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Raintree Vacation Club Special Assessment Class Action Lawsuit

Raintree Vacation Club Special Assessment Class Action Lawsuit

In July 2010, eleven Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in federal district court challenging the lawfulness of the Special Assessment that was issued to members of Raintree Vacation Club and Club Regina (referred to as "the Club") in October or November 2009. The name of the lawsuit is Berrien, et al. v. New Raintree Resorts, LLC, et al., No. CV-10-03125 CW (N.D. Cal.).

On November 15, 2011, the Parties in the lawsuit reached a proposed settlement of the claims asserted by the Plaintiffs on behalf of all U.S. residents who were charged the Special Assessment (Plaintiffs and these U.S. residents are known as the "Settlement Class"). On March 13, 2012, the Court issued its Final Class Action Settlement Approval Order and Judgment, approving the proposed settlement.
 
If you would like more information regarding the lawsuit and the proposed settlement, please read the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have additional questions, you may contact Girard Gibbs LLP by sending an e-mail to Raintree-Settlement@GirardGibbs.com or by calling us toll-free at 866-981-4800.
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Raintree Resorts Proposed Settlement FAQs

1. Why did I receive a Notice of Class Action Settlement?

2. What are the lawsuit and settlement about?


3. How does the settlement benefit members of the Settlement Class?


3a. Why are Supplemental Points allocated the way they are?


4. Who represents the Settlement Class?


5. How can I tell the Court what I think about the settlement?


6. How can I exclude myself from the class?


7. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on final approval of the settlement?


8. Am I required to attend the final settlement approval hearing? May I speak at the hearing?


9. What happens if I do nothing at all?


10. Where can I get more information?

 
1. Why did I receive a Notice of Class Action Settlement?
 
The Notice of Class Action Settlement was sent to you because you are a member of the Settlement Class. The purpose of the Notice was to inform you that an agreement to settle a lawsuit was reached and to explain details and procedures related to the settlement.
 
2. What are the lawsuit and settlement about?
 
The lawsuit is a class action in federal district court in Oakland, California. The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are eleven Club members. The Defendants are New Raintree Resorts International, LLC, RVC Members, LLC and Douglas Y. Bech. Plaintiffs argued that, among other things, the issuance of the Special Assessment by the Defendants was a tortious interference with their contractual rights as Club members and an unfair business practice. Initially, Plaintiffs sued on behalf of a class of California residents only.
 
The lawsuit was first filed in July 2010. In November 2011, after more than a year of litigation and after the California class was certified for class action treatment by the Court, the Parties agreed to resolve the litigation through settlement before trial. On March 13, 2012, the Court issued its Final Class Action Settlement Approval Order and Judgment, approving the proposed settlement.
 
The Defendants have denied all allegations of wrongdoing. The Defendants agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost, delay and risk of continued litigation. Plaintiffs agreed to the settlement based on the benefits it will provide to Settlement Class members, as weighed against the cost, delay and risk of continued litigation, trial and appeal.
 
3. How does the settlement benefit members of the Settlement Class?
 
The Notice contains many of the details of the proposed settlement. For more detailed information regarding the proposed settlement, please read the Notice and the Settlement Agreement and Release, which are both available for download on the right-hand side of this web page.
 
In summary, the settlement provides the following benefits to members of the Settlement Class:
 
  • Any unpaid amounts due on the Special Assessment and regular annual Club maintenance fees for 2010 and 2011, plus any interest and penalties, if applicable, will be waived and not collected or pursued for collection, upon a Settlement Class member’s payment of his or her 2012 maintenance fees.
  • Settlement Class members who paid the Special Assessment and/or paid 2010 or 2011 maintenance fees during a period when they were prevented from booking reservations because of the Special Assessment will receive “Supplemental Points” that they may use to book additional reservations at Club resorts to compensate them for such payments. Supplemental Points will be allocated to eligible members of the Settlement Class based on each member’s 2010 Club Points (or weeks) allotment as follows, depending on the payments each member has made:
 
Payment(s) Made by Member Supplemental Points Allocation
1. Paid both the Special Assessment and Maintenance Fees for both 2010 and 2011 1. Will receive Supplemental Points equal to Member’s 2010 Points
2. Paid the Special Assessment, but did not pay Maintenance Fees for both 2010 and 2011 2. Will receive Supplemental Points equal to Member’s 2010 Points
3. Paid Maintenance Fees for either (but not both) 2010 or 2011, but did not pay the Special Assessment 3. Will receive Supplemental Points equal to Member’s 2010 Points
4. Paid Maintenance Fees for either (but not both) 2010 or 2011, plus the Special Assessment 4. Will receive Supplemental Points equal to 2x Member’s 2010 Points
5. Paid Maintenance Fees for both 2010 and 2011, but did not pay the Special Assessment 5. Will receive Supplemental Points equal to 2x Member’s 2010 Points

 

Members of the Settlement Class who paid nothing toward the Special Assessment and paid nothing toward 2010 and 2011 Maintenance Fees will not receive any Supplemental Points.
 
  • The Defendants will provide a detailed description of the actual uses of funds collected through the Special Assessment and will provide annual, independently audited financial information to Club members describing Club operation expenses, the fees charged to Club members and the uses of the fees collected.
  • No fees charged to Club members will increase because of the settlement.
Under the Settlement Agreement and Release, in exchange for the benefits provided, Defendants, Plaintiffs, Settlement Class members and the attorneys in the lawsuit agreed to mutually release each other from all claims that were asserted in the lawsuit, arise from the lawsuit or arise from the Special Assessment. The parties to the Settlement Agreement expressly agreed that this release does not extend to any future Special Assessment or any future alleged wrongdoing by the Defendants.
 
3a. Why are Supplemental Points allocated the way they are?
 
The purpose of the Settlement is attempt to put Settlement Class members in as close to the position that they would have been in if the Special Assessment had not been issued. Supplemental Points are allocated differently under the proposed Settlement because different Settlement Class members made different payments for 2010 and 2011. For example, some paid the Special Assessment and 2010 Maintenance Fees and 2011 Maintenance Fees; others paid the Special Assessment and 2011 Maintenance Fees only; other did not pay the Special Assessment, but did pay both 2010 Maintenance Fees and 2011 Maintenance Fees; etc.
 
Settlement Class members who paid all three amounts billed for 2010 and 2011 in full (Special Assessment and 2010 Maintenance Fees and 2011 Maintenance Fees) were generally able to use their Club memberships in 2010 and 2011. Those members will receive an allocation of Supplemental Points equal to their regular 2010 points (or usage weeks) allotment to compensate them for the extra amount they paid under the Special Assessment.
 
On the other hand, Settlement Class members who paid something, but did not pay the Special Assessment and 2010 Maintenance Fees and 2011 Maintenance Fees, were not permitted to use their Club memberships. Those members will receive Supplemental Points to compensate them for the fact that they made some payments, but were not permitted to book reservations at Club resorts. The amount of Supplemental Points that those members will receive depends on the amounts they paid. Members who paid one of the three amounts billed (for example: the Special Assessment only or 2010 Maintenance Fees only) will receive Supplemental Points equal to their regular 2010 points (or usage weeks) allotment because they made the equivalent of one Maintenance Fee payment, but were not able to use their Club memberships. Those members who paid two of the three amounts billed (for example: the Special Assessment and 2010 Maintenance Fees only or 2010 Maintenance Fees and 2011 Maintenance Fees only) will receive Supplemental Points equal to twice their regular 2010 points (or usage weeks) allotment because they made the equivalent of two Maintenance Fee payments, but were not able to use their Club memberships. As explained above, those members who paid all three of the amounts billed generally did not have their reservation rights suspended and will receive Supplemental Points equal to their 2010 regular points (or usage weeks) allotment to compensate them for the extra amount they paid under the Special Assessment.
 
4. Who represents the Settlement Class?
 
The Court appointed the eleven Plaintiffs who have been pursuing this lawsuit to serve as class representatives. Plaintiffs’ lawyers, Girard Gibbs LLP, have been appointed to serve as class counsel.
 
As class counsel, Girard Gibbs asked the Court to approve an incentive payment for each of the eleven Plaintiffs to compensate them for the work they have done on behalf of the class, which has included efforts by each Plaintiff to respond to discovery, appear for deposition, attend court hearings, and assist Class counsel in investigative efforts on behalf of the Settlement Class. Class counsel paid all litigation costs and provided legal assistance to Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class on a wholly contingent basis, and asked the Court to approve an award of attorneys’ fees to compensate them for this work and for reimbursement of court costs and legal expenses they incurred for the Settlement Class. On March 13, 2012, the Court issued an Order Granting the Plaintiffs' Motion for Approval of Award of Attorneys' Fees, Litigation Expenses and Incentive Payments to Class Representatives.
 
5. How can I tell the Court what I think about the settlement?
 
The deadline to submit comments or objections was January 30, 2012.
 
6. How can I exclude myself from the class?
 
The deadline to request exclusion was January 30, 2012. If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you will receive the benefits of the settlement even if you took no action. You will also be bound by the release of Settlement Class members' legal claims, which is described in the Notice.
 
7. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on final approval of the settlement?
 
A final settlement approval hearing was held at 2:00 p.m. on March 8, 2012 before the Honorable Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Courthouse, Courtroom 2, 4th Floor, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California 94612.
 
8. Am I required to attend the final settlement approval hearing? May I speak at the hearing?
 
The final settlement approval hearing was held on March 8, 2012.
 
9. What happens if I do nothing at all?
 
If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you will receive the benefits of the settlement even if you took no action. You will also be bound by the release of Settlement Class members’ legal claims, which is described in the Notice.
 
10. Where can I get more information?
 
For more detailed information, you may wish to review the Settlement Agreement and Release and the Court's final settlement approval orders that are available for download on this web page. If you have further questions, you may call Girard Gibbs LLP toll-free at 866-981-4800, or send an email to Raintree-Settlement@GirardGibbs.com.
 
The Settlement Agreement and Release and all other pleadings and papers filed in the lawsuit are available for inspection and copying during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California 94612.

Why Girard Gibbs?

Girard Gibbs represents consumers, investors, whistleblowers, employees, and businesses in cases involving consumer protection, personal injury, securities, antitrust, employment litigation and arbitration. The firm’s senior partners, Daniel Girard and Eric Gibbs, have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012 and Northern California Super Lawyers, and have earned AV-Preeminent ratings from Martindale-Hubbell, recognizing them in the highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills.

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