Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ’s

  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    Kalima v. State of Hawai‘i was filed in 1999 when the State eliminated the Hawaiian Claims Office that reviewed breaches of trust by the State of Hawai‘i regarding the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust that occurred between 1959 and 1988.

    The Class Members for this Settlement are “All persons who filed claims with the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel on or before August 31, 1995.”

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  2. Why is this a class action?

    A class action is a lawsuit in which an individual called a “Class Representative” brings a single case on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All of these people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” Once a Class is certified, a class action settlement finally approved by the Court resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

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  3. What is the Settlement?

    The parties have reached a proposed settlement that resolves all claims against the State of Hawai‘i that were brought or could have been brought in this lawsuit. The Settlement requires the State to pay $328 million, which will be used to pay the valid claims of Settlement Class Members, as well as pay claims administration and special master expenses, attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel, and Incentive Awards to the Class Representatives, if approved by the Court.

    The Court has preliminarily certified the Settlement Class for settlement purposes only, so that members of the Settlement Class can be given this notice and the opportunity to participate in the Settlement or exclude themselves from the Settlement Class, to express their support or opposition to final approval of the Settlement, and to receive the payment offered by the Settlement. If the Court does not give final approval to the Settlement, the Settlement will be void, and the lawsuit will proceed as if there had been no settlement and no certification of the Settlement Class.

    Class Members will receive several written notices from the Claims Administrator.

    First, living Class Members will be asked to update their contact information, and relatives of deceased Class Members will be asked to appoint a representative for their family and provide their contact information and the names and addresses of the deceased Class Member’s spouse and children.

    Second, Class Members and representatives will receive written notice of whether they are entitled to a settlement payment and, if so, how their payment will be computed. For those Class Members entitled to a payment, settlement payments will be calculated using a Fair Market Rental Value formula approved by the Court during the litigation. Class Members will have an opportunity to correct the starting and ending dates of the payment period.

    Class Members who are not entitled to payment will receive written notice that they do not qualify for a settlement payment for one or more of the following reasons:

    1. Individuals who did not file a claim with the Panel on or before August 31, 1995.
    2. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim did not assert an individual breach of trust which occurred between August 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988.
    3. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim asserted an individual breach of trust that occurred after June 30, 1988.
    4. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim was not a valid HRS Chapter 674 claim.
    5. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but settled their claim.
    6. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2007 class notice.
    7. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2012 class notice.
    8. Individuals who opt out of the Settlement Class and this Settlement by sending a valid and timely Opt-Out Letter to the Claims Administrator.

    Class Members who do not qualify for a settlement payment will have the right to opt out of the settlement to pursue their own claim. See FAQ 6.

    Class Members will receive a third notice informing them of the amount of their payment and the amount of attorneys fees Class Counsel will request.

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  4. Who is in the Settlement Class?

    “All persons who filed claims with the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel on or before August 31, 1995.”

    A. My claim was dismissed by the Panel. Am I still a part of this case?

    This case was filed on behalf of all persons who filed claims with the Panel. You are still a part of this case even if the Panel dismissed your claim.

    B. I got a recommended award from the Panel. Will I be getting that amount as a settlement payment?

    You will not receive the amount of damages that was calculated by the Individual Claims Review Panel. If you received a recommended award from the Panel, it is not binding in this case.

    All Class Members will have their settlement payment calculated by a method that will be used only for purposes of this Settlement.

    C. Can I claim a settlement payment based on my out-of-pocket expense for alternate housing?

    All Class Members will have their settlement payment calculated the same way. If you want to seek damages based on a different method, you must exclude yourself from the Settlement and file a separate lawsuit. See FAQ 6.

    D. I filed a claim for my deceased parents. Will my parents’ claim be considered?

    Claims made on behalf of deceased parents or grandparents will be considered like any other claim.

    E. My wife and I filed one claim. We will each get a settlement payment?

    Claims on behalf of married couples who suffered individual breaches of trust will be considered like any other claim.

    F. Which Settlement Class Members are not entitled to a settlement payment?
    1. Individuals who did not file a claim with the Panel on or before August 31, 1995.
    2. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim did not assert an individual breach of trust which occurred between August 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988.
    3. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim asserted an individual breach of trust that occurred after June 30, 1988.
    4. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but the claim was not a valid HRS Chapter 674 claim.
    5. Individuals who filed a timely claim with the Panel but settled their claim.
    6. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2007 class notice.
    7. Individuals who opted out of the Lawsuit in response to the 2012 class notice.
    8. Individuals who opt out of the Settlement Class and this Settlement by sending a valid and timely Opt-Out Letter to the Claims Administrator.
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  5. What does the Settlement provide?

    The State of Hawai'i has agreed to create a $328 million Settlement Fund for the Class Members. If the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Members who have valid claims will be eligible to receive a payment paid out of the Settlement Fund after payment is made for special master and claims administration costs, attorneys’ fees, and a Class Representative Incentive Award. The amount of the payment will be based on an established Court-approved distribution plan.

    The payment amount cannot be determined at this time, but each Settlement Class Member will be notified at a later date of the following: (1) whether their claim is valid; and, if so, (2) the estimated amount to be paid to that Class Member under the Settlement.

    If you have a valid claim, you will receive notice of the amount of your settlement payment prior to the Final Approval Hearing which will be held on July 21, 2023 (or other date set by the Court).

    The Claims Administrator will issue a check to each Class Member who has a valid claim following the final approval of the Settlement. All checks issued to Settlement Class Members will expire and become void 120 days after they are issued.

    Additionally, the attorneys who brought this lawsuit will ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees between eight percent (8%) and twelve percent (12%) of the Settlement Fund for the substantial time, expense, and effort spent investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the Settlement, over more than 22 years. The Class Representatives also will apply to the Court for a payment of up to $10,000.00 for their time, effort, and service in this matter. Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on the Settlement Website their request for attorneys’ fees and costs and an Incentive Award to the Class Representatives at a date set by the Court, on or after January 16, 2023.

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  6. What are my options?

    Class Members have several options in the Settlement. Please review the below for details about each of them.

    A. Accept the Settlement

    If you are a Class Member whose claim is validated, you do not have to take any action to receive payment. However, please update your mailing address, telephone number and email address by clicking here. For more information, please click here.

    If you are a relative of a deceased Class Member, please designate someone to represent your family. Please provide your name, mailing address, telephone number(s) and email addressby filling out the Information Request Form here. For more information, please click here.


    B. Exclude Yourself.

    You may exclude yourself from participating in the Settlement. If you do so, you will not receive any compensation from the Settlement Fund. You will retain any claims you may have against the State of Hawai'i and the Released Parties (as that term is defined in the Settlement Agreement) and are free to pursue whatever legal rights you may have at your own risk and your own expense.

    To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must mail a signed letter to the Claims Administrator at P.O. Box 135035, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96801, postmarked by April 3, 2023. The exclusion letter must state that you exclude yourself from this Settlement and must include the name and case number of this litigation (Kalima et al. v State of Hawai'i et al., Civil No. 99—4771-12 LWC), as well as your full name, address, telephone number, a statement that you wish to be excluded, and your signature. So-called “mass” or “class” exclusion requests are not permitted.

    If you wish to exclude the claims of a deceased class member, you must obtain probate court approval appointing you as the personal representative of the estate.

    If you intend to file a separate lawsuit, limitations periods may bar your claim if it is not timely filed. Any separate lawsuit should be filed before July 21, 2023 to ensure it falls within the potential statutory limitations period. Please consult with a lawyer about filing your claim.


    C. Object to the Settlement

    If you wish to object to the Settlement, you must file your objection in writing with the First Circuit Court, 9th Division, State of Hawai'i. The objection must be received by the Court no later than July 6, 2023. You must also send a copy of your objection to the attorneys for all Parties to the lawsuit, including Class Counsel, and the attorneys representing the Defendant at their addresses found below, postmarked no later than July 6, 2023.

    Any objection to the proposed Settlement must include:

    1. The objector’s full name, address, email address, and current telephone number;
    2. The case name and number of the litigation (Kalima et al. v State of Hawai'i et al., Civil No. 99—4771-12 LWC);
    3. All grounds for the objection, with factual and legal support for the stated objection, including any supporting materials;
    4. The identification of any other objections they have filed, or have had filed on their behalf, in any other class action cases in the last four years; and
    5. The objector’s signature.

    If you hire an attorney in connection with making an objection, that attorney must also file with the Court a notice of appearance by the objection deadline of July 6, 2023. If you hire your own attorney, you will be solely responsible for payment of any fees and costs the attorney incurs on your behalf. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you cannot file an objection.

    Court Class Counsel Defense Counsel
    First Circuit Court
    777 Punchbowl Street
    Honolulu, HI 96813-5093
    Carl M. Varady
    Pauahi Tower, Suite 1730
    1003 Bishop Street
    Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813

    Thomas R. Grande
    41-859 Kalaniana'ole Highway, #271
    Waimānalo, Hawai'i 96795
    Holly T. Shikada
    Attorney General, State of Hawai’i
    425 Queen Steet
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    You may appear at the Final Approval Hearing, which is proposed to be held on July 21, 2023, (or other date set by the Court), in person or through counsel to show cause as to why the proposed Settlement should not be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate. Attendance at the hearing is not necessary; however, persons wishing to be heard in opposition to the Final Approval of the Settlement, the request for attorneys’ fees and expenses, and/or the request for an Incentive Award to the Class Representative are required to indicate in their written objection their intention to appear at the hearing on their own behalf or through counsel and to identify the names of any witnesses they intend to call to testify at the Final Approval Hearing, as well as any exhibits they intend to introduce at the Final Approval Hearing.

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  7. What rights am I giving up in this Settlement?

    Unless you exclude yourself from this Settlement, you will be considered a member of the Settlement Class, which means you give up your right to file or continue a lawsuit against the State of Hawai'i and the other Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement), in exchange for payment of your claims. Giving up your legal claims is called a release and is what you are giving the State of Hawai‘i in exchange for payment to the Class. The precise terms of the release are in the Settlement Agreement. Unless you formally exclude yourself from this Settlement, you will release your claims whether or not you are eligible to receive payment. If you have any questions, you can talk for free to the attorneys identified in FAQ 11 who have been appointed by the Court to represent the Settlement Class. You can also talk to any other lawyer of your choosing at your own expense.

    Accepting the settlement does not affect your position on the waiting list(s) in any way. You do not give up your place(s).

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  8. When will I be paid?

    The Court will be asked to give final approval to the Settlement on July 21, 2023. If the Court finally approves the Settlement, Class Members will be paid as soon as possible after the court order becomes final, approximately 30 days after the Settlement has been finally approved, unless there is an appeal.

    How will deceased Class Members get paid?

    Payment to deceased Class Members will be made to their estates. This process—called probate—will take several months or more after the final approval.

    Under Hawai'i law, money awarded to a deceased person will pass to family members if provided for in either a will or trust or to certain family members if there is no will or trust.

    Please designate a family member who will represent the family in connection with this lawsuit. The representative will serve as the point of communication during the deceased person’s claim processing. Being appointed as a representative does not entitle the appointed person to receive any settlement proceeds that are awarded to the deceased person’s estate.

    Please provide the Claims Administrator with information about the deceased class member, including whether they had a will or trust and the names of their spouse and children. You may provide that information by filling out the Information Request Form here and sending it to the Claims Administrator.

    Ultimately the Probate Court will have to approve the distribution of any settlement payment to the deceased Class Members’ heirs. We will be providing more information in the future about the steps that must be taken to open probate and distribute the settlement payment.

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  9. When will the Court rule on the Settlement?

    The Court has already given preliminary approval to the Settlement. A final hearing on the Settlement, called a "Final Approval Hearing," will be held to determine the fairness of the Settlement. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will also consider whether to make final the certification of the Class for settlement purposes, hear any proper objections and arguments to the Settlement, as well as any requests for an award of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and a Class Representative Incentive Award that may be sought by Class Counsel. The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing on July 21, 2023, (or other date set by the Court).

    The hearing is subject to being changed by the Court, including taking place remotely via videoconference, so please visit this website for updates.

    If the Court gives the Settlement final approval, the Settlement’s terms will take effect and the lawsuit will be dismissed on the merits with prejudice. Both sides have agreed to the Settlement to achieve a more timely and certain resolution to the lawsuit in a way that avoids years more litigation and provides specific and valuable benefits to the members of the Settlement Class and avoids risk.

    If the Court does not approve the Settlement, or if it approves the Settlement and the approval is reversed on appeal, or if the Settlement does not become final for some other reason, you will not be paid and Class Members will receive no benefits from the Settlement. Plaintiffs, Defendants, and all of the Class Members will be in the same position as they were prior to the execution of the Settlement, and the Settlement will have no legal effect. If that occurs, the case will go back to litigation and your claim will be resolved through the litigation process instead of settlement.

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  10. Why will the Settlement take so long?

    Class Counsel is working to conclude the Settlement as soon as possible. Because the case is a Class Action, all of the Class Members’ claims must be evaluated and payments calculated individually for valid claims. There are currently 2,721 Class Members.

    A "Claims Administrator" has been retained to locate and contact Class Members, validate their claims, and calculate payments for valid claims. Once the Class Members are located and contacted, their claims are validated, and payments are calculated, notices must be sent to all Class Members regarding their claim and proposed payment.

    After the Notice is sent out, the Court must review the proposed settlement payment for all Class Members to make sure it is fair. The Court must also rule on any objections by any Class Members. The work necessary to reach every Class Member who can be found, so that they have the opportunity to receive a settlement payment, and completing the validation and calculation steps will take time. Each step must be reviewed and approved by the Court. By complying with these Court-approved procedures, we have a much better chance of having the Court grant final approval to the Settlement. Class Counsel will also protect the Settlement process from accusation that it was not fair. While all of these steps take time, they are being taken to assure that the Settlement will be approved without significant objection, and you will receive your settlement payment at the soonest possible date.

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  11. Who represents the class?

    The Court has approved the following attorneys to represent the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” If you want to be represented by your own lawyer instead, you may hire one at your own expense.

    Carl M. Varady
    Law Office of Carl M. Varady Pauahi Tower, Suite 1730
    1003 Bishop Street
    Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813
    Thomas R. Grande
    Grande Law Offices
    41-859 Kalaniana'ole Highway, #271
    Waimānalo, Hawai'i 96795
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Second Notice FAQ's

  1. How will the Settlement payment be decided?

    If you have an eligible claim in this Settlement, you were sent a letter on January 31, 2023 that provided start and end dates for your claim.

    Those start and end dates will determine the amount of your settlement payment based upon the period of time you were denied a homestead. You will have until April 3, 2023, to accept or correct these dates.

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  2. What is the start date for my claim?

    The start date for claims is the date you applied or tried to apply for a homestead.

    If you are a successor to a homestead application, your start date is the date you succeeded to the homestead application.

    If the person whom you succeeded is also a class member, that person will receive payment from the date they applied until you succeeded. Your start date would run from the date you succeeded.

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  3. What is the end date for my claim?

    The end date for claims will be the earliest of 1) date of an award of a lease to land you could occupy; 2) date of a class member’s death: or 3) date of settlement, April 14, 2022.

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  4. I received a notice with start and end dates. My start date and/or end date is wrong. What should I do?

    Please submit a Correction Form which is contained in your notice and is also available here for download. You will have until April 3, 2023, to accept or correct these dates.

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  5. How will my claim amount be calculated?

    Payment for waiting list claims will be calculated based on a formula approved by the Hawai'i Supreme Court.

    Class members will receive payment based upon the "Fair Market Rental Value" of the type of homestead lot they applied for the time period they did not have a homestead.

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  6. What is "Fair Market Rental Value"?

    "Fair Market Rental Value" is the cost of renting a residential, agricultural, or pastoral lot with infrastructure during the time you were not awarded a homestead.

    This formula was approved by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. The values for each year are based on average rental costs of land. They are not the actual rental amounts paid by any Class Member.

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  7. Do I have to provide evidence of my rent or mortgage payments?

    No, you do not have to provide evidence of your rent or mortgage payments. All eligible class members, except those with construction claims, will receive an award for damages based on the same formula. This means class members don’t have to show individual proof of what they spent on land rent in order to receive a claim payment.

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  8. The Claims Panel denied my claim. Am I still a part of this lawsuit and do I get a settlement payment?

    The Claims Panel decisions dismissing or denying claims did not bar your claim in this lawsuit.

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  9. I received an award amount from the Claims Panel. Do I get that amount from this Settlement?

    No, the Claims Panel only made recommendations on claims; they did not make awards. The Panel’s recommendations on awards were based on a different analysis and will not be used in this case.

    The Panel required class members to prove individual out of pocket expense for housing. The Supreme Court rejected that method for calculating claims payments. Class Members will typically receive payment based on the Fair Market Rental Value formula adopted by the Supreme Court. Construction claims will be measured individually by a Construction Expert who will make recommendations based on reasonable estimated repair costs.

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  10. I have a construction claim. How will my claim be calculated?

    Construction claims will be based on the reasonable estimated repair cost of the damaged house and will be decided by a Construction Expert appointed by the Court.

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  11. I am the successor to my parent’s homestead, and we have construction problems. Do I have a claim?

    Successors who have construction claims and succeeded to a parent’s homestead between August 21, 1959, and June 30, 1988, have valid claims in this Settlement. Successors who succeeded after June 30, 1988 do not have valid claims in this Settlement. If the damage occurred between August 21, 1959 and June 30, 1988, claims for the estate of the person you succeeded in will be considered.

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  12. I applied for residential and agricultural or residential and pastoral homesteads. Do I have one claim or two?

    If you submitted applications for 2 or 3 types of homesteads, you have two claims, a residential and an agricultural claim or a residential and a pastoral claim.

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  13. I submitted a claim for a deceased parent. Will my deceased parent’s estate receive a settlement payment?

    Claims made on behalf of parents or other relatives may be a part of this Settlement if they are valid under the Settlement Agreement and statute. Payment will be made to the estate of the eligible deceased Class Member.

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  14. My parent submitted a claim but is deceased. What should I do?

    If your deceased parent submitted a claim, you may fill out an Information Request Form online here, or download a copy of the form here, so that we have your contact and other information. If your parent had a will or trust, contact the attorney who prepared the will or trust.

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  15. My parent died without a trust or a will. We cannot afford an attorney. What should we do?

    If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can call the Hawai'i State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 1-808-537-9140 and request a referral to lawyers who have experience in probate matters.

    Class Counsel will ask the Court to adopt a Probate Plan to assist relatives of deceased class members in obtaining the settlement payment if they are entitled to such payments. Class Counsel are working with the Court to find ways to address probate expenses for relatives of deceased Class Members and cover some of those expenses from the settlement proceeds. More information will be provided in the future. Families of deceased Class Members should discuss specific questions about how any payments will be distributed to them by contacting probate attorneys.

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  16. My parent submitted a claim but is deceased. Who will get the payment?

    If your deceased parent’s claim is deemed eligible for an award, award payment will be made to your deceased parent’s estate. The probate court must then determine how to distribute the payment to your parents’ heirs. That probate determination of heirs will be a separate proceeding and not part of this case. Class Members were sent more information about payment to decease claimants in the January 31, 2023 notice and future notices will contain more information on this subject. The estates may also have to pay fees and costs for probate services.

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  17. Are the settlement payments taxable?

    Class Counsel has requested an opinion from a tax attorney about whether the payments are taxable, generally. You will be informed of and receive a copy of that opinion in the notice that will be mailed out in June 2023. However, every Class Member’s tax situation is unique and you should consult with your own tax preparer or other person who can advise you about whether the payment to you will be taxable based on your unique situation.

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  18. When will I find out what my award amount will be?

    After the starting and ending dates are confirmed for all Class Members who have valid claims, notices will be sent in June 2023 to eligible Class Members that will provide their estimated award amount if the Court approves the Settlement.

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  19. How much are the attorneys’ fees?

    The attorneys will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. They have agreed to limit their fees according to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The percentage being requested will be described in the third notice which will be mailed in June, 2023. The attorneys also have agreed to waive their case costs.

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Additional Information

  1. Where can I get additional information?

    This website is only a summary of the proposed Settlement of this lawsuit. More details are in the Settlement Agreement which, along with other documents, can be obtained here. If you have any questions, you can also call the Claims Administrator at 1-808-650-5551 or toll-free at 1-833-639-1308, or contact Class Counsel listed in FAQ 11. In addition to the documents available on this website, all pleadings and documents filed in court may be reviewed or copied in the Office of the Clerk. Please do not call the Judge or the Clerk of the Court about this case. They will not be able to give you advice on your options.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT DIRECTLY FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE SETTLEMENT. THE COURT IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION OR ADVICE.

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  2. When and where are Talk Stories with Attorneys being held?

    Talk Stories with Attorneys are being held via Zoom at these times:

    February 7, 2023, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    March 7, 2023, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    April 4, 2023, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    You may join a Talk Story by:

    • Clicking here or
    • Calling the following number and enter the Zoom meeting ID when prompted if you prefer to participate by phone.
      Phone: +1 669 444 9171
      Meeting ID: 835 6682 6336
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