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Horton v. Molina Healthcare, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

May 22, 2019

DR. SAM LEBARRE HORTON, on behalf of himself and all other entities and persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
MOLINA HEALTHCARE, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V, EAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter came before the Court on plaintiff's motion (Dkt. # 112) for preliminary approval of the proposed class action settlement (the “Settlement”) of the above-captioned case (the “Action”). The Action was brought by plaintiff Dr. Sam LeBarre Horton (“Class Plaintiff” or “Class Representative”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated against defendant Molina Healthcare, Inc. (“Defendant” or “Molina”) (together, with Class Plaintiff, the “Parties”). Based on this Court's review of the Parties' April 18, 2019 Settlement Agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”), Class Plaintiff's motion for preliminary approval of proposed class action settlement (Dkt. # 112), and the arguments of counsel, the Court finds based on good cause:

         1. Settlement Terms.

         Unless otherwise defined herein, all terms in this Opinion and Order shall have the meanings ascribed to them in the Settlement Agreement.

         2. Jurisdiction.

         The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Action, the Parties, and all persons in the Settlement Class.

         3. Scope of Settlement.

         The Settlement Agreement resolves all claims alleged in the Class Action Complaint filed in the District Court of Rogers County, Oklahoma on April 7, 2017, amended (before service) on April 12, 2017, thereafter removed to this Court on May 11, 2017, and as amended finally on August 17, 2019.

         4. Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement Agreement.

         The Court has conducted a preliminary evaluation of the proposed Settlement as set forth in the Settlement Agreement for fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness. Based on this preliminary evaluation, the Court finds that: (a) the proposed Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and within the range of possible approval; (b) the Settlement Agreement has been negotiated in good faith at arms' length between experienced attorneys familiar with the legal and factual issues of this case aided by an experienced and neutral third-party mediator; and (c) with respect to the forms of notice of the material terms of the Settlement Agreement to persons in the Settlement Class for their consideration and reaction (Exhibit B to the Settlement Agreement, Dkt. # 112-1, at 35), the notice is appropriate and reasonable. Therefore, the Court grants preliminary approval of the Settlement, as follows.

         5. Class Certification for Settlement Purposes Only.

         The Court, pursuant to Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, conditionally certifies, for purposes of this Settlement only, the following Settlement Class:

All persons with cases and claims against Molina arising out of the sending of unsolicited facsimiles in connection with Molina's network builds by Southwest Medical Consulting, LLC for the class period from April 12, 2013 to the present. Excluded from the Settlement Class are Molina, and any affiliate, subsidiary or division of Molina, along with any employees thereof, and any entities in which any of such companies have a controlling interest; Southwest, along with any employees or owners thereof; as well as all persons who validly opt-out of the Settlement Class.

         6. In connection with this preliminary certification, the Court makes the following preliminary findings:

(a) The Settlement Class appears to be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(b) There appear to be questions of law or fact common to the Settlement Class for purposes of determining whether the Settlement should be approved;
(c) The Class Representative's claims appear to be typical of the claims being resolved through the proposed Settlement;
(d) The Class Representative appears to be capable of fairly and adequately protecting the interests of all members of the Settlement Class in connection with the Settlement;
(e) For purposes of determining whether the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, common questions of law and fact appear to predominate over questions affecting only individual persons in the Settlement Class. Accordingly, the Settlement Class appears to be ...

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