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A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the University. The lawsuit alleges that the University violated ERISA with respect to the Plans. The individuals who are pursuing the lawsuit (“Plaintiffs”) claim that the University should not have selected and maintained the CREF Stock Account and TIAA Real Estate Account as investment options in the Plans, and that the Plans paid higher recordkeeping and administrative fees than necessary to the Plans’ recordkeepers. Plaintiffs also previously claimed that loans made under the participant loan-program constituted prohibited transactions under ERISA, but the court dismissed that claim.
The University denies the allegations in the lawsuit
and contends that its conduct was entirely proper. The University has asserted,
and would assert should the litigation continue, a number of defenses to
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. Two ERIP
participants and one CRP participant are the class representatives in this
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 classes 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 the University has done anything wrong or violated any law or regulation.
The Plans have retained an independent fiduciary
to evaluate the fairness of the Settlement. The independent fiduciary is
Nicholas L. Saakvitne, Esquire.
The Class 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 Northern District of Illinois, which is located at 219 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604. You may also review documents electronically through Public Access to Court Records, which is available as www.pacer.gov.
If you have questions about this notice or the proposed Settlement, you may contact Class Counsel (see answer to Question 10, below, for contact information).
Do not contact the Court or the Defendant for
information about the Settlement. The
Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel can answer any questions you may have
about the proposed Settlement.
Plaintiffs and the University have agreed to a settlement that involves both monetary payments to participants and the University’s commitment to maintain recent changes it made to the Plans’ investment options and fees. These and other terms of the Settlement are set forth in the Class Action Settlement Agreement dated May 23, 2018 (“Settlement Agreement”) and described briefly below.
As part of the Settlement, the University has agreed to make a one-time payment of $6.5 million (the “Settlement Amount”). After deduction from the Settlement Amount for any amounts that the Court approves for settlement-related expenses (including a Case Contribution Award to Plaintiffs, Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses to Class Counsel, certain fees for retaining an Independent Fiduciary Fees, Administration Costs, and Taxes and Tax-Related Costs), the remaining amount (known as the “Distributable Settlement Amount”) will be distributed to Monetary Relief Class Members. Monetary Relief Class Members are participants and beneficiaries of the Plans from May 18, 2011 through May 23, 2018. However, to avoid disproportionate expenses in particular cases, the parties have agreed that no distribution will be made to any Monetary Relief 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 Distributable Settlement Amount. Monetary Relief Class Members who remain participants of either of the Plans are not be subject to this restriction. The Plan of Allocation is attached to the Class Notice as Appendix A.
In addition to the monetary payment, the University has agreed to maintain the following changes it recently made to the Plans and other University retirement plans before agreeing to the settlement, subject to any changes in applicable law:
The University has agreed not to increase per-participant recordkeeping fees for three years, and will use commercially reasonable best efforts to continue to attempt to reduce recordkeeping fees.
As of April 2, 2018, the CREF Stock Account is no longer offered as an investment option available to participants in the investment lineup of the Plans and other University 403(b) retirement plans.
Monetary Relief Class Members who have a
positive balance in their Plan account at the time of the distribution will
receive any settlement proceeds through a deposit into their Plan account. To
the extent feasible and ascertainable, those settlement proceeds will be
invested in accordance with each Monetary Relief 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. Monetary Relief Class Members who no longer have a positive
balance in their Plan account as of the date of distribution (“Former
Participants”) will receive a check from the Settlement Administrator.
You may benefit in two ways. First, you may be entitled to receive a portion of the Distributable Settlement Amount. Only Monetary Relief Class Members are eligible to receive a portion of the Distributable Settlement Amount. (See the answer to Question 6 above.) Whether or not a person meets this definition will be based on the Plans’ records. You were sent the Class Notice because, based on the Plans’ records, you are believed to be a member of the Monetary Relief Class. The Plan of Allocation attached to this notice will determine the amount paid to each eligible participant.
Second, if you are a current participant in the
University’s 403(b) plans, you will receive the benefit of the changes that
recently became effective and that the University has agreed to maintain
(described in the answer to Question 6 above). Among other things, the
University has agreed not to increase per-participant recordkeeping fees for
three years and has discontinued offering the CREF Stock Account as an
investment option in the Plans’ investment lineup.
of the Class Representatives in this case may 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 Monetary Settlement Class
In exchange for the University’s payment of the Settlement Amount, all Monetary Relief 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 are participants of the Plans from the date of the Court’s
preliminary approval of the Settlement until three years after that date. These
persons are known as the Structural Changes Class Members. Structural Change
Class Members and Monetary Relief Class Members are collectively known as
Settlement Class Members. Structural Changes Class Members are agreeing not to
sue (the “Covenant”) the University and certain other parties (defined in
Sections 1.13, 1.14, 1.15 and 6.2 of the Settlement Agreement) with respect to
any of the subjects for which changes have been made to the operation of the
Plans (described in the answer to Question 6 above), so long as the Plans (a)
do not raise the per-participant recordkeeping fees for the next three years
and (b) continue to conduct periodic reviews of the investment options in the
new investment lineup, including the TIAA Real Estate Account. This Covenant
expires at the end of the calendar year occurring three years after the Court’s
final approval of the Settlement. The Releases and the Covenant are set forth
in full in the Settlement Agreement, which can be viewed in the 'Documents' section of this website or
requested from Class Counsel.
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 WOTKYNS, LLP
8501 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
BERGER & MONTAGUE P.C.
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Mark Richard Miller
WEXLER WALLACE LLP
55 W. Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
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.
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 equal to 30%
of the Settlement Amount plus reasonable expenses. The motion and supporting
papers will be filed on or before August 15, 2018. After that date you may
review the motion and supporting papers at under the Important 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 this notice and administering the
Settlement, will be paid from the Settlement Amount. The University will pay
the costs of the independent fiduciary up to $25,000, and any amount in excess
of $25,000 will be paid from the Settlement Amount.
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
Prior to the Fairness Hearing, Settlement Class Members will have the opportunity to object to approval of the Settlement. 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 U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 219 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604, and to the Parties at the following addresses:
To Class Counsel:
John J. Nestico
SCHNEIDER WALLACE COTTRELL KONECKY WOTKYNS, LLP
8501 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
To Defendant’s Counsel:
Mark B. Blocker
SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP
One South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Objections must be filed with the Court Clerk on or before August 22, 2018. Objections filed after that date will not be considered. Any Settlement 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 Settlement Class Member and an explanation of the basis upon which you claim to be a Settlement 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.
The Settlement does not allow any Settlement
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, Settlement 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.
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 Settlement Class Members. The Settlement
will not take effect, however, until it receives final approval from the Court
following an opportunity for Settlement Class Members to object to the
Settlement. Following the deadline for objecting to the Settlement, the Court
will hold a Fairness Hearing on September 12, 2018 to consider any
objections. The Fairness Hearing will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, located at 219 S.
Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604. 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.
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 setting forth on Class Counsel and Defendant’s counsel (at the addresses set out above) and file it with the Court Clerk by no later than August 22, 2018. The notice must include: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the Settlement Class Member, and (2) if applicable, the name, address, and telephone number of that Settlement 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 Settlement Class Member or that Settlement Class Member’s counsel.
The Court will consider Settlement 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. Settlement 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.
can click visit the 'Documents' section of this website where you will find the full Settlement
Agreement, the Court’s order granting preliminary approval, the Class 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. Do not contact the Court to get additional information.