Posted in Archives on December 13, 2011
On July 11, 2008, the San Francisco Superior Court gave final approval of a settlement in a ground-breaking privacy rights case that the Walkup firm prosecuted on behalf of 1.6 million California consumers. The firm represented two individuals who filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who, between March 12, 1998 and February 4, 2008, had their eyes examined inside a LensCrafters store (in California) and who purchased eyewear on the same day. The plaintiffs alleged among other things that the optometrists and LensCrafters mishandled and misused the patients’ medical and prescription information in violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and other consumer protection laws. LensCrafters denied the allegations and vigorously defended the case for almost six years. A retired federal magistrate helped mediate a settlement late last year.
» Copy of the complaint
Under the settlement, approximately 212,000 class members who patronized LensCrafters from March 1998 through December 1999 were offered an unrestricted $40 voucher redeemable for goods and services at LensCrafters. Another 1.4 million class members, who made purchases between January 2000 and February 2008, were offered either $30 cash or a $70 voucher. (If less than half of this latter group makes a claim, then those who did shall receive an additional $25 voucher.) The vouchers are good on any product or service available at LensCrafters and may be used in conjunction with any other valid coupon or group discount.
Upwards of $20 million in cash and benefits is expected to be paid out, making this the largest medical privacy settlement in California history.
LensCrafters also agreed to adopt and follow a series of good business practices going forward that will ensure that the privacy and prescription rights of its customers are respected.
In granting preliminary approval of the settlement, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer appointed Matt Davis as lead class counsel in the case.
1. What was this lawsuit about? The Action was filed by individuals who allege that LensCrafters (and its affiliate, EYEXAM of California, Inc.) engaged in misleading advertising practices, violated California laws regarding business and financial relationships between opticians and optometrists, and improperly disclosed patients’ medical information to each other and their agents.LensCrafters denies that it committed any violations of law or engaged in any of the wrongful acts alleged. In order to resolve the Action, and forever resolve these claims, LensCrafrters agreed to the settlement described in the Class Notice.
2. Who was included in the Settlement Class? For purposes of settlement only, the Court has certified a California class consisting of “all persons who had their eyes examined inside a California LensCrafters store and purchased eyewear on the same day from LensCrafters during the period from March 12, 1998 through February 4, 2008.”
4. What type of lawyer and law firm are Class Counsel? The Walkup firm was founded in 1959 and is considered California’s premier personal injury firm. Their attorneys represent real people, not corporations, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for injured plaintiffs throughout California, in individual claims as well as class actions and mass tort litigation.
» Find out more about the firm
» Find out more about Matt Davis
5. What did the Settlement provide? The settlement class was divided into two categories.Category 1 Class Members are those Class Members who patronized LensCrafters on any day from January 1, 2000 through February 4, 2008. Category 1 Class Members had the choice of either a $70 Unrestricted Voucher (as defined in Frequently Asked Question number 6) or a $30 cash payment. If less than 50% of Category 1 Class Members return their Claim Forms, there will be an enhancement and each Settlement Class Member in this category who submitted a valid Claim Form will receive an additional $25 Unrestricted Voucher, regardless of whether they elected a cash payment or an Unrestricted Voucher.Category 2 Class Members are those Class Members who patronized LensCrafters on any day from March 12, 1998 through December 31, 1999. Category 2 Class Members are entitled to a $40 Unrestricted Voucher, as described in Frequently Asked Question 6.
6. What is an Unrestricted Voucher? An Unrestricted Voucher is a voucher good on any product or service, transferable to other persons, combinable with any other coupons, or group discounts, and usable at either EYEXAM or LensCrafters. Unrestricted Vouchers shall not be combinable with another Unrestricted Voucher, except that one $70 Unrestricted Voucher shall be combinable with one $25 Unrestricted Voucher issued as an enhancement, as set forth in Frequently Asked Question 5. The Unrestricted Voucher shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance. The Unrestricted Voucher may be used on a single visit only at either EYEXAM or LensCrafters. There will be no cash back or store credit from any unused portion of the voucher.
7. I am a class member who made a claim. When will I get my settlement benefit? The court gave final approval to the proposed settlement on July 11, 2008. It is expected that the settlement checks and vouchers will be mailed out in November 2008.