Rodriguez, et al. v. It's Just Lunch, et al.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
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You received a Notice by email if It’s Just Lunch’s records show that you are a potential Class Member and the records included the email address to which the Notice was sent. The email notice referred you to this informational website which includes the more detailed Full Notice. You received a Notice by mail if It’s Just Lunch’s records show that you are a potential Class Member and the records do not include a valid email address, but do include a mailing address.
The Court ordered that a Notice be sent to you because you have the right to know about a proposed Settlement of the class action against It’s Just Lunch and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, It’s Just Lunch or an administrator appointed by the Court will distribute the benefits allowed by the Settlement.
The Full Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for the benefits, and how to get them. Please read the Full Notice carefully.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is presiding over this lawsuit and the proposed Settlement The people who sued are called the "Plaintiffs" and the companies they sued, collectively referred to as It’s Just Lunch for the purposes of the Notice, are the "Defendants."
A class action is a lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. A representative plaintiff or plaintiffs, also known as a “class representative” or “class representatives,” asserts claims on behalf of a group of similarly situated people.
In this case, Representative Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action against It’s Just Lunch on October 15, 2007. The case is titled Rodriguez et al. v. It’s Just Lunch et al., No. 07-CV-9227 (SN) (the “Action”). In the Action, Representative Plaintiffs claimed that that It’s Just Lunch fraudulently induced clients into signing a membership contract. The Plaintiffs also claimed that It’s Just Lunch violated New York law and unjustly enriched itself by charging greater than $1,000 for one year’s worth of its services in New York .
It’s Just Lunch denies all of the Plaintiffs’ allegations and denies any wrongdoing. The Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or It’s Just Lunch. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. The Settlement is the result of arm’s-length negotiations between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Both sides agree that, in light of the risks and expenses of continued litigation, this Settlement is fair and appropriate under the circumstances. That way, they avoid the cost and risks of a trial, and Settlement benefits go to the Class Members.
For settlement purposes, the United States District Court has decided that everyone who fits one or both of the following categories is a Class Member: (i) all individuals who became clients of It’s Just Lunch in New York and who, on or after October 15, 2001, paid more than $1,000 for a year’s worth of services at the time of initial contracting; and (ii) all people who signed a membership contract with It’s Just Lunch and purchased It’s Just Lunch’s services in one of the states listed (a complete List of States and Earliest Qualifying Dates in available in the 'Documents' section of this website) on or after that state’s corresponding earliest qualifying date, provided the person has not received a full refund and/or has not released his or her claims against It’s Just Lunch or one of its franchisees. The last qualifying date for all individuals is September 11, 2019. Anyone who became an IJL client after September 11, 2019 is not a Class Member.
The Class does not include anyone who became a client of It’s Just Lunch and purchased It’s Just Lunch’s services before October 15, 2001. The Class does not include anyone who has signed any releases of claims in favor of It’s Just Lunch and/or any of the affiliated companies who are parties to this class action and/or who received a complete refund of the amounts paid to join It’s Just Lunch. The Class does not include anyone who does not fit at least one of the categories detailed in Question 4, above.
If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can contact the Claims Administrator through the 'Contact' section of this website. Do not contact the Court.
Each eligible Class Member who submits a valid Claim Form by December 10, 2019 (an “Eligible Claimant”), will have an option of claiming a cash payment or a voucher for certain IJL services or discounts. Each member of the National Class who has not opted out of the Settlement and has submitted a valid Claim Form for a cash payment may receive a minimum award of $14.44 and a maximum award of an undetermined amount based on the number of National Class members who submit valid Claim Forms. Members of the Class who do not timely opt out, release IJL and the Released Parties from any claims related to or arising from contracts between members of the Class and IJL or claims arising from the facts that form the basis of this action.
In addition to a cash payment or voucher, each eligible Class Member who purchased a year’s worth of It’s Just Lunch’s services for greater than $1,000 in New York at the time of initial contracting (a “New York Eligible Claimant”) will receive a payment of $200 from It’s Just Lunch. A New York Eligible Claimant must submit a valid Claim Form to receive the New York payment.
Additionally, IJL shall adhere to its pledge as described below and will honor Client preferences as to age, parental status, and religious status as set forth in all new Client agreements. To bring about these changes, IJL hereby commits to the following:
It’s Just Lunch will provide the following:
• Class Members who elect to participate in the Settlement by submitting a valid Claim Form have the choice to receive a cash payment or a voucher.
• Changes to its business practices that address the practices complained of by the Class Representatives, including a pledge of quality and to honor certain preferences specified by its clients.
It’s Just Lunch will additionally provide the following to New York Eligible Claimants:
• A $200 payment upon submission of a valid Claim Form.
To obtain a cash payment or voucher, you must complete and submit a valid Claim Form. Claims Forms can be submitted electronically through the 'Submit Claim' button on the right hand side of this webpage or by downloading a Claim Form from the 'Documents' section of this website and mailing your completed form to: Rodriguez v. It’s Just Lunch, c/o Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 60072, Philadelphia, PA 19102-0072. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form (answering all questions truthfully), and submit your Claim Form online no later than December 10, 2019 or via mail postmarked by December 10, 2019. If you are a New York Eligible Claimant, you also need to submit a valid Claim Form to obtain a cash payment or voucher.
The Court will hold a hearing on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, Courtroom 219, New York, New York 10007-1312 to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, after that there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. It also takes time for the Claim Forms to be processed. Please be patient.
The proposed Settlement contemplates distributing benefits to Class Members 60 days from the date the Settlement becomes final.
Unless you exclude yourself, you remain a Class Member, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against It’s Just Lunch concerning the legal issues in this case. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final and not subject to appeal, then you and all Class Members release all “Released Claims” against all “Released Parties.”
“Released Claims” means any and all claims, rights (including rights to restitution or reimbursement), demands, actions, causes of action, suits, liens, damages, attorneys’ fees, obligations, contracts, liabilities, agreements, costs, expenses or losses of any nature, whether known or unknown, direct or indirect, matured or unmatured, contingent or absolute, existing or potential, suspected or unsuspected, equitable or legal, and whether under federal statutory law, federal common law or federal regulation, or the statutes, constitutions, regulations, ordinances, common law, or any other law of any and all states or their subdivisions, parishes or municipalities including but not limited to the District of Columbia that arise out of or relate in any way to the any of the claims asserted in the Complaint in the Action or the facts or circumstances relating to such claims, including, without limitation, any claim that IJL's performance under its contracts with members of the Settlement Classes or IJL's conduct in connection with the marketing of its services was unlawful, deceptive, misleading, fraudulent, inadequate, improper, negligent, grossly negligent, or breached any federal, state or local consumer fraud or similar laws. For the avoidance of doubt, this release does not extend to claims having no relationship with the claims or facts in this litigation, by way of example only, alleged personal injury resulting from a visit to an IJL office. In addition, with respect to Representative Plaintiffs only, “Released Claims” includes all claims arising, or that could arise in the future, out of any conduct or omissions occurring to the date of Preliminary Approval that might be attributable to IJL.
“Released Parties” means It’s Just Lunch, and its affiliates, parents, direct and indirect subsidiaries, agents, insurers, franchisees, and any company or companies under common control with any of them, and each of its franchisees or their respective predecessors, successors, past and present officers, directors, employees, agents, servants, accountants, attorneys, advisors, shareholders, representatives, partners, vendors, issuers, insurance carriers, and assigns, or anyone acting on their behalf.
If you don’t want the benefits of this Settlement, and you want to keep any right you may have to sue or continue to sue the Released Parties on your own about the Released Claims, then you must take steps to remove yourself from the Class. This is called "excluding yourself," and is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Class.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a signed letter by mail stating that you want to “exclude yourself” or “opt out” of the It’s Just Lunch Settlement. Please be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Alternatively, you may download, complete and mail the Opt Out Form available in the 'Documents' section of this website. You must mail your exclusion or opt out request postmarked no later than November 25, 2019 to: Rodriguez v. It’s Just Lunch; c/o Claims Administrator; P.O. Box 58850; Philadelphia, PA 19102-8850.
You cannot exclude yourself on the phone or by fax or email.
If you ask to be excluded, you will not receive payment or vouchers from this Settlement. If you engage It’s Just Lunch’s services, you will receive the benefit of the business practice changes that It’s Just Lunch has agreed to implement as a result of this Settlement. If you ask to be excluded, you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Action. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) It’s Just Lunch in the future about the legal issues in this case.
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up your right to sue It’s Just Lunch and the other Released Parties for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Action to pursue your own lawsuit. Remember, your exclusion request must be postmarked on or before November 25, 2019.
No. If you exclude yourself, do not send in a Claim Form to ask for a cash payment or voucher. You may exercise any right you may have to sue, continue to sue, or be a part of a different lawsuit against It’s Just Lunch and the other Released Parties.
The Court appointed the law firm Balestriere Fariello to represent the Class Members. These lawyers are called "Class Counsel." You will not be charged for these lawyers’ services. The Court will determine the amount of Class Counsel’s fees and expenses, which will be paid from the funds provided for as part of the Settlement.
Class Counsel will request from the Court an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses and for a service award for the Representative Plaintiffs. The amount sought for Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses is $1.5 million. The amount sought as a service award for the Representative Plaintiffs will not exceed $12,000 each. If approved by the Court, Class Counsel will be paid from the fund created by It’s Just Lunch as part of this Settlement (the “Monetary Fund”) and managed by the Claims Administrator. This Monetary Fund will be created when It’s Just Lunch places $4.75 million in a trust bank account, and interest earned on this amount will become part of the fund. In the event that there are any funds remaining in the Monetary Fund held in that account after all payments hereunder have been made to Class Counsel, the Representative Plaintiffs, the Claims Administrator, and the Eligible Claimants, the Claims Administrator shall distribute the balance in that bank account as a charitable donation to a 501(c)(3) certified charity as agreed upon by the Parties with the approval of the Court. You have the right to object to the requested fees and expenses and awards.
Class Counsel will file their application for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and for the service award by no later than November 12, 2019. These papers will also be posted on this website.
You can tell the Court that you don’t agree with the Settlement or some part of it.
If you believe the proposed Settlement is unfair or inadequate, you may object to the Settlement, either personally or through an attorney (at your own expense), by filing a written objection with the Court and mailing a copy of your written objection to Class Counsel and Defense Counsel at the addresses listed below.
All objections must be signed and must include your name, address, telephone number and the name of the Action, Rodriguez, et al. v. It’s Just Lunch, et al., No. 07-CV-9227 (SN). All objections must be filed with the Court and postmarked to Class Counsel and Defense Counsel no later than November 25, 2019. If you submit a timely objection, you may appear at your own expense at the Fairness Hearing, either personally or through an attorney. Your objection should clearly explain why you object to the proposed Settlement and state whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either personally or through an attorney.
Where to mail your written objections:
Clerk of Court
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
United States Courthouse
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10007-1312
It’s Just Lunch Class Action
225 Broadway, 29th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
77 Water Street, Suite 2100
New York, NY 10005
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. 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 case no longer affects you.
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, Courtroom 219, New York, New York 10007. At this hearing the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing and who do speak. The Court may also consider Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses and for the service award to Representative Plaintiff. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. You are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court and talk about it. As long as your written objection is received on time, the Court will consider it.
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” in "Rodriguez, et al. v. It’s Just Lunch, et al., No. 07-CV-9227 (SN).” Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, that you are a Class Member, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be received by the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel, at the three addresses in Question 18, no later than November 25, 2019. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself.
If you are an eligible Class Member and do nothing, you will not receive a cash payment or voucher. You must complete and submit a valid Claim Form to receive a cash payment or voucher under the Settlement for both the New York and National Classes. If you do not exclude yourself as a Class Member, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against It’s Just Lunch or any of the Released Parties about the legal issues in this case ever again.
The Full Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details appear in the Settlement Agreement (the “Agreement”). Copies of the Agreement and the pleadings and other documents relating to the Action are available in the 'Documents' section of this website. These documents are also on file at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and may be examined and copied at any time during regular office hours between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or you may access documents on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) website at https://www.pacer.gov. PACER is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal, appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator on PACER .
You can visit the 'Documents' section of this website, where you will find the Full Notice, the Claim Form, and other information, including a copy of the Settlement Agreement. You may also contact the Claims Administrator, through the 'Contact' section of this website or phone toll-free at 855-486-7348, or Class Counsel, the law firm of Balestriere Fariello, at 212-374-5400. You should not direct questions to the Court.