Consumers suing Wines ‘Til Sold Out (WTSO) are hoping they can convince the judge hearing their case to change her mind.
U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb set a June 4 hearing date at the federal court in Camden, New Jersey. Lawyers for the customers, who alleged that the online retailer’s discount prices were deceptive, will argue she should approve the $10.8 million settlement for the class-action lawsuit. WTSO denies all allegations.
Initially, Judge Bumb gave preliminary approval last November to the deal. Under the preliminary settlement, which covered sales between March 15, 2010, and November, 1, 2016, WTSO agreed to offer credits for purchases to those in the class. Settlement documents estimate the total value of the credits available to be $10.8 million.
The credits varied based on WTSO’s offers, and ranged from 20 cents to $2. The settlement also called for $1.8 million in attorneys’ fees.
But a few months after the preliminary approval, 19 attorneys general and the Department of Justice, opposed the settlement, saying the deal fails to provide adequate remedy for the class members. Judge Bumb agreed.
“Because this Court is left with so many unanswered questions here, the parties’ Joint Motion for Final Settlement Approval will be denied,” she wrote in April.
Lawyers have lowered their fees to $1.2 million. The difference will go to the fund for class members. They also submitted a request for a hearing so that the judge may reconsider her ruling.
Kyle Cannon of Memphis, Tennessee, is the named plaintiff in the class action. He wrote to the judge two weeks ago, along with his lawyers, to ask if she would reconsider. “I personally believe that the proposed settlement in this matter is fair and equitable and should be approved. I fully intend to utilize and apply my credits towards future purchases…”
But at least one class member opposes the settlement. Not only were the lawyers still getting too much money, but the “miniscule [sic] reparations that, to add insult to injury, have to be spent on more products that will just provide additional profits to those who hurt us in the first place,” wrote Chris Paladino of Austin, Texas.
The hearing is set for Monday, June 4, at 10 a.m. at the U.S. District Court in Camden.