BREAKING NEWS: PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT TO SETTLE CLASS ACTION CASE HAS BEEN REACHED. MAY 30, 2006 TRIAL OFF.
Class Counsel and the class respresentatives participated in a court-ordered mediation before Magistrate Judge Knowles that resulted in an agreement to settle this matter. Notice and approval forms will be sent to all class members. Thus the trial scheduled for May 30, 2006 will not take place as the court reviews the terms of the settlement. If approved, under the settlement Ford Credit shall:
(a) make a payment to each Authorized Claimant of $2000;
(b) pay any remaining obligation secured by a lien that must be paid in order to obtain title for a vehicle purchased by an Authorized Claimant and any registration fee necessary to obtain such title provided that the Authorized Claimant provides Ford Credit with documentation concerning the transaction and the amount due;
(c) pay any remaining deficiency obligation due that is secured by a lien on a vehicle sold by an Authorized Claimant to Mazda of Clarksville that Mazda of Clarksville agreed to pay, if the lienholder asserts that the obligation remains due and owing by the Authorized Claimant, provided that the Authorized Claimant provides Ford Credit with documentation concerning the transaction;
(d) reimburse any Authorized Claimant who has paid off a lien in order to obtain title to a vehicle purchased from Mazda of Clarksville, provided that the Authorized Claimant provides Ford Credit with documentation concerning the transaction; and
(e) provide a letter in the form approved any lienholde tor that is reporting adverse credit information concerning an Authorized Claimant based on nonpayment or delayed payment of an obligation that should have been paid by Mazda of Clarksville during the Class Period, provided that the Authorized Claimant provides Ford Credit with adequate documentation concerning the transaction.
(f) payment up to $375,000 toward any amount awarded by the Court for legal fees and reasonable out-of-pocket litigation expenses of Plaintiffs’ counsel.
(g) Class Members will have no obligation to pay Plaintiffs’ counsel’s fees and expenses other than from the settlement amount paid by Ford Credit.
(h) Ford Credit agrees to pay class representatives Joy J. Britt and Ada W. Jones for thior work and time as may be approved by the Court, up to a maximum of $10,000 to each of them.
The firm, with attorney Herbert Patrick of Clarksville, Tennessee is representing a class of consumers in a federal-court class action suit. The lawsuit alleges that the finance company, Ford Motor Credit Company (Mazda American Credit), took control of the Mazda of Clarksville dealership in in Clarksville, Tennessee in February 2003 and sold cars without paying off liens on trade-in vehicles. The case is pending before Judge William J, Haynes in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee and is styled: Britt v. Primus Automotive Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a Mazda American Cedit and Ford Motor Credit Company, No. 3-03-0422.