USAA Florida Auto Sales Tax Settlement

Bastian et al. v USAA et al.
USDC-Middle District of FL, Jacksonville Division Case No: 3:13-cv-1454-J-32MCR

Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a list of frequently asked questions about this settlement. To view the answer to a question, please click on the question from the list below. The answers to these questions will be updated periodically to reflect the current status of the settlement.

  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    This settlement includes United Services Automobile Association, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company and USAA General Indemnity Company.

    The lawsuit claims that USAA or persons acting on its behalf improperly failed to include the appropriate amount of sales tax when making some Actual Cash Value Payments, in adjusting claims for Total Losses under Florida Automobile Insurance Policies, during the period from October 17, 2008 through October 15, 2016.

    USAA maintains that it complied with the terms of the insurance policies and applicable law. USAA has denied all allegations that it acted wrongfully or unlawfully.

  2. Why is this a class action?

    In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Chantal Bastian, William Laker, Oliver Sutton, Ryann Love and Terry Smith) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

  3. Why is there a settlement?

    The Court did not reach a judgment in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the risk and cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel think that the settlement is in the best interests of the Class and that the settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable.

  4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

    The Class includes everyone who is, or was, insured under a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy issued by USAA that suffered one or more Total Losses to their vehicles during the period from October 17, 2008 through October 15, 2016 that was determined to be covered by USAA; or received from USAA an Actual Cash Value Payment(s).

    You are not included in the settlement if you: A) filed a lawsuit against USAA relating to payment or handling of the Total Loss claim that would otherwise be the subject of your claim in this settlement; B)you asserted any claims relating to your Total Loss claim that would otherwise be the subject of your claim in this settlement, for which USAA received an executed release; or (C) you are a present or former officer or director of USAA, the Neutral Evaluator, Class Counsel, a Judge of the Court, or Defendants’ counsel of record.

  5. I am still not sure if I am included?

    USAA’s general practice with respect to paying claims for Total Losses of vehicles in Florida during the applicable time period was to pay sales tax on the claim only if the USAA member (policyholder) purchased a replacement vehicle and paid sales tax on the replacement vehicle. USAA would pay the lesser of the sales tax on the insured (damaged) vehicle as compared to the sales tax paid on the replacement vehicle. If you purchased a replacement vehicle that was equal to or greater than the value of your insured (damaged) vehicle, and notified USAA of that purchase and submitted information concerning the amount of tax paid, USAA may have paid you the full amount of sales tax, and you may not be entitled to any payment in this settlement. Otherwise, if you had a claim for a Total Loss of your vehicle and you did not replace your vehicle or you did not tell USAA you replaced your vehicle, or you replaced your vehicle with a vehicle that was less expensive than the Actual Cash Value of your damaged vehicle, you may be entitled to payment for sales tax, in whole or in part, in this settlement. If you are unsure or do not remember whether sales tax was paid on your claim, you may submit a Claim Form and USAA will review its records to determine what, if any, amounts you are entitled to under this settlement.

    This series of questions may also help you determine if you are a Class Member. Please answer all of the questions in order.

    Question Yes or Not Sure No
    Do you or did you have a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy from United Services Automobile Association, USAA Casualty Insurance Company or USAA General Indemnity Company? Continue to next question. You are not a Class Member.
    Did you have a Total Loss of a vehicle that was covered under a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy issued by one of the USAA companies listed above, and occurred during the period from October 17, 2008 through October 15, 2016? Continue to next question. You are not a Class Member.
    Did you receive an Actual Cash Value Payment from USAA for your claim? Continue to next question. You are not a Class Member.
    Question Yes No or Not Sure
    Did you file a lawsuit against USAA relating to payment or handling of the Total Loss claim that would be the subject of your claim in this settlement? You are not a Class Member. Continue to next question.
    Did you provide an executed release to USAA for your claim that would be the subject of your claim in this settlement? You are not a Class Member. You could be a Class Member.

    If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help. You can call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-276-3799; send an e-mail to info@USAAFloridaAutoSalesTax Settlement.com; Or you can fill out and submit the Electronic Claim Form to see if you qualify. Questions about the settlement should be directed to the Settlement Administrator. You should NOT contact USAA to ask questions about the settlement or about the payments made on your claim.

    There will be no penalty if you submit a Claim Form or Electronic Claim Form in good faith and it is later determined that you are not eligible to be included.

  6. What does the Settlement Provide?

    The settlement will pay to compensate eligible Class Members for Defendants’ alleged improper failure, in making some Actual Cash Value Payments on Total Loss vehicles, to include the full amount of sales tax that would be paid if purchasing a vehicle comparable to the damaged vehicle, plus 8% of that amount . The total cash benefit available to Settlement Class Members exceeds $34 million. Defendants also have agreed to additional relief from which you may benefit. The Settlement benefits are described in further detail in the Settlement Agreement.

  7. How do I qualify for a payment?

    If you submit a Claim Form or Electronic Claim Form, USAA will review its records to determine whether you qualify for a payment. You may qualify for a payment if (i) you suffered a Total Loss to your vehicle during the period from October 17, 2008 through October 15, 2016 that resulted in an Actual Cash Value Payment by USAA under a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy; and (ii) you did not receive, as part of your payment(s) from USAA, an amount equal to the amount of sales tax that you would have paid if you had purchased a vehicle comparable to your damaged vehicle.

  8. How much will payments be?

    Eligible Class Members will receive a payment calculated by: (1) determining the Full ACV Sales Tax for the vehicle that was a Total Loss; subtracting (2) any amount of sales tax that was included in any prior payment made by USAA on the claim; and then adding (3) an additional amount of eight percent (8%) of the amount calculated by subtracting the amount in part (2) from the amount in subpart (1). For example, if the Full ACV Sales Tax was $600.00 and a prior payment included $200.00 for sales tax, the Eligible Class Member will receive a payment of $432.00, calculated as follows:

    Full ACV Sales Tax = $600

    Prior sales tax payment = $200

    $600 - $200 = $400

    $400 x 8% = $32

    Amount paid to Eligible Class Member = $400 + $32 = $432

    Not every person submitting a completed Claim Form or Electronic Claim Form will receive a payment. If USAA already paid the Full ACV Sales Tax on your claim, you will not receive any payment as a result of this settlement.

    Plaintiffs’ Counsel has calculated that approximately 70% of claimants did not receive the full sales tax amount and for those claimants has estimated that the average amount that may be claimed in this settlement is more than $450. Plaintiffs’ Counsel has further calculated that approximately 30% of claimants may have already received the full sales tax amount from USAA and may not be eligible to recover any payment in this settlement.

    “Full ACV Sales Tax” means the amount of sales tax that would be paid upon purchase, in the state and county where you had your principal residence at the time of the Total Loss, of a comparable vehicle, i.e., a vehicle of the same make, model, model year, body type, and options with substantially similar mileage and physical condition as the vehicle which suffered the Total Loss. Where the Actual Cash Value Payment made by USAA was based upon a market valuation report prepared by CCC Information Services, Inc., the amount of sales tax shown on that report will be the Full ACV Sales Tax for purposes of this settlement, unless the amount of sales tax shown on that report is clearly erroneous.

  9. How can I get a payment?

    To be eligible to receive a payment, you must mail in a valid and timely Claim Form or submit an Electronic Claim Form.

    1. To Submit Your Claim by Mail:

      You must mail the Claim Form postmarked no later than November 23, 2017 to the following address:

      USAA Sales Tax Settlement
      c/o Dahl Administration
      PO Box 3614
      Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

      Do not send a copy of the Claim Form to the Court, the Judge, or the Defendants.

      You may Request a Claim Form, call 1-866-276-3799, or send an e-mail to info@USAAFloridaAutoSalesTaxSettlement.com and ask for a paper Claim Form.

      You should read the instructions on the Claim Form carefully and fill out the entire Claim Form. You also must sign your Claim Form under penalty of perjury.

      You must mail the Claim Form postmarked no later than November 23, 2017 to the following address:

      USAA Sales Tax Settlement
      c/o Dahl Administration
      PO Box 3614
      Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

      Do not send a copy of the Claim Form to the Court, the Judge, or the Defendants.

    2. To Submit Your Claim Electronically:

      To make a claim on this website, you must click the “Submit an Electronic Claim Form” button at the Home page of this website. You then will be asked to enter your CLAIMANT ID and your last name or the last name of the USAA member if you are not the USAA member. Your CLAMANT ID is at the top of the printed Claim Form enclosed in your mailing. Your CLAIMANT ID also has been e-mailed to you at your last known e-mail address. If you cannot find your CLAIMANT ID, you can call 1-866-276-3799 for assistance.

      After you enter your CLAIMANT ID and your last name (or the last name of the USAA member, if you are not the USAA member), you will be able to sign and submit an Electronic Claim Form electronically from the website. You should read the instructions on the Electronic Claim Form carefully and verify or fill out the entire Claim Form. You also must sign your Electronic Claim Form with your electronic signature under penalty of perjury.

      If you have any questions relating to the claim form, you may call 1-866-276-3799 to have any questions answered.

      The deadline to submit the Electronic Claim Form is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 23, 2017. After that point in time, the Electronic Claim Form will be deactivated.

      Please note that, with a few exceptions, only a Class Member can submit a Claim Form. The only exceptions are that Claim Forms may be submitted on behalf of an individual Class Member by his or her “Legally Authorized Representative.” A Legally Authorized Representative means an administrator, personal representative, or executor/executrix of a deceased Class Member’s estate; a guardian, conservator, or next friend of an incapacitated Class Member; or any other legally appointed person or entity responsible for handling the business affairs of a Class Member. If you have a personal lawyer, your lawyer may assist you with your Claim Form, but you must sign the Claim Form, unless the lawyer is your Legally Authorized Representative.

    Claim Forms or Electronic Claim Forms submitted as part of a group effort, or by or on behalf of a class of persons, are invalid and ineffective.

  10. When will I get my payment?

    The payments will be mailed to eligible Class Members who send in valid claim forms on time, after the Court grants “final approval” of the settlement, any appeals are resolved, and the claims administration process described in Paragraphs 76-77 of the Settlement Agreement is completed.

    The Court will hold a hearing on October 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement (see FAQ 18), there may be appeals. If there is an appeal, resolving it can take time. Please be patient. Please check this website for updates and other important information about the settlement, or call 1-866-276-3799 toll-free or send an e-mail to info@USAAFloridaAutoSalesTax Settlement.com.

  11. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the class?

    Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you submit a Claim Form or Electronic Claim Form, or simply stay in the Class, you will agree to “release and discharge” USAA for any claims relating to any insufficiency in the amount of any payment for sales tax on your insured (damaged) vehicle, as described in Paragraphs 32-34, 39 and 63-64 of the Settlement Agreement.

    The Settlement Agreement specifically describes the Released Claims in necessarily accurate legal terminology. Talk to Class Counsel or your own lawyer if you have questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.

  12. How do I get out of the settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator by first-class mail with a clear statement that you want to be excluded from the Bastian v. United Services Automobile Association settlement.

    Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. If you are sending the request to be excluded as the “Legally Authorized Representative” of a Class Member (see Question 16 above for the definition of “Legally Authorized Representative”), you must include any information or documents that confirm your appointment or status as a Legally Authorized Representative. Requests for exclusion must be submitted individually by a Class Member or his or her Legally Authorized Representative, and not on behalf of a group or class of persons. If you have a personal lawyer, your lawyer may assist you with your exclusion request, but you must sign the exclusion request, unless the lawyer is also your Legally Authorized Representative.

    You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than August 30, 2017, to:

    USAA Sales Tax Settlement
    c/o Dahl Administration
    PO Box 3614
    Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

    You can’t exclude yourself on the phone, by e-mail, or on the website. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any money from the settlement, and you cannot object to the settlement or intervene in the case. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants.

  13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has appointed the following law firms to represent you and other Class Members:

    Christopher B. Hall
    Hall & Lampros, LLP
    1230 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 950
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    Tel. 404-876-8100
    Tracy L. Markham
    Avolio & Hanlon, P.C.
    2800 N 5th Street, Suite 302
    St. Augustine, FL 32084
    Tel. 904-794-7005

    These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for services performed by Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

    Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve a payment of up to $5,100,000.00 for attorneys’ fees and expenses. Class Counsel will also ask for a payment of up to $10,000 each to Chantal Bastian, William Laker, and Oliver Sutton, and up to $8,000 each to Ryann Love and Terry Smith, for their services as Class Representatives. The Court may award less than these amounts. Defendants have agreed not to oppose the request for fees and expenses up to these amounts. Defendants will also pay all costs to administer the settlement and the fees and costs of the Neutral Evaluator. None of these amounts will reduce the amounts distributed to eligible Class Members.

  14. How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the settlement?

    If you’re a Class Member (or a Class Member’s Legally Authorized Representative), and you haven’t excluded yourself from the settlement, you can object to the proposed settlement if you don’t like it, or try to intervene in the case. However, you cannot object if you have excluded yourself. In other words, you must stay in the case as a Class Member in order to object or to intervene in the case.

    You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the settlement. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must (a) mail your objection to the Settlement Administrator and (b) file it with the Court. To be timely, your objection must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked by August 30, 2017, and must be filed with the Court by no later than August 30, 2017, at the following addresses:

    Address of Settlement Administrator:
    USAA Sales Tax Settlement
    c/o Dahl Administration, LLC
    P.O Box 3614
    Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614
    Address of Court:
    Clerk
    U.S. District Court
    300 N. Hogan St.
    Jacksonville, FL 32202

    Note: You may mail your objection to the Court, but it must be received by the Court and filed by August 30, 2017. See Paragraphs 101-107 of the Settlement Agreement for more information on how to object to or intervene in the settlement.

    Your objection must include all of the following: (a) contain a heading which includes the name of the case and case number (Bastian v. United Services Automobile Association, Case No. 3:13-cv-001454-J-32MCR); (b) provide your full name, address, telephone number, and signature; (c) indicate the specific reasons why you object to the settlement; (d) contain the name, address, bar number, and telephone number of your counsel, if you’re represented by an attorney; if you are represented by an attorney, he/she or it must comply with all applicable rules of the Court; and (e) state whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing, either in person or through counsel.

    If you do intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing to object to the settlement, you must also provide with your written objection a detailed statement of the specific legal and factual basis for each objection, a list of any witnesses you may seek to call at the hearing with each witness’ address and summary of the witness’ testimony, a detailed description of all evidence you may seek to offer at the hearing with copies of the exhibits attached, and documentary proof of your membership in the Class. You or your lawyer may appear at the Fairness Hearing if you have filed a written objection as provided above. (See the section on the “Court’s Fairness Hearing” below). If you have a lawyer file an objection for you, he or she must follow all rules of Court and you must list the attorney’s name, address, bar number, and telephone number in the written objection filed with the Court.

    Unless you submit a proper and timely written objection, according to the above requirements, you may not be allowed to object or appear at the Fairness Hearing, in the discretion of the Court. Furthermore, if you want to intervene as a party to the case, you must file a motion to intervene with the Court by August 30, 2017. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to intervene in the case.

    Please note that any objections or motions must be submitted by an individual Class Member or his or her attorney, not as a member of a group, class, or subclass. The only exception is that an objection may be submitted on behalf of an individual Class Member by his or her Legally Authorized Representative (see Question 16 above for a definition of that term).

  15. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object, because the case no longer affects you. If you object, and the Court approves the settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result.

  16. How do I get a Claim Form Sent to me?

    You can request a Claim Form by calling Dahl Administration at 1-866-276-3799, or by clicking the “Request a Claim Form” button on the Home page of this website. If you are a Class Member, Dahl Administration should be able to provide to you a pre-filled Claim Form with the information about your total loss already printed on the Claim Form. To get such a pre-filled Claim Form, Class Members need to provide a name, address, or USAA Member Number.

    If you have your Claimant ID from the Mailed Notice or Emailed Notice that was sent to all Class Members, you click the Submit an Electronic Claim Form Online button on the Home page of this website and make your claim online.

    If you do not have your Claimant ID and wish to submit an Electronic Claim Form, please go to question No. 17 “How do I find my Claimant ID if I did not receive a Notice or Lost it?”.

  17. How do I find my Claimant ID if I did not receive a Notice or Lost it?

    You can request your Claimant ID by calling Dahl Administration at 1-866-276-3799, or by clicking the “Request a Claim Form”. If Dahl Administration has you identified as a Class Member, Dahl Administration will mail and email to you a Claim Form with information pre-filled relating to your total loss. If Dahl Administration does not have you identified as a Class Member, then you will receive a Claim Form without any information pre-filled. In such case, you must at minimum provide your name, USAA Member Number, and signature to make a claim.

  18. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing to decide whether to finally approve the proposed settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to do either one.

    The Fairness Hearing will be on October 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Timothy J. Corrigan, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 300 N. Hogan Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202.

    At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed settlement and all of its terms are adequate, fair, and reasonable. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court may listen to people who have asked for permission to speak at the hearing and complied with the other requirements for objections explained in Question 25 above, and may also listen to others who wish to speak, in the Court’s discretion. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for fees and expenses for representing the Class and whether and how much to award the Class Representatives for representing the Class.

    At or after the hearing, the Court will decide whether to finally approve the proposed settlement. There may be appeals after that. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

    The Court may change deadlines without further notice to the Class. To keep up on any changes in the deadlines, please contact the Settlement Administrator or review this website.

  19. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions asked by the Court. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. I f you intend to have a lawyer appear on your behalf at the final approval hearing, your lawyer must enter a written notice of appearance of counsel with the Clerk of the Court no later than August 30, 2017.

    If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time and complied with the other requirements for a proper objection, the Court will consider it.

  20. May I speak at the hearing?

    If you submitted a proper written objection to the settlement, you or your lawyer acting on your behalf may speak at the Hearing. To do so, you must send a Notice of Intention to Appear. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked no later than August 30, 2017, and it must be filed with the Clerk of the Court by that same date. See FAQ 14 for addresses. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

  21. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will get no money from this settlement. And unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

  22. How do I get more information about the settlement?

    You may obtain additional information by

    • Calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-276-3799 to ask questions and receive copies of documents, or e-mailing the Settlement Administrator at info@USAAFloridaAutoSalesTaxSettlement.com.
    • Writing to the Settlement Administrator at the following address:

      USAA Sales Tax Settlement
      c/o Dahl Administration
      PO Box 3614
      Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

    • Reviewing legal documents that have been filed with the Clerk of Court in this lawsuit at the Court offices stated in FAQ 14 during regular office hours, and also available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system at www.pacer.gov.
    • Contacting Class Counsel listed in FAQ 13.

    PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE JUDGE, THE COURT CLERK, OR USAA TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS LAWSUIT. THE COURT WILL NOT RESPOND TO LETTERS OR TELEPHONE CALLS. IF YOU WISH TO ADDRESS THE COURT, YOU MUST FILE AN APPROPRIATE PLEADING OR MOTION WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COURT’S USUAL PROCEDURES.