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Leading Class Action Claims Management Firm Financial Recovery Strategies Appeals District Court's Denial of Its Motion to Intervene in the Auto Parts End-Payor Actions

·5 min read

FRS vows to continue to vindicate the rights of its clients, auto insurance companies that fully compensated their policyholders for eligible vehicles deemed total losses ("Total Loss Vehicles"), to recover their fair shares of the over $1.2 billion in settlement funds recovered.

SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J., Dec. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial Recovery Strategies (FRS), a recognized leader in class action settlement claims recovery, today filed its notice of appeal to the district court's 7-page November 17, 2020 order in which the court denied, solely on timeliness grounds, FRS's motion to intervene in the End-Payor Actions of the In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 12-md-2311, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

In the End-Payor actions, the Plaintiffs allege, among other things, that any person or entity that, in or while living or headquartered in one of 31 eligible jurisdictions, leased or purchased new (not for resale) a qualifying vehicle (which generally includes substantially all four-wheeled passenger automobiles, cars, light trucks, pickup trucks, crossovers, vans, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles manufactured in the U.S. over an almost 25-year period), overpaid as a result of alleged antitrust violations concerning certain automotive parts included in those vehicles. FRS submitted proofs of claim on behalf of clients that had purchased or leased qualifying vehicles. FRS's clients also include auto insurance companies that paid class members for the full value of their qualifying vehicles at the time they were deemed total losses, including losses that resulted from the alleged antitrust violations. FRS's believes that, under the longstanding and universally accepted equitable subrogation doctrine – which allows an insurance company to "stand in the shoes" of its policyholder to recover from a wrongdoer the loss for which the insurance company paid its policyholder – auto insurance companies must be allowed to recover from the End-Payor settlements to the extent that their payments compensated their policyholders for their alleged antitrust losses.

Even though some 74% of insured vehicles in the U.S. carry collision insurance, and even though in 2016 another auto insurance company had opted out of the first round of End-Payor settlements to assert its own subrogation claims, none of the settlement notices to class members mentioned the rights of subrogated auto insurance companies. With no guidance available, FRS reached out to class counsel. After class counsel disagreed that subrogated auto insurance companies could recover from the End Payor settlements, FRS, in December 2019, sought a ruling from the district court on that issue. Among other things, FRS pointed out, as it previously had with class counsel, that a ruling now on the subrogation issue was a far more efficient solution than waiting to decide the issue until after a long and burdensome claims administration process. Nevertheless, and even though both FRS and class counsel had agreed to have the court resolve the issue, the court took no action. With the claims submission deadline approaching in June 2020, FRS moved to intervene for the purpose of finally securing a ruling on the subrogation issue raised six months earlier.

Class Counsel, although they had agreed months earlier to have the court resolve the issue, opposed FRS's intervention. FRS responded by again pointing out the sheer inefficiency of declining to address subrogation now, and the delay in distribution that would result from ignoring subrogation until the end of the claims process. But rather than take the most efficient approach – one that would assure a quicker distribution to claimants – the court declined to reach the subrogation issue, concluding instead that FRS's motion was untimely.

FRS's approach was the most efficient available. Now that the district court has declined to address the rights of subrogated auto insurance companies to recover from the End-Payor settlements, the only way for FRS to assure that its auto insurance company clients' subrogation claims are addressed is to wait until those claims are rejected, as class counsel and the claims administrator have consistently represented that they would be, and then, at the end of the claims process, seek for the third time a ruling from the district court. In addition, and to preserve and protect FRS's auto insurance company clients' rights, FRS will appeal that court's denial of its intervention motion.

About FRS

FRS is a leading class action settlement claims recovery consulting firm. We provide best-in-class services while adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards so that our clients are not exposed to any financial risk or reputational harm. FRS provides a vast array of services, including providing to our clients effective notification of settlements in which they may be eligible; performing research to assure that all eligible businesses are included in the claim process; providing advice on what, if any, documents need to be collected and assisting in that effort; when required documents are not available or are too burdensome to collect, developing and obtaining approval for innovative alternatives to satisfy documentation requirements; and preparing, assembling and submitting claims packages and managing them throughout the administration process, including addressing any concerns or questions raised by claims administrators, class counsel or courts. Founded in 2008 and independently owned, FRS has already been responsible for obtaining for its clients hundreds of millions of dollars in class action and other settlement recoveries. Through FRS UP, FRS MerX and FRS Telecom, FRS also provides its clients with superior unclaimed property recovery services, merchant cost reduction and refund services and recovery of telecommunications overcharges, respectively.

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SOURCE Financial Recovery Strategies