Universal Home Video Settlement

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. What is the Class definition?
  3. How do I know if I am part of this Settlement?
  4. What does this Settlement provide?
  5. How will payments and credits be calculated?
  6. How much will my payment be?
  7. How can I get a payment or credit?
  8. When will I get my payment or credit?
  9. What am I giving up to get benefits and stay in the Settlement?
  10. How do I get out of the Settlement?
  11. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?
  12. If I exclude myself, can I get a payments or credits from the Settlement?
  13. Who are the lawyers in this case?
  14. How are Class Counsel being paid? Are the Class Representatives being paid?
  15. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the Settlement?
  16. What's the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?
  17. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
  18. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?
  19. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?
  20. How do I get more information about the Settlement?



  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    This lawsuit claims that Universal failed to properly account for and pay motion picture profit participants (e.g. producers, directors, and actors) in regard to Home Video Revenue and Electronic Sell-Through Revenue under profit participation contracts that do not include express provisions regarding the treatment of such revenues for calculation of profit participation. 

    Home Video Revenue is revenue derived from the sale of physical copies of motion pictures in tangible products such as Videocassettes, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs.  Electronic Sell-Through Revenue is revenue derived from the sale of digital copies of motion pictures that are delivered to the consumer via electronic transmission (e.g., through download purchases on iTunes or Amazon).

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  2. What is the Class definition?

    Class Members are all persons and entities (and their successors-in-interest, assigns, and heirs) that are parties to a “Class Profit Participation Contract” (defined by the Settlement Agreement as a Profit Participation Contract, entered on or before December 31, 2014, that does not include express provisions regarding the calculation of the Profit Participant’s Profit Participation with regard to Home Video Revenue and/or Electronic Sell-Through Revenue).

    When a person or entity is a party to both, (a) one or more Class Profit Participation Contracts; and (b) one or more profit participation contracts that do not meet the definition of a Class Profit Participation Contract, that person or entity is a member of the settlement class only with regard to the Class Profit Participation Contract(s).

    Excluded from the Settlement Class are:

    *          Universal and any person, trust, firm, corporation or other entity affiliated with or related to Universal;

    *          Any persons or entities who exclude themselves by filing a timely Request for Exclusion in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Court;

    *          Persons or entities who have entered into an agreement with Universal or its affiliates and their predecessors, subsequent to their Class Profit Participation Contract but regarding the same motion picture, that includes express provisions regarding the calculation of the Profit Participant’s Profit Participation with regard to Home Video Revenue and/or Electronic Sell-Through Revenue, including but not limited to a settlement agreement, an amendment to the relevant Class Profit Participation Contract, a side letter, or any other writing that sets forth such provisions, and was made prior to the date of the Preliminary Approval Order;

    *          Other motion picture studios and their affiliates or predecessors in interest.

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  3. How do I know if I am part of this Settlement?

    To see if you are part of this Settlement and your rights under the Settlement, ask yourself this series of questions:

    Question

    Yes

    No

    Do you have at least one Profit Participation Contract with Universal dated on or before December 31, 2014 or are you the heir, successor or assign of someone who does?

    Continue

    You are not a Class Member

    Does that contract include a provision regarding your Profit Participation specifically with regard to Home Video and/or Electronic Sell-Through Revenue?

    You are not a Class Member

    Continue

    Did you or your predecessors in interest modify the Profit Participation Contract to include a provision for Profit Participation specifically with regard to Home Video and/or Electronic Sell-Through Revenue?

    You are not a Class Member

    Continue

    Did you or your predecessors already release Universal for claims relating to Home Video and/or Electronic Sell-Through Revenue Profit Participation under the contract?

    You are not a Class Member

    Continue

    Were you receiving Profit Participation payments under the Profit Participation Contract from Universal as of December 31, 2014?

    You may be a Recouped Class Member.  Continue.

    You may be an Unrecouped Class Member.  Continue.

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  4. What does this Settlement provide?

    This Settlement provides a total of $13 million (“Settlement Fund”) to be available for compensation to the Recouped Class Members (as defined in Question 9 of the Notice) less administrative and notice expenses, compensation to Named Plaintiffs, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

    This Settlement also provides a total of $13 million (“Accounting Relief Fund”) for the benefit of Unrecouped Class Members (as defined in Question 9 of the Notice) for the application of an adjustment on the account of the motion pictures associated with a Class Profit Participation Contract to which an Unrecouped Class Member is a party.

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  5. How will payments and credits be calculated?

    Payments and credits and benefits will be calculated from the Settlement Fund and Accounting Relief Fund for Recouped Class Members and Unrecouped Class Members as follows:  (Note:  It is possible for a profit participant to be considered both a Recouped Class Member and an Unrecouped Class Member in regard to different contracts.  In such a situation, the Class Member would obtain a portion of the Settlement Relief Fund as well as their share of the Accounting Relief Fund, as appropriat.)  The Settlement Administrator will be responsible for the calculation and payment of the amounts due Recouped Class Members from the Settlement Fund based upon participation information received from Universal.  Universal will be responsible for the calculation and the application of the accounting credits to be applied for the benefit of Unrecouped Class Members within its profit participation accounting database.   

    Recouped Class MembersRecouped Class Member means a Class Member who, as of December 31, 2014, is a Profit Participant on one or more motion pictures that have realized sufficient revenue to require payment of Profit Participation to that Class Member under the terms of that person or entity’s Class Profit Participation Contract.  Recouped Class Members will receive payments from the Settlement Fund, divided into two categories:

    Retrospective Relief (70% of the Settlement Fund Payout)

    Each Recouped Class Member shall be entitled to the percentage of the Retrospective Relief Fund equal to the ratio of the total amount of Profit Participation paid or payable to the Recouped Class Member pursuant to one or more Class Profit Participation Contracts through the period ending December 31, 2014, compared to the total amount of Profit Participation paid or payable to all of the Recouped Class Members pursuant to Class Profit Participation Contracts for all periods through the period ending December 31, 2014.

    Prospective Relief (30% of the Settlement Fund Payout)

    Each Recouped Class Member shall also be entitled to the percentage of the Prospective Relief Fund equal to the ratio of the total amount of Profit Participation paid or payable to the Recouped Class Member pursuant to one or more Class Profit Participation Contracts for the period from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2014, compared to the total amount of Profit Participation paid or payable to all of the Recouped Class members pursuant to Class Profit Participation Contracts for the same period, with such ratio serving as an estimate of the ratio of future Profit Participation payments.

    Unrecouped Class MembersUnrecouped Class Member means a Class Member who, as of December 31, 2014, is a Profit Participant on one or more motion pictures that have not realized sufficient revenue to require payment of Profit Participation to that Class Member under the terms of that person or entity’s Class Profit Participation Contract.  In other words they were not yet earning profit participation from their Profit Participation Contract as of December 31, 2014.

    Universal shall apply an adjustment on the account of each motion picture associated with a Class Profit Participation Contract to which an Unrecouped Class Member is a party for the benefit of the Unrecouped Class Members with Class Profit Participation Contracts relating to that motion picture.  The accounting adjustment shall be that motion picture’s share of the Accounting Relief Fund determined by the ratio of the total amount of Home Video Revenue and Electronic Sell-Through Revenue derived by Universal through December 31, 2014, for that motion picture compared to the total amount of Home Video Revenue and Electronic Sell-Through Revenue derived by Universal through December 31, 2014, for all of the motion pictures receiving an accounting adjustment.

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  6. How much will my payment be?

    The exact amount each qualifying Class Member will receive cannot be calculated until (1) the Court approves the Settlement; (2) amounts are deducted from the Settlement Fund for notice and administration costs, attorneys’ fees and expenses, and any Class Representative Incentive Awards; and (3) the Settlement Administrator determines the number of persons who opt out of the Settlement. See Question 9 for the general method of calculating claims payments.

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  7. How can I get a payment or credit?

    To be eligible to receive a payment or credit under the Settlement, you must (1) be a Class Member; and (2) not have excluded yourself from the Settlement. 

    If You Received The Notice in The Mail: If you received the Notice in the mail it means that Universal’s records have identified you as a potential Class Member. You do not need to submit a Claim Form or take any other action if you received the Notice in the mail and wish to participate in the Settlement.  Your eligibility will be confirmed and payments and credits described above will be provided to you automatically. 

    If You Did Not Receive The Notice in The Mail: If you did not receive the Notice in the mail and you believe that you may be a Class Member, you can inquire into whether you are an eligible Class Member and apply to take part in the Settlement by submitting a Claim Form located here.

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  8. When will I get my payment or credit?

    The payments and accounting credits will be sent to eligible Class Members after the Court grants “final approval” of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. 

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on December 11, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.  (Pacific time) to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If you want to attend the hearing, keep in mind that the date and/or time may be changed after the Notice is sent, so you should check this settlement website (www.UniversalHVSettlement.com) before making travel plans.

    If the Court approves the Settlement (see Questions 21–23 of the Notice), there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time. Please be patient. You can check for updates and other important information by using any of the methods listed in Question 24 of the Notice.

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  9. What am I giving up to get benefits and stay in the Settlement?

    If this Settlement receives final approval from the Court, this Settlement will be legally binding on all Class Members, including Class Members who object, unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement. This means you will not be able to sue Universal for the claims being released in this Settlement. The Notice is only a summary. The specific claims that you are giving up against Universal are described in detail in the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” Universal and all related entities (the “Released Parties”) as described in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

    If you, or someone acting on your behalf, are currently litigating claims against Universal or the other Released Parties, you will be barred from pursuing the claims released by this Settlement unless you validly “opt out” as described below. If you are currently litigating claims against Universal or the other Released Parties, speak to your lawyer in that matter immediately.

    The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions, you can talk to Class Counsel listed in Question 17 of the Notice, or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.

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  10. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    To exclude yourself, you must mail a letter that includes:

    • Your full name, current address, telephone number, and signature;

    • The name of the individual or entity requesting exclusion (if any different from your name);

    • A statement that you are a Class Member and that you “request to be excluded from the class settlement in the Universal Home Video Settlement”;

    • A statement as to whether you wish to be excluded from the class settlement for all or only some of the Class Profit Participation Contracts to which you are a party.  If you wish to be excluded for only some of the Class Profit Participation Contracts to which you are a party, please indicate the specific motion pictures for which you are requesting exclusion.

    You must personally sign your written “opt-out” request and mail it postmarked by November 12, 2015 to:

    Universal Home Video Settlement
    c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC
    P.O. Box 8060
    San Rafael, CA 94912-8060

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  11. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?

    No. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you give up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims that are resolved by the Settlement. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. Remember, the exclusion deadline is November 12, 2015.

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  12. If I exclude myself, can I get a payments or credits from the Settlement?

    No. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be able to get any payments or credits and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Settlement. 

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  13. Who are the lawyers in this case?

    Class Counsel

    The Court has appointed the law firms listed below to represent you and other Class Members in the Settlement. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

    If you want to contact Class Counsel about this Settlement, they can be reached through the Settlement Administrator by calling 1-877-319-9141 or sending an email to info@UniversalHVSettlement.com.

    Daniel L. Warshaw
    Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP
    15165 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 400
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

    Jeffrey A. Koncius
    Kiesel Law LLP
    8648 Wilshire Boulevard
    Beverly Hills, CA 90211

    Neville L. Johnson
    Johnson & Johnson LLP
    439 North Canon Drive, Suite 200
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Raymond P. Boucher
    Boucher LLP
    21600 Oxnard St., Suite 600
    Woodland Hills, CA 91367

    Universal’s Attorneys

    Defendant Universal City Studios LLC is represented by the below listed counsel from the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP.  If you want to contact Defendant Universal City Studios LLC’S Attorneys about this Settlement, they can be reached by contacting:

    Tamerlin J. Godley
    Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
    355 South Grand Avenue
    Thirty-Fifth Floor
    Los Angeles, California 90071

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  14. How are Class Counsel being paid? Are the Class Representatives being paid?

    Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses in the Settlement (the “Fee and Expense Award”), which will be paid from the Settlement Fund:

    Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses

    • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment from the Settlement Fund of attorneys’ fees of up to one-third of the $13 million Settlement Fund (i.e., up to $4,333,333.33), as well as for reimbursement for costs and expenses incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuits not to exceed $125,000.00.
    • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve a $10,000.00 payment (called “Incentive Awards”) to each of the Plaintiffs, Colin Higgins Productions Ltd.; Indigo Inc.; and Lynn Unger Children’s Trust, totaling $30,000.00. The Incentive Awards compensate Plaintiffs for their service as Class Representatives. Any Incentive Award ordered by the Court will be in addition to what that Class Representative is eligible to receive from his or its claim. 

    Incentive Awards to Class Representatives

    • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve a $10,000.00 payment (called “Incentive Awards”) to each of the Plaintiffs, Colin Higgins Productions Ltd.; Indigo Inc.; and Lynn Unger Children’s Trust, totaling $30,000.00. The Incentive Awards compensate Plaintiffs for their service as Class Representatives. Any Incentive Award ordered by the Court will be in addition to what that Class Representative is eligible to receive from his or its claim. 

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  15. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the Settlement?

    If you do not exclude yourself, you may object to the Settlement.  To object, you must mail your objection to the Settlement Administrator. To be timely, your objection must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked by November 12, 2015 at the following addresses:

    Universal Home Video Settlement
    c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC
    P.O. Box 8060
    San Rafael, CA 94912-8060

    You must include the following information:

    • Your full name, current address, telephone number, and signature.
    • The settlement to which you are objecting:
      • “Universal Home Video Settlement.”
    • Your objections and the specific reasons why you object.
    • State whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing, either in person or through counsel.
    • If you are represented by separate counsel, the name, address, bar number, and telephone number of all attorneys who will represent you.
    • A list of any other objections submitted by you, or by your separate counsel, to any class action settlements submitted in any court in the United States, whether state, federal or otherwise, in the previous five years. If you or your separate counsel has not objected to any other class action settlement in any court in the United States in the previous five years, you or your counsel shall affirmatively so state in the written objection.

    Please note that any objections must be submitted by an individual Class Member, his or her legally authorized representative, or his or her attorney—not as a member of a group, class, or subclass.

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  16. What's the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object to a settlement only if you stay in that settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object, because the case no longer affects you. If you object, and the Court approves the Settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result. 

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  17. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a “Fairness Hearing” (also known as a “Final Approval Hearing”) to decide whether to finally approve the proposed Settlement. The Fairness Hearing will be on December 11, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Elihu M. Berle in Department 323 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Central Civil West Courthouse, located at 600 South Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90005.  If you want to attend the Fairness Hearing, keep in mind that the date and/or time may be changed after the Notice is sent, so you should check the settlement website (www.UniversalHVSettlement.com) before making travel plans.

    At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed Settlement and all of its terms are adequate, fair, and reasonable. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court may listen to people who have asked for permission to speak at the Hearing and have complied with the other requirements for objections explained in Question 19. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for fees and expenses, and whether and how much to award the Class Representatives for representing the Class (the Incentive Awards).

    There is no set timeline for either the Court’s final approval decision, or for any appeals that may be brought from that decision, so it is impossible to know exactly when the Settlement will become final.

    The Court may change deadlines listed in the Notice without further notice to the Class. To keep up on any changes in the deadlines, please contact the Settlement Administrator or review the website.

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  18. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions asked by the Court.

    If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. So long as you mailed your written objection on time and complied with the other requirements for a proper objection, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it’s not required.

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  19. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?

    Yes. If you submitted a proper written objection to the Settlement, you or your lawyer may, at your own expense, come to the Fairness Hearing and speak. To do so, you must follow the procedures set out in Question 19 in the Notice. You must also file a Notice of Intention to Appear, which must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked no later than November 12, 2015 and it must be filed with the Clerk of the Court by that same date. If you intend to have a lawyer appear on your behalf, your lawyer must enter a written notice of appearance of counsel with the Clerk of the Court no later than November 12, 2015. See Question 19 of the Notice for the addresses of the Settlement Administrator. You cannot speak at the Fairness Hearing if you excluded yourself.

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

    The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement, available here.


    You may obtain additional information by

    Calling

    • Call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-877-319-9141 to ask questions and receive copies of documents.

    E-mailing

    • Email the Settlement Administrator at info@UniversalHVSettlement.com

    Writing

    • Send your questions by mail to
      Universal Home Video Settlement
      c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC
      P.O. Box 8060
      San Rafael, CA 94912-8060

    Visiting the settlement website

    • www.UniversalHVSettlement.com, where you will find answers to common questions about the Settlement, obtain a Claim Form, plus other information to help you.

    Reviewing legal documents

    • You can review the legal documents that have been filed with the Clerk of Court in these cases at:
      Los Angeles Superior Court, Central Civil West Courthouse
      600 South Commonwealth Avenue
      Los Angeles, California 90005

    PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE JUDGE OR THE COURT CLERK TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LAWSUIT, THE SETTLEMENT, OR THE NOTICE.

    THE COURT WILL NOT RESPOND TO LETTERS OR TELEPHONE CALLS. IF YOU WISH TO ADDRESS THE COURT, YOU MUST FILE AN APPROPRIATE PLEADING OR MOTION WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COURT’S USUAL PROCEDURES.

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