Matthews, et al. v. TCL Communication, Inc. et al.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Court issued the Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit that the Court has preliminarily approved. You also are entitled to know how you may make a claim for certain benefits of the Settlement and about all of your options. If the Court grants final approval and any appeals are resolved (this date will be referred to as “the Settlement Effective Date”), valuable benefits will be distributed to certain qualifying Persons who made a claim within the Claim Period.

The people who filed the class action are called the “Plaintiffs” and TCL Communication, Inc. et al.,are the “Defendants.” A lawsuit was filed in federal court in North Carolina, captioned Matthews, et al. v. TCL Communication, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-95 (W.D.N.C.), which alleges that Defendants marketed, warranted and sold Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch smartphones as possessing compatibility with LTE Band 12, a frequency on which mobile phones operate for high speed communication. Plaintiffs further contended that Defendants removed LTE Band compatibility from all OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphones in a software update, greatly reducing the functionality of the OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphones. Plaintiffs assert legal claims on behalf of themselves and all members of the “Settlement Class,” defined in Question 3. Those claims include claims that Defendants violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, and breached express and implied warranties to purchasers of the OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphones. Alcatel denies these claims, as well as any wrongdoing in the sale, distribution or marketing of the OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphones. More information can be found on this website, by writing to Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel: Nicholas A. Migliaccio and Jason S. Rathod of Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, 412 H Street NE, Suite 302, Washington, D.C. 20003; and Gary E. Mason of Whitfield Bryson & Mason, LLP, 5101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Ste 305, Washington, DC 20016; or by calling 1-866-742-4955. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available in the Court Documents section of this website and is also on file with the Court.

In a class action, one or more person(s) called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of themselves and others with similar claims. All of these people together are called a “Class,” and individually, are called “Class Members.” The Court appointed Plaintiffs as Class Representatives for purposes of this Settlement. The “Settlement Class Members” are all people who reside in North Carolina or Kentucky who purchased one of the Idol 3 Smartphones and who do not properly or timely exercise their rights to opt out of the Settlement.

The Court did not decide in favor of either Plaintiff or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. The Class Representative and the attorneys that have been appointed by the Court to represent the Class believe that the Settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.

You are entitled to Settlement benefits if you reside in North Carolina or Kentucky and purchased either an Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 inch or 5.5 inch Smartphone during the time period of January 1, 2015 – December 27, 2016 and used the T-Mobile network, which may include, but is not limited to the following virtual network operators (“MVNOs”):  Lyca Mobile, MetroPCS, Net10, Republic Wireless, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, Ting, TracFone, Ultra Mobile, Univision Mobile, US Mobile, Walmart Family Mobile, ZIP SIM (formerly Ready SIM).

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch Smartphones purchased during the time period of January 1, 2015 – December 27, 2016.

Excluded from the Settlement Class are Defendants; its parent companies, affiliates or subsidiaries, or any employees thereof, and any entities in which any of such companies has a controlling interest; the judge or magistrate judge to whom the Action is assigned; and, any member of those judges’ staffs and immediate families.

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you may review the full Notice and available documents available under the Court Documents section of this website, or call 1-866-742-4955, and ask for assistance.

For each eligible Settlement Claim Member who submits a valid Claim Form and Release that includes evidence that the Settlement Class Member’s Idol 3 Smartphone used the T-Mobile Network, which may include, but is not limited to the following virtual network operators (“MVNOs”):  Lyca Mobile, MetroPCS, Net10, Republic Wireless, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, Ting, TracFone, Ultra Mobile, Univision Mobile, US Mobile, Walmart Family Mobile, ZIP SIM (formerly Ready SIM).

Defendants will, at their sole and exclusive option, either:
(1) reinstate LTE Band 12 functionality on the particular Settlement Class Member’s Idol 3 Smartphone within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 3 months from the Court’s Final Order approving the Settlement (the “Award Deadline”); or
(2) provide a comparable replacement Alcatel smartphone (i.e., one with a manufacturers’ suggested retail price of at least $179.99 and LTE Band 12 compatibility) for each Idol 3 Smartphone originally purchased by a Settlement Class Member within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 3 months from the Award Deadline, or within one (1) month of the receipt of a valid and timely Claim Form if the Claim Form is received after the Award Deadline.

If you are a Settlement Class Member, when the Settlement becomes final – even if you do not claim the benefits described in Answer 9 – you will be releasing Defendants and their officers, directors, employees, and related corporate entities, from any liability for all claims associated with this case, and you will be bound by the release included in the Settlement Agreement. A copy of the Settlement Agreement containing the release is available under the Court Documents section of this website.

Yes. Nicholas A. Migliaccio and Jason S. Rathod of Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, 412 H Street NE, Suite 302, Washington, D.C. 20003; and Gary E. Mason of Whitfield Bryson & Mason, LLP, 5101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Ste 305, Washington, DC 20016 have been appointed by the Court to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

Plaintiffs’ counsel will ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees and of no more than $120,000 and to award reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in litigating this case. The Court may award a different amount. If the Court does award attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses, Defendants have agreed to pay whatever amounts are awarded by the Court. Separate and apart from the Settlement consideration described in Answer 9 and Answer 10 above, Defendants will separately pay the fees and expenses that the Court awards, as well as the costs to provide notice to the Settlement Class and to administer the Settlement. These amounts will not come out of the funds for benefits to Settlement Class Members and others. No Settlement Class Member will pay anything.

You have a right to exclude yourself or “opt out” of the Settlement. To opt out, you must personally sign and mail a request for exclusion to the following address:

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 Settlement
c/o RG2 Claims Administration
P.O. Box 59479
Philadelphia, PA 19102-9479

You must personally sign the exclusion request and identify the Alcatel Idol OneTouch 3 Smartphone that you purchased. You must also clearly state that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class. Your request must: (i) identify the Alcatel Idol OneTouch 3 Smartphone that you purchased; (ii) clearly express your desire to be excluded or to “opt out” from the Settlement Class; (iii) include your name, address and telephone number, and, if represented by counsel, counsel’s name, address and telephone number.

Your exclusion request must be mailed to the address set forth above and must be postmarked no later than May 13, 2018 or it will not be accepted. If you do not specifically request to be excluded by following these directions, you will automatically be a member of the Settlement Class. If you opt out of the Settlement Class, you will not be eligible for any Settlement benefits, and will waive all rights to object to the Settlement. Similarly, if you file an objection to the Settlement with the Court (see Question 15 below), you will not be able to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

If the proposed Settlement is approved and you are a Settlement Class Member who does not properly and timely exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, all claims that you may have now or in the future against Defendants with respect to the removal of LTE Band 12 functionality on the Idol 3 Smartphones, excluding any claims for personal injury that may be related to the removal of LTE Band 12 functionality on the Idol 3 Smartphones, and you will be prohibited from bringing any such claims in the future on your own behalf.

If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can express your objection to the Settlement. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter to Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ Counsel at the address below saying that you object to the terms of the Settlement. Your objection must: (i) identify the Class Smartphone that you purchased by model number and serial number; (ii) state in detail the legal and factual ground(s) for your objection; (iii) include your name, address and telephone number, and, if represented by counsel, counsel’s name, address and telephone number; (iv) indicate whether you or your attorney intend to speak at the Fairness Hearing; and (v) be signed by you. If you are represented by your own separate counsel, that attorney will also need to file his or her appearance with the Court by no later than May 13, 2018.

Please include the phrase “Matthews, et al. v. TCL Communication, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-95 (W.D.N.C.),” below the Defendants’ Counsel’s address on the envelope containing your objection.

You must also deliver the objection to Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ Counsel at the following addresses, so that it is received by no later than May 13, 2018.

CLASS COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF AND THE SETTLEMENT CLASS:

Nicholas A. Migliaccio, Esq.
Migliaccio & Rathod LLP
412 H Street, N.E.
Suite 302
Washington, DC 20002

COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS:

Brian W. Shaffer, Esq.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
1701 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2921

If you send an objection to the Settlement to Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ Counsel, you will waive all rights to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing before the Honorable Frank D. Whitney at 9:00 a.m. on June 11, 2018 in Courtroom #1-1 of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 195 Charles R. Jonas Building, 401 W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. 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 also may decide how much to pay Plaintiffs’ Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

No. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will answer any questions that Judge Whitney may have. However, you are welcome to come at your own expense. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the Fairness Hearing on your behalf. If you file an objection, you do not have to come to Court to discuss it. As long as your written objection is received before the deadline, and you have followed the directions contained in the Answer to Question 15 above, the Court will consider the information provided in your written objection.

That will be up to Judge Whitney. If you have submitted a timely written objection pursuant to Answer to Question 15 above and have indicated your intent to appear at the Fairness Hearing, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing.

If you do nothing, you will be a Member of the Settlement Class. However, you will not get any Settlement benefits unless you submit a valid Claim Form and Release. Moreover, any and all claims you have relating to removal of LTE Band 12 functionality on the Idol 3 Smartphones, excluding any claims for personal injury that may be related to the removal of LTE Band 12 functionality on the Idol 3 Smartphones, will be released.  If you do nothing, the rights you will release may be significant and include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • All claims relating to the removal of the LTE Band 12 functionality from Idol 3 Smartphones based in tort, contract, or statute;
  • All claims for money damages and equitable relief; and
  • All claims for violations of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, the North Carolina Consumer Protection Act, breach of contract, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, fraudulent and/or negligent misrepresentation, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, unjust enrichment, and declaratory relief.

If you think you may be a Settlement Class Member or may have purchased an Idol 3 Smartphone and would like more information about the lawsuit or the terms of the proposed Settlement, you may review the pleadings, records and other papers on file in this lawsuit, including the Court’s Order regarding the Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and the proposed Settlement Agreement, which may be inspected on weekdays, during normal business hours, at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 195 Charles R. Jonas Building, 401 W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, or at www.pacer.gov. The Preliminary Approval Order and Settlement Agreement is also be available under the Court Documents section of this website. For information on any matters contained in the Notice, you may write to or call Plaintiffs’ Counsel:

Nicholas A. Migliaccio, Esq.
Migliaccio & Rathod LLP
412 H Street, N.E.
Suite 302
Washington, DC 20002
Telephone: (202) 470-3520

You may also call 1-866-742-4955, and ask for assistance.

You may file a Claim online, by going to the File A Claim section of his website. You will also have the ability to attach documents to support your claim when filing online.

You may file a Claim by mail by printing and completing a copy of the Claim Form available under the Notice/Claim section of this website.  Claims can be mailed to:  Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 Settlement, c/o RG2 Claims Administration, P.O. Box 59479, Philadelphia, PA 19102-9479

You may file a Claim by fax to 215-827-5551.

You may also e-mail your Claim to info@rg2claims.com

Documents should be provided verifying you reside on North Carolina or Kentucky.  Such documents could include a copy of your license or a copy of a utility bill or your cell phone bill.

A copy of your receipt showing you purchased an Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 inch or 5.5 inch smartphone between January 1, 2015 and December 27, 2016.  If your phone was purchased online, you may be able to get a copy of your order history from the website you purchased the phone from.  If you purchased your phone with a credit card, you should be able to get a copy of your monthly statement online from the credit card company showing your purchase.

Documents evidencing that your OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphone used the T-Mobile Network,  which includes, but is not limited to the following virtual network operators (“MVNOs”):  Lyca Mobile, MetroPCS, Net10, Republic Wireless, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, Ting, TracFone, Ultra Mobile, Univision Mobile, US Mobile, Walmart Family Mobile, ZIP SIM (formerly Ready SIM). You may provide a copy of cell phone bill, or a credit card or other account statement evidencing that your Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 Smartphone used the T-Mobile Network (or MVNO).

You may still file a Claim, however, at some point you will be required to provide documents as discussed in Question 22.  Without the required documentation, you may not be entitled to settlement benefits in this matter.