Alexander v. City of Asheville

18-CVS-02331

Superior Court of North Carolina, Buncombe County

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this Class Action About?

    On June 1, 2018, Plaintiff Gwen C. Alexander, through the undersigned Class Counsel, filed a putative class action lawsuit against the City in the Superior Court of Buncombe County, seeking relief under causes of action seeking a judgment declaring that the City's collection of monthly "Capital Fees," in addition to volumetric fees for water service, exceeded the City's legal authority and is ultra vires, based on allegations that the City collected Capital Fees in violation of the Quality Built Homes, Inc. v. City of Carthage, 369 N.C. 15, 789 S.E.2d 454 (2016) and exceeded their authority the Public Enterprise Statute at the time it collected the Capital Fees, N.C. Gen. Stat. $$ 160A-31 1, et seq.

    The City expressly denies any similarity of its practice in collecting certain fees, including Capital Fees, to that of the practice of the City of Carthage and the Supreme Court's holding in Carthage. It expressly denies wrongdoing and does not admit or concede any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing, or liability to Plaintiff, the Settlement Class, Class Counsel, or to any other person or entity in connection with any facts or claims that have been alleged against it in the Action, and in fact the City expressly denies all such liability. The City also denies that the Action meets the requisites for certification as a litigated class action under federal, North Carolina or any other state law, or certification for any purpose except for purposes of the settlement described in this Stipulation. The City intends to vigorously defend the Action in the event the Final Order and Judgment is not entered.

  2. How do I know if I am in the Settlement?

    The Settlement Class is defined as:

    All persons or organizations who paid to the City Capital Fees on or between June 1, 2015, and June 30, 2020 which are at issue in this Action.

  3. What if I am still not sure if I am included in the Settlement?

    If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, or have any other questions about the Settlement Agreement, you can send an email to info@AshevilleCapitalFeeSettlement.com.

  4. Who Is Representing the Class?

    The Court has preliminarily appointed the following attorneys as Class Counsel:

    Daniel K. Bryson
    J. Hunter Bryson
    WHITFIELD BRYSON & MASON, LLP
    900 W. Morgan Street
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

  5. How will the Class Counsel be paid?

    The Parties' negotiations and mediation regarding attorneys' fees, costs and expenses took place only after they reached an agreement in principle as to all other material terms of this Agreement. As a result of their negotiations and compromises, and subject to the provisions of the Settlement Agreement, the Parties have agreed that Class Counsel shall be entitled to apply to the Court for an award of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses from the $130,000 agreed by the Parties. The City agrees that it will have no other comment on the requested attorneys' fees and expenses other than that it does not oppose the request. Plaintiffs' attorneys agree not to seek and not to accept any amount or award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs which is in excess of the amount awarded by the Court under applicable law. The City will pay from the Attorneys' Fees, Costs, and Service Awards that may be awarded by the Court by check made payable as Class Counsel may instruct. Class Counsel agrees not to seek and not to accept any amount or award of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses which is in excess of this amount.

    The Parties have also agreed that Class Counsel shall be entitled to apply to the Court for a Service Award of up to $5,000 to the Plaintiff. The City will not object to any application by Class Counsel for Service Award to the Plaintiff up to $5,000.

  6. How can I Object to the Settlement?

    Any member of the Settlement Classes who objects to the Settlement must file a written objection with the Court, with a written copy delivered to Class Counsel, Asheville's Counsel, and the Clerk of Court by April 27, 2020.

    A written statement of objection must: (a) contain a caption or title that identifies it as "Objection to Class Settlement in Gwen C. Alexander vs. City of Asheville (18-CV-02331 ); (Superior Court Division of Buncombe County, North Carolina);" (b) identify whether the objection is to the Settlement Class; (c) set forth the specific reason(s), if any, for each objection, including all legal support the Settlement Class Member wishes to bring to the Court's attention and all factual evidence the Settlement Class Member wishes to introduce in support of the objection; (d) include the name and address of the Settlement Class Member; (e) be personally signed by the Settlement Class Member; (f) include an identification, by case style and number, of any other class settlements the objector or the objector's attorney(s) have asserted an objection; and (g) include an identification of all attorneys having a financial interest or stake in the objection (f) include three different dates within the calendar month you are submitting the objection in which you will make yourself available for a deposition.

    A separate copy of each objection must be sent to each of the following:

    Daniel K. Bryson
    John Hunter Bryson
    Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP
    900 West Morgan Street
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

    Bradley Branham
    City of Asheville
    70 Court Plaza
    Asheville, NC 28801

    Charles C. Meeker and Stephen V. Carey
    Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP
    301 Fayetteville Street, Suite #1400
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

    Clerk of Superior Court
    Buncombe County Superior Court
    60 Court Plaza
    Asheville, NC 28801

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

    A hearing on final settlement approval (the "Final Approval Hearing") shall be held before the Court, at:

    Buncombe County Superior Court
    60 Court Plaza
    Asheville, NC28801

    on June 8, 2020, to consider matters relating to the settlement, including the following: (a) whether the Settlement Classes should be finally certified, for settlement purposes only; (b) the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the Settlement, the dismissal with prejudice of the Actions as to Asheville, and the entry of final judgment; (c) whether Class Counsel's application for attorneys' fees, expenses, and Service Awards for the Class Plaintiff (the "Fee Petition"), and should be granted; and (d) whether to approve the proposed plan of allocation and distribution of the settlement proceeds.

  8. May I appear at the hearing?

    Any Settlement Class Member who properly files and serves a timely written objection as described in Question 6 may appear at the Final Approval Hearing in person or through personal counsel hired at the Settlement Class Member's own expense. However, any Settlement Class Member who intends to make an appearance at the Final Approval Hearing must include a statement to that effect in his or her objection. If a Settlement Class Member hires his or her own personal attorney to represent him or her in connection with an objection, and if the attorney wishes to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, the attorney must: (a) file a notice of appearance with the Clerk of Court in the Action; and (b) serve and deliver a copy of that notice of appearance to Class Counsel and Asheville's Counsel no later than thirty (30) days before the originally scheduled date of the Final Approval Hearing (if the Final Approval Hearing is continued, the deadline runs from the first-scheduled Final Approval Hearing).

  9. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    A Class Member does not have to do anything to participate in the settlement. Because the relief to the class is injunctive in nature, each Class Member shall be bound to the settlement and release.

  10. How do I get more information?

    If you have additional questions, you can contact the Claims Administrator:

    MAIL:
    Asheville Capital Fees Settlement Administrator
    1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    EMAIL: info@AshevilleCapitalFeeSettlement.com