Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC – Western Hub Electricity Settlement

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I get a Notice?
  2. What is this lawsuit about?
  3. Who is the Defendant?
  4. Why is this a class action?
  5. Why is there a proposed Settlement with the Defendant?
  6. How do I know if I am a Settlement Class Member and part of the Settlement?
  7. What should I do if I am still not sure if I am included?
  8. What does the Settlement provide?
  9. How do I get a payment?
  10. How much will my payment be?
  11. When will I receive a payment?
  12. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Settlement?
  13. How do I get out of the Settlement?
  14. If I exclude myself, can I receive money from the Settlement?
  15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  16. How will the lawyers be paid?
  17. How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement, or the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Fees, Expenses and Incentive Award?
  18. What is the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?
  19. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
  20. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?
  21. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?
  22. What happens if I do nothing at all?
  23. Are there more details about the Settlement?
  24. How do I get more information?
  1. Why did I get a Notice?

    You were sent a Notice because you may have held a physical or financial contract which settled against the ICE or Dow Jones published daily index prices for peak or off-peak electricity at either Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 or North Path 15 trading hubs between November 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 and may have been injured by Barclays’ alleged manipulation of such index prices during certain months in that period. The Court has directed that the Notice be sent to you because, as a possible member of the Settlement Class, you have the right to know about the Settlement in this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and its impact on your legal rights. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available here

    The judge supervising this case is U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case is called Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC, No. 1:15-cv-04878-VM-GWG.

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    Plaintiff claims that, during the period November 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008, Barclays engaged in anticompetitive conduct in violation of the federal antitrust laws and California state law. Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of Barclays’ alleged anticompetitive conduct, Plaintiff and other members of the Settlement Class (defined as any individual or entity that held any contract which settled against the ICE or Dow Jones daily index prices for peak or off-peak power at either Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 or North Path 15 trading hubs during the period November 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008, and was damaged by movements in such index prices allegedly caused by Barclays) (see Frequently Asked Question #6) either paid more under contracts for electricity or under financial electricity-related contracts at the Daily Index Prices than they otherwise would have paid in upward manipulation periods absent the alleged anticompetitive conduct, or received less under contracts for electricity or under financial electricity-related contracts at the Daily Index Prices than they otherwise would have received absent the alleged anticompetitive conduct in downward manipulation periods. Set forth below is a list of the specific upward and downward manipulation periods and related hub and electricity product for the Daily Index Prices affected by the manipulation:

    Electricity Trading Hub Manipulation Period Electricity Product
    UPWARD PRODUCT MANIPULATION PERIODS
    Mid-Columbia 3/1/2007 – 6/30/2007 Off-Peak
    Mid-Columbia 3/1/2007 – 4/30/2007 Peak
    Mid-Columbia 8/1/2008 – 8/31/2008 Peak
    North Path 15 4/1/2007 – 6/30/2007 Peak
    Palo Verde 11/1/2006 – 11/30/2006 Peak
    Palo Verde 1/1/2007 – 2/28/2007 Peak
    Palo Verde 4/1/2007 – 5/31/2007 Peak
    Palo Verde 7/1/2007 – 5/31/2008 Peak
    Palo Verde 12/1/2008 – 12/31/2008 Peak
    DOWNWARD PRODUCT MANIPULATION PERIODS
    Mid-Columbia 6/1/2008 – 6/30/2008 Off-Peak
    Mid-Columbia 6/1/2007 – 6/30/2007 Peak
    Mid-Columbia 5/1/2008 – 6/30/2008 Peak
    North Path 15 12/1/2006 – 12/31/2006 Off-Peak
    South Path 15 2/1/2007 – 3/31/2007 Peak
    South Path 15 5/1/2007 – 5/31/2007 Peak

    Barclays denies all of Plaintiff’s claims and has asserted a number of defenses to those claims.

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  3. Who is the Defendant?

    The Defendant is Barclays Bank PLC.

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  4. Why is this a class action?

    In a class action, one or more individuals or entities, called “class representatives,” sue on behalf of others who have similar claims. The class representative in this case is Merced, which has been an active participant in this case for three years. The class representative devoted significant time and effort to the case by assisting counsel in its investigation of the claims, collecting and searching its documents for production to the Defendant, responding to written interrogatories served by Defendant, and preparing and sitting for depositions. The class representative and the individuals or entities with similar claims (those who held physical or financial contracts which settled against Daily Index Prices for the specified products (Peak or Off-Peak power) at the specified trading hubs during the specified manipulation periods) are individually “class members,” together comprising a class. The advantage of a class action is that it permits one court to resolve the settlement-related issues for all class members, except those who exclude themselves from the Settlement.

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  5. Why is there a proposed Settlement with the Defendant?

    The Defendant has denied all liability and wrongdoing in this case and has asserted a number of defenses to the Plaintiff’s claims. The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement. That way, they avoid the cost and risk of further litigation including trial, and the Settlement Class Members affected are given the opportunity to be compensated. The Settlement was reached with the assistance of a nationally prominent mediator. The class representative and Settlement Class Counsel (described in Frequently Asked Question #15) believe the Settlement is the best result for all class members under the circumstances.

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  6. How do I know if I am a Settlement Class Member and part of the Settlement?

    Judge Marrero has decided that, for purposes of the Settlement, there is a Settlement Class consisting of: 

    Any individual or entity that held any physical or financial contract which settled against the ICE or Dow Jones published daily index prices for peak or off-peak electricity at either Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 or North Path 15 between November 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, and was damaged by movements in such index prices allegedly caused by Barclays. 

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  7. What should I do if I am still not sure if I am included?

    If you are still not sure if you are a Settlement Class Member, you can ask for free help.  See Frequently Asked Question #24.

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  8. What does the Settlement provide?

    Under the Settlement, the Defendant has agreed to pay $29,000,000 in cash (the “Settlement Fund”).

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  9. How do I get a payment?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you may be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlement Fund.  To qualify for a payment, you must send in a Claim Form, which is available herePlease read the instructions carefully.

    You must fill out the Claim Form and include all the information the form asks for.  Be sure to sign it, and mail it by first class mail in the envelope which was enclosed, along with your Notice, postmarked no later than October 18, 2018 to the address below. 

    You may also submit a Claim Form electronically no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 18, 2018 by clicking on the File Claim button located in the top right-hand corner of the home page or simply click here.

    Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC Claims Administrator
    c/o KCC Class Action Services

    P.O. Box 404000
    Louisville, KY 40233-4016
    1-866-673-9669

    If the Court approves the Settlement (see Frequently Asked Questions #19-21), payments from the Settlement Fund will be distributed at a later date to “Settlement Class Members” who submit valid and timely claims and who qualify for a payment pursuant to the Plan of Allocation.  In the interim, you should maintain all of your records of all physical and financial electricity-related contracts that settled on Daily Index Prices at the four trading hubs during the period between November 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008. 

    There are specialized companies that may offer to fill out and file your claim in return for a percentage of the value of your claim.  The Court has not authorized any of these companies to contact you.  Before you sign a contract with one of these companies, you should examine the claim-filing process set forth here, and decide whether using a specialized company is worth the cost.  You can always seek help, free of charge, from the Claims Administrator or Settlement Class Counsel.

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  10. How much will my payment be?

    Settlement Class Counsel has proposed a Plan of Allocation describing the division of the Settlement Fund among Settlement Class Members. For the Plan of Allocation, please click here

    Part of the Settlement Fund will be used to pay claims administration expenses approved by the Court. Settlement Class Counsel, with permission of the Court, will also deduct from the Settlement Fund attorneys’ fees and out-of pocket costs and expenses incurred during the litigation, as well as an incentive award for the class representative, whose participation and contribution to the case is described Frequently Asked Question #4

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  11. When will I receive a payment?

    The Settlement Fund will be distributed to Settlement Class Members who submit a timely and valid Claim Form and who are entitled to a payment in accordance with the Plan of Allocation after claims are processed by the Court-approved Claims Administrator and the Court has authorized distribution. This process is expected to take several months from the date the Court finally approves the Settlement.

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  12. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Settlement?

    Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you are staying in the Settlement Class, and that means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant about the legal issues in this case.

    Specifically, if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, the Settlement is approved by the Court and that approval becomes final, you (called the “Releasing Parties”) will be deemed to have released the Defendant and certain of its related entities and persons (called the “Released Parties”), as follows: Upon the Effective Date and in consideration of payment of the Settlement Amount into the Escrow Account, Releasing Parties shall be deemed to and do completely remise, release, acquit, and forever discharge Released Parties from any and all claims, including Unknown Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement), demands, actions, suits, injuries, and causes of action, parens patriae actions, cross-claims, counter-claims, charges, judgments, obligations, debts, setoffs, rights of recovery, liabilities, or damages of any nature, whenever or however incurred (whether actual, punitive, treble, compensatory, or otherwise), including claims for costs, fees, expenses, penalties, and attorneys’ fees, whether class or individual, regardless of whether those claims currently exist, are known, or have matured, that the Releasing Parties, or any of them, ever had, now has, or hereafter can, shall or may have, directly, representatively, derivatively, or in any other capacity against any of the Released Parties, whether in law or equity or otherwise, that was alleged or could have been alleged in the Action based on, arising out of or relating in any way to any conduct, act, or omission alleged in the Action, from the beginning of time until the Execution Date, including, without limitation, any such claim under any federal or state antitrust, anti-manipulation, unfair competition, unfair practices, fraud, racketeering, price discrimination, unjust enrichment, unitary pricing or trade practice law (the “Released Claims”). Please see Section D of the Settlement Agreement for additional information regarding the Release.

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  13. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement. The letter must include the following information:

    • A statement indicating that you want to be excluded from the Settlement.
    • The case name: Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC, No. 1:15-cv-04878-VM-GWG (S.D.N.Y.).
    • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
    • All trade names or business names and all addresses you or your business have used, as well as those of any subsidiaries or affiliates who are requesting to be excluded from the class.
    • Documents sufficient to describe your holdings in contracts which settled against the ICE or Dow Jones published daily index prices for peak or off-peak electricity at either Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 or North Path 15 during the time periods identified in the table in Frequently Asked Question #2.

    Your letter must be postmarked by July 5, 2018 and sent to:

    Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC Claims Administrator
    c/o KCC Class Action Services
    P.O. Box 404000
    Louisville, KY 40233-4016
    1-866-673-9669

    If you ask to be excluded from the Settlement, you will not get any payment from the Settlement Fund and you cannot object to the Settlement.

    Unless you exclude yourself, if the Settlement is approved by the Court, you give up any right to sue the Defendant and related entities for the claims the Settlement resolves as described in Frequently Asked Question #12. If you have a pending lawsuit against the Defendant involving the Released Claims, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in order to continue your own lawsuit against the Defendant.

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  14. If I exclude myself, can I receive money from the Settlement?

    No. If you decide to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will not be able to receive money from the proposed Settlement.

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  15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Yes. The Court has appointed the law firms of Cera LLP and Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP (referred to here as “Settlement Class Counsel”) to represent the Settlement Class, and for purposes of the Settlement. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer and have that lawyer appear in court for you concerning the Settlement, you may hire one at your own expense.

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  16. How will the lawyers be paid?

    You are not personally responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees or the out-of-pocket costs and expenses incurred by Settlement Class Counsel and other counsel representing Plaintiff. Settlement Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve an award of up to one-third (33%) of the Settlement Fund (which is up to $9,666,666) for attorneys’ fees, as well as reimbursement from the Settlement Fund, not to exceed $1,500,000, for Settlement Class Counsel’s and other Plaintiff’s counsels’ out-of-pocket costs and expenses, which included significant expert witness fees, incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuit. An additional amount not to exceed $600,000 may be expended from the Settlement Fund, subject to the approval of the Court, for the administration of claims and to verify compliance with the Plan of Allocation, which will include the review and analysis of supporting information submitted by Claimants. Settlement Class Counsel and other counsel representing Plaintiff have prosecuted this Action for over three years on a fully contingent basis and therefore have not been paid in any way for their considerable efforts to date. Settlement Class Counsel will also seek an incentive award of up to $150,000 for the entity which served as the class representative while the case was pending (whose role and contribution to the case is described in Frequently Asked Question #4).

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  17. How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement, or the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Fees, Expenses and Incentive Award?

    You can only object if you are a member of the Settlement Class and have not opted out of the Settlement Class. You can object if you do not like any part of the Settlement, and/or if you disagree with the Plan of Allocation and/or the Request for Fees, Expenses and Incentive Award. You should give reasons for your objection(s). The Court will consider your views, but the Settlement, Plan of Allocation and Request for Fees, Expenses and Incentive Award may still be approved despite your objection(s).

    To object, you must send a letter to the Court that includes the following:

    • A statement indicating that you object to the Settlement, and/or the Plan of Allocation and/or the Request for Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, Payment of Incentive Award in Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank PLC, No. 1:15-cv-04878-VM-GWG (S.D.N.Y.)
    • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
    • The reasons you object.
    • Proof of your membership in the Settlement Class, including documents sufficient to describe your holdings in contracts which settled against the ICE or Dow Jones published daily index prices for peak or off-peak electricity at either Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, North Path 15, or South Path 15 between November 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 during the months identified in the table in response to Frequently Asked Question #2.

    You must mail the objection to the Court at the following address, postmarked by August 25, 2018:

    Clerk of the Court
    United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    500 Pearl Street 
    New York, NY 10007-1312

    You must also mail copies of the objections to all of the following attorneys, postmarked by August 25, 2018:

    Solomon B. Cera Esq.
    Cera LLP
    595 Market Street, Suite 2300
    San Francisco, CA 94105

    Jeffrey A. Klafter, Esq. 
    Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP
    2 International Drive, Suite 350
    Rye Brook, NY 10573  

    Settlement Class Counsel   

    Boris Bershteyn, Esq. 
    Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    Four Times Square
    New York, NY 10036-6522

    William R. Barksdale, Esq. 
    Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    1440 New York Avenue, N.W. 
    Washington, DC 20005

    Counsel for Barclays Bank PLC

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  18. What is the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement, or about the Plan of Allocation, or about the Request for Fees, Expenses or Incentive Award. You can object to the Settlement only if you stay in the Settlement. Excluding yourself, or “opting out,” means that you are removing yourself from the Settlement Class and you will have no right to proceeds from the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you also have no right to object to the Settlement, because the Settlement no longer affects you.

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  19. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    Judge Marrero will hold a Fairness Hearing at 3:00 p.m. on September 14, 2018, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007-1312. The Fairness Hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so you should check this settlement website before making travel plans. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Attorneys’ Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Payment of an Incentive Award. Judge Marrero will listen to Settlement Class Members who have asked to speak at the Fairness Hearing. If there are objections or comments, the Court will consider them at that time. At or after the Fairness Hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement, the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Attorneys’ Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Payment of an Incentive Award. We do not know how long the Court will take to make its decision.

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  20. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?

    No. Settlement Class Counsel will be prepared to answer any questions the Court may have at the Fairness Hearing. However, you are welcome to attend the Fairness Hearing at your own expense. If you submit an objection, you do not have to come to Court to explain. As long as you mailed your written objection on time as set out in this Notice, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it is not required.

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  21. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?

    You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. If you wish to do so, you must send a letter (called a “Notice of Intention to Appear”) stating the following:

    • “Notice of Intention to Appear in Merced Irrigation District v. Barclays Bank, PLC, No. 1:15-cv-04878-VM-GWG (S.D.N.Y.)”
    • The position you will take and your reasons.
    • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
    • Proof of your membership in the Settlement Class, as set forth in Frequently Asked Question #17.

    Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be mailed to the Court at the following address postmarked by August 25, 2018:

    Clerk of the Court
    United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    500 Pearl Street 
    New York, NY 10007-1312

    You must also mail copies of the Notice of Intention to Appear to all of the attorneys listed in Frequently Asked Question #17, above, no later than August 25, 2018.

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  22. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing and you are a member of the Settlement Class (see definition in Frequently Asked Question #6) you will remain in the Settlement Class for the Settlement, and you will be bound by its terms, including the release described Frequently Asked Question #12 and set forth in Section D of the Settlement Agreement. If you remain in the Settlement Class, to qualify for a payment you must send in a Claim Form, which is available here. See the discussion in Frequently Asked Question #9 for further information.

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  23. Are there more details about the Settlement?

    The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, a copy of of which is available here

    Settlement Class Counsel will file a motion for final approval of the Settlement, the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Attorneys’ Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Payment of an Incentive Award that will contain additional information. These papers are currently due to be filed by August 15, 2018 and can be obtained here

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  24. How do I get more information?

    If you have questions or want more information, you may contact the Claims Administrator toll free at 1-866-673-9669, or write to either of the following Settlement Class Counsel: 

    Solomon B. Cera Esq.
    Cera LLP
    595 Market Street, Suite 2300
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    www.cerallp.com

    Jeffrey A. Klafter, Esq. 
    Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP
    2 International Drive, Suite 350
    Rye Brook, NY 10573 
    www.klafterolsen.com   



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