Sobel et al v. Hertz Corporation, No. 3:2006cv00545 - Document 459 (D. Nev. 2014)

Court Description: FINAL JUDGMENT 1. On Count One of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Plaintiffs on their claim that Hertz violated NRS § 482.31575.2. On Count Two of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Defendants, noting t hat the Court previously dismissed this cause of action. See Doc. # 111 at 7-8. 3. On Count Three of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Plaintiffs but declines to award additional damages on this cause of action. 4. The Cou rt awards restitution in the amount of $42,321,890 to the class, and $11,115,583 in prejudgment interest.5. The Court awards attorney fees in accordance with the Court's Order regarding attorney fees entered on October 9, 2014. Doc. # 454 .6. The Court will consider motions from the parties regarding any cy pres distributions once the extent of unclaimed awards becomes more definite.7. The Court DENIES Hertz's Motion for Leave to File Notice of Supple mental Authority (Doc. # 453 ) as moot in light of the Court's Order regarding attorney fees (Doc. # 454 ).8. This is a final, appealable judgment disposing of all issues presently before the Court on this matter. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 10/30/2014. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - DRM)
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Sobel et al v. Hertz Corporation Doc. 459 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 8 *** 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 JANET SOBEL and DANIEL DUGAN, ) Ph.D., individually and on behalf of all others ) similarly situated, ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) THE HERTZ CORPORATION, a Delaware ) corporation, ) ) Defendant. ) ) 16 3:06-CV-00545-LRH-RAM FINAL JUDGMENT This is a class action filed on behalf of persons who rented cars from Hertz at the Reno and 17 Las Vegas, Nevada airports. In return for the right to operate on-site at the Reno and Las Vegas 18 airports, rental car companies like Hertz are required to pay a percentage of their gross revenues to 19 the airports as “concession fees.” These companies, including Hertz, pass along the fees to their 20 customers as surcharges labeled “airport concession recovery fees.” At all relevant times, Hertz 21 “unbundled” the surcharges from the base rental rate, such that the rental rate quoted to customers 22 did not include the additional “airport concession recovery fee,” which was itemized separately in 23 the rental agreement. Plaintiffs alleged that this practice violated Nevada Revised Statute (“NRS”) 24 482.31575. Doc. #108.1 25 /// 26 1 Refers to the Court’s docket number. Dockets.Justia.com 1 The Class is defined as: 2 all persons who rented a car at a Nevada airport from the Defendant company and were charged a base car rental rate as well as a separate concession recovery fee or comparable fee during the period from October 13, 2003 through September 30, 2009. Excluded from the class are Defendant Hertz, any person, firm, trust, corporation, officer, director, or other individual or entity in which the Defendant has a controlling interest, or which is related to or affiliated with Defendant, and the legal representatives, heirs, successors-in-interest or assigns of any such excluded party. Also excluded from the class are Plaintiffs’ counsel, all judicial officers responsible for any Decisions in this matter, and all government entities. 3 4 5 6 7 Doc. #255 at 1. The Court finds that all Class members have been informed about the Class and 8 have had the opportunity to opt out. See Doc. #439-1 (listing the parties that have opted out of the 9 Class). 10 On March 21, 2013, this Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs’ Motion for 11 Partial Summary Judgment. See Doc. #332. In that Order, the Court found that Hertz’s policies 12 violated NRS § 482.31585 and that restitution remedies were “the best way to effectuate the 13 statutory purpose behind the rate and remedial statutes.” Id. at 20. The Court also ruled in favor of 14 Plaintiffs on liability for unjust enrichment, but determined that a monetary remedy would be 15 inappropriate for that cause of action in light of the remedy for Hertz’s violation of the rate statute. 16 Id. (citing Elyousef v. O’Reilly & Ferrario, LLC, 245 P.3d 547, 549 (Nev. 2010) (“[A] plaintiff 17 may not recover [] twice for the same injury simply because he or she has two legal theories.”)). 18 On September 10, 2014, Hertz submitted a Proposed Form of Judgment requesting that 19 judgment be entered for Hertz and that Plaintiffs recover nothing. Doc. #440. That same day, 20 Plaintiffs submitted their Proposed Final Judgment, requesting that the Court find in Plaintiffs’ 21 favor, award $42,321,890 in compensatory damages to the Class, and $11,115,583 in prejudgment 22 interest. Doc. #443.2 The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ requested damages are accurate and have 23 been appropriately reduced based on the 416 class members who have opted out. See Doc. #332 at 24 3, 17; Doc. #442 at 2. The Court has also previously found that an award of prejudgment interest 25 26 2 Plaintiffs submitted a Revised Proposed Order on October 16, 2014, that included the same substantive terms. Doc. #456. 2 1 is appropriate in this case. Doc. #332 at 27-28. Hertz again objects to the award of prejudgment 2 interest, but acknowledges that the Court has previously declined to adopt its arguments regarding 3 prejudgment interest. Doc. #451 at 3. The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ calculation of prejudgment 4 interest comports with this Court’s prior order. Doc. #332 at 27-28; see In re Exxon Valdez, 484 5 F.3d 1098, 1101 (9th Cir. 2007) (finding that “the judgment draws interest from the time of service 6 of the summons and complaint until satisfied”); NRS § 17.130(2) (same). 7 Plaintiffs suggest that any unclaimed awards under the Class be assigned to a cy pres fund. 8 Doc. #442 at 4. Hertz argues that a cy pres fund would be inappropriate here, and that any 9 unclaimed funds should be returned to Hertz. Doc. #451 at 4. Cy pres is not appropriate if the 10 Court can adequately allocate the damages to members of the class. Six (6) Mexican Workers v. 11 Ariz. Citrus Growers, 904 F.2d 1301, 1307 (9th Cir. 1990). Unclaimed funds revert to the 12 defendant if “the defendant had followed the letter of the law and could not have anticipated its 13 liability.” Id. at 1308. The Court finds that cy pres may be appropriate in this case, and grants 14 leave to the parties to move the Court to establish a cy pres fund once the amount of unclaimed 15 awards becomes more definite. 16 17 Accordingly, good cause appearing therefor, the Court hereby ORDERS, ADJUDGES, AND DECREES that: 18 19 1. On Count One of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Plaintiffs on their claim that Hertz violated NRS § 482.31575. 20 21 2. On Count Two of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Defendants, noting that the Court previously dismissed this cause of action. See Doc. #111 at 7-8. 22 23 3. On Count Three of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds for Plaintiffs but declines to award additional damages on this cause of action. 24 4. The Court awards restitution in the amount of $42,321,890 to the class, and $11,115,583 25 in prejudgment interest. 26 /// 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 5. The Court awards attorney fees in accordance with the Court’s Order regarding attorney fees entered on October 9, 2014. Doc. #454. 6. The Court will consider motions from the parties regarding any cy pres distributions once the extent of unclaimed awards becomes more definite. 7. The Court DENIES Hertz’s Motion for Leave to File Notice of Supplemental Authority (Doc. #453) as moot in light of the Court’s Order regarding attorney fees (Doc. #454). 8. This is a final, appealable judgment disposing of all issues presently before the Court on this matter. 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 DATED this 30th day of October, 2014. 12 __________________________________ LARRY R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 4