Court to Notify Countrywide Customers About a Class Action Settlement Involving the Theft of Personal and Financial Data

A press release from the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky:

A notification program began today in the United States, including Puerto Rico and recognized territories of the U.S., as ordered by the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (the “Court”), to alert people who provided their personal information or made mortgage payments to Countrywide about a proposed settlement reached with Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Full Spectrum Lending Division, and Bank of America Corporation (together called “Countrywide” or the “Defendants”) in a class action lawsuit about stolen personal and financial information.

The lawsuit claims that a senior financial advisor formerly employed by Countrywide took confidential information from millions of consumer records and sold it to third parties. The lawsuit further alleges that Countrywide did not adequately protect confidential personal and financial information of its clients. Countrywide denies that it did anything wrong, and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated.

The Class includes everyone in the United States who: (1) received a letter from Countrywide anytime from August 2, 2008, to and including November 2, 2008, notifying them that their personal information was involved in an alleged theft committed by a Countrywide employee; or (2) who obtained a mortgage from Countrywide or whose mortgage was serviced by Countrywide prior to July 1, 2008. Countrywide, for this purpose, does not include Bank of America.

Notices informing Class Members about their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear in newspapers in the United States and its recognized territories, leading up to a hearing on July 19, 2010, when the Court will consider whether to grant final approval to the settlement.

The Court has appointed Ben Barnow, Barnow and Associates, P.C., of Chicago, Illinois, and Burton H. Finkelstein, Finkelstein Thompson LLP, of Washington, D.C., as Co-Lead Settlement Class Counsel to represent the Class.

Those affected by this settlement can submit a claim for benefits, if eligible, or they can ask to be excluded from, or object to, the settlement and its terms. The deadline for exclusions and objections is June 24, 2010. The earliest deadline to claim any of the benefits is September 7, 2010.

A toll-free number, 1-866-940-3612, has been established in the case (called In Re: Countrywide Financial Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:08-MD-01998-TBR, MDL 1998), along with a website, www.CWdataclaims.com, where notices, claim forms, and the settlement agreement may be obtained. Those affected may also write to Countrywide Data Settlement, PO Box 2730, Portland, OR 97208.

The Countrywide Data Settlement web site says:

A settlement has been reached with Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Full Spectrum Lending Division, and Bank of America Corporation (together called “Countrywide” or the “Defendants”) about the theft of personal and financial information from their customer databases.

The settlement offers credit monitoring and cash reimbursements of out of pocket expenses and identity theft losses to eligible people whose personal and financial information was stolen.

Those included in the class action, together called a “Class,” have legal rights and options, such as excluding themselves from the settlement, objecting to it, or asking to speak at the hearing.

The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the settlement. If it does, and after any appeals are resolved, benefits will be distributed to those who submit qualifying claim forms. Please be patient.

Note that last week, a separate class action lawsuit against Countrywide stemming from the same incident was filed in court.

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