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To qualify for a Settlement Payment, you must complete and submit a Claim. You can file your Claim online at this website or send it by U.S. Mail to:
The deadline to submit a Claim Form is 11:59 PM ET on September 5, 2023.
Wayside Church, Henderson Hodgens, and others (the “Plaintiffs”) allege that Defendants violated their 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.” Plaintiffs here were among the first to assert a putative class action for surplus proceeds in Michigan. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations.
For additional information about the claims, arguments, and history of the case, you may view the pleadings and other important documents filed on the documents section of this website. The complete docket or court file can be reviewed via the Court’s electronic docket known as PACER at miwd.uscourts.gov, but you must register for an account and pay fees to review filings. You may also review the docket online for free by visiting any of the court’s locations. The addresses and rules governing courthouse entry are also available at miwd.uscourts.gov.
The Class includes the following individuals: “All Persons, their heirs and successors, who held a non-contingent interest in an Eligible Property at the time that property was foreclosed on by a County and which was sold between January 1, 2013 and ending on December 31, 2020 by that County.” (Common examples of non-contingent interests in real estate include ownership and any type of lien.)
All counties of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and all counties in the western half of Michigan’s lower peninsula, except for Branch, Charlevoix, Clinton, Keweenaw, Luce, and Mecosta Counties, are included in the Settlement. Here are the counties agreeing to the proposed Settlement:
If you are still not sure whether you are included or you have additional questions, you can review the FAQs on this website, contact the Claims Administrator using the contact us page of this website, or call toll-free at 1-833-709-0093.
If you do not wish to be eligible for a Settlement Payment, and you want to keep the right to sue Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself – or it is sometimes referred to as “opting-out” of the Class.
To exclude yourself individually from the Settlement, you must send a timely letter by mail to:
Your exclusion request must be postmarked by July 22, 2023.
Unless you opt-out of the Settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you.
The Settlement Agreement is available in the documents section of this website. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the Release and describes the Released Claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully.
The Court has appointed Fink Bressack, James Shek, and Lewis, Reed, & Allen PC to represent the Class. They are called “Lead Counsel.” They are experienced in handling similar class action cases. You may contact Lead Counsel using the information below:
Lewis, Reed, & Allen PC
If you are a member of the Settlement Class (and do not exclude yourself from the Class), you can object to any part of the Settlement by sending a timely letter by mail to:
The Court had scheduled a Fairness Hearing at 9:00 a.m. ET on November 8, 2023, at the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Kalamazoo Division, 174 Federal Building, 410 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. This Fairness Hearing has been adjourned and will be rescheduled pending new Order from the Court. Please refer to Order Adjourning Fairness Hearing in the documents section of this website.
The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional mailed notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates periodically. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider the requests by Lead Counsel for attorney fees. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. It is unknown how long these decisions will take.
For more information, you may contact the Claims Administrator using the contact us section of this website, toll-free at 1-833-709-0093 or first-class mail at Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, c/o Kroll Settlement Administration, P.O. Box 225391, New York, NY 10150-5391. For a complete, definitive statement of the Settlement terms, refer to the Settlement Agreement at this website.
No, you do not need to provide a Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number to submit a Claim.