– A class action lawsuit was filed against Live Well Financial, a now-defunct reverse mortgage lender, by a group of former employees.
– The lawsuit alleged termination without cause and notice, seeking 60 days of wages and benefits.
– The lawsuit took four years to resolve and resulted in a $1.1 million settlement for the class.
– The settlement capped the payment at $13,650 per employee and included all counsel fees and expenses.
– The settlement received final approval from a judge overseeing the bankruptcy estate of Live Well Financial.
– The company’s downfall was due to a government-alleged bond fraud scheme, which led to indictments for former executives.
– Restitution is still being disputed in court between the government and the former CEO of Live Well Financial.
A cohort of former employees at now-defunct reverse mortgage lender Live Well Financial has been granted final settlement approval in a class action lawsuit brought against the company’s estate in May 2019.
Monica Williams, a former loan account manager in Live Well’s Richmond, Va. headquarters, initially filed the suit days after Live Well had halted funding for new loans and subsequently ceased operations entirely.
“After reviewing the terms of the settlement agreement, the court has determined that the legal and factual bases [outlined] in the motion establish just cause for the relief granted herein,” the order reads based on court filings reviewed by RMD.
The class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware seeking 60 days of wages and benefits, alleging termination without cause and notice as required by law. Live Well initially announced its intent to challenge the suit a month after its filing.
Williams brought the suit on behalf of herself and other former Live Well employees who were terminated “without cause, as part of, or as the result of, mass layoffs or plant closings ordered by [Live Well] on or about May 3, 2019,” the initial court complaint said.
After dragging on for the better part of four years while an adjacent criminal case against former executive leaders was playing out in the U.S. Southern District Court of New York, the class in the Delaware suit received pending approval for a $1.1 million settlement last November.
At that time, attorneys for Williams and the class at large said the figure “provides for payment more than sixty-six (66) percent of the maximum priority [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN)] damages and eliminates any further accrual of litigation expenses in prosecuting the action against [Live Well], including trial and possible appeals.”
In a 92-minute court hearing held on Jan. 18, presiding Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein gave final approval for the settlement to Williams’ attorneys and David Carickhoff, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee overseeing the estate of Live Well Financial.
Alongside the preliminary approval, court filings indicated that the settlement would cap the payment at $13,650 per employee. This included all counsel fees and expenses, making the class consist of roughly 81 people. A class of 125 people was initially estimated when the suit was filed in 2019.
RMD reached out to attorneys for Williams but did not hear back before this article was published.
This is the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of Live Well Financial. The government-alleged bond fraud scheme that brought the company down led to three indictments for former company executives, with both the company’s former CFO and former portfolio manager avoiding prison time after consideration of their cooperation with authorities.
A dispute over restitution continues to play out in court between the government and counsel for the lender’s former CEO, who remains free on bond pending an appeal of his 44-month prison sentence last January.
Property Chomp’s Take:
In recent news, a class action lawsuit against Live Well Financial, a now-defunct reverse mortgage lender, has been granted final settlement approval. The lawsuit was filed by former employees who were terminated without cause or notice when the company ceased operations in May 2019. The lawsuit sought 60 days of wages and benefits, as required by law.
Monica Williams, a former loan account manager at Live Well’s headquarters, initially filed the suit. After four years of legal proceedings, the class in the lawsuit received pending approval for a $1.1 million settlement last November. The settlement provides payment for more than 66% of the maximum priority damages and eliminates further litigation expenses.
The settlement was given final approval by Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in a court hearing held in January. The payment will be capped at $13,650 per employee, and the class consists of approximately 81 people. This is a significant outcome for the former employees who have been waiting for resolution in this case.
The Live Well Financial saga has been ongoing, with the company facing allegations of bond fraud that led to the downfall of the company. Several former executives have been indicted, with some avoiding prison time due to their cooperation with authorities. A dispute over restitution is still being played out in court between the government and the former CEO, who was sentenced to 44 months in prison last January.
In conclusion, the settlement approval in the class action lawsuit against Live Well Financial is a significant development for the former employees who were affected by the company’s abrupt closure. This case highlights the importance of fair treatment and compensation for employees, even in bankruptcy situations. The use of