Zack B. Starritt, et al., v. Dell Inc., et al. Civil Action No.: 03 CVS 5099
You or your business may have purchased and paid monies as tax on one or more Optional Maintenance Agreements purchased from Dell sometime between April 15, 1999 and December 31, 2008. The monies you or your business paid as tax on service contract purchases were remitted to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (“DOR”). You have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a lawsuit involving the maintenance agreements, and about your options, before the CPR Tribunal decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Settlement is given final approval, you or your business may be eligible, upon the submission of a valid Claim Form, to obtain a payment for some or all monies you or your business paid as tax on your purchases of the Optional Maintenance Agreement according to the terms of the Settlement.
The Detailed Notice explains the class action, the proposed Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how the benefits will be distributed.Back To Top
In a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Wake County, North Carolina (the “Superior Court”), styled Starritt, et al. v. Dell Computer Corp., et al., Civil Action No. 03 CVS 5099, the plaintiff, Zack B. Starritt (“Starritt”), for himself and all similarly situated persons who purchased and paid tax on Optional Maintenance Agreements sold by Dell, sued Dell Inc. (f/k/a Dell Computer Corporation), Dell Marketing Limited Partnership (“DMLP”), Dell Catalog Sales Limited Partnership (“DCSLP”), BancTec, Inc. (“BancTec”), and QualxServ LLC (“QualxServ”)(collectively, “Respondents”). The Superior Court found that Starritt’s claims were subject to binding arbitration and ordered Starritt to present his claims against Respondents to the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, formerly known as the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Starritt’s claims in arbitration are pending before a tribunal of three arbitrators (the “CPR Tribunal”).
Starritt alleged that Respondents engaged in unfair or deceptive business practices, in violation of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, N.C.G.S. §§ 75-1.1, et seq. (“UDTPA”) and the North Carolina common law, in connection with the charge and collection of monies as North Carolina sales or use tax on purchases of Optional Maintenance Agreements, for which Starritt claimed no such tax was due. Respondents denied the allegations and claimed that they were adhering to North Carolina tax law. In response to Starritt’s lawsuit, Respondents also filed tax refund claims with DOR for the monies remitted to the State of North Carolina as sales or use tax on those Optional Maintenance Agreement purchases.
On April 30, 2007, after briefing and argument, the CPR Tribunal issued an order certifying a class of claimants in arbitration, and directing that notice of the class certification order be mailed to the last known address of the 47,604 persons and business entities identified from Dell’s business records as being members of the certified class. The CPR Tribunal later determined, after briefing and argument, that the Optional Maintenance Agreements sold by Dell were not subject to North Carolina sales or use tax. The CPR Tribunal has not, however, determined whether Respondents’ business practices violated the UDTPA or the common law.
“Optional Maintenance Agreement” is defined as any optional computer hardware maintenance agreement providing for repair and/or replacement services, including parts and/or labor. “Optional Maintenance Agreements” shall include contracts marketed as “CompleteCare” agreements and contracts sold by Dell Inc. or one of its affiliates as agent for BancTec, Inc., QualxServ, LLC, Wang Laboratories, Inc. or Getronics, Inc.Back To Top
In a class action, one or more people called a "Class Representative" sue on behalf of a Class of others who have similar claims. The CPR Tribunal presides over this class action and resolves the issues for everyone in the Settlement Class, except for those who choose to exclude themselves. On December 5, 2016, the CPR Tribunal entered an Order conditionally certifying the Settlement Class, giving preliminary approval to the Settlement, appointing Starritt as the Class Representative and appointing Starritt’s counsel as Class Counsel.Back To Top
The CPR Tribunal has not decided in favor of the Respondents or of Starritt. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement to avoid the distraction, costs, and risks of further litigation, and Starritt agreed to the Settlement in order to ensure that Settlement Class Members will receive compensation.Back To Top
IF YOU OR YOUR BUSINESS WAS THE NAMED ADDRESSEE OF A SHORT FORM NOTICE AND INDIVIDUAL SUMMARY, THEN DELL’S RECORDS REFLECT THAT YOU OR YOUR BUSINESS MADE ONE OR MORE OPTIONAL MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT PURCHASES THAT WOULD BE COVERED BY THE TERMS OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.
If you or your business did not receive a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary, you may still be a member of the Settlement Class entitled to file a Claim for compensation. The Settlement Class consists of all persons and business entities:
If you believe that you or your business may be a member of the Settlement Class, you may email the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com for further information.
Please Note: If you are a Settlement Class Member, you are subject to the Settlement unless you are excluded from the Settlement Class, or you specifically request to be excluded from the Settlement Class, in accordance with the requirements set forth in FAQ 16.Back To Top
If you are still not sure whether you or your business is included, you can ask for free help. You can contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com.Back To Top
The CPR Tribunal appointed William W. Plyler PLLC, member of Miller Monroe & Plyler PLLC in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Ellis & Rapacki LLP, in Boston, Massachusetts, as Class Counsel to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers.
You may, if you so desire, enter an appearance through your own lawyer in this case. If you want your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
No. The CPR Tribunal has appointed Class Counsel to represent the Settlement Class Members at no cost to the Settlement Class Members. The law firms that have been appointed Class Counsel by the CPR Tribunal are listed in the Detailed Notice. Of course, if you wish to consult with or retain your own attorney, you are free to do so at your own expense.Back To Top
As part of the proposed Settlement, Dell has agreed to pay to Class Counsel an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses in an amount to be approved by the CPR Tribunal not to exceed $1,850,000. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Dell will also pay an award of $3,500 to Starritt as compensation for his service as Class Representative. No less than sixty (60) days prior to the Final Hearing, Class Counsel will file a motion asking the CPR Tribunal to approve awards of no more than these amounts, and Respondents have agreed not to oppose such awards to Class Counsel and to the Class Representative. The award of attorneys’ fees and expenses would compensate Class Counsel for their efforts in investigating and prosecuting the lawsuit and arbitration since early 2003, including conducting extensive discovery, litigating numerous substantive motions in the trial court and in arbitration, and negotiating the Settlement. Any such awards must be approved by the CPR Tribunal. You will NOT have to pay any judgment, court costs, or attorneys’ fees and expenses for participating in the Settlement.Back To Top
As part of the proposed Settlement, Dell has agreed to the following:
Payables Database: Dell has agreed to compile from Dell’s records a database identifying all transactions wherein a Settlement Class Member paid monies as “tax” on one or more Optional Maintenance Agreements covered by the Settlement.
Notice to Purchasers: Dell has agreed to provide to Settlement Class Members notice of the proposed Settlement by a variety of means, including individual postal mailing, newspaper publication, and the establishment of this Settlement website.
Claims for Refund: Settlement Class Members who wish to obtain compensation under this Settlement must submit a Claim Form. Claim Forms may be filed online here. To be eligible for compensation, Claim Forms must be submitted on or before April 2, 2018. Consumers who believe that they are Settlement Class Members, but who have not received a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary, may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com to request one. Settlement Class Members who fail to submit a valid Claim Form on or before April 2, 2018, shall have waived their rights to payments under this Settlement.
Settlement Checks to Settlement Class Members Who Submit Valid Claims: Each Settlement Class Member who files one or more timely and valid Claim Forms shall be eligible for compensation in an amount or amounts representing the sum of the Settlement Class Member’s validated claims as calculated pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Dell shall be responsible for paying all settlement amounts for Dell Claims, plus interest. Some Settlement Class Members may have been assigned one or more customer numbers by Dell and, therefore, upon the submission of valid Dell Claim Forms, may receive more than one settlement check. Eligible Settlement Class Members will not receive payment until after the Tribunal gives final approval to the Settlement. If the Tribunal refuses to finally approve the Settlement, there will be no payment. The Tribunal will hold a Final Hearing on March 6, 2018, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Tribunal approves the Settlement, there may be appeals that could delay your payment, perhaps for more than a year. Please be patient.Back To Top
If you or your business received a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary in the mail, you have been identified in Dell’s records as a consumer who falls within the definition of the Settlement Class as conditionally certified by the CPR Tribunal. The Short Form Notice and Individual Summary identifies a Dell Claim number depending upon the date of your purchase as reflected in Dell’s records. If Dell’s records indicate that you or your business made more than one purchase and are eligible to file a Dell Claim, you may have received two separate notices. If you did not receive a copy of the Short Form Notice and Individual Summary, but believe that you may be a member of the Settlement Class, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com.Back To Top
To be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlement, you or your business must submit a Proof of Claim form. A Proof of Claim may be completed online here. Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Proof of Claim, sign it, and submit it online so that it is submitted no later than April 2, 2018.Back To Top
The Settlement provides that, for each individual or business identified by a Dell customer number, an Individual Settlement Amount will be calculated, which amount represents the sum of all tax payments on Optional Maintenance Agreements covered by the Settlement for that Dell customer number, as maintained in Dell’s records.Back To Top
The CPR Tribunal will hold a Final Hearing on March 6, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the CPR Tribunal approves the Settlement, and the Superior Court confirms that approval, there might be appeals. The time it takes to resolve an appeal varies. It also takes time for all the Proofs of Claim to be processed. Please be patient.Back To Top
UNLESS YOU EXCLUDE YOURSELF OR YOUR BUSINESS FROM THE SETTLEMENT CLASS IN WRITING, YOU OR YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE A SETTLEMENT CLASS MEMBER, WHETHER OR NOT YOU SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM. All Settlement Class Members who do not request exclusion will then be bound by any decision or award that is entered in this case. If the CPR Tribunal approves the Settlement and the Superior Court confirms that approval, then Settlement Class Members cannot be a part of any other arbitration or lawsuit against Respondents for any claims arising out of the payment of monies as North Carolina sales or use tax on purchases of Optional Maintenance Agreements. Upon approval of the Settlement, all of the CPR Tribunal’s orders and award will apply to Settlement Class Members.Back To Top
If you do not want to participate in this Settlement, and you want to keep the right to potentially sue the Respondents and the other Dell Released Parties, on your own about the claims being released by the Settlement, then you must take steps to remove yourself or your business from the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as “opting out.”
If you or your business doesn’t want a refund from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Respondents on your own about the tax collected on Optional Maintenance Agreements, then the CPR Tribunal may exclude you or your business from the Settlement Class upon your request. To exclude yourself or your business from the Settlement Class, you must mail a letter saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class. Include your name (and business name, if applicable), address and signature. You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than February 5, 2018, to this address:
Dell North Carolina Tax Settlement
c/o Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions, Inc.
P.O. Box 4079
Portland, OR 97208-4079
If you mail your valid exclusion request no later than February 5, 2018, the CPR Tribunal will exclude you from the Settlement Class.
If you mail a timely and valid Request for Exclusion, you should not submit a Claim, you will not receive any settlement payment, and you may not object to the Settlement. If you mail a timely and valid Request for Exclusion, you will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
You cannot sumbit a Request for Exclusion via email or on this website.Back To Top
If you do not exclude yourself or your business from the Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlement if you do not like any part of it, or offer any comments you may have about the Settlement. You may give reasons why you think the CPR Tribunal should or should not approve the Settlement. You may also object to Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees and costs (which will be filed with the CPR Tribunal and made available on this settlement website, on or before February 5, 2018). To object or comment, you must write a letter to the CPR Tribunal, with copies to the respective Parties’ lawyers, saying that you object to, or wish to comment on, the Settlement in Starritt, et al. v. Dell Computer Corp., et al. Include your name (and business name, if applicable), address, telephone number, signature, and the reason(s) for your objection or comment.
Mail your letter to these three different places postmarked no later than February 5, 2018:
|CPR Tribunal||Class Counsel||Respondents’ Counsel|
Rene Stemple Ellis, Esq.
Beason & Ellis Conflict Resolution, LLC
2741 University Drive
P.O. Box 52270
Durham, NC 27717-2270
|William W. Plyler, Esq.
William W. Plyler, PLLC
Miller Monroe & Plyler PLLC
3321 Trillium Whorl Court
Raleigh, NC 27607
|John A. Shope, Esq.
Foley Hoag LLP
155 Seaport Blvd.
Boston, MA 02210
Objecting is simply telling the CPR Tribunal that you or your business does not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class.
Excluding yourself or your business is telling the CPR Tribunal that you do not want to be paid and do not want to release any claims you think you may have against Respondents and the Dell Related Parties. If you exclude yourself or your business, you cannot object to the Settlement because it does not affect you or your business.Back To Top
The CPR Tribunal will hold a Final Hearing to consider whether to approve the Settlement. You may attend and ask to speak, but you do not have to do so. The Final Hearing will be conducted on March 6, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., at 3201 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27612. At this hearing, the CPR Tribunal will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and whether it is in the best interests of Settlement Class Members. The CPR Tribunal may also consider how much to award in fees and expenses to Class Counsel and to the Class Representative. After the hearing, the CPR Tribunal will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.
You need not come to the Final Hearing, as Class Counsel will answer any questions that the CPR Tribunal may have. If you have filed a timely written objection or comment, the CPR Tribunal will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.
The CPR Tribunal may listen to Settlement Class Members who ask to speak at the Final Hearing. To ask for permission to speak at the Final Hearing, you must send a letter giving your Notice of Intention to Appear in Starritt, et al. v. Dell Computer Corp., et al. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than February 5, 2018, and be mailed to the CPR Tribunal, Class Counsel and Respondents’ Counsel at the three addresses listed in the answer to FAQ 17.
The Final Hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer questions the CPR Tribunal may have. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to the Final Hearing to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the CPR Tribunal will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary. Settlement Class Members do not need to appear at the hearing or take any other action to indicate their approval.Back To Top
If you do nothing, you or your business will not receive any money from this Settlement. In addition, unless you exclude yourself or your company, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Respondents and the Dell Related Parties about the Released Claims in this case.Back To Top
There are several reasons for such circumstance, including:
In all of these situations, you are not a Settlement Class Member and are not entitled to file a Claim. It is also possible that the last known address for you or your business in Dell’s records is no longer your address.Back To Top
Please contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com and be prepared to provide as much information as you possess about your purchase (e.g., approximate date of purchase, items purchased, billing information used for the transaction, shipping information used for the transaction, invoice number). The Settlement Adminstrator staff will attempt to obtain a Claim Number for you.Back To Top
Some repeat customers who purchased Optional Maintenance Agreements from Dell on more than once occasion between April 15, 1999 through December 31, 2008, may have been assigned more than one Dell Claim Number and, therefore, will receive more than one Short Form Notice and Individual Summary. To ensure that you or your business receives full compensation under the proposed Settlement, you must file an electronic Claim form for each Short Form Notice and Individual Summary that has been sent to you. You will need each of your Dell Claim Numbers to file those Claims. You or your business may receive a separate payment for each electronic Claim form submitted or a combined payment. If you have lost the Short Form Notice and Individual Summary that was sent to you or your business, or if you did not receive one and need to obtain your Dell Claim Number(s), please contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com.Back To Top
When you file an electronic Claim form, you will have the opportunity to provide your current address. If your address changes after you have filed your Claim, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com. You will need to verify your old address along with providing your new address.Back To Top
You will need to send a letter with your Dell Claim Number(s), your previous name, your new name, your address and a copy of a court order, marriage certificate or divorce judgment that documents your name change to the Settlement Administrator at:
Dell North Carolina Tax Settlement
c/o Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions, Inc.
P.O. Box 4079
Portland, OR 97208-4079
This website and the Detailed Notice contains only a summary of the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which is available here. Alternatively, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at info@NCTaxSettlement.com.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE CPR TRIBUNAL OR DELL FOR INFORMATION.Back To Top