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|1.||What is this Notice about?|
A Court authorized notice of a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit because you may have a right to know about the proposed Settlement and about all of your options and associated deadlines before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The name of the lawsuit is In re: Stericycle, Inc., Steri-Safe Contract Litigation, Case No. 13-C-5795, MDL No. 2455. The defendant is Stericycle, Inc. (“Stericycle”). This website explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights. You are NOT being sued. The Court still has to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. Payments and other benefits will be distributed only if the Court finally approves the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement. Please be patient and check this website regularly. Please do not contact Stericycle as the Court has ordered that all questions be directed to the Class Action Settlement Administrator.
|2.||What is the lawsuit about?|
The class action lawsuit claims that Stericycle engaged in a practice of imposing Automated Price Increases in violation of the contracts between Stericycle and certain of its Small Quantity (SQ) medical waste customers and engaged in unfair and deceptive acts or practices by misrepresenting or concealing material facts from its customers regarding its pricing practices. As a result, the lawsuit pursues claims for breach of contract and violations of various state consumer protection statutes, among other claims. You can read the Second Amended Consolidated Complaint on the Court Documents section of this website. Stericycle denies that it has violated any law, denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing, and denies that its pricing practices violated contracts between it and its customers. The parties agreed to resolve these matters before these issues were decided by the Court.
|3.||What customers are included in the Settlement?|
The Court has certified a class of Stericycle customers that includes:
All persons and entities that, between March 8, 2003 through October 26, 2017, resided in the United States (except Washington and Alaska), were identified by Stericycle as a “Small Quantity” or “SQ” customer, and were charged and paid more than their Contractually Agreed Price for Stericycle’s medical waste disposal goods and services. Excluded from the class are governmental entities whose claims were asserted and resolved in United States ex rel. Perez v. Stericycle Inc. and any entities that have previously settled similar claims with Stericycle and released those claims.
Small Quantity medical waste customers generally include most small and medium-sized businesses, but generally do not include large hospitals or similarly large business entities that used Stericycle’s services. If you received a notice from the Class Action Settlement Administrator (“Administrator”), then you have been identified as a likely member of the Class through Stericyle’s business records. If you have questions regarding whether you or your business is a member of the Class, you can learn more by reading the Notice or by calling 1-877-919-5481.
|4.||Why is this a class action?|
In a class action, people called “class representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All of these people together are the “Class” or “Class Members” if the Court approves this procedure. Then, that Court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from (opt out of) the Class.
|5.||Why is there a Settlement?|
Both sides in the lawsuit agreed to a Settlement to avoid the cost and risk of further litigation, including a potential trial, and so that the Class Members can get benefits, in exchange for releasing Stericycle from liability. The Settlement does not mean that Stericycle broke any laws and/or did anything wrong, and the Court did not decide which side was right. The Settlement here has been preliminarily approved by the Court, which authorized this website and the issuance of the Notice. The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing them (called “Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.
The essential terms of the Settlement are summarized on this website and in the Notice. The Settlement Agreement along with all exhibits and addenda sets forth in greater detail the rights and obligations of the parties. If there is any conflict between this Notice and the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Agreement governs.
To see if you are affected or if you can get money or benefits, you first have to determine whether you are a Class Member.
|6.||How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?|
You are part of the Settlement if you are a person (including business entities) that, between March 8, 2003 through October 26, 2017, resided in the United States (except Washington and Alaska), were identified by Stericycle as “Small Quantity” or “SQ” customer, and were charged and paid more than the Contractually Agreed Price for Stericycle’s medical waste disposal goods and services. Excluded from the class are governmental entities whose claims were asserted and resolved in United States ex rel. Perez v. Stericycle Inc. and any entities that have previously settled similar claims with Stericycle and released those claims.
If you received a notice from the Administrator or Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel, then you have been identified as a likely Class Member. If you did not receive a notice but believe you should be included in the class, or if your address has changed, you may contact the Administrator at 1-877-919-5481.
|7.||I’m still not sure if I’m included in the Settlement.|
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call 1-877-919-5481. Please do not contact Stericycle, the Court, or Court staff, as the Court has ordered that all questions be directed to the Administrator.
|8.||What does the Settlement provide?|
Stericycle has agreed to pay $295,000,000 into a Settlement Fund. The Settlement Fund will be used to pay members of the Class, all Settlement related costs, including the cost of notice, and to pay the expenses of litigation and class counsel attorneys’ fees, as may be approved by the Court.
If you are a Class Member, the amount you are eligible to receive depends on several factors, including, among other things, the amount by which your prices were increased due to the pricing practice alleged in this Action, and whether you received any discounts or price concessions from Stericycle during the class period. Some customers may be Class Members but, due to discounts, credits, or other price reductions given by Stericycle during the class period, may not be entitled to any payment.The Settlement benefits are outlined generally below, but more information, including the Settlement Agreement, can be found in the Court Documents section of this website. The Court still has to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. Benefits will be provided only if the Court finally approves the Settlement and any appeal period expires or any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement. We do not know when the Court will finally approve the Settlement if it does so or whether there will be any appeals that would have to be resolved in favor of the Settlement before certain benefits would be provided, so we do not know precisely when any benefits may be available. Please check this website for updates regarding the Settlement.
a. Monetary payments to certain current and former Stericycle customers.
If the Settlement is finally approved (including any appeals resolved in favor of the Settlement), Stericycle will pay $295 million into a fund for distribution to eligible Class Members (“Settlement Fund”) who, between March 8, 2003 and October 26, 2017, were charged and paid allegedly more than the Contractually Agreed Price for Stericycle’s medical waste disposal goods and services.
Plaintiffs’ expert witness in the lawsuit developed a method for identifying members of the Class and for calculating the damages each member of the Class allegedly suffered using Stericycle’s customer payment and billing records. This method takes into account Automated Price Increases over time, and also accounts for credits or decreases in prices. The same method will be used to identify all Class Members and to determine what share, if any, each Class Member is entitled to from the Settlement Fund.
The Settlement Fund will be distributed to eligible Class Members according to a Plan of Allocation that is available in the Court Documents section of this website. The amount of your payment will depend on the amount by which your prices allegedly increased, any credits or price reductions received, the period of time over which you paid the alleged increased prices, and similar factors. Please refer to the Plan of Allocation for more details.
Important: You do not need to do anything to receive your share, if any, of the Settlement Fund. Each Class Member’s share of the Settlement Fund will be calculated in accordance with the Plan of Allocation. Checks will be mailed by the Administrator to each Class Member that is entitled to a share of the Settlement Fund using the most recent address information available in Stericycle’s databases as well as other available sources of information. However, if you are no longer a Stericycle customer and have moved, or otherwise believe that the address Stericycle has on file for you is not accurate, please visit the Address Update/Award Estimate page to review and update your contact information, or contact the Administrator at 1-877-919-5481.
b. Pricing practice changes for current Stericycle customers.
Stericycle has agreed to discontinue the pricing practice challenged in this Action for all Class Member contracts still subject to such increases within 60 days of October 26, 2017. Subject to certain limitations stated in the Settlement Agreement, Stericycle agrees not to impose an annual price increase of more than a 6% of the Contractually Agreed Price on these Class Members.
Any Class Members who previously renegotiated their contracts with Stericycle such that they are no longer subject to the pricing practice challenged in this Action on the date of Preliminary Approval and instead are being charged annual price increases that are set forth in their contracts will continue to be charged in accordance with those contracts.
c. Future limitations on price increases for current Stericycle customers.
For a period of three years after the Effective Date and subject to certain limitations stated in the Settlement Agreement, Stericycle agrees that all new contracts for SQ medical waste customers, including any contracts for Class Members that are entered into upon the expiration of the Class Member’s current contract, will comport with the following requirements:
d. Alternative Dispute Resolution.Any disputes arising out of or relating to the issues raised in the Actions between the time of Preliminary Approval and the Final Effective Date that are not otherwise resolved by the Agreement will be resolved by binding arbitration, as described fully in Exhibit 5 to the Settlement Agreement.
|9.||What am I giving up in exchange for the Settlement benefits?|
If the Settlement becomes final, Class Members who do not exclude themselves from the Class will release Stericycle from liability and will not be able to sue Stericycle about the issues in the lawsuit. The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims in necessary legal terminology, so read it carefully. For ease of reference, the full release section in Appendix A is attached to the Notice. The Settlement Agreement is available in the Court Documents section of this website. You can talk to one of the lawyers listed in Question 15 below for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about the released claims or what they mean.
If you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Stericycle over the legal issues in the lawsuit, then you must take steps to get out of this Settlement. This is called asking to be excluded from the Class, also referred to as “opting out” of the Class.
|10.||If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?|
If you exclude yourself, you cannot get Settlement benefits. If you ask to be excluded, you cannot object to the Settlement. But, if you timely and properly request exclusion, the Settlement will not prevent you from suing, continuing to sue or remaining or becoming part of a different lawsuit against Stericycle in the future about the issues in the lawsuit. If you exclude yourself, you will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit and you may not object to the Settlement.
|11.||If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue later?|
Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Stericycle for the claims resolved by this Settlement. If the Settlement is finally approved, you will be permanently enjoined and barred from initiating or continuing any lawsuit or other proceeding against Stericycle about the issues in the lawsuit.
|12.||How do I get out of the Settlement?|
The Deadline to request exclusion from the Settlement has passed. To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you needed to send a letter by mail saying that you wanted to be excluded from the Settlement in In re: Stericycle, Inc., Steri-Safe Contract Litigation, and mention the case number (Case No. 13-C-5795, MDL No. 2455). In the letter, you needed to include your name (or the name of your business that was a Stericycle customer), address and your signature. You could not ask to be excluded over the phone or on the Settlement Website. Your exclusion request needed to be postmarked no later than January 22, 2018 and mailed to:
Stericycle Class Action,
PO Box 10515
Dublin, OH 43017-1515
Your exclusion request needed to be mailed to the Administrator by the date shown above in order to be considered by the Court.
|13.||Do I have a lawyer in the case?|
Yes. The Court has appointed lawyers to represent you and other Class Members. These lawyers are called “Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel”: Steve W. Berman, Garth D. Wojtanowicz, and Elizabeth A. Fegan at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.
|14.||How will the lawyers be paid?|
Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel asked the Court for attorneys’ fees of $40 million, plus up to an additional $2.8 million in costs and expenses. These fees and expenses will go to the Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel and other lawyers who worked on the litigation since it was consolidated for pretrial proceedings in August, 2013. Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel will ask for payments to each of the Class Representatives of $100 per hour, with a minimum of $5,000 award, for their time invested in connection with the Actions and securing the benefits of this Settlement for the Class. The Court awarded $35,000,000.00 in fees and $2,716,506.16 in expenses. These payments will be made out of the Settlement Fund.
You can tell the Court if you don’t agree with the Settlement or some part of it.
|15.||How do I tell the Court if I don’t like the Settlement?|
The deadline to object to the Settlement has passed. If you are a Class Member, and you didn’t exclude yourself from the Class, you could have objected to the Settlement if you didn’t like some part of it. To object, you needed to send a written objection saying that you object to the Settlement in In re: Stericycle, Inc., Steri-Safe Contract Litigation, Case No. 13-C-5795, MDL No. 2455, to Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel and Stericycle’s Counsel at the address below so that the objection was received by Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel and Stericycle’s Counsel no later than January 22, 2018. To have your objection considered by the Court, you also needed to file the objection with the Clerk of Court (identified below) so that it is received and filed no later than January 22, 2018. In your objection, you needed to provide the specific reason for your objection (including any legal support), any evidence or other information you wish to rely on, a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing (discussed below), and information showing that you are a member of the Class, your name, address, telephone number, your signature.
|Clerk of Court United States District Court Northern District of Illinois 219 South Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60604||Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel Steve W. Berman Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP 1918 Eighth Ave. Suite 3300 Seattle, WA 98101||Stericycle’s Counsel Mark S. Mester Latham & Watkins LLP 330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2800 Chicago, IL 60611|
|16.||What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?|
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 Settlement no longer affects you. Objecting is telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class.
If you are a Class Member and you do nothing, you will remain a Class Member and all of the Court’s orders will apply to you, you will be eligible for the Settlement benefits described above as long as you satisfy the conditions for receiving each benefit, and you will not be able to sue Stericycle over the issues covered by the lawsuit.
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to grant final approval to the Settlement. If you have filed an objection on time and attend the hearing, you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to attend or speak.
|17.||When and where will the Court decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement?|
The Court held a Fairness Hearing at 2:30 p.m. on March 8, 2018 at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604 in Courtroom 2303. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court considered all objections. The Court listened to people who met the requirements to speak at the hearing (See Question 19 below). The Court granted final approval the Settlement and awarded the lawyers representing Class Members as combined $37,716,506.16 in fees and expenses.
|18.||Do I have to come to the hearing?|
No. Plaintiffs’ 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, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it – but you can if you provide advance notice of your intention to appear (See Question 19 below). As long as you filed a written objection with all of the required information on time with the Court and delivered it on time to Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel and Stericycle’s Counsel, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it is not required.
|19.||May I speak at the hearing?|
The deadline for you or your attorney to ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing has passed. To do so, you needed to send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear in In re: Stericycle, Inc., Steri-Safe Contract Litigation, Case No. 13-C-5795, MDL No. 2455” to Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel and Stericycle’s Counsel identified above in response to Question 15 so that they received it no later than January 22, 2018. You also needed to file the document with the Clerk of Court so that it was received and filed no later than January 22, 2018. You needed to include your name (or the name of your business that was a Stericycle customer), address, telephone number, and your signature. Anyone who has requested permission to speak must be present at the start of the Fairness Hearing at 2:30 p.m. on March 8, 2018. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the Class.
|20.||How do I get more information?|
This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in a Settlement Agreement, including its exhibits and addenda. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement and other Settlement documents, in the Court Documents section of this website. You can also call the toll-free number, 1-877-919-5481, or write the Administrator at Stericycle Class Action, c/o GCG, PO Box 10515, Dublin, OH 43017-1515. You can also look at the documents filed in the lawsuit at the Court at the address provided above in response to Question 15.
|21.||When will the Settlement be final?|
The Court has granted Final Approval. However, the Settlement will not be final unless and until any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement. Please be patient and check this website regularly. Please do not contact Stericycle, the Court, or Court staff, as the Court has ordered that all questions be directed to the Administrator.