Union, GD-19-008596.  Be sure to include your name, address, email (if available), telephone number and your signature.  Mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than April 13, 2023, to all of three different addresses below.

      Settlement Administrator

      Class Counsel

      Defense Counsel

      Haddad v. WAFCU
      Settlement Administrator
      8011 Philips Hwy Ste 5,
      Jacksonville, FL 32256


      Cary L. Flitter, Esq.
      Flitter Milz, P.C.
      450 N. Narberth Avenue
      Suite 101
      Narberth, PA 19072

      Geralyn Passaro, Esq.
      Litchfield Cavo, LLP
      600 Corporate Dr, Ste 600
      Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334

  12. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue WAFCU for the same thing later?

    1. No.  Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue WAFCU for the claims that this settlement resolves.  If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.  You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. 

  13. If I exclude myself, can I get money from this settlement?

    1. No.  If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money from this lawsuit or settlement, credit report deletion, or other relief that this Class Settlement provides. 

  14. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    1. The Court has approved the law firms of Flitter Milz, P.C., in Narberth, PA, and the Law Office of Emily Gomez, LLC of Pittsburgh, PA, to represent you and other Class Members.  These lawyers are called Class Counsel.  You will not be charged individually for these lawyers.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire a firm at your own expense.

  15. How will the lawyers and Representative Plaintiff be paid?

    1. As part of the class settlement, Plaintiff will ask the court to approve a $12,500 service award for her time and effort in bringing this case.  Plaintiff will ask the Court to approve a payment out of the settlement fund in the amount of $120,000 and $5,000 for Class Counsel fees and expenses, respectively.  The fees would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, negotiating the settlement, filing legal papers with the Court, and oversight of future implementation of the settlement, including fielding inquiries from Class Members.  Class Counsel has not been paid for its time or services since this case was originally filed in August 2019.  The Court could award less than this amount.

  16. How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the settlement?

    1. If you are a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you don’t like any part of it.  You should state why you object and why you think the Court should not approve the settlement.  The Court will consider your views.  To object, you must file an objection, or send a letter saying that you object to the settlement in Helena Haddad, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. West-Aircomm Federal Credit Union, GD-19-008596.  Please be sure to include your name, address, email address (if available), telephone number, your signature, and the reasons you object to the settlement.  Mail the objection to all of the three different places listed in Section 12 above, postmarked no later than April 13, 2023, and file with the Department of Court Records, Civil/Family Division, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

  17. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?

    1. Objecting is telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement, and that you, for that reason, want the settlement not to be approved.  You can object only if you stay in the Class.  Excluding yourself 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 case no longer affects you.

      The Court's Fairness Hearing

      The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement.  You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to, and attendance is not required or expected unless you advise that you intend to appear or have your lawyer appear.

  18. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    1. The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on June 9, 2023, at 9:30 A.M. at Courtroom 820, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and meets the test for class action settlements.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing.  The Court may also determine the Class Representative Service Award and Class Counsel fees and expenses.  Following the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

  19. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    1. No.  Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have.  But you are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you file an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it, but you may.  As long as you properly mailed (or electronically filed) your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend if you wish.

  20. May I speak at the hearing?

    1. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing.  To do so, you or your lawyer must send a letter stating that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Helena Haddad, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. West-Aircomm Federal Credit Union, GD-19-008596.”  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed or mailed so as to be filed with the Court no later than April 13, 2023, and be sent to the Department of Court Records at the addresses in Section 11.  You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the settlement.

  21. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    1. If you do not exclude yourself and the Court finally approves the settlement, you will receive a settlement payment(s) and credit reporting relief as provided in the Class Action Settlement Agreement. 

  22. Are there more details about the settlement?

    1. This notice summarizes the proposed settlement.  The pleadings and other records in this litigation, including a copy of the Settlement Agreement, may be examined at any time during regular office hours at the Department of Court Records, Civil/Family Division, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  These documents will also appear on a website created for this case: www.West-AircommRepoSettlement.com.  

      You may also call or write to the following:

      Class Counsel
      450 N. Narberth Avenue, Suite 101
      Narberth, PA 19072

      Please do not call the Court, WAFCU, or WAFCU’s counsel