Settlement reached in certified class action with the Town of Angier

Attorneys for the parties in an action pending in Harnett County Superior Court, Gregory, Inc. v. Town of Angier, Harnett County File No. 19-CVS-1598, announced the proposed settlement today of a lawsuit in which Plaintiff sought monetary relief and refunds from the Defendant Town, alleging that the Town of Angier unlawfully imposed water and sewer impact fees without authority from the North Carolina General Assembly. The Defendant denies the claims and allegations.

The Parties have requested that the Court certify a Settlement Class for purposes of the Settlement, consisting of all individuals, proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and other entities who (a) from July 30, 2016 through July 20, 2020 (b) paid access fees, acreage fees, capacity fees, connection fees, impact fees, regulatory fees” and/or system development fees to the Town of Angier.

If the Settlement is approved, it will resolve claims of Settlement Class Members against the Town of Angier in this lawsuit. The proposed settlement, which must be approved by Superior Court Judge Jeffrey B. Foster provides for payments to class members who paid water and sewer access fees, acreage fees, capacity fees, connection fees, impact fees, regulatory fees and/or system development fees. Town of Angier will establish a Settlement Fund equal to one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000.00) less attorneys’ fees and costs as awarded by the court.

Any portion of the Settlement Fund designated for payment to settlement class members, which cannot be distributed due to the inability of locating such persons or failure of settlement class members to cash their checks timely shall revert back to the Common settlement fund to be distributed in the following manner: If the total amount of uncashed checks for Class Members’ benefits is less than $1,000.00, that money shall be paid to the Downtown Angier Revitalization Fund. If the amount of uncashed checks for Class Members’ benefits is more than $1,000.00, that money shall be paid to Class Members in the same percentages as their Class Member benefits checks from the common fund.

“The settlement provides substantial benefits for payors of the impact fees with most settlement class members not needing to do anything to receive benefits under the settlement,” said Wilmington attorney William G. Wright of Shipman & Wright, LLP, one of the lawyers who serves as counsel for the proposed Settlement Class. Concord attorney John Scarbrough of Scarbrough, Scarbrough & Trilling, PLLC, co-counsel for the proposed Settlement Class agreed. “At this juncture we will be sending notice of this proposed settlement to effected consumers so that they make an informed decision as to whether they desire to be excluded,” said Mr. Scarbrough. “Once that is done, we’ll be looking towards obtaining final approval of the settlement from the Court,” he said.

A detailed notice describing the provisions and conditions of the Settlement will be sent to Settlement Class Members at the last known address of these consumers. The Town of Angier has been able to identify, by name and address, all Settlement Class Members that may be affected by this settlement. “The settlement process is straightforward and is designed to get money into the hands of eligible class members as quickly as possible,” co-counsel for the Settlement Class James DeMay of Ferguson, Hayes, Hawkins & DeMay, PLLC of Concord said. Judge Foster will conduct a hearing via WebEx on December 18, 2020 to decide whether to approve the settlement. Settlement Class Members who wish to “opt-out” of the Settlement must file a request with the Harnett County Clerk of Superior Court by November 30, 2020 with copies being served on counsel for the Parties. Settlement Class Members who wish to object to the settlement on the basis that it is not “fair, reasonable and adequate” and be heard at the hearing before Judge Foster will be required to file and serve written objections by November 30, 2020.

For more information about this proposed settlement, contact Class Counsel or visit this site where the Settlement Agreement, Notice of Settlement and additional information is available.

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Kevin Littlejohn- Shipman & Wright Associate Attorney