Finerman, et al. v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., et al.
Cruise Fare Settlement
Case No. 3:14-cv-01154

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Expand/Collapse All
  • You have been identified as a potential Settlement Class Member who may have booked a cruise through International Cruise & Excursion Gallery, Inc. (“ICE”) and/or Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc. and its successor in interest, Marriott Resorts, Travel Company, Inc. (collectively “MORI”, and together with ICE, “Defendants”) between January 1, 2010 and February 23, 2018. The Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will distribute the benefits that the Settlement allows.

    This notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the case is known as Finerman, et al. v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-01154-TJC-MCR. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs, and the companies they sued are called the Defendants.

  • The Plaintiffs, Daniel Finerman and Donna Devino, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, brought claims by a complaint as a putative class action challenging certain fees they were charged to book cruises when using Exchange Points they obtained as members of the Exchange Program. The complaint alleges that Defendants failed to provide cruises in exchange for Class Members’ points and charged Class Members additional sums to cover the costs of cruises under the guise of port fees or cruise line pass through fees.

    Defendants deny any and all liability or wrongdoing with respect to the claims alleged in the lawsuit but desire to settle the case to avoid the risk, expense, and distraction of continued litigation.

  • In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case, Daniel Finerman and Donna Devino), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a Class or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will receive benefits if they submit a claim. The Class Representatives and the attorneys for the Class Representatives and the Class think the Settlement is best for everyone involved.

  • The Court has decided that, for settlement purposes, Class Members are defined as "all persons throughout the United States who from January 1, 2010 to February 23, 2018 were Program Members of the Exchange Program and who booked a cruise through Defendants."

  • Excluded from the Class is the judge presiding over this matter and any members of his judicial staff, the officers and directors of Defendants, and persons who timely and validly requested exclusion from the Settlement Class.

  • If you are still not sure if you are included in the Class, you may speak with a settlement specialist by calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-537-9618.

  • Each Settlement Class Member is entitled to seek remuneration in any of the forms identified below for up to five (5) cruise bookings made between January 1, 2010 and February 23, 2018, and is further entitled to seek remuneration in the form of a Gift Card for cruise bookings in excess of five (5) made during that time period. Defendants have agreed to pay remuneration for a portion of any fee denominated by a cruise line as non-commissionable fare, non-commissionable cruise fare, or similarly termed fee or fare (“NCF”), and often referred to by Defendants as port charges or cruise line pass through fees, paid on a cruise booking:

    1. Cash: 50% of the cash value of the NCF, also referred to by Defendants as port charges or cruise line pass through fees, that a Settlement Class Member paid, returned in cash;
    2. Exchange Program PlusPoints: 75% of the cash value of the NCF, also referred to by Defendants as port charges or cruise line pass through fees, a Settlement Class Member paid, returned in a converted value of cruise-only Exchange Program PlusPoints, calculated at a rate of 75% of NCF/$0.53 and rounded to the nearest ten (10) Exchange Point increment; or 
    3. Gift Card: 75% of the cash value of the NCF, also referred to by Defendants as port charges or cruise line pass through fees, a Settlement Class Member paid, returned in an ICE-branded gift card that can be redeemed on a website created by ICE.

    Each Settlement Class Member who elects to receive cruise-only Exchange Program PlusPoints must elect to use such Exchange Program PlusPoints no later than three (3) years from the Claim Deadline. The cruise-only Exchange Program PlusPoints must only be used to book cruises fulfilled by ICE, and shall expire three (3) years from June 20, 2018.

    As injunctive relief, Defendants also agree to adopt and implement the following changes to the Exchange Program, to be effective upon Preliminary Approval:

    a. Expanded Point Usage: Defendants will allow Program Members to use Exchange Points as complete payment for all amounts required to purchase a cruise through the Exchange Program, excluding government-imposed taxes and government-imposed fees.

    b. NCF Disclosures: For as long as the obligations between Defendants and cruise lines allow, Defendants will include the amount of any NCF within the amount disclosed as “cruise fare” on booking confirmations provided to Program Members. If a cruise line insists on a treatment for any amount denominated as a NCF, or a disclosure to consumer related to a NCF, that is inconsistent with what is described in the preceding sentence, Defendants will no longer be required to include the amount of any NCF within the amount disclosed as cruise fare on booking confirmations provided to Program Members, and Defendants will have fully satisfied their obligations under this settlement by complying with the requirements imposed by the cruise line.

    Plaintiffs’ Counsel applied to the Court for a fee award of $4,000,000, plus out-of-pocket expenses of $300,000 (“Fee Request”). You can read the Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s Fee Request here. Defendants reserve the right to object to Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees to the extent the request exceeds $3,000,000 in attorneys’ fees or seeks costs and expenses in excess of $300,000.

    Plaintiffs’ Counsel also asked the Court to approve, unopposed by Defendant, approval of service awards of $10,000 for each Class Representative, which are intended to compensate such individuals for their efforts in the litigation and commitment on behalf of the Settlement Class (“Service Awards”). 

    In exchange for the above remuneration, Plaintiffs and each Class Member who has not validly and timely requested exclusion from the Settlement shall be deemed to have fully, finally, and forever released any and all claims against Defendants relating to the nature of the lawsuit.

  • The Settlement Administrator is administering the Settlement, but the PlusPoints option for settlement remuneration will be provided by ICE with the assistance of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation as appropriate. The PlusPoints program is administered by the same entities that administer the Vacation Club program, and the relationship is further described below.

    If PlusPoints are insufficient to pay for a chosen cruise, Vacation Club points may be applied to any remaining balance. PlusPoints and Vacation Club points cannot be used to pay any government-imposed taxes and/or government-imposed fees that are assessed by the chosen cruise line.

    PlusPoints may be redeemed using the same procedures applicable to redeeming Vacation Club points, and PlusPoints can be used for all cruises available by ICE through the Marriott Vacation Club Program. The extent to which PlusPoints cover the entire cost of the cruise will vary depending on the cruise option selected.

  • No. The Settlement Administrator will provide information that describes the amount of PlusPoints allocated to Class Members who submit valid claims and who elect this form of remuneration on their Claim Form. After the Settlement is finalized, Class Members’ PlusPoints will be reflected in those Class Members’ Marriott Vacation Club accounts.

  • The deadline to submit a Claim Form was June 20, 2018 and has passed.

  • The Court held a Fairness Hearing on August 3, 2018, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. Since the Settlement was approved, settlement remuneration will be distributed to Class Members in a timely manner, provided there are no appeals to the Court’s decision. Please be patient.

  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants that pertains to the same legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. The Released Claims are detailed in the Settlement Agreement.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was May 21, 2018 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for the same claims that the Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must have excluded yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.

  • No. If you excluded yourself from the Settlement, you will no longer be entitled to remuneration. 

  • The Court has appointed the law firms of Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group and Rhine Law Firm, P.C. to represent you and other members of the Class. Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel or Plaintiffs’ Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Plaintiffs’ Counsel asked the Court to award them $4 million in fees and $300,000 in costs and expenses. You can read the Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s Fee Request here. There is no cost to any individual class member.

    The attorneys’ fees and expenses requested will be the only payment to Plaintiffs’ Counsel for their efforts in achieving this settlement and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis. To date, Plaintiffs’ Counsel have not been paid for their services in conducting this litigation on behalf of the Class Representatives and the Class, nor for their substantial expenses.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was May 21, 2018 and has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class or the lawsuit. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court held a Final Approval Hearing at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2018 in Courtroom 10D of the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse, 300 North Hogan Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s Fee Request. If there were objections, the Court considered them. After the hearing, the Court decided to approve the Settlement.

  • No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Judge may have had at the hearing. But you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you submitted an objection, you did not have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as you delivered a complete, written objection on time, the Court considered it. You were also allowed to pay your own lawyer to attend, but it was not necessary.

  • You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you were required to send a letter saying that it is your intention to appear in Finerman, et al. v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-01154-TJC-MCR. Your notice of intention to appear must have been submitted to the Court and Counsel by May 21, 2018. The deadline has passed.

  • The notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the full version of the Settlement Agreement and Release. You can download a copy of the Settlement Agreement or call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-537-9618 to request that a copy be mailed to you.

  • If you would like more information about the Settlement, you can call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-866-537-9618.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Cruise Fare Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91344
Seattle, WA 98111