Bahnmaier v Wichita State University

Frequently Asked Questions 

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Questions

Answers

1. Why was the Notice issued?

The Court authorized the Notice because individuals have a right to know about the proposed settlement in this lawsuit and about all options that may be available to you before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the Settlement. The Notice explains the legal rights and options that Class Members may exercise before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.

The Honorable Julie A. Robinson of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas is overseeing this case. The case is known as Bahnmaier v. Wichita State University, Case No. 2:20-cv-02246-JAR-TJJ.  The Person who sued is called the Plaintiff.  WSU is the Defendant in this case.

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2. What is this Lawsuit about?

The lawsuit claims that WSU was responsible for the Data Incident that occurred, and asserts claims such as: negligence, negligence per se, breach of implied contract, unjust enrichment and violations of the Kansas consumer protection statutes. The Lawsuit seeks compensation for people who had losses as a result of the Data Incident.  WSU denies all of the Plaintiff’s claims and says it did not do anything wrong.

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3. Why is this Lawsuit a class action?

In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. All of these people together are the “Class” or “Class Members. In this case, the Class Representative is Michael Bahnmaier. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

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4. Why is there a Settlement?

By agreeing to settle, both sides avoid the cost and risk of a trial, and people who submit timely Valid Claims will get compensation. The Class Representative and his attorneys believe the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and, thus, best for the Class and its members. The Settlement does not mean that WSU did anything wrong.

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5. How do I know if I am included in the Settlement?

You are included in the Class if you reside in the United States and were notified by WSU in March 2020 of the Data Incident that occurred between December 3, 2019 and December 5, 2019. The Settlement Class specifically excludes: (i) WSU and its officers and directors; (ii) all Settlement Class Members who timely and validly request exclusion from the Class; (iii) Judge Julie A. Robinson, who is assigned to evaluate the fairness of this Settlement, and her staff and family; (iv) Magistrate Judge Teresa J. James and her staff and family; and (v) any other person found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be guilty under criminal law of initiating, causing, aiding or abetting the criminal activity occurrence of the Data Incident or who pleads nolo contendere to any such charge.

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6. What if I am not sure whether I am included in the Settlement?

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement, you may call toll-free 1-844-367-8804 with questions. You may also write with questions to:

WSU Data Breach Settlement
c/o Claims Administrator
PO Box 70
Warminster, PA 18974-0070

Please do not Contact the Court with questions.

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7. What does the Settlement provide?

The Settlement will provide payments to Class Members who submit Valid Claims.

There are two types of payments that are available: (1) Expense Reimbursement (FAQ8) and (2) Lost Time Reimbursement (FAQ9). You may submit a  Claim for either or both types of payments. The maximum amount of money you may  claim is $300 per person. In order to claim expense reimbursement, you must provide related documentation with the Claim Form. In order to claim lost time reimbursement, you must (1) attest that any claimed lost time was spent related to the Data Incident; and (2) provide a written description of how the claimed lost time was spent related to the Data Incident.

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8. What payments are available for out-of-pocket expense reimbursement?

Class Members are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $300 (in total) for the following categories of out-pocket expenses resulting from the Data Incident:

  1. Unreimbursed bank fees or penalties;
  2. Unreimbursed card reissuance fees or penalties; 
  3. Unreimbursed overdraft fees or penalties;
  4. Unreimbursed charges related to unavailability of funds;
  5. Unreimbursed late fees or penalties;
  6. Unreimbursed over-limit fees or penalties;
  7. Long distance telephone charges;
  8. Cell minutes (if charged by minute), Internet usage charges (if charged by the minute or  by the amount  of data usage and incurred solely as a result of the Data Incident), and text messages (if charged by the message and incurred solely as a result of the Data Incident);
  9. Unreimbursed charges from banks or credit card companies;
  10. Interest on payday loans that were taken out solely as a result of the Data Incident;
  11. Costs of credit report(s) purchased by Settlement Class Members between December 3, 2019 and February 10, 2021 (with affirmative statement by the Class Member that it was purchased primarily because of the Data Incident);
  12. Costs of credit monitoring and identity theft protection purchased by Settlement Class Members between  December 3, 2019 and April 26, 2021 (with affirmative statement by the Class Member that it was purchased primarily because of the Data Incident and not for other purposes, and with proof of purchase); and
  13. Other losses incurred by Class Members determined to be traceable to the Data Incident by the Claims Administrator.

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9. What payments are available for lost time reimbursement?

Class Members are also eligible to receive up to three hours for time spent dealing with issues resulting from the Data Incident.

• Time spent dealing with issues resulting from the Data Incident is calculated at the rate of $20 per hour. 

• You can only claim lost time if at least one full hour was spent dealing with issues resulting from the Data Incident, and you must both attest to the time spent and describe how the time was spent on the Claim Form.

• Lost time claims can be combined with reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and are subject to the same $300 maximum reimbursement per Person.

More details are provided in the Amended Settlement Agreement (“Settlement Agreement”), which is available in the documents section of this website.

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10. How do I get benefits?

If you were affected by the WSU Data Incident , you must complete and submit a Claim Form online or by mail, postmarked, no later than July 12, 2021: 
WSU Data Breach Settlement 
c/o Claims Administrator
PO Box 70
Warminster, PA 18974-0070

Please read the instructions carefully.  You must include reasonable documentation for any out-of-pocket expenses and charges incurred. If you cannot provide documentation, you must provide a statement explaining why you cannot provide documentation. 

You can get a Claim Form by going to the Documents section of this Website, or you may request one by mail by calling 1-844-367-8804. 

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11. How will Claims be decided?

The Claims Administrator will initially decide whether the information provided on a Claim Form is complete and valid.  The Claims Administrator may require additional information from any claimant.  If the required information is not provided timely, the Claim will be considered invalid and will not be paid.

If the Claim is complete and the Claims Administrator denies the claim entirely or partially, the Claimant will be provided an opportunity to have their Claim reviewed by an impartial claims referee.

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12. Do I need to do anything to remain in the Settlement?

You do not have to do anything to remain in the Settlement, but if you want a payment you must submit a Claim Form either online or via mail, postmarked by July 12, 2021. See  FAQ10 for instructions on filing a Claim.

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13. What am I giving up as part of the Settlement?

If the Settlement becomes Final, you will give up your right to sue WSU for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.  The specific claims you are giving up against WSU are identified in Section 1.17 and described in Section 6 of the Settlement Agreement.  You will be “releasing” WSU as described in Section 6 of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available in the Documents section of this Website.

The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully.  If you have any questions you can talk to the law firms listed in FAQ 17 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about what this means.

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14. If I opt-out of the Settlement can I get a payment from this Settlement?

No.  If you opt-out, you will not be entitled to any benefits of the Settlement, but you will not be bound by any judgment in this case.

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15. If I do not opt-out, can I sue WSU for the same thing later?

No.  Unless you opt-out, you give up any right to sue WSU for the claims that this Settlement resolves.  You must opt-out of the Class to start your own lawsuit or to be part of any different lawsuit relating to the claims in this case.  If you opt-out, do not submit a Claim Form to ask for a payment.

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16. How do I opt-out of the Settlement?

To opt-out of the Settlement, send a letter that says you want to opt-out of the Settlement in Bahnmaier v. Wichita State University, Case No. 2:20-cv-02246-JAR-TJJ. You must include your name, address, and signature. You must mail your opt-out request so that it is postmarked by June 10, 2021, to: 

WSU Data Breach Settlement
c/o Claims Administrator
PO Box 70
Warminster, PA 18974-0070

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17. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Yes.  The Court appointed Federman & Sherwood as “Class Counsel” to represent all Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. 

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18. How will the lawyers be paid?

For litigating the case and negotiating the Settlement, Class Counsel will request the Court’s approval of an award for attorneys’ fees and reasonable costs and expenses of no more than $325,000.  Class Counsel will also request approval of a service award of $1,500 to be given to the Class Representative.  Any amount that the Court awards for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and a service award to the Class Representative will be paid separately by WSU and will not reduce the amount of payments to Class Members who submit Valid Claims.

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19. How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?

You can object to the Settlement if you do not like it or some part of it.  The Court will consider your views.  To do so, you must file a written objection in this case, Bahnmaier v. Wichita State University, Case No. 2:20-cv-02246-JAR-TJJ, with the Clerk of the Court at the address below.

Your objection must include all the following information:

  1. your full name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if any);
  2. information identifying you as a Class Member, including proof that you are a member of the class (e.g.,copy of settlement notice, copy of original notice of the Data Incident);
  3. a written statement of all grounds for your objection, accompanied by any legal support for the objection you believe is applicable;
  4. the identity of any and all counsel representing you in connection with the objection;
  5. a statement whether you and/or your counsel will appear at the Final Fairness Hearing;
  6. your signature and the signature of your duly authorized attorney representing you in connection with the objection or other duly authorized representative (along with documentation setting forth such representation); and
  7. a list, by case name, court, and docket number, of all other cases in which you and/or your counsel have filed an objection to any proposed class action settlement within  the last three (3) years.

To be timely, your objection must be postmarked to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the District of Kansas no later than June 10, 2021.  In addition, you must mail a copy of your objection to both Class Counsel and Defense Counsel, postmarked no later than June 10, 2021:

COURT
DEFENSE COUNSEL
CLASS COUNSEL

Clerk of the Court
500 State Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101

Casie D. Collignon
Baker & Hostetler, LLP
1801 California Street, Suite 4400
Denver, CO 80202-2662

William B. Federman
Federman & Sherwood
10205 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73120

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20. What is the difference between objecting and opting out?

Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like the Settlement and why you do not think it should be approved.  You can object only if you do not opt-out of the Class.  Opting out of the Settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class.  If you opt-out, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

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21. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on July 27, 2021, at the United States District Court for the District of Kansas located at 500 State Ave., Kansas City, KS 66101.  The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this Website. The hearing may also be held via zoom or telephonically.  Instructions on how to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing will be posted on this Website, or you can call 1-844-367-8804.

At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.  If there are timely objections, the Court will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing if such a request has been properly made.  The Court will also rule on the request for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses, as well as the request for a service award for the Class Representative.  After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.  We do not know how long these decisions will take.

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22. Do I have to attend the hearing?

No.  Class Counsel will present the Settlement Agreement to the Court.  You or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your expense, but you are not required to do so.  

If you send an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it.  As long as you filed your written objection on time with the Court and mailed it according to the instructions provided in FAQ19, the Court will consider it. If, however, you would also like to attend and speak at the hearing, you must state your intention to do so as part of your objection, as discussed in FAQ19.

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23. What happens if I do nothing?

If you do nothing, you will get no benefits from this Settlement. Unless you opt-out of the Settlement after the Settlement is granted final approval and the Judgment becomes Final, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against WSU about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

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24. How do I get more information?

The Notice summarizes the proposed settlement.  More details are in the Settlement Agreement.  

You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement in the "Documents" section of this Website.  

You may also write with questions to:

WSU Data Breach Settlement
c/o Claims Administrator
PO Box 70
Warminster, PA 18974-0070

You can also get a Claim Form and further information at the website, or by calling the toll-free number, 1-844-367-8804.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT OR THE JUDGE WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR CLAIMS PROCESS.

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25. I received an email is it spam?

If you received an email regarding this Settlement, it is not likely spam and you should carefully review all documents on this website to fully understand your legal rights and options in this Settlement. For additional information please contact the Claims Administrator thru the contact section of this Website or by calling 1-844-367-8804.

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by the Claims Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information please call 1-844-367-8804

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Submit Claim

Click here to safely and securely submit a Claim Form.

Important Dates

  • Exclusion Deadline

    Thursday, June 10, 2021
    You must complete and mail your request for exclusion so that it is postmarked no later than Thursday, June 10, 2021.
  • Objection Deadline

    Thursday, June 10, 2021
    You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than Thursday, June 10, 2021.
  • Claim Form Deadline

    Monday, July 12, 2021
    You must submit your Claim Form on-line no later than Monday, July 12, 2021, or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is postmarked no later than Monday, July 12, 2021.
  • Final Fairness Hearing Date

    Tuesday, July 27, 2021
    The Final Fairness Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Please check this website for updates.

Important Documents

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