The notice you received is merely to inform you about rights you have regarding a proposed Class Action Settlement related to retention of your Security Deposit while a tenant at one of thirteen apartment properties owned by Defendants. The proposed settlement class includes tenants who rented apartments within the following properties: Eagle Gardens of Jacksonville, Arlington Eagle, Eagle Court, Eagle Landing of Orlando, Eagle Point of Dayton4 Eagle Pointe I, Eagle Pointe II, Eagle Ridge, Eagle Summit, Jacksonville Village Apartments, Orlando on the Lake Apartment, and Orlando Sky.
You have received Notice because you have been identified through the records of the Manager or Landlord as a tenant during the class period and a member of a proposed Settlement Class in a class action lawsuit filed against LOHMAN Defendants, as the manager/owner of the properties (“Landlord”).
The Settlement Class is defined as:
All persons in the State of Florida who entered into a Lease Agreement with Defendants in substantially the form of Exhibit A to the Second Amended Complaint, for tenancies at any of the thirteen (13) properties owned and/or managed by Defendants and who had any portion of their security deposit retained after move out.
Your options with respect to this class action are:
1. Remain a member of the Settlement Class, in which case your rights will be determined and you will receive settlement benefits when and if the settlement is approved by the Court;
2. Exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, in which case you will not be a member of the Settlement Class for any purpose, you will not receive any settlement benefits but you will retain all your legal claims against the Defendants; or
3. File an objection with the Court complaining about the fairness of the settlement and asking the Court to not approve all or portions of the settlement.
LITIGATION SUMMARY: Plaintiff Shakia Brown filed a class action lawsuit in Duval County Circuit Court claiming that the owner/Manager of the Camelot Gardens Apartments violated the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act (“FRLTA”) by failing to properly send notice by certified mail before taking possession of tenant security deposits. Brown also challenged Payment Fees that the Landlord imposed when rent was paid by means other than personal check. The Landlord denies all liability and any wrongdoing.
The parties have agreed to settle these claims rather than take them to trial. In exchange for the benefits set forth in the Settlement, all Settlement Class members will release LOHMAN from all liability for wrongfully retaining security deposits or charging payment fees in connection with rent payments.
MONETARY BENEFITS: For all class members who do not opt out of the settlement, LOHMAN will provide a settlement payment equal to 70% of each class member’s Security Deposit that was retained by Defendants. For example, if you paid a $1,000 Security Deposit, your Settlement Payment would be $700. There are approximately $650,000.00 in security deposits that will be refunded to class members.
NON-MONETARY BENEFITS: Defendants have also agreed to release and forego the collection of any amounts that the Landlord Defendants contend that class members still owe for alleged damage to the apartments or any other fees imposed by the Landlord after the apartment was vacated (including past due rent, damage done to the unit, late fees, pet fees, cleaning fees, etc.). There are approximately $6 Million worth of amounts allegedly due to the Landlord Defendants that will be terminated under this settlement.
There is no claim process for receiving a settlement payment. If you do not opt out of this settlement and you received notice, a settlement payment will automatically be mailed to you at the same address if and when the Court grants Final Approval.
ATTORNEYS’ FEES: As part of the settlement, Defendants have agreed to pay Plaintiff’s Counsel $272,835.23 in attorneys’ fees and $10,413.81 in litigation costs, as awarded by the Court, over and above the settlement benefits being paid to the class. Settlement class members do not need to pay class counsel for their work in this case in your behalf.
OPTING OUT OF CLASS AND SETTLEMENT: If you wish to be excluded from the class, and receive no settlement benefits, you must send a written Request for Exclusion to Brown v. Lohman Property c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23459, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3459 and postmarked no later than August 13, 2023, stating your name, address, and the statement: “Requests exclusion from the class in Brown v. Lohman Property Mgmt. Co., LLC, et al., Case No. 2018-CA-008274.” Requests for Exclusion must be signed and postmarked by August 13, 2023. Requesting exclusion from the class removes your ability to receive the benefits of the settlement set forth above, but preserves any legal claims you may have against the landlord or manager of the apartment. EXCLUSION REQUESTS MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN AUGUST 13, 2023.
FINAL FAIRNESS HEARING: The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on August 23, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. before the Honorable G.L. Feltel, Jr., Duval County Courthouse, 501 West Adams Street, Room 712, Jacksonville, FL 32202, to determine whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND IN ORDER TO RECEVE A SETTLEMENT PAYMENT, BUT YOU MAY ATTEND IF YOU WISH.
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT: As a settlement class member, you have the right to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing to oppose the fairness of the settlement, provided that you send a written Notice of Objection to Class Counsel: Brian W. Warwick, Varnell & Warwick, P.A., 1101 E. Cumberland Ave., Suite 201H #105, Tampa, Florida 33602; and, Defense Counsel, Grier Wells, Gray Robinson, P.A., 50 North Laura Street, Suite 1100, Jacksonville, Florida 32202. Your written objection must include: (a) a notice of intent to appear; (b) a detailed statement of each objection asserted; (c) the grounds for each objection; (d) any documents and writings which you want the Court to consider; and (e) a list of witnesses you intend to call, if any. OBJECTIONS MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN AUGUST 13, 2023.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: You may view the full Settlement Agreement, Complaint and other relevant documents on the Important Court Documents Page.