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Commonly Asked Questions


What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

On August 25, 2014, an amended putative class action complaint was filed in federal court against JC Penney Corporation, Inc. and other defendants alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (known as “ERISA”).  ERISA is a federal law that governs certain retirement and health plans. The case alleges that the Defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by failing to a) prudently and loyally manage the assets of the J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan and b) adequately monitor the independent fiduciary and provide the independent fiduciary with accurate information. 

The Settlement provides for a gross settlement fund of four million, five hundred thousand dollars, from which will be paid taxes, attorneys’ fees and costs, and any case contribution awards, in amounts approved by the United States District Court.

The remaining portion of the settlement fund will be allocated pursuant to a Plan of Allocation to class members who have suffered a net loss of greater than $25.00 related to the investment of their J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan account in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund from November 1, 2011 through May 31, 2016.  Participants with Active Plan Accounts at the time of distribution will receive a one-time payment in their individual accounts.  Participants without Active Plan Accounts will receive a one-time payment in the form of a check mailed to their last address on file or will have their Plan accounts re-opened. 

The Settlement is the product of intensive, arm’s-length negotiations between Class Counsel and Defense Counsel, with the assistance of a professional mediator.

The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  Payments will be made only if the Court approves the Settlement and, if there are any appeals, approval is upheld after any appeals.

Why is this case a class action?

Answer:

In a class action, one or more plaintiffs, called “named plaintiffs,” sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of the individuals on whose behalf the Named Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are suing are “Class members,” and they are also referred to in the Class Notice as members of the Settlement Class.  The Court resolves the issues for all Class members and all Class members will be bound by the Settlement if it is approved by the Court.  United States District Court Judge Robert W. Schroeder III, in Eastern Texas, is presiding over this case.

Who is included in the lawsuit?

Answer:

You are a member of the Settlement Class if you had a portion of your J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan Account invested in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund from November 1, 2011 through May 31, 2016.

What actions may I take in the Settlement?

Answer:

A description of what actions Settlement Class Members may take in the Settlement is contained in the Class Notice.

If the Settlement is approved by the Court and you are a member of the Settlement Class, you do not need to do anything and you will be bound by the Court’s Order.

If you wish to object to any part of the Settlement, you can write to the Court and explain why you object.  Your written objection must be sent to the Court and postmarked, or if not sent by United States Postal Service, received by the Court, by no later than July 10, 2017.  Any objection must also be postmarked, or received if not sent by United States Postal Service, to Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel listed in the Class Notice on the same day it is sent to the Court. More information can be found in Question 13 of the Class Notice.

If you have submitted a written objection to the Court, you can ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement.  You may enter your appearance in Court through an attorney if you so desire.  Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed and served on Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel listed in the Class Notice, must be postmarked, or if not sent by United States Postal Service received by the Court, by July 10, 2017, and must be filed with the Clerk of the Court at the following address: Clerk of the Court, William M. Steger Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 211 W. Ferguson Street, Tyler, TX 75702. More information can be found in Question 16 of the Class Notice.

How will the Settlement be distributed to the Plan?

Answer:

Members of the Settlement Class do not need to do anything with respect to the Settlement in this lawsuit.  Within ninety days after the Final Approval Order approving the Settlement becomes Final and non-appealable, Defendants will distribute four million, five hundred thousand dollars to Settlement Class Members less taxes, attorneys’ fees and costs, and any case contribution awards.  The payments allocated to Settlement Class Members with active Plan accounts with JC Penney Corporation will be deposited into their individual Plan account.  If you are a Settlement Class member without an active Plan account, the payment will be made to you by a separate check or through re-opening your Plan account.

Class members who have a net loss of $25.00 or less at the end of the Class Period will not receive an allocation.  This criterion is described in Question 7 of the Class Notice.

How can I get more information?

Answer:

The Class Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement.  Full details of the Settlement are set forth in the Settlement Agreement, the Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement and related documents filed with the Court, and the order granting preliminary approval of the Settlement.  You may obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement by making a written request to Class Counsel listed in Section 13 of the Class Notice, at 50 Broadway, 32nd Floor, New York, New York 10004.  Copies of the Settlement Agreement, as well as other important documents are available here.

Why is there a Settlement?

Answer:

The Parties have agreed to settle this case following significant litigation. While Plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe the Action has merit, they recognize that the outcome would be uncertain. Plaintiffs faced lengthy litigation on the merits of their claims, including discovery, class certification proceedings, trial and likely appeals.

As in any litigation, the Plaintiffs would face an uncertain outcome. On the one hand, continuation of the case against the Defendants could result in a judgment greater than this Settlement. On the other hand, continuing the case could result in no recovery at all, or a recovery that is less than the amount of the Settlement. And, continuing the case could result in judgment for Defendants. Based on these factors, Plaintiffs and Class Counsel have concluded that the proposed cash Settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class members.

How do I know if I'm part of the Settlement?

Answer:

You are a member of the Settlement Class if you fall within the definition of the Settlement Class approved by the Court:

All Persons who were participants in or beneficiaries of the J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan (the “Plan”) at any time from November 1, 2011 through May 31, 2016, and whose Plan accounts included investments in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund.

If you are a member of the Settlement Class, the amount of money you will receive, if any, depends upon the Plan of Allocation, described below and the amount of the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund in which your Plan account was invested during the Class Period.

How much will my payment be?

Answer:

Your share (if any) of the Net Settlement Fund, net of the fees and expenses described above, will depend on your alleged loss, compared to other Settlement Class members’ alleged losses, related to Plan investments in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund at any time since November 1, 2011. Each Settlement Class member’s share will be calculated according to a Court-approved Plan of Allocation. You are not responsible for calculating the amount you may be entitled to receive under the Settlement, or for providing the information needed to perform such calculations.

In general, your proportionate share of the Settlement will be calculated as follows:

  1. Each Settlement Class member’s "Net Loss" will be calculated. For each Settlement Class member, his or her Net Loss will be equal to: (a) the dollar value, if any, of his or her account balance in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund on the first day of the Settlement Class Period (November 1, 2011); plus (b) the dollar value, if any, of all purchases of interests in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund for his or her account during the Class Period, as of the time of purchase(s); minus (c) the dollar value, if any, of all dispositions of interests in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund in his or her account during the Class Period, as of the time of the disposition(s); minus (d) the dollar value of the balance in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund remaining in his or her account on the close of business on May 31, 2016.
  2. All Net Losses will be aggregated to yield the total loss over the Plan of Allocation and each Settlement Class member’s percentage of that total loss will be calculated.
  3. Applying that percentage to the Settlement proceeds (net of fees and expenses as described above), the Settlement Administrator, if one is retained, or other such entity, will calculate each Settlement Class member’s share of those proceeds on a preliminary basis.
  4. All participants whose preliminary share is greater than zero but less than or equal to twenty-five dollars ($25.00) will be deemed to have a final share equal to zero dollars. The Settlement Administrator, if one is retained, or other such entity, will then recalculate the net loss percentage of those Settlement Class members whose preliminary share was greater than $25.00, to arrive at each such Settlement Class member’s final share.

Do not worry if you do not have records that show your Plan activity. The Plan has records of participants’ activity which will be used for calculations. If you are entitled to a share of the Net Settlement Fund, you will receive a statement showing your share. If you have questions regarding the allocation of the Settlement proceeds, please contact Class Counsel listed on Page 2 of the Notice and located on the Home page.

How can I get a payment?

Answer:

You do not need to file a claim. If you are a Settlement Class member with an active Plan account, the payment will be made directly to your Plan account in accordance with investment elections currently in effect, or, if no such elections have been made, into the Plan’s qualified default investment alternative. If you are a Settlement Class member without an active Plan account, the payment will be made to you by a separate check or through re-opening your Plan account. If you are a former Plan participant and have not provided the Plan with your current address, please contact Class Counsel listed on Home page.

When would I get my payment?

Answer:

The Settlement cannot be completed unless and until several events occur. These events include final approval of the Settlement by the Court and calculation of the amount of the Settlement proceeds owed to each Settlement Class member. If objections are made or appeals are taken by objectors from approval of the Settlement, this process may take a long time to complete, possibly years.

THERE WILL BE NO PAYMENTS IF THE SETTLEMENT STIPULATION IS TERMINATED

The Settlement may be terminated for several reasons, including if: (1) the Court does not approve, or materially modifies, the Settlement Stipulation in a way that Plaintiffs and Defendants do not accept; or (2) the Court approves the Settlement Stipulation but the approval is reversed or materially modified by an appellate court. If the Settlement is terminated, the Action will proceed as if the Settlement Stipulation had not been entered into.

Calculations will be made as soon as practicable after the Settlement is completed, and a distribution will be made as soon as practicable after the calculations have been verified. Only Settlement Class members entitled to a distribution will receive correspondence when the distribution is made. Updates, when available, will be posted to this website.

Must I participate in the Settlement?

Answer:

You do not have the right to exclude yourself from the Settlement. The Settlement Stipulation provides for certification of the Settlement Class as a non-opt-out class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1) and (b)(2) and the Court has preliminarily determined that the requirements of that Rule have been satisfied. Thus, it is not possible for any Settlement Class member to exclude themselves from the Settlement. As a Settlement Class member, you will be bound by any judgments or orders that are entered in the Action for all claims that were or could have been asserted in the Action or are otherwise released under the Settlement.

Although you cannot opt-out of the Settlement, you can object to the Settlement. See Answer to Question No. 13 of the Notice.

Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Answer:

The Court has appointed the law firm of Zamansky LLC as Interim Class Counsel for Plaintiffs and the [Proposed] Settlement Class Counsel in this Action. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

How will the lawyers be paid?

Answer:

Class Counsel will file a motion for an award of attorneys’ fees of not more than thirty percent (30%) of the Gross Settlement Fund, plus reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of the Action. This motion will be considered at the Fairness Hearing described in the Notice.

How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement or the Motions for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses and Plaintiffs' Case Contribution Awards?

Answer:

Any motions for final approval of the Settlement and for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses and a Case Contribution Award will be filed with the Court, and will be posted to the Settlement Website, by no later than June 23, 2017.

If you are a Settlement Class member, you can object to the Settlement and/or the Motions for Fees and Expenses and Named Plaintiffs’ Case Contribution Award. To object, you must file a letter or other writing with the Court stating that you object to the Settlement, Motion for Fees and Expenses, and/or Motion for Named Plaintiffs’ Case Contribution Award in Roberto Ramirez and Thomas Ihle vs. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-00601 (RWS) (KNM), that is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, signature, and a full explanation of all the reasons you object to the Settlement. The objection must refer prominently to Roberto Ramirez and Thomas Ihle vs. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-00601 (RWS) (KNM).

Objections must be sent to the Court. The address for the Court is: Clerk of the Court, William M. Steger Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 211 W. Ferguson Street, Tyler, TX 75702. Your written objection must be sent to the Court and postmarked, or if not sent by United States Postal Service received by the Court, by no later than July 10, 2017.

Any objection must also be postmarked, or received if not sent by United States Postal Service, to counsel on the same day it is sent to the Court. Objections may alternatively be emailed to counsel, but emailing objections to counsel does not relieve you from the obligation to file the objection with the Clerk of the Court by mail as described immediately above.

To Class Counsel:
Jacob H. Zamansky
Samuel E. Bonderoff
ZAMANSKY LLC
50 Broadway, 32nd Floor
New York, NY 10004
Telephone: (212) 742-1414
Facsimile: (212) 742-1177
jake@zamansky.com
samuel@zamansky.com

To Defendants’ Counsel:
Howard Shapiro
PROSKAUER ROSE LLP
650 Poydras Street, Suite 1800
New Orleans, LA 70130
Telephone: (504) 310-4085
Facsimile: (504) 310-2022
howshapiro@proskauer.com

Your objection must be sent to the Court and contemporaneously sent to the counsel listed above. If the objection is sent by the United States Postal Service, it must be postmarked by July 10, 2017. If the objection is sent by other means and not by the United States Postal Service, it must be received by the Court no later than July 10, 2017.

.

Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?

Answer:

No. You may come at your own expense or retain an attorney at your own expense to attend, but your attendance is not necessary. The Court will consider any written objections even if you do not attend the hearing.

May I speak at the Hearing?

Answer:

If you are a Settlement Class member, you or your attorney may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must have served an objection and you must send a letter or other paper called a "Notice of Intention to Appear at Fairness Hearing in Roberto Ramirez and Thomas Ihle vs. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-00601 (RWS) (KNM)." Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed and served on the attorneys listed in the Answer to Question No. 13 of the Notice, must be postmarked, or if not sent by United States Postal Service received by the Court, by July 10, 2017, and must be filed with the Clerk of the Court at the address listed in the Answer to Question No. 13 of the Notice.

What happens if I do nothing?

Answer:

If you do nothing and you are a Settlement Class member, you will participate in the Settlement of the Action as described in this Notice. Whether you receive any portion of the Settlement Fund will be determined in accordance with the Plan of Allocation.

Disclaimer

Settlement Administrator
Ramirez v J.C. Penney Corp ERISA
Class Action Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting, Inc. - 5514
PO Box 2572
Faribault, MN 55021-9572
Toll Free: 1 (866) 646-7319
Email: administrator@jcperisaclassaction.com

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