Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why was a Notice issued?

    A Court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about the 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.

    Judge Nancy G. Edmunds of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is overseeing this case. The case is known as Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture, Case No. 2:17-cv-11630-NGE-RSW. Mr. Bowman, the person who sued, is called the Plaintiff/Class Representative. The Defendant is Art Van.

    If you would like to review a copy of the Notice, you may download a copy here.

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  2. What is a class action?

    In a class action, one or more named plaintiffs called Class Representatives (in this case, Michael Bowman) 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.

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  3. What is this lawsuit about?

    This lawsuit alleges that Art Van made prerecorded phone calls in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. The Class Representative claims that Art Van made phone calls to telephone users who never provided consent. Art Van denies that it violated any law and has asserted several defenses.

    The Court has not determined who is right. Rather, the Parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation.

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  4. Why is there a settlement?

    The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiff 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 now rather than, if at all, years from now.

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  5. How do I know if I am in the Settlement Class?

    You are a member of the Settlement Class if you were called by or on behalf of Art Van Furniture through the use of prerecorded voice technology between May 23, 2013, and July 23, 2018.

    For the full definition of the Settlement Class, please see the Settlement Agreement, which is available by contacting the Settlement Administrator, Class Counsel, or by clicking here.

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  6. What does the Settlement provide?

    Art Van has agreed to fund a Settlement Fund of $5,875,000. The cost to send notice to the class and administer the Settlement, as well as attorneys’ fees and payments to the Class Representative, will come out of this amount (see FAQ 13). The amount remaining after deducting these costs (the “Net Settlement Fund”) will be used to pay the claims of eligible class members who submit valid claims.

    Class members who file valid claims and who are part of this class, according to Art Van’s records, will be eligible to receive One (1) Award Unit from the Net Settlement Fund.

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  7. How much will my payment be?

    If you are a member of the Class and the Court gives final approval to the Settlement, you may be entitled to receive a check for an amount equal to the value of One (1) Award Unit. The amount of your exact payment cannot be calculated at this time. Your payment will depend on the total number of valid claims that are filed, the cost of the Notice, and any Incentive Award to the Class Representative and award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel.

    You may only make one claim per telephone number, regardless of how many calls were received.

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  8. When will I get my payment?

    You should receive a check from the Settlement Administrator within 60 to 90 days after the Settlement has been finally approved and/or after any appeals have been resolved in favor of the Settlement. The hearing to consider the final fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for October 24, 2018. All checks will expire and become void 90 days after they are issued.

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  9. How do I get benefits?

    If you are a class member and you want to participate in the Settlement, you must complete and submit a Claim Form, under penalty of perjury, by September 26, 2018. The Claim Form is included with the Notice and can be found by downloading a copy here, calling toll-free 1-855-331-3602, or by contacting Class Counsel at 1-720-213-0676. The Claim Form can be submitted online here or submitted by mail.

    You can only make one claim per telephone number.

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  10. What am I giving up if I stay in the Settlement Class?

    If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue Art Van and the Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against Art Van are described in Section V of the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” the Defendant and other entities and individuals as described in Section V of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself (see FAQ 14 and see FAQ 15), you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a Claim Form or not. 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, you can talk to Class Counsel listed in FAQ 12 and FAQ 17 for free, or you can talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about what this means.

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  11. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you won’t get any benefits from this Settlement. But, unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant and the Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

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  12. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

    The Court has appointed Steven L. Woodrow, Patrick H. Peluso, and Taylor Smith of Woodrow & Peluso, LLC, and Stefan Coleman of the Law Offices of Stefan Coleman, PLLC to be the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. Steven L. Woodrow is called “Class Counsel.” Class Counsel believes, 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. You may also enter an appearance through an attorney if you so desire.

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  13. How will the lawyers be paid?

    The Settlement Agreement allows Class Counsel to submit a petition for attorneys’ fees of up to one third of the Settlement Fund as fees and expenses for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement in this matter. Class Counsel may seek, and 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 Representative will receive $5,000 from the Settlement Fund as an Incentive Award for his service in helping to litigate and settle this case.

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  14. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter (or request for exclusion) by mail stating that you want to be excluded from Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture, Case No. 2:17-cv-11630-NGE-RSW. Your letter or request for exclusion must also include your name, your address, the phone number that received the relevant telephone calls, and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request so that it is postmarked no later than September 26, 2018 to:

    Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture
    Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 3410
    Portland, OR 97208-3410

    The Court will exclude from the Class any class member who timely requests exclusion.

    You cannot request exclusion by phone or on this website.

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

    No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue Art Van and the Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

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  16. If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?

    No. If you exclude yourself, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for benefits.

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  17. How do I object to the Settlement?

    If you’re a class member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture, Case No. 2:17-cv-11630-NGE-RSW, and identify all your reasons for your objections (including citations and supporting evidence) and attach any materials you rely on for your objections. Your letter or brief must also include your name, your address, your telephone number that received the telephone call(s) from or on behalf of Art Van Furniture, and your signature.

    Class Counsel will file with the Court, and post on this website under the “Important Documents” page, their request for attorneys’ fees two weeks prior to the objection deadline.

    If you want to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing to object to the Settlement, with or without a lawyer (explained below in FAQ 21), you must say so in your letter or brief. Mail the objection to these three places, postmarked no later than September 26, 2018:

    Court Class Counsel Defense Counsel
    The Honorable Nancy G. Edmunds
    c/o Clerk of the Court
    Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse
    231 W. Lafayette Blvd.
    Room 858
    Detroit, MI 48226
    Steven L. Woodrow, Esq.
    Woodrow & Peluso, LLC
    3900 E. Mexico Ave.
    Ste. 300
    Denver, CO 80210
    1-720-213-0675
    Martin W. Jaszczuk, Esq.
    Jaszczuk P.C.
    311 S. Wacker Dr.
    Ste. 3200
    Chicago, IL 60606
    1-312-442-0509

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  18. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding myself from the Settlement?

    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 case no longer affects you.

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  19. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold the Fairness Hearing at 1:00 p.m. on October 24, 2018 at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse at 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 811 Detroit, Michigan 48226. The purpose of the hearing will be for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class; to consider Class Counsel’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses; and to consider the request for an Incentive Award to the Class Representative. At that hearing, the Court will be available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the Settlement.

    The hearing may be postponed to a different date or time without notice, so it is a good idea to check this website or with Class Counsel by calling 1-720-213-0676. If, however, you timely object to the Settlement and advise the Court that you intend to appear and speak at the Fairness Hearing, you will receive notice of any change in the date of such Fairness Hearing.

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  20. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection or comment, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it’s not required.

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  21. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?

    Yes. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear in Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture, Case No. 2:17-cv-11630-NGE-RSW.” It must include your name, address, telephone number, and signature, as well as the name and address of your lawyer, if one is appearing for you. Your Notice of Intent to Appear must be postmarked no later than September 26, 2018, and be sent to the addresses listed in FAQ 17. You must also state in your objection that you plan on appearing at the hearing.

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  22. How do I get more information?

    This website summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the full Settlement Agreement, available here. You can also get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to the Settlement Administrator at:

    Michael Bowman v. Art Van Furniture
    Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 3410
    Portland, OR 97208-3410

    You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-855-331-3602 or Class Counsel at 1-720-213-0676 if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read this website carefully.

    Please do not contact the Court or Art Van with questions about the Settlement.

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