Case No. 1:14-cv-01274 (Western District of Michigan)
UPDATE January 2, 2024: The Fairness Hearing originally scheduled on November 8, 2023 has been rescheduled for February, 13, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. at 174 Federal Building, 410 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Please refer to Notice of Hearing - Motion for Final Approval for further details.
UPDATE November 21, 2023: The Fairness Hearing originally scheduled on November 8, 2023 has been adjourned and will be rescheduled pending further Order from the Court. The Court has scheduled a hearing for December 18, 2023 to address whether additional discovery is necessary, so we do not anticipate a Final Approval Hearing until after that hearing. When a new date is set for the Final Approval Hearing, that date will be posted on this website, so please continue to monitor this website for further updates.
UPDATE OCTOBER 25, 2023: The Order Adjourning Fairness Hearing was signed by the Court on October 25, 2023.
THE CLAIMS DEADLINE HAS PASSED. CLASS COUNSEL WILL BE ASKING THE COURT TO APPROVE LATE CLAIMS. FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT, YOU MAY MAIL YOUR LATE PAPER CLAIM FORM TO: Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, c/o Kroll Settlement Administration, P.O. Box 225391, New York, NY 10150-5391.
Update September 27, 2023: The Plaintiffs' Motion for Award of Attorneys' Fees was filed with the Court. Class Members were able to object to the motion by sending written objections to the Settlement Administrator by mail to Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, c/o Kroll Settlement Administration, P.O. Box 225391, New York, NY 10150-5391, or by filing a response in opposition to the motion with the Court by October 11, 2023. The deadline to file an objection has passed.
If your property was taken and sold due to non-payment of property taxes, you could receive money from a recent court settlement. Forty-three (43) Western and Northern Michigan counties that sold tax-delinquent properties and kept the sale proceeds have agreed to return certain amounts in excess of the past due taxes and costs. This applies to sales between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2020. But, you MUST file a claim by September 5, 2023, or you could lose your right to those funds.
CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT NOTICE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
A federal court authorized this website.• A settlement (the “Settlement”) has been proposed in the class action lawsuit referenced above pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan captioned Wayside Church, et al. v. Van Buren County, et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-01274.
• This class action alleges that the Defendants violated Plaintiffs’ rights by failing to give Plaintiffs the proceeds from the sale of the tax-foreclosed properties formerly owned by Plaintiffs that exceeded the unpaid taxes, fees, and other costs associated with those properties. These claims have become known as “surplus-proceeds claims.”• The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan ordered the issuance of this website. The Defendants deny that they have done anything wrong and have defended themselves. The Court has not decided who is right. Both sides have agreed to settle the dispute to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The Settlement offers Settlement Payments to members of the Settlement Class who file Eligible Claims.
• The Parties were able to reach this Settlement which considers the various risks identified above and seeks to end for the Counties participating in the Settlement what one court has referred to as the deluge of litigation arising from Michigan’s tax-foreclosure laws.
• Your legal rights are affected whether you act or not. Read this website carefully.
LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT:
SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM BY
you are a member of the Settlement Class or an heir to a Class Member, you
must submit a completed Claim to be eligible to receive a Settlement Payment.
You may do so at this website.
EXCLUDE YOURSELF BY JULY 22, 2023
You may request to be excluded from the Settlement, and if you do, you will not receive a Settlement Payment. The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement is July 22, 2023. Excluding yourself from the Settlement is the only way to retain your right to sue Defendants on your own over the claims alleged in the lawsuit.
OBJECT BY JULY 22, 2023
to the Court and comment on the Settlement. You are still eligible to file a
Claim and still remain in the Class.
GO TO THE FAIRNESS HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to evaluate the fairness of the Settlement and Lead Counsel’s request for attorney fees. The Fairness Hearing scheduled on November 8, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. ET (the “Fairness Hearing”) has been adjourned and will be rescheduled pending further Order from the Court. You may attend the hearing at your own expense, but it is not necessary. You may ask to speak in court about the fairness of the Settlement if you did not exclude yourself, but you must first notify counsel.
You will not receive a
Settlement Payment if you fail to timely submit an Eligible Claim and you
will give up your right to bring your own lawsuit about the claims in this
case, but you will still be bound by all decisions the Court makes in this
matter addressing these claims.
• These rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained on this website.
• The Court in charge of this case still must decide whether to approve the Settlement. If it does, and after any appeals are resolved, Settlement Payments will be distributed to those who submit Eligible Claims. Please be patient.