Strohm, et al. v. Missouri-American Water Company
Strohm v. Missouri-American Water Company Settlement
Case No. 16AE-CV01252

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The Notice  has been posted for the benefit of potential members of the Settlement Class.

    The Notice has been posted because members of the Settlement Class have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit in which they are class members, and about all of their options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and after objections or appeals relating to the Settlement are resolved, the benefits provided for by the Settlement will be available to members of the Class.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. A full copy of the Settlement Agreement may be viewed on the Important Documents page. The Notice contains only a summary of the Settlement.

    The Court in charge of this case is the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri. The case is known as Jason Strohm, individually and as a representative of the class v. Missouri-American Water Company, Case No. 16AE-CV01252. The person who filed this lawsuit is called the Plaintiff, and MAWC is the Defendant.

  • The lawsuit claims that MAWC provided allegedly defective water to its Platte County customers that resulted in excessive calcium scaling in faucets, water lines, and appliances. This scaling or particles allegedly clogged pipes and caused property damage.

    The lawsuit does not allege that the water was unsuitable or unsafe for consumption or that it presented any health risks. Instead, the lawsuit is focused solely on property damage that was allegedly caused by the water supplied by MAWC.

    MAWC disputes Plaintiffs’ allegations and denies all liability to Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class. No court has found MAWC to have violated the law in any way. No court has found that Plaintiffs or the Settlement Class could recover any amount in this litigation.

    Although the Court has authorized notice to be given of the proposed Settlement, the Notice does not express the opinion of the Court on the merits of the claims or defenses asserted by either side of the lawsuit.

  • In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Jason Strohm) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The customer who sued MAWC — and all the Class Members like him — are called Plaintiffs. The company they sued (in this case, Missouri-American Water Company) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

    Here, the Court decided that this lawsuit can be a class action for settlement purposes because it preliminarily meets the requirements of Missouri Supreme Court Rule 52.08.

  • The Court did not decide this case in favor of the Plaintiffs or MAWC. Instead, counsel for the Settlement Class investigated the facts and applicable law regarding Plaintiffs’ claims and MAWC’s defenses. The parties engaged in lengthy arms-length negotiations to reach this Settlement. The Class Representative and Counsel for the Settlement Class believe that the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interest of the Class.

    Both sides agree that by settling, MAWC is not admitting any liability or that it did anything wrong. Both sides want to avoid the uncertainties and expense of further litigation.

  • The Court has approved, for settlement purposes, the following definition of the Class:

    All individuals, businesses, and other entities in Platte County, Missouri, to whom Defendant provided water as customers from April 28, 2011 to December 5, 2017. Excluded from the proposed class are any individuals or entities currently in bankruptcy, any individuals and entities that opted out of the Class, and the Released Parties as defined in the Settlement Agreement.

    If you are uncertain as to whether you are a member of the Settlement Class, you may contact the Claims Administrator at 1-866-615-0975 to find out.

  • If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you are eligible to receive a benefit under the Settlement if you have a valid claim for property damage.

    MAWC and its insurers have agreed to pay up to $6,000,000 for the Settlement. The fund will be divided on a pro rata basis among all Settlement Class Members with valid claims who do not opt out, after any awarded attorneys’ fees, expenses, Settlement Administration costs, and service awards have been deducted.

    If the expected requests for attorneys’ fees and expenses and incentive awards are granted by the Court, each Settlement Class Member with an approved Claim who provides evidence of purchase will receive the benefits outlined in the chart below, with no cap on the aggregate amount of Claims submitted by each Class Member (subject to any pro rata adjustment described in the Settlement Agreement).

    Fund Damage Category Amounts Available
    Specific Property Damage Fund

    Category I
    Water Heaters (traditional)
    Water Heaters (tankless)

    Type A Proof $500
    Type B Proof $330
    Type C Proof $165

    Category II
    Washing Machines
    Dishwashers
    Refrigerator Ice Makers

    Type A Proof $300
    Type B Proof $198
    Type C Proof $99

    Category III
    Faucets (bathroom and/or kitchen)
    Shower heads
    Toilet parts in tank
    Sprinkler system parts
    Water valves
    Water lines

    Type A Proof $200

    Type B Proof

    $132
    Type C Proof $66

    General Property Damage Fund

    Category IV
    General Property Damage

    Type C Proof $50

     

    • Type A Proof is intended to encompass primary evidence of damages. Examples include, but are not limited to, receipts, paid invoices, etc. reflecting payment of damages to the applicable implement.
    • Type B Proof is intended to encompass secondary evidence of damages. Examples include, but are not limited to, photographs or videos reflecting implement damage, photograph of the purchased replacement product along with a receipt, etc.
    • Type C Proof is a Claim Form attested to under the penalty of perjury by the Class Member.
    • Class Members may not recover from the Specific Property Damage Fund and the General Property Damage Fund; the Class Member must elect between the two. The General Property Damage Fund is intended to compensate Class Members who suffered generalized property damages that are not associated with a particular implement.
    • Class Members who recover under the Specific Property Damage Fund may not claim reimbursement for an implement replaced after 80% of the implement’s Useful Life (as defined in the Settlement Agreement).

     

  • To receive a benefit, a Settlement Class Member needed to submit a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator. The deadline to submit a Claim Form was April 18, 2022 and has passed. The Claims Administrator will be responsible for reviewing all Claim Forms and supporting documents to determine whether a Claim is an approved Claim. The Claims Administrator will reject any claim that is not: (a) submitted timely and in accordance with the directions on the Claim Form, the provisions of the Settlement Agreement, and the Preliminary Approval Order; (b) fully and truthfully completed by a Settlement Class Member with all of the information requested in the Claim Form; and (c) signed by the Settlement Class Member under penalty of perjury.

  • The Court held a final Fairness Hearing and issued an order approving the Settlement on May 15, 2022. Payments to members of the Settlement Class will be made only after the resolution of any appeals. This may take some time, so please be patient. Check back here regularly for any updates.

  • Upon the Court’s approval of the proposed Settlement, all members of the Settlement Class who do not exclude themselves (as well as their spouses, heirs, and any other individual who may possess rights on their behalf) will release MAWC (and its parent corporation, affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, and others who may be subject to claims with respect to MAWC as specified in the Settlement Agreement) from any and all claims arising out of or relating directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever to the facts alleged or which could have been alleged or asserted in the Class Action Petition.

    This release may affect your rights, and may carry obligations, in the future. To view terms of the release, review the Settlement Agreement.

  • If you did not want a payment from this Settlement, but you wanted to keep the right to sue or continue to sue MAWC, on your own, about the legal issues in this case, then you needed to take steps to get out. This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as opting out of the Settlement Class. The deadline to exclude yourself was April 18, 2022 and has passed.

  • If you wanted to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, sometimes referred to as “opting-out,” you needed to send a valid, written Request for Exclusion. A Request for Exclusion needed to (1) be in writing and state the name, address, and phone number of the person(s) seeking exclusion; (2) certify that the signee received business or residential water service from MAWC, in Platte County, Missouri, during the time period of April 28, 2011 to December 5, 2017; (3) certify that the signee has not previously received compensation from MAWC; (4) certify that the signee is not part of the same household as a person who has requested or received compensation from MAWC; and (5) must be personally signed by the Settlement Class Member. The Request for Exclusion needed to be sent to each of the following, via first class mail, postage pre-paid, postmarked no later than April 18, 2022:

    Class Counsel:
    Williams Dirks Dameron LLC
    Attn: Matthew L. Dameron
    1100 Main Street, Suite 2600
    Kansas City, Missouri 64105

    Defense Counsel:
    Baty Otto Coronado Scheer PC
    Attn: Lee M. Baty and Elizabeth A. Murray
    4435 Main Street, Suite 1100
    Kansas City, Missouri 64111

    Claims Administrator:
    Strohm v. MAWC Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91320
    Seattle, WA 98111


    If the request is not postmarked on or before April 18, 2022, your exclusion will be invalid, and you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement approved by the Court, including without limitation, the consent judgment ultimately rendered in the case, and you will be barred from bringing any claims which arise out of or relate in any way to the claims in the case as specified in the release referenced in paragraph 9 above.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you give up any right to sue MAWC for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit against MAWC, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You needed to exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion deadline was April 18, 2022 and has passed.

  • No. If you excluded yourself, do not send in a Claim Form to ask for any money. But you may sue, continue to sue, or be a part of a different lawsuit against MAWC.

  • The Court decided that the law firm Williams Dirks Dameron LLC is qualified to represent you and all other Class Members. These lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for these lawyers. They are experienced in handling similar cases against other entities. More information about the law firms, their practices, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.williamsdirks.com.

    Class Counsel represents the interests of the Settlement Class. You may hire your own attorney to advise you, but if you hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for paying that attorney’s fees.

  • The Court awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses in an amount of $2,400,000. The Court also awarded compensation of $10,000 for Jason Strohm, and $2,000 for each Class Member who actively participated in the litigation. These amounts will be paid from the Settlement, not by you. MAWC has agreed not to oppose these fees and expenses.

  • You could have told the Court that you don’t agree with the Settlement or some part of it. The deadline to submit your objection was April 18, 2022 and has passed.

  • If you are a Class Member, you could have objected to the Settlement if you did not like any part of it. You could have given reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court would have then considered your view. To object, you needed to file or send a written objection to the Court by April 18, 2022, or you will be deemed to have waived all objections and shall be foreclosed from making any objection (whether in opposition to the motion for Preliminary Approval, motion for Final Approval, on appeal, or otherwise) to the Settlement.

    The written objection needed to include the case name and number (Strohm, et al. v. Missouri-American Water Company, Case No. 16AE-CV01252), objecting party's name, signature, title, address, telephone number, a statement of each objection asserted, a detailed description of the facts underlying each objection, and a certification that the objecting party is a member of the Settlement Class.

    You needed to file any objection with the Clerk of the Court at the address below by April 18, 2022:

    Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri
    328 Main Street
    Platte City, Missouri 64079


    You needed to also send your objection by first class mail, postmarked on or before April 18, 2022, to Class Counsel and MAWC’s Counsel at:

    Class Counsel:
    Matthew L. Dameron
    Williams Dirks Dameron LLC
    1100 Main Street, Suite 2600
    Kansas City, Missouri 64105

    MAWC’s Counsel:
    Baty Otto Coronado Scheer PC
    Attn: Lee M. Baty and Elizabeth A. Murray
    4435 Main Street, Suite 1100
    Kansas City, Missouri 64111

    Any member of the Settlement Class who does not file and serve an objection in the time and manner described above will not be permitted to raise that objection later. The deadline to submit you objection was April 18, 2022 and has now passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the lawsuit no longer affects you.

  • The Court held a final Fairness Hearing to consider approval of the proposed Settlement on May 13, 2022 and issued a final Order approving the Settlement. The Court considered the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the terms of the Settlement, whether the Settlement Class was adequately represented by the Plaintiff and Class Counsel, and whether an order and final consent judgment should be entered approving the proposed Settlement. The Court also approved Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses, and Incentive Awards for the Class Representative and Participating Class Members.

  • No. Class Counsel represented the Settlement Class at the Fairness Hearing, but you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you sent any objection, you did not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed and mailed your written objection on time, the Court considered it. You could have also paid your own lawyer to attend if you wished.

  • You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you needed to send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Strohm v. Missouri-American Water Company.” You also needed to include your name, address, telephone number and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear had to be sent with your objection and postmarked no later than April 18, 2022, and needed to be sent to the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel and Defense Counsel, at the addresses in question 15. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • The Notice is only a summary. For a more detailed statement of the matters involved in the lawsuit or the Settlement, you may refer to the papers filed in this case during regular business hours at the office of the Circuit Clerk, Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri, 328 Main Street, Platte City, Missouri 64079. The full Settlement Agreement and certain pleadings filed in the case are available on the Important Documents page, or can be requested from Class Counsel, identified above.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail
Strohm v. MAWC Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91320
Seattle, WA 98111