Villa v. Chula Vista Settlement Website
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Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below answers to frequently asked questions
  1. What do I do if I filed a claim and my address has changed?
  2. Why did I get a notice?
  3. What is this lawsuit about?
  4. Who is entitled to payment?
  5. What do I get in the settlement?
  6. What are you giving up to receive payment?
  7. How do I exclude myself?
  8. How do I object to the settlement?
  9. When is the court's fairness hearing?
  10. Do lawyers represent me?
  11. How do I get more information?

  1. What do I do if I filed a claim and my address has changed?

    If your claim is approved, your payment will be sent to the address you provide. If you change addresses, you must contact the Claims Administrator to report any change of your address after you receive this Notice. Failure to report a change of address may result in you not receiving the monetary benefits of the settlement. You may email your change of address to info@ChulaVistaCellPhoneTaxSettlement.com or write to Villa v. City of Chula Vista, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, P.O. Box 8060, San Rafael, CA 94912-8060. You may also call 1-888-270-0735 for assistance.

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  2. Why did I get a notice?

    The Notice was mailed to all addresses in the City of Chula Vista. If you had a cellular (wireless/mobile) phone at any time from April 2010 until April 2013, with a billing address in Chula Vista, you likely paid TUT and are entitled to a monetary refund under the terms of the class settlement. Remember, you must fill out and submit a Claim Form to receive your refund.

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  3. What is this lawsuit about?

    This case was filed by two Chula Vista residents who believe the City of Chula Vista unlawfully collected a local tax on their cellular phone bill. The Court certified the lawsuit as a class action, so all people with a cell phone and a billing address in Chula Vista are represented in the lawsuit. The City denied any wrongdoing and still denies any liability in this case.

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  4. Who is entitled to payment?

    Anyone who paid for cellular (wireless) phone service from April 2010, with a billing address in Chula Vista, is entitled to payment.

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  5. What do I get in the settlement?

    You MUST submit a Claim Form to receive payment. A self-addressed, pre-paid envelope has been included so that you can return the Claim Form at no cost to you. You may also file online beginning on May 2, 2013. If claims are submitted from class members that total more than is available in the settlement fund, you may receive less than you are otherwise entitled to through each option.

    OPTION 1: You get $35

    Step 1) Have the person who pays the phone bill fill out the top of the Claim Form.

    Step 2) Check the box next to Option 1 to indicate your choice.

    Step 3) Sign and date at the bottom.

    Step 4) Place the Claim Form in the envelope provided, and place in the mail. DONE.

    OR, you can fill out the Claim Form and submit your claim online beginning on May 2, 2013.


    OPTION 2: You get $50 for each full year that you have paid the TUT since April 2010, up to a maximum of three years (Maximum Payment: $150)

    Step 1) Have the person who pays the phone bill fill out the top of the Claim Form.

    Step 2) Check the box next to Option 2 to indicate your choice.

    Step 3) Sign and date at the bottom.

    Step 4) Get a monthly cellular phone bill from as many of the following three one year periods as you can: (1) April 2010-April 2011, (2) April 2011-April 2012, and (3) April 2012-April 2013. If you don't have copies of your bills, you may be able to go online to download them. You can print these out and submit them with your Claim Form by mail, OR you can upload the files electronically by filing your online claim here, following the instructions provided. If you still cannot find these phone bills or prefer to submit different documents, you also may provide a copy of your cellular phone plan (the document you received when you signed up for the phone service) or a copy of a cancelled check or electronic payment showing you paid the bill.

    To receive $150, you must submit one bill, plan, or check from April 2010-April 2011, one bill/plan/check from April 2011-April 2012, and one bill/plan/check from April 2012-April 2013, for a total of three phone documents (any combination of bills, plans, or proof of payment). If you do not have and cannot find documents from all three periods, you will receive $50 for each period where you do have a document.

    OPTION 3: Estimated FULL REFUND of all TUT that you paid

    Step 1) Have the person who pays the phone bill fill out the top of the Claim Form.

    Step 2) Check the box next to Option 3 to indicate your choice.

    Step 3) Sign and date at the bottom.

    Step 4) Get two monthly cellular phone bills from as many of the following three one year periods as you can: (1) April 2010-April 2011, (2) April 2011-April 2012, and (3) April 2012-April 2013. You will need two bills from a period to receive payment for that whole period. To receive full payment for the 3 years, you must provide 6 bills from appropriate months. You can mail your bills in the provided envelope, or submit them electronically by filing your claim online here.

    Step 5) If you cannot find these phone bills or prefer to submit different documents, you also may provide a copy of your cellular phone plan (the document you received when you signed up for the phone service) or a copy of a cancelled check or electronic payment showing you paid the bill. But, you must provide at least one phone bill so that a TUT value can be used for your calculations.

    The amount of money you will receive will be calculated based on the amount of tax shown in your bill. For example, if you provide one cell phone bill from May 2012 which shows total TUT payment of $6.75 and one bill from August 2012 which shows total TUT payment of $6.85, you will receive an estimated full refund of the average TUT paid ($6.80) multiplied by the months in the yearly period (12), for a total refund for the April 2012-April 2013 time period of $6.80 x 12 = $81.60. Then, you can continue to submit bills from the other two time periods, which will be calculated in the same way. You do not have to make these calculations. Simply send in your documents and the court-approved Claims Administrator will calculate your refund amount.

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  6. What are you giving up to receive payment?

    In exchange for payment of the refund and the other benefits of the settlement (lowering the tax rate and re-wording the taxing ordinance), you are agreeing not to sue the City for any claims that relate to this lawsuit or could have been brought in this lawsuit. Signing the Claim Form will prevent you from being able to sue the City of Chula Vista for any disputes you may have over the TUT up through April 12, 2013.

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  7. How do I exclude myself?

    If you don't want a payment from the settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue the City of Chula Vista on your own over the TUT, then you must exclude yourself from the settlement. To do that, you must send a letter in the mail by September 10, 2013 saying that you want to be excluded from the settlement to: Villa, et al. v. City of Chula Vista, c/o Gilardi & Co., P.O. Box 6002, Larkspur, CA 94977-6002
    If you ask to be excluded, you cannot object to the settlement and cannot receive payment. You will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.

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  8. How do I object to the settlement?

    You can tell the Court that you don't agree with the settlement or some part of it. You may only object if you are a Class Member and you do not exclude yourself from the settlement. You can object yourself or hire a lawyer at your own expense. The Court will consider your objection. Your objection must be in writing, and should include your name, address, telephone number, signature, and the reasons you object. If your objection is mailed in time, you do not have to attend the fairness hearing described below. You must mail your written objection before September 10, 2013 to: Villa, et al. v. City of Chula Vista, c/o Gilardi & Co., P.O. Box 6002, Larkspur, CA 94977-6002

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  9. When is the court's fairness hearing?

    The Court will hold a hearing to determine whether the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable. This hearing is on November 22, 2013 in Department 75 of the Hall of Justice, San Diego Superior Court, 330 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 at 9:00 a.m. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. You do not have to come to the hearing, but you are welcome to come at your own expense.

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  10. Do lawyers represent me?

    As a class member, you are represented by two law firms:

    Gayle M. Blatt
    Casey Gerry Schenk
    Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP
    110 Laurel Street
    San Diego, CA 92101
    (619) 238-1811

    and

    James T. Capretz
    Capretz & Associates
    5000 Birch Street, Suite 2500
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
    (800) 351-8588

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  11. How do I get more information?

    More details are in the Settlement Agreement. All court records in this litigation, including complete copies of the Settlement Agreement, may be examined during regular court hours at the Civil Business Office at the San Diego Superior Court, 330 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101.

    If you have questions about the settlement or this Notice, please contact the Claims Administrator at 1-888-270-0735 or visit the Case Documents page to read the Settlement Agreement and other related documents. Do not contact the Court directly with any questions about the settlement.

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