Gathen v. Cianfrone, Nikoloff, Grant & Greenberg, P.A., No. 22-00284-CI (Pinellas County, Fla. Mar. 27, 2023)
If Cianfrone, Nikoloff, Grant & Greenberg, P.A. attempted to collect a debt from you between January 20, 2020 and January 19, 2022, you may benefit from the settlement of this class action lawsuit.
This case is titled Heidi Gathen v. Cianfrone, Nikoloff, Grant & Greenberg, P.A., Case No. 22-00284-CI (Pinellas County, Fla. Circuit Court).
Ms. Gathen sued Cianfrone, Nikoloff, Grant & Greenberg, P.A. (“Defendant”) alleging that the firm used potentially misleading collection language in its collection letters. Specifically, Defendant instructed consumers to only respond to the letters in writing, by mail or facsimile, if they disputed their alleged debts. Over 600 “Overshadowing” class members received similar letters from Defendant worded in this way.
As well, for certain class members, Defendant also attempted to collect improper debts on behalf of Countryside North Community Association, Inc., in violation of federal and state law. Ms. Gathen alleged that Defendant and the community association were not entitled to collect annual assessments of $125 for 2019, 2020, or 2021 because such assessments exceeded allowable limits and thus were unenforceable. Approximately 84 “Countryside North” class members received letters for these assessments.
Defendant denies Plaintiff’s allegations and denies that it did anything wrong.
A settlement will result in payments to those class members who received the subject collection letters, as well as a change in Defendant’s collection practices moving forward. First, for the Overshadowing Class, Defendant will create a fund of $5,000.00 to fully settle and release the claims of all Florida consumers from whom Defendant, between January 20, 2021 and January 19, 2022, attempted to collect consumer debts and stated: “If you dispute the amount due, we would appreciate you submitting any documentation or evidence that you have in support of your contention that the amounts due are not correct,” or “Please only respond in writing by mail or facsimile.” The Overshadowing Class fund will be used to pay pro-rata settlement awards of at least $7.42 to all class members.
Second, Defendant also will create a separate fund of $12,560.00 (the “Countryside North Fund”) to fully settle and release the claims of those class members who received collections from Defendant attempting to collect assessments on behalf of Countryside North in the amount of $125 for 2019, 2020, or 2021. The Countryside North Fund will be used to pay pro-rata settlement awards of at least $149.52 to all Countryside North Class members. Accordingly, each Countryside North Class member who received a letter from Defendant will receive a total of at least $156.94 under the settlement.
Defendant separately will pay statutory damages to the named plaintiff, class counsel’s attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, as well as the costs of notice and administration of the settlement.
The Court granted preliminary approval to the settlement on March 27, 2023 and will hold a final fairness hearing on June 29, 2023. Class members are not required to attend this hearing. If the Court approves the settlement following the June 29, 2023 hearing, class member payments will be mailed within 60 days after such approval.
For additional information, please contact Jesse Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.