Dobkin v. NRG Residential Solar Solutions LLC

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why was a notice issued and why should I read it?
  2. What is a class action lawsuit?
  3. What is this lawsuit about?
  4. Why is there a Settlement?
  5. How do I know if I am in the Settlement Class?
  6. What were the allegedly unconsented calls about?
  7. What does the Settlement provide?
  8. How do I make a claim?
  9. When will I get my payment?
  10. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  11. Should I get my own lawyer?
  12. How will the lawyers be paid?
  13. What happens if I do nothing at all?
  14. What happens if I ask to be excluded?
  15. How do I ask to be excluded?
  16. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue NRG for the same thing later?
  17. If I exclude myself, can I get anything from this Settlement?
  18. How do I object to the Settlement?
  19. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding myself from the Settlement?
  20. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the Settlement?
  21. Do I have to come to the hearing?
  22. May I speak at the hearing?
  23. Where can I get additional information?
  1. Why was a notice issued and why should I read it?

    A Court authorized the notice to let you know about a proposed Settlement with NRG. You have legal rights and options that you may act on before the Court decides whether to approve the proposed Settlement. You may be eligible to receive a cash payment as part of the Settlement. The notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

    Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey is overseeing this putative class action. The case is called Dobkin v. NRG Residential Solar Solutions LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-05089. The person who filed the lawsuit, Michael Dobkin, is the Plaintiff. The company he sued, NRG Residential, is the Defendant, and its parent corporation, NRG Energy, was previously a party to the lawsuit, but was dismissed without prejudice. You do not need to live in New Jersey to get a payment under the Settlement.

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  2. What is a class action lawsuit?

    A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs -- in this case, Michael Dobkin (the “Class Representative”) -- sue on behalf of a group of people who are alleged to have similar claims. Together, this group is called a “class” and consists of “class members.” In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the class. After the Parties reached an agreement to settle this case, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement and recognized it as a case that should be treated as a class action for settlement purposes.

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  3. What is this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit alleges that NRG Residential placed or had third parties place prerecorded and/or autodialed calls to the telephones of consumers without their consent promoting the sale and leasing of residential solar panel systems. The suit further alleges that these calls were made to individuals whose telephone numbers were registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry. The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of these calls, NRG Residential violated a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

    NRG Residential denies these allegations and contends that it acted with consumers’ consent, that the calls were not prerecorded and/or autodialed or made to numbers registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, that it is not responsible for calls made by third parties, or that the calls otherwise did not violate the Act. No court has decided who is right. The parties are entering into the Settlement to avoid further time-consuming and expensive litigation. The Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by NRG. More information about the complaint filed in the lawsuit, and NRG Residential’s answer, can be found here.

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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 can avoid the uncertainty and expense of ongoing litigation, and Settlement Class Members will get compensation now rather than years later—if ever. The Class Representative and his attorneys (“Class Counsel”) believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class Members.

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

    The Court decided that this Settlement includes a Settlement Class of about 317,000 individuals in the United States who received a Telephone Call and as to whom NRG Residential was offered name and contact information as a “lead” by a lead generator as a result. All Settlement Class Members appear on a list in NRG Residential’s records of leads offered by lead generators (the “Class List”).

    If you meet the above definition, you are a Settlement Class Member, unless you request exclusion from the Settlement. Most Persons within the Settlement Class will receive either an email summary of the notice or a postcard summary of the notice in the mail.

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  6. What were the allegedly unconsented calls about?

    The calls covered by this Settlement were calls promoting the sale or leasing of residential solar panel systems by NRG Residential.

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  7. What does the Settlement provide?

    NRG has agreed to create a $7 million Settlement Fund, from which Settlement Class Members who submit valid claims will receive cash payments. To get a payment, Settlement Class Members must submit a valid claim before the deadline of February 20, 2018. The amount Settlement Class Members will receive will depend on the total number of valid claims received. If the number of valid claims is low, then the amount of individual payments will go up. But if the number of valid claims is high, then the amount of individual payments will go down.

    All checks issued to Settlement Class Members will become void unless cashed within 120 days after the date of issuance.

    In addition to the monetary relief provided under the Settlement, NRG Residential has confirmed that it is no longer operating a business pursuant to which it purchases leads from a third-party lead generator as a result of that lead generator’s telephone calls to such persons.

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  8. How do I make a claim?

    If you want to get a cash payment under the Settlement, you must fill out and submit a valid Claim Form. An online Claim Form is available here. If you received a postcard, a Claim Form was attached. If you received an email, there was a link to the Claim Form. You can also get a paper Claim Form here or by calling 866-652-8179. If you wish to file a claim, we encourage you to do so online. It’s faster, and it’s free.

    The Claim Form requires you to provide the following information:

    1. Your name, current mailing address, and former mailing address (if your current mailing address is different from the address on the email or postcard you received),
    2. The telephone number(s) at which you received the Telephone Call(s), and
    3. A sworn statement that you received the Telephone Call(s).

    Claim Forms will be checked against the Class List for the purposes of verifying the claim.

    Each Settlement Class Member is entitled to submit one Claim Form regardless of number of telephone calls allegedly received or telephone numbers at which the Settlement Class Member received a call. If a Settlement Class Member submits more than one  Claim Form, any additional Claim Form will be disregarded for the purposes of determining the pro rata share of the Settlement Fund due to Settlement Class Members who submit Approved Claims.

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  9. When will I get my payment?

    The hearing to consider the fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for May 1, 2018 at 10:00 am. If the Court approves the Settlement, eligible Settlement Class Members whose claims were approved by the Settlement Administrator will be sent a check. Please be patient. All checks will expire and become void 120 days after they are issued.

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  10. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Yes, the Court has appointed lawyers Rafey S. Balabanian and Eve-Lynn Rapp of Edelson PC as the attorneys to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. These attorneys are called “Class Counsel.” In addition, the Court appointed Plaintiff Michael Dobkin to serve as the Class Representative. He’s a class member like you. Class Counsel can be reached by calling 1-866-354-3015.

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  11. Should I get my own lawyer?

    You don’t need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But if you want your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. For example, you can ask your lawyer to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to represent you.

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  12. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Class Counsel will ask the Court for payment to them of reasonable attorneys’ fees and reimbursable expenses and costs of up to 33 1/3% of the Settlement Fund and will also request payment of an incentive award of $5,000 to the Class Representative. The Court will determine the proper amount of any reasonable attorneys’ fees and reimbursable expenses and costs to award Class Counsel and the proper amount of any incentive award to the Class Representative. The Court may award less than the amounts requested. Any money not awarded will stay in the Settlement Fund to pay Settlement Class Members who submit valid claims.

    Class Counsel will file with the Court its request for attorneys’ fees and incentive award on or before February 6, 2018. Class Counsel's request for attorney's fees and incentive award will be posted here.

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  13. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will receive no payment under the Settlement, you will be in the Settlement Class, and if the Court approves the Settlement, you will also be bound by all orders and judgments of the Court, as well as the release to which the Settlement Class is agreeing. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against NRG for the claims or legal issues being resolved by this Settlement.

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  14. What happens if I ask to be excluded?

    If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive no payment under the Settlement. However, you will not be in the Settlement Class. You will keep your right to start your own lawsuit against NRG on an individual basis for the same legal claims made in this lawsuit. You will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments related to the Settlement Class and NRG in this class action or the release to which the Settlement Class is agreeing.

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  15. How do I ask to be excluded?

    You can ask to be excluded from the Settlement. To do so, you must send a letter stating that you want to be excluded from the Settlement in Dobkin v. NRG Residential Solar Solutions LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-05089 (D.N.J.). Your letter must also include:

    1. Your name, current mailing address, and former mailing address, if your current mailing address is different from the mailing address listed on the email or postcard you received,
    2. The telephone number(s) at which you received the Telephone Call(s).
    3. A statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement, and
    4. Your signature.

    You must mail your exclusion request no later than February 20, 2018 to:

     

    NRG Residential Call Settlement Administrator
    c/o KCC Class Action Services, LLC
    P.O. Box 404043
    Louisville, KY 40233-4043

     

    You cannot exclude yourself in any other way, such as on the phone or by email. You also cannot exclude other persons within the Settlement Class, nor can other persons within the Settlement Class exclude you.

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

    No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue NRG for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

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

    No. If you exclude yourself, you cannot submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment, nor can you object to the terms of the Settlement.

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  18. How do I object to the Settlement?

    If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, 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 deny approval by filing an objection. To object, you must file a letter or brief with the Court stating that you object to the Settlement in Dobkin v. NRG Residential Solar Solutions LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-05089 (D.N.J.), no later than February 20, 2018. Your objection should be sent to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey at the following address:

     

    Clerk of Court, United States District for the District of New Jersey
    Clarkson S. Fisher Building & U.S. Courthouse
    402 East State Street, Room 2020
    Trenton, New Jersey 08608

     

    If you are represented by a lawyer other than Class Counsel, the lawyer must file your objection through the Court’s CM/ECF system. Include your lawyer’s contact information in the objection.

    Your letter or brief must indicate the case name Dobkin v. NRG Residential Solar Solutions LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-05089 (D.N.J.), be personally signed, and include the following information:

    1. Your name, current mailing address, and former mailing address, if your current mailing address is different from the mailing address listed on the email or postcard you received),
    2. All arguments, citations, and evidence supporting your objection, including copies of any documents you rely on,
    3. A statement that you are a Settlement Class Member,
    4. The telephone number(s) at which you received the Telephone Call(s),
    5. The name and contact information of any and all attorneys representing, advising, profiting, or in any way assisting you in connection with the preparation or submission of the objection,
    6. Copies of any papers, briefs, or other documents upon which the objection is based, and
    7. A statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing either personally or through counsel. If you are represented by a lawyer, he or she must file an appearance or seek pro hac vice admission.

     

    In addition to filing your objection with the Court, you must send copies of your objection and any supporting documents to both Class Counsel and the NRG’s Counsel at the addresses listed below:

     

    Class Counsel

    NRG’s Counsel

    Rafey S. Balabanian 
    Eve-Lynn J. Rapp
    EDELSON PC
    123 Townsend Street, Suite 100
    San Francisco, CA 94107

    Andrew C. Glass
    Gregory N. Blase
    K&L Gates LLP
    State Street Financial Center
    One Lincoln Street
    Boston, MA 02111

     

    The filing of an objection does not guarantee that the Court will decline to approve the Settlement. The Court may overrule any objection filed and approve the Settlement.

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  19. 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 Settlement Class. Excluding yourself from the Settlement is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

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  20. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the Settlement?

    The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 am on May 1, 2018, before the Honorable Brian R. Martinotti at the Clarkson S. Fisher Building & U.S. Courthouse, 402 East State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08608. The purpose of the hearing is for the Court to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. At the hearing, the Court will consider any objections that are filed by the deadline specified above and hear arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, including those related to the amount requested by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and the incentive award to the Class Representative.

    Note: The date and time of the Final Approval Hearing are subject to change by Court Order. Any changes will be posted on this website, and through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.njd.uscourts.gov.

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  21. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come to the hearing at your own expense. If you file an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as your written objection was filed or mailed on time and meets the other criteria described in the Settlement, the Court will consider it. You may also pay a lawyer to attend, but you don’t have to.

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  22. May I speak at the hearing?

    Yes, if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the proposed Settlement. If you filed an objection (see Frequently Asked Question #18 above) and intend to appear at the hearing, you must state your intention to do so in your objection.

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  23. Where can I get additional information?

    These Frequently Asked Questions summarize the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement available here, contact Class Counsel at 1-866-354-3015, access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s PACER system at https://ecf.njd.uscourts.gov, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Clarkson S. Fisher Building & U.S. Courthouse, 402 East State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08608 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

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