If you traded in a car with negative equity in 1998 to 2003 to lease a Mercedes-Benz from Keyes European, you may benefit from a class action Settlement

Oct 18, 2012, 12:00 ET from GCG

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore., Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The following statement regarding the In re Vehicle Lease Document Cases is being issued by Class Counsel for the Settlement Class, namely the firms of Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP, the Law Offices of Nicholas A. Siciliano, the Law Offices of David E. Weeks, and the Law Offices of Masry & Vititoe.

A proposed class action Settlement, known as In re Vehicle Lease Document Cases, has been reached concerning Keyes European (Keyes). The lawsuit claims that Keyes violated certain state business codes through improper use of a "Payoff Adjustment Form" (PAF). The PAF described the payoff of the prior lease balance on a trade-in vehicle.

Keyes denies it did anything wrong. Plaintiffs believe the claims have merit. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Instead, both sides have agreed to this Settlement and the Court has given preliminary approval.

There are two Settlement classes:
1) The Keyes Negative Equity Settlement Class includes all eligible class members who traded in, or turned in a car with the lease of a new Mercedes-Benz from Keyes, signed a PAF and/or financed negative equity from the trade-in from March 1, 1998 to April 3, 2003.
2) Keyes Payoff Adjustment Settlement Class includes all eligible class members who traded in a car, from March 1, 1998 to April 3, 2003, and whose lease agreement did not include all the terms and obligations concerning the payoff adjustment.

Please visit www.LeaseDocumentSettlement.com for a complete description of the class, eligibility and what you need to do.

Keyes has established a fund to pay eligible class members who file a Claim Form. You must file a claim to receive benefits. Please visit the Settlement website for complete information.

You can: 1) do nothing; 2) file a claim and stay in the class and be bound by the decisions of the Court; 3) exclude yourself from the class; and/or 4) object.
1) Do nothing - you will stay part of the Settlement Class but you will not be entitled to receive a cash benefit.
2) File a claim - Eligible class members may receive up to $1,500, but the amount is likely to be much less in the event more than 667 class members complete timely and valid claims that are accepted by the Defendant.  But you give up the right to sue Keyes concerning the claims described above.  To be eligible, you must return a Claim Form, postmarked by November 26, 2012 to the address below.
3) Exclude yourself, or "opt out," - you will not receive any benefits of the Settlement, but you will not be bound by any judgment or release in the Action. If you seek to be excluded, you may not object to the Settlement. Exclusions must be returned postmarked by November 10, 2012 to In re Vehicle Lease Document Cases, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35017, Seattle, WA 98124 -1017.
4) If you do not request to be excluded, you may object to the Settlement. You may not do both. To object, send your objection postmarked by January 15, 2013 to the Settlement Administrator listed above.

The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Civil Central West, 600 S. Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90005 at 10 a.m. on January 30, 2013 to approve the Settlement, attorney fees and costs and representative plaintiff awards. You or your attorney may appear at the Hearing, but you don't have to.  If you hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for paying the attorney.   The Court has appointed Louis P. Trygar to represent the Class. The Motion for Fees of up to $462,500 will be available on the website below after they are filed and not later than 16 court days prior to the January 30, 2013 Hearing.

This notice is only a Summary. The full Class Notice, explanation of the Settlement terms, how to exclude yourself or object to the Settlement or Fee Request, as well as a downloadable Claim Form, is available at www.LeaseDocumentSettlement.com. You may also call the toll-free telephone support line 1-877-470-6669.