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This page provides the answers to Settlement Class members’ most frequently asked questions.

The information provided is in summary form and is not intended as a complete explanation of your rights. For full and complete information, you are directed to review carefully the Settlement Notices.

About The Settlement

Why Did I Receive a Settlement Notice?

The Court caused this Settlement Notice to be sent to you because the University of Southern California’s records indicate that you may be a Class Member. If you fall within the definition of the Class, you have a right to know about the Settlement and about all of the options available to you before the Court decides whether to give its final approval to the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and after any objections and appeals are resolved, the Net Settlement Amount will be allocated among Class Members according to a Court-approved Plan of Allocation.

What is this lawsuit about?

In the Class Action, Class Representatives claim that, during the Class Period, the Defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §1001, et seq., with respect to their management, operation, and administration of the Plans, including causing the Plans to pay excessive recordkeeping fees and to include imprudent investments as Plan investment options. Defendants have denied and continue to deny the claims and contentions of the Class Representatives, that they are liable at all to the Class, and that the Class or the Plans have suffered any harm or damage for which Defendants could or should be held responsible.

Why Is There A Settlement?

The Court has not reached a final decision as to the Class Representatives’ claims. Instead, after more than six years of litigation, the Class Representatives and Defendants have agreed to the Settlement. The Settlement is the product of extensive negotiations between Class Counsel and Defendants’ counsel and multiple sessions with a private mediator. The Settlement only was reached shortly before the trial in this case. The parties to the Settlement have taken into account the uncertainty and risks of litigation and have concluded that it is desirable to settle on the terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel, who are experienced in this kind of matter, believe that the Settlement is best for all Class Members.

What Does The Settlement Provide?

The Net Settlement Amount will be allocated to Class Members according to a Plan of Allocation to be approved by the Court. Class Members fall into two categories: Current Participants and Former Participants. Allocations to Current Participants who are entitled to a distribution under the Plan of Allocation will be made into their existing Plan accounts. Former Participants who are entitled to a distribution will receive their distribution as a check mailed to their last known address or, if they elect, as a rollover to a qualified retirement account.

All Class Members and anyone claiming through them will fully release the Plans as well as Defendants and their “Released Parties” from “Released Claims.” The Released Parties include: Defendants as well as all Defendants’ current and former directors, officers, members, administrators, agents, insurers, beneficiaries, trustees, employee benefit plans, representatives, servants, employees, attorneys, parents, subsidiaries, divisions, branches, units, shareholders, investors, successors, predecessors, and assigns, and all other individual entities acting on Defendants’ behalf.

The Released Claims include any and all claims, demands, rights, damages, arbitrations, liabilities, obligations, suits, debts, liens, and causes of action pursuant to any theory of recovery (including, but not limited to, those based in contract or tort, common law or equity, federal state, or local law, statute, ordinance, or regulation) of every nature and description whatsoever, ascertained or unascertained, suspected or unsuspected, existing or claimed to exist, including unknown claims as of the date of this Notice that are based on the facts alleged in the Operative Complaint in the Class Action or that would be barred by the principles of res judicata or collateral estoppel had the claims been asserted in the Operative Complaint.

The actual governing release is found within the Settlement Agreement at Article 8. Generally, the release means that Class Members will not have the right to sue the Defendants, the Plans, or the Released Parties for conduct during the Class Period arising out of or relating to the allegations in the Class Action.

This is only a summary of the Settlement. The entire Settlement Agreement is here.

How Much Will My Distribution Be?

The amount, if any, that will be allocated to you will be based upon records maintained by the Plans’ recordkeepers (TIAA-CREF, Prudential Insurance Company of America, Fidelity Investments, or the Vanguard Group), or, if on December 31, 2022, you either no longer had a Plan account or had a Plan account with no money in it, based upon your Former Participant Claim Form. Calculations regarding the individual distributions will be performed by the Settlement Administrator, whose determinations will be final and binding, pursuant to the Court-approved Plan of Allocation.

To be eligible for a distribution from the Net Settlement Amount, you must either be a (1) “Current Participant” as defined on page 1 or (2) an “Authorized Former Participant” (a “Former Participant” as defined on page 1 who submitted a completed, satisfactory Former Participant Claim Form that is postmarked or submitted electronically by the deadline), or (3) a beneficiary, alternate payee, or attorney-in-fact of persons identified in (1) or (2).

Payments to Authorized Former Participants and Current Participants shall be calculated by the Settlement Administrator as follows:

  1. The end-of-quarter balances for the Class Period of each Current Participant and each Authorized Former Participant are identified for each quarter;
  2. All end-of-quarter balances identified in step 1 are summed together for each Current Participant and each Authorized Former Participant;
  3. An average end-of-quarter balance for each Current Participant and each Authorized Former Participant is calculated for the Class Period (with a zero included as the balance for any quarter during which the individual did not participate in the Plan or took a full distribution during the quarter);
  4. For each Current Participant and each Authorized Former Participant, the average end-of quarter balance of step 3 is divided by the average end-of-quarter balance for the Class Period of all Current and Authorized Former Participants;
  5. Each Current Participant and each Authorized Former Participant will receive the fraction of the total Net Settlement Amount which is calculated in step 4.

No amount shall be distributed to a Class Member that is ten dollars ($10.00) or less, because such an amount is de minimis and would cost more in processing than its value. The method of making these calculations is described in the Plan of Allocation, found in Article 6 of the Settlement Agreement and available here.

There are thousands of Class Members.

Note that if you are an alternate payee pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, your portion of the Settlement will be distributed pursuant to the terms of that order.

When Will I Receive My Distribution?

The timing of the distribution of the Net Settlement Amount is conditioned on several matters, including the Court’s final approval of the Settlement and that approval becoming final and no longer subject to any appeals in any court. An appeal of the final approval may take several years. If the Settlement is approved by the Court, and there are no appeals, the Settlement distribution will likely not occur before late 2023 to early 2024.

There Will Be No Payments Under The Settlement If The Settlement Agreement Is Terminated.

Can I Get Out Of The Settlement?

No. The Class was certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1). Therefore, as a Class Member, you are bound by any judgments or orders that are entered in the Class Action for all claims that were asserted in the Class Action or are otherwise included as Released Claims under the Settlement.

Do I Have A Lawyer In The Case?

The Court has appointed the law firm Schlichter Bogard & Denton, in St. Louis, Missouri, as Class Counsel in the Class Action. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

How Will The Lawyers Be Paid?

Class Counsel will file a petition for the award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs. This petition will be considered at the Fairness Hearing. Class Counsel has agreed to limit their application for an award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs to not more than $4,350,000.00 in fees and $1,500,000 in costs. The Court will determine what fees and costs will be approved.

How Do I Tell The Court If I Don’t Like The Settlement?

If you are a Class Member, you can tell the Court that you do not agree with the Settlement or some part of it. To object, you must send the Court a written statement that you object to the Settlement in Munro v. University of Southern California, Case No. 16-6191. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, signature, and a full explanation of why you object to the Settlement. Your written objection must be received by the Court no later than July 31, 2023. The Court’s address is Clerk of the Court, United States District Court, Central District of California, 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Your written objection also must be mailed to the lawyers listed below, no later than July 31, 2023. Please note that the Court’s Order Granting Preliminary Approval of this Settlement provides that any party to the litigation may, but is not required to, serve discovery requests, including requests for documents and notice of deposition not to exceed two hours in length, on any objector. Any responses to discovery, or any depositions, must be completed within ten days of the request being served on the objector.

Class Counsel
Jerome J. Schlichter
Michael A. Wolff
Joel D. Rohlf
Victoria C. St. Jean
Attn: University of Southern California 403(b) Settlement
100 S. Fourth St., Suite 1200
St. Louis, MO 63102
Tel: (314) 621-6115
Fax: (314) 621-5934


Defendants’ Counsel
Christopher Chorba
Heather Richardson
Attn: University of Southern California 403(b) Settlement
333 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tel: (213) 229-7000
Fax: (213) 229-7520

When And Where Will The Court Decide Whether To Approve The Settlement?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on August 14, 2023, at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Courtroom 6A, 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. After the Fairness Hearing, the Court will decide whether to give its final approval to the Settlement. The Court also will consider the petition for Class Counsel’s Attorneys’ Fees and Costs and any Class Representatives’ Compensation.

Do I Have To Attend The Fairness Hearing?

No, but you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it. If you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it when the Court considers whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the Fairness Hearing, but such attendance is not necessary.

May I Speak At The Fairness Hearing?

If you are a Class Member, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter or other paper called a “Notice of Intention to Appear at Fairness Hearing in Munro v. University of Southern California, Case No. 16-6191.” Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be mailed to the attorneys and filed with the Clerk of the Court, at the addresses listed above, no later than July 31, 2023.

What Happens If I Do Nothing At All?

If you are a “Current Participant”and do nothing,you will participate in the Settlement of the Class Action as described above in this Settlement Notice if the Settlement is approved.

If you are a “Former Participant” and you do nothing, you will be bound by the Settlement of the Class Action as described above in this Settlement Notice if the Settlement is finally approved, BUT YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY MONEY UNLESS YOU SUBMIT A FORMER PARTICIPANT CLAIM FORM.