Frequently Asked Questions
This settlement resolves a class action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Bucks County and the Bucks County Correctional Facility (“BCCF”), entitled Taha v. County of Bucks (No. 12-6867). Plaintiff Daryoush Taha (the “Representative Plaintiff”) sued Bucks County individually and on behalf of all other individuals that the BCCF booked, or otherwise detained for any reason, between 1938 and June, 2013. He alleges that Bucks subsequently disseminated, or made available to the public, criminal history information about himself and the other class members in violation of the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA). Bucks denies any and all liability and/or any wrongdoing alleged.
The Representative Plaintiff has made claims against Bucks County. Bucks County denies that it has done anything wrong or illegal and admits no liability. The Court of Appeals has not decided that the Representative Plaintiff and the Class, or Bucks County, should win the lawsuit. Instead, after extensive negotiations overseen by the Chief Mediator of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they both avoid the risks and cost of the appeal, and the Class Members will receive relief now rather than perhaps years from now, if at all.
The Court has decided that everyone who fits this description is a Class Member for purposes of the proposed Settlement: All persons whose criminal history record information was made available on the Bucks County Correctional Facility Inmate Lookup Tool before June 18, 2013. Excluded from the Class is any person who has previously elected not to be part of this lawsuit in accordance with the Notice of Class Certification that was sent out to the Class in 2018.
Bucks County will pay all class members who verify under penalty of perjury that they were booked in the Bucks County Correctional Facility between 1938 and June 2013 and submit a valid claim on a timely basis. The total amount that Bucks County will pay to each class member is anticipated to be $600.
The amount that each class member will receive depends upon the total number of claims submitted. Therefore, the exact amount each class member will receive is not certain at this time. Counsel reasonably expect that each class member who submits a timely claim will receive $600. The amount could be more, and could be less, depending upon the total number of claims submitted. In no event will a class member receive more than $1,000.
The proposed settlement does not mean that any law was violated or that Bucks County did anything wrong. Plaintiff and Class Counsel think the proposed settlement is fair and in the best interests of all Class members.
To qualify for a Settlement Payment, you must verify under penalty of perjury that you were booked in the Bucks County Correctional Facility between 1938 and June, 2013. You may verify this by either mailing in a claim form, or by completing a Claim Form online.
Your eligibility will be checked by the Claims Administrator against a database provided by the BCCF. Only those Class Members that appear in the BCCF database will be eligible to be paid as part of the Settlement. You will be required to provide the last four digits of your social security number and the PIN number assigned to you in the Notice you received and verify your current address. You must do this by the deadline of September 17, 2020. You received a Claim Form with the Notice. The Claim Form may be completed and submitted by mail, or electronically submitted.
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on October 1, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether such appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. You can check on the progress of the Action on this website. Please be patient.
The Court has ordered that the law firms of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C., Shub Law Firm LLC, and Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. (“Class Counsel”), will represent the interests of all Class Members. You will not be separately charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
Bucks County has agreed not to oppose Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses of up to $4,000,000, subject to approval by the Court. The payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses by Bucks County will not affect the amounts paid to class members. You will not be required to pay any attorneys’ fees or costs or expenses. The Court will make the final decision as to the amount to be paid.
No. If you did not file a timely request to be excluded from this Action in 2018, you are prohibited from excluding yourself from this Settlement. You may still object to the Settlement as described in FAQ 10.
At the date, time, and location stated in FAQ 11, the Court will hold a Fairness Hearing to determine if the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to also consider Class Counsel’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, and a service award of $30,000 to the Representative Plaintiff.
If you wish to object to the fairness, reasonableness, or adequacy of the proposed Settlement, or the request for attorneys’ fees and costs, or the Plaintiff’s requested service award, you must submit a written objection to the Court, Class Counsel, and Bucks County’s Counsel listed below, postmarked no later than September 17, 2020.
Clerk of Court
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
James A. Byrne Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelpha, PA 19106
Re: Taha v. Bucks County, No. 12-6867
Shub Law Firm LLC
134 Kings Hwy. E., 2nd Floor
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Abramson & Denenberg, P.C.
1315 Walnut Street, Suite 500
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Joseph C. Kohn
Robert J. LaRocca
Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C.
1600 Market Street, 25th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
BUCKS COUNTY’S COUNSEL
Burt M. Rublin
Ballard Spahr LLP
1735 Market Street, 51st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Any Objection must (a) provide information sufficient to allow the Parties to confirm that the objector is a Class Member; (b) include a statement of such Class Member’s specific Objection; (c) state the grounds for the Objection; and (d) identify any documents such objector desires the Court to consider. You may, but need not, submit your objection through counsel of your choice. If you make your objection through an attorney, you will be responsible for your personal attorney’s fees and costs.
IF YOU DO NOT TIMELY MAKE YOUR OBJECTION, YOU WILL BE DEEMED TO HAVE WAIVED ALL OBJECTIONS AND WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO SPEAK AT THE FAIRNESS HEARING.
If you submit a written objection, you may appear at the Fairness Hearing, either in person or through personal counsel hired at your expense, to object to the Settlement Agreement. You are not required, however, to appear.
The Court (Judge Wendy Beetlestone) will hold the Fairness Hearing on October 1, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 10-A of the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia PA 19106. The hearing may be postponed to a different date or time or location without notice. Please check this website for any updates about the Settlement generally or the Fairness Hearing specifically. If the date or time of the Fairness Hearing changes, an update to this website will be the only way you will be informed of the change.
You may review the Settlement Agreement, the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, and the Third Amended Complaint filed in the Lawsuit, available here. Alternatively, you may contact the Claims Administrator at the email address: email@example.com, the U.S. postal address (mailing): Bucks County CHRIA Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 2004, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2004, or the toll-free telephone number: 1-844-960-2170.
The Notice and Claim Form will be mailed out on June 29, 2020 to class members for whom Bucks County has current addresses. If you do not receive the notice and claim form in the mail and are unsure whether you are included in the class, you can contact the Claims Administrator after July 3, 2020 for free help to determine whether you are a Class Member who is eligible to submit a claim. The Claims Administrator will review a database provided by Bucks County to determine if you are a Class Member. The email address of the Claims Administrator is firstname.lastname@example.org; the U.S. postal (mailing) address is Bucks County CHRIA Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 2004, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2004; or you may call 1-844-960-2170.
Subsequent to June 2013, no criminal history record information concerning any members of the class in this case has been publicly available on Bucks County’s Inmate Lookup Tool. The County does not know if such information is still publicly available on commercial websites over which the County has no control.
16. If I elect ACH, how will I know when you are depositing the award, and who is the payor so I know this is legitimate?
You will not receive notification prior to the deposit. The payment will come from the Bucks County CHRIA Claims Administrator, the same name that was included in the notice and claim form materials.