Lechner v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the Mutual of Omaha ERISA Settlement

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Questions

Answers

1. Why did I get the notice?

If you are a Class Member, you were sent the notice because the Plans’ records indicate that you are or were a participant (or the beneficiary or alternate payee of a current or former participant) in the Plans during the period from January 25, 2012 through February 28, 2020. As such, your rights will be affected by the Settlement of this lawsuit.

Please read the following information carefully to find out what the lawsuit is about, what the terms of the proposed Settlement are, what rights you have to object to the proposed Settlement Agreement if you disagree with its terms, and the deadline to object to the proposed Settlement.

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2. What is this Lawsuit about?

A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska against Mutual. The lawsuit alleges that Mutual violated ERISA with respect to the Plans. The individuals who are pursuing the lawsuit (“Plaintiffs”) on behalf of the Plans and their participants claim that the Plans paid higher fees with respect to the Plan’s investments and administrative services than were reasonable.

Mutual denies the allegations in the lawsuit and contends that its conduct was entirely proper. Mutual contends that it administered the Plans prudently, lawfully, and properly, that the Plans’ investment options were and are prudent ones, and that the fees were and are reasonable and appropriate. Mutual has asserted, and would assert should the litigation continue, a number of defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims.

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3. What is a class action lawsuit?

In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “class representatives” sue on their own behalf and on behalf of other people who have similar claims. One court resolves all the issues for all class members in a single lawsuit. Three participants in one or both of the Plans are the class representatives in this lawsuit.

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4. Why is there a Settlement?

The parties have agreed to the Settlement after extensive negotiations. By agreeing to the Settlement, the parties avoid the costs and risks of further litigation, and Plaintiffs and the other members of the Settlement class will receive compensation and other benefits. Class Counsel have conducted a review of the evidence in the case and the potential risks and benefits of continued litigation and believe that the Settlement is in the best interest of the class. The Court has not made any finding that Mutual has done anything wrong or violated any law or regulation, and Mutual denies any wrongdoing.

The Plan has retained an independent fiduciary to evaluate the fairness of the Settlement. The independent fiduciary is Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC.

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5. How do I get more information about the Settlement?

The notice is only a summary of the lawsuit and the proposed Settlement. It is not a complete description of the lawsuit or the proposed Settlement. You may inspect the pleadings and other papers (including the Settlement Agreement) that have been filed in this lawsuit at the office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, which is located in the Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse, 111 South 18th Plaza, Suite 1152. Omaha, Nebraska 68102. You may also review documents electronically by accessing the 'Documents section of this website or through Public Access to Court Records, which is available at www.pacer.gov.

If you have questions about the notice or the proposed Settlement, you may contact Class Counsel (see answer to FAQ 11 for contact information).

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6. What does the Settlement provide?

Plaintiffs and Mutual have agreed to a settlement that involves monetary payments to Settlement Class Members. This and other terms of the Settlement are set forth in the Class Action Settlement Agreement dated September 18, 2020 (“Settlement Agreement”) and described briefly below.

As part of the Settlement, Mutual has agreed to make a one-time payment of $6.7 million (the “Gross Settlement Amount”). After deduction from the Gross Settlement Amount for any amounts that the Court approves for Settlement-related expenses (including Case Contribution Awards to Plaintiffs, Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses to Class Counsel, the fee for Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC to serve as Independent Fiduciary, Administrative Expenses, and Taxes and Tax-Related Costs), the remaining amount (known as the “Net Settlement Amount”) will be distributed to Class Members. Class Members are participants of the Plans from January 25, 2012 through February 28, 2020 and their beneficiaries or alternate payees. However, to avoid disproportionate expenses in particular cases, the parties have agreed that no distribution will be made to any Class Member who (1) is no longer a participant in either of the Plans and (2) would otherwise be entitled to an amount of less than $25 from the Net Settlement Amount.  Class Members who remain participants in one of the Plans are not be subject to this restriction. The Plan of Allocation is attached to the notice as Appendix A.

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7. If I am entitled to a distribution, how will I receive the settlement proceeds?

All Class Members who have an Active Account in one or both of the Plans, as defined in the Settlement Agreement (“Active Class Members”), and who still have an account on the date Settlement distributions are made, will receive any Settlement proceeds through a deposit into their Plan account. For those Class Members who do not have an Active Account, as defined in the Settlement Agreement (“Former Participants”), their allocation of the Net Settlement Amount will be distributed by check. Active Class Members who no longer have an Active Account on the date distributions are made will receive their allocation by check. To the extent feasible and ascertainable, Settlement proceeds allocated to Active Class Members will be invested in accordance with each Class Member’s instructions for investment of new contributions at the time the distribution is made, or, if no such instructions are in effect, to the applicable qualified default investment option. Former Participants should contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-537-1189 to ensure the accuracy of their current mailing address.

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8. How will I benefit from the Settlement?

You may be entitled to receive a portion of the Net Settlement Amount if you participated in one or both of the Plans during the period from January 25, 2012 through February 28, 2020, or are a beneficiary or alternate payee of such a participant. Only Class Members are eligible to receive a portion of the Net Settlement Amount. (See the answer to FAQ 6 above.) Whether or not a person meets this definition will be based on the Plans’ records. You have received the notice because, based on the Plans’ records, you are believed to be a Class Member. The Plan of Allocation attached to the notice will determine the amount paid to each Class Member.

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9. What is the Class Representative receiving from the Settlement?

The Class Representatives in this case may each seek a Case Contribution Fee not to exceed $10,000. Additionally, the Class Representatives will be entitled to receive benefits of the Settlement because they are Class Members.

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10. What do I give up by participating in the Settlement?

In exchange for Mutual’s payment of the Settlement Amount, all Class Members will release any claims they have related to the lawsuit and be prohibited from bringing or pursuing any other lawsuits or other actions based on such claims.

The Court will also be certifying as a class all persons who were participants in the Plan from January 25, 2012, a date that is six years prior to the date the lawsuit was filed, through February 28, 2020, the date the parties agreed to the Settlement. The Release is set forth in full in the Settlement Agreement, which can be viewed online at www.MutualofOmahaERISASettlement.com, or requested from Class Counsel.

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11. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Yes. In granting preliminary approval of the proposed Settlement, the Court appointed the Plaintiffs’ lawyers to serve as “Class Counsel” for the Settlement Class. The attorneys for the Settlement Class are as follows:


John J. Nestico

Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky, LLP

6000 Fairview Road Suite 1200

Charlotte, NC 28210


Todd S. Collins

Ellen Noteware

Berger Montague PC

1818 Market Street, Suite 3600

Philadelphia, PA 19103

Tel: (215)875-3038

[email protected]

[email protected]


Eric Lechtzin

Edelson Lechtzin LLP

3 Terry Drive, Suite 205

Newtown, PA 18940

Telephone: (215) 867-2399

Facsimile: (267) 685-0676

[email protected]


You will not be charged separately for the work of these lawyers; their compensation will come from the Settlement Amount and will be determined by the Court. If you want to be represented by a different lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your own expense.

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12. How will the lawyers (Class Counsel) be paid?

Class Counsel will file a motion with the Court seeking approval of their compensation, which will consist of (a) reasonable attorneys’ fees and (b) reimbursement of the expenses they incurred in prosecuting the case. Class Counsel intend to seek attorneys’ fees plus reasonable expenses equal to one-third of the Gross Settlement Amount. The motion and supporting papers will be filed on or before January 4, 2021. After that date you may review the motion and supporting papers in the 'Documents' section of this website. Any attorneys’ fees, expenses and Case Contribution Award approved by the Court, in addition to the fee and the expenses incurred by the Settlement Administrator in sending the notice and administering the Settlement, including the costs of an Independent Fiduciary hired to evaluate the Settlement on behalf of the Plan, will be paid from the Settlement Amount.

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13. What does it mean to object?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. Objecting will not have any bearing on your right to receive the benefits of the Settlement if it is approved by the Court.

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14. What is the procedure for objecting to the Settlement?

Prior to the Fairness Hearing, Class Members will have the opportunity to object to approval of the Settlement. Class Members can object to the Settlement and give reasons why they believe that the Court should not approve it. To object, you must send your objection to the Court, at Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse, 111 South 18th Plaza, Suite 1152. Omaha, Nebraska 68102, and to the Parties at the following addresses:

To Class Counsel:
John J. Nestico
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky, LLP
6000 Fairview Road
Suite 1200
Charlotte, NC 28210

To Defendants’ Counsel:
Christopher J. Boran
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
77 West Wacker Drive, Fifth Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Tel: (312)324-1146

Objections must be filed with the Court Clerk on or before January 12, 2021. Objections filed after that date will not be considered. Any Class Member who fails to submit a timely objection will be deemed to have waived any objection they might have, and any untimely objection will be barred absent an order from the Court. Objections must include: (1) the case name and number; (2) your full name, current address, telephone number and signature; (3) a statement that you are a Class Member and an explanation of the basis upon which you claim to be a Class Member; (4) all grounds for the objection, accompanied by any legal support known to you or your counsel; (5) a statement as to whether you or your counsel intends to personally appear and/or testify at the Fairness Hearing; and (6) a list of any persons you or your counsel may call to testify at the Fairness Hearing in support of your objection.

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15. What if I do not want to be part of the lawsuit and want to exclude myself?

The Settlement does not allow Class Members to exclude themselves from the Settlement or decide not to be a part of the Settlement. While some class action settlements allow class members to “opt out” of the settlement if they want, because of the nature of the claims Plaintiffs have asserted in this lawsuit, Class Members do not have any right to opt out. Thus, if you dislike some portion of the Settlement, your only recourse is to object to the Settlement.

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16. What is a fairness hearing?

The Court has granted preliminary approval of the proposed Settlement, finding that it is sufficiently reasonable to warrant such preliminary approval, and has approved delivery of this notice to Class Members. The Settlement will not take effect, however, until it receives final approval from the Court following an opportunity for Class Members to object to the Settlement. Following the deadline for objecting to the Settlement, the Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on February 1, 2021 to consider any objections. The Fairness Hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. in Courtroom No. 3 at the U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, located in the Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse, 111 South 18th Plaza, Suite 1152. Omaha, Nebraska 68102. The date and location of the Fairness Hearing is subject to change by Order of the Court, which will appear on the Court’s docket for this case and on this website.

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17. Can I attend the Fairness Hearing?

Yes, anyone can attend the Fairness Hearing. But the Court will only allow those who file and serve a timely written objection in accordance with this notice to speak at the Fairness Hearing either in person or through counsel retained at his or her own expense. Those persons or their attorneys intending to speak at the Fairness Hearing must serve notice of their intention to appear on Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel (at the addresses set out above) and file it with the Court Clerk by no later than January 12, 2021. The notice must include: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the Class Member, and (2) if applicable, the name, address, and telephone number of that Class Member’s attorney. Anyone who does not timely file and serve a notice of intention to appear in accordance with this paragraph shall not be permitted to speak at the Fairness Hearing, except by Order of the Court for good cause shown. Any comment or objection that is timely filed will be considered by the Court even in the absence of a personal appearance by the Class Member or that Class Member’s counsel.

The Court will consider Class Member objections in deciding whether to grant final approval. Objectors are not required to attend the Fairness Hearing, but if you intend to appear you must state your intention to do so in the manner described above. Class Members who do not comply with these procedures, or who miss the deadline to file an objection, lose the opportunity to have their objection considered by the Court or to appeal from any order or judgment entered by the Court regarding the Settlement.

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18. Where can I get more information?

You can visit the 'Documents' section of this website where you will find the full Settlement Agreement, the Court’s order granting preliminary approval, the notice, and other relevant pleadings and documents. If you cannot find the information you need on this website, you may also contact Class Counsel for more information.

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This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by Class Counsel and controlled by the Settlement Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

For more information, please call 1-833-537-1189.

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.

Important Dates

  • Mailing of Notices

    Friday, November 20, 2020
    Notices were printed and mailed to Class Members on Friday, November 20, 2020.
  • Objection Deadline

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021
    You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
  • Fairness Hearing Date

    Monday, February 1, 2021
    The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 1, 2021.  Please check this website for updates.

Important Documents

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