COURT GRANTS PRELIMINARY APPROVAL TO LADWP CLASS ACTION
CUSTOMER BILLING SETTLEMENT
In a hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Elihu Berle granted preliminary approval to the proposed settlement of class action litigation involving customer overcharges and complaints related to the implementation of LADWP’s new customer billing system in September 2013. The system was designed and implemented by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).
The settlement that was preliminarily approved by Judge Berle is the product of multiple mediation sessions conducted by the highly respected United States District Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian (Ret.) between the plaintiffs, represented by Landskroner Merriman, LLC and LADWP, represented by the Los Angeles City Attorney and outside counsel.
Under the terms of the settlement, every customer who was overcharged will receive a credit, or a refund if they are no longer an LADWP customer, for the full amount they were overcharged. An independent third-party expert appointed by the Court will review the amount of credit or refund for accuracy. Any customer who disagrees with the amount of the credit or refund can have their claim reviewed by an independent Special Master who will consider the merits of the claim and make a recommendation to the Court. If the customer disagrees with the Special Master’s recommendation, they can choose to have it reviewed directly by the judge overseeing the settlement. This process provides multiple layers of review to ensure every refund or credit is fair and accurate; making good on a promise by LADWP to refund every penny customers were overcharged.
The total amount of overcharges to be credited or refunded is currently estimated at $67.5 million. LADWP and the City continue to pursue legal action against PwC to recover costs associated with the failed implementation of the billing system, including overcharges and legal costs.
“We are very pleased with Judge Berle’s decision today because it moves us a step closer to reimbursing every affected customer every penny they were overcharged,” said David H. Wright, LADWP General Manager. “We remain committed to holding Pricewaterhouse Coopers accountable and are seeking full reimbursement of all of the overcharges and costs caused by the failed system they designed and delivered to LADWP.”
The settlement is still subject to final approval by the Court and a court-ordered schedule whereby every affected customer is notified by mail. A hearing to approve the notice and claim form will be held in mid-December. If all goes according to schedule, customers should begin receiving notification letters in the spring and refunds and credits next summer.
To learn about the status of the settlement and the steps LADWP will follow as set forth by the Court, customers and the public can visit www.LADWPBillingSettlement.com or call 844-899-6219.