IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE 11TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,

IN AND FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

CIRCUIT CIVIL DIVISION

CASE NO. 2017-008285-CA-01

Complex Business Litigation Unit

 

GEORGE SUAREZ; TANIA SUAREZ;

ROSCOE PENDLETON; ADEL RAAD;

CHARAF RAAD; STEVEN BARRETT;

NATASHA ERVIN; TAXES BY NATASHA ERVIN;

and ALFONSO J. ERVIN III,

                                                Plaintiffs,

 

versus                                                                                                

 

CITY OF OPA-LOCKA, FLORIDA,

                                                Defendant.

____________________________________________/

 

NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION

To All Potential Members of these Classes:

CLASS I:

All City of Opa-Locka water utility (business and residential) customers as of April 7, 2012, who placed water deposits with the City, but whose deposits were not safeguarded in set-aside accounts or returned upon closure of the water account.

CLASS II:

All City of Opa-Locka water utility (business and residential) customers as of April 7, 2012, who paid for water utility services in excess of the amounts for which they were liable to pay as calculated based on reasonable rates and functioning and accurate water meters and readings.

THIS NOTICE MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.

YOU HAVE NOT BEEN SUED.

Residents, businesses, and City water customers for the City of Opa-Locka have sued the City of Opa-Locka alleging that for years the Class Representatives and similarly situated Class Members have been subjected to inflated water bills and have had their water deposits used without authorization by the City instead of being placed in a separate account. The Class Representatives have asserted that the water meters do not work properly, City staff and officials do not correctly read the water meters, City officials and employees artificially inflated water bills, and City officials used customer water deposits for improper purposes.

This lawsuit is a class action on behalf of all residents, businesses, and City water customers who have been overcharged for water or have had their water deposits use by the City instead of being maintained in set-aside accounts.  

The Court has not yet decided whether the City of Opa-Locka did anything wrong. There is no money available now. There is no guarantee there will ever be any money recovered from the City. However, your legal rights are affected. You must decide now whether to remain a member of the Classes or to opt out of the Classes.

Your options are explained in this notice.

To opt out, you must act no later than October 31, 2019.

Unless this case is resolved by settlement, Class Counsel must prove the validity of the claims against the City of Opa-Locka. If money or benefits are obtained from the City of Opa-Locka, you will be notified how to obtain your share of the recovery.

Any questions not answered by this Notice of Class Action (the “Notice”) should be directed to Class Counsel and not the Court by following the directions in this Notice.

WHY THIS NOTICE WAS SENT TO YOU.

The City of Opa-Locka indicated you are or were a water customer of the City of Opa-Locka, and are therefore a member of the Classes. This notice is sent to you pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220(d)(2), requiring that all members of the Classes who can be identified and located be provided with certain information regarding the Lawsuit and their rights.

BACKGROUND OF THE LAWSUIT.

Plaintiffs are City of Opa-Locka water customers who sued on their own behalf and as representatives of all Opa-Locka water customers for a specific period of time. Plaintiffs sued the City of Opa-Locka on April 7, 2017. The Lawsuit alleges City did not provide proper maintenance to its water meters, resulting in overbilling. The Lawsuit also alleges that the City used customer water deposits and did not keep them in a set-aside account. The Lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction and money compensation.

The City of Opa-Locka denies the allegations. There is no guarantee money or any recovery will ever be obtained. If any money is recovered, you will be notified about how to obtain your share of the recovery.

CLASS CERTIFICATION.

On June 7, 2019, Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Miami-Dade County) determined this Lawsuit is appropriate as a Class Action by written Order. Two Classes are involved:

Class I: All City of Opa-Locka residents and businesses, commencing as of the period of the statutes of limitations (April 7, 2012), required to place water deposits with the City, who are entitled to have those deposits safeguarded in set-aside accounts, who are entitled to the return of those deposits, and who have not received the return of deposits from the City.

Class II: All City of Opa-Locka water utility customers, commencing as of the period of the applicable statutes of limitations (April 7, 2012), who paid for water utility services in excess of the amounts they were liable to pay as calculated based on reasonable rates and functioning and accurate water meters and readings.

The estimated number of Class Members is between 6,000 and 20,000. The persons named at the beginning of this Notice are the Class Representatives. The Class Representatives seek relief on behalf of themselves and all Class Members.  The Class Counsel (Lawyers) are Kuehne Davis Law, P.A. (Benedict P. Kuehne and Michael T. Davis), Reiner & Reiner, P.A. (David P. Reiner, II), and Michael A. Pizzi, Jr.

RIGHT TO SEPARATE COUNSEL.

You have the right to hire your own lawyer. Unless you retain your own lawyer to enter an appearance on your behalf, you will be represented by Class Counsel if you do not opt out of the class. If you choose to hire your own lawyer, you are responsible for your lawyer’s legal fees and costs.

ATTORNEY FEES.

As a Class Member, you will not be directly charged by Class Counsel to represent you in this Lawsuit. In the event of a judgment in favor of the Class in this Lawsuit, Class Counsel will apply to the Court for payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs that will either be deducted from the funds recovered before net proceeds are distributed to the Class Members or paid directly by the City of Opa-Locka. It is possible, if the Lawsuit is not successful, that the City of Opa-Locka may seek to assess legal fees and costs against the Class Representatives and the Members of the Classes. If that occurs, you may be responsible for paying your share of the City’s legal fees and costs.

YOUR OPTIONS.

The purpose of this Notice is to advise you of the Lawsuit and how it may affect your rights. You must decide whether to opt-out of the Class. You must make your decision to opt-out no later than October 31, 2019, by following the instructions below.

DO NOTHING

By doing nothing, you will remain a member of either or both Class. Your interests will be represented by Class Counsel. You will be bound by the outcome of this Lawsuit. In the event of a favorable judgment, you will share in the recovery. In the event of an unfavorable judgment, you will be precluded from bringing the same or similar claims against the City of Opa-Locka on your own behalf. Any judgment, whether favorable or not, will include all members who do not opt-out. You are entitled to notice of and an opportunity to be heard regarding any proposed settlement or dismissal of this Lawsuit. You will be entitled to share in settlement proceeds obtained on behalf of the Class.

If you want to remain a member ·of either Class, you should NOT SIGN the “Request for Exclusion From Class” form.

 

OPT-OUT

By opting out of the Class, your interests will not be represented by Class Counsel. You will not be bound by the outcome of this Lawsuit unless you seek to intervene in the Lawsuit. In the event of a favorable judgment, you will not share in the recovery. In the event of an unfavorable judgment, you may still assert the same or similar claims you may have against the City of Opa-Locka, if any. You are not entitled to notice of or an opportunity to be heard regarding any proposed settlement or dismissal of the Lawsuit. You are not entitled to share in any settlement proceeds obtained on behalf of the Class.

If you want to be excluded from the Class, you must complete the enclosed Opt-Out Form (“Request for Exclusion From Class”) and return it by U.S. Postal Service mail, postmarked no later than October 31, 2019, to:

Reiner & Reiner, P.A.

Attention: Opa-Locka Water Class Action

9100 S. Dadeland Blvd., Suite 901

Miami, FL 33156-7815

If you request exclusion on behalf of any person or entity other than yourself, you must state your legal authority to execute the request on behalf of that other person or entity.

 FURTHER COURT PROCEEDINGS.

You may communicate with Class Counsel if you have any evidence you believe is helpful to establish the Class claims. You may be asked by the parties to provide information relevant to the Lawsuit.

If it becomes necessary to hold a trial to resolve this Lawsuit, there is no guarantee the Plaintiffs will win, or that they will recover any money for the Classes. You do not need to attend the trial. Class Counsel will represent the plaintiffs and the Classes. The City of Opa-Locka will represent the City. You or your own lawyers are able to attend any court proceedings at your own expense. Any person who does not request to opt-out may make a separate appearance with the Clerk of Court, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, no later than October 31, 2019.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

If the Class Representatives obtain any money or benefits as a result of this Litigation, you will be notified how to participate in the recovery. We do not know how long this will take.

Any questions you have concerning the matters contained in this Notice MUST NOT be made to the Court, but should be directed in writing on the form below or by mail to:

Reiner & Reiner, P.A.

Attention: Opa-Locka Water Class Action

9100 S. Dadeland Blvd., Suite 901

Miami, FL 33156-7815

 REMINDER AS TO TIME LIMIT.

If you wish to be excluded (Opt-Out) from the Class, you must return the completed “Request for Exclusion from Class” Opt-Out Form to Class Counsel by U.S. Postal Service mail postmarked by October 31, 2019 or enter the information below and submit.

OPT-OUT FORM

If you wish to opt out of this class action, please leave your name and address below.

Address

One Datran Center
9100 South Dadeland Blvd. Suite 901
Miami, Florida 33156

Call Us

(305) 670-8282

(305) 670-8989 Fax

 

Reiner & Reiner, P.A. is a full-service, A-V rated law firm with significant experience in complex litigation. Located in Miami, Florida, we serve clients located throughout the State of Florida, and serve as local counsel for a variety of national clients. We are routinely admitted pro hac vice to litigate cases in State and Federal courts from California to New York and from Texas to Wisconsin.

| Disclaimer | Site Map | Privacy Policy|