Checks were mailed to all class members on December 12, 2014. If you are a Subclass I member your check was in the amount of $523.73. If you are a Subclass II member your check was in the amount of $25.00. If you have any questions about why you have received this check, please refer to the Notice.
Doe, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al., Case No. 121203785
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AND HEARING
You may have previously applied to the Gun Permits Unit of the Philadelphia Police
Department for a license to carry firearms, also commonly known as a “gun permit” or “carry permit,” and your
LTCF application was denied, or your LTCF was issued but was later revoked, and you appealed the decision
to deny or revoke your LTCF to the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections Board of Review. Subsequently,
information about you and your reason for appealing to the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections Board of
Review may have been disclosed in alleged violation of Pennsylvania law. Your rights could be affected by a
proposed class action settlement.
The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania authorized this notice. It is not a solicitation
from a lawyer. You are not being sued. Please do not contact the Court with questions or concerns about this notice
or the Settlement.
This is a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging that the City of Philadelphia, and certain of its
employees, agencies and departments, disclosed information alleged to be confidential under Pennsylvania law and
in particular, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i), relating to individuals who appealed to the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections
Board of Review (“L&I Board”) from the denial or revocation of their license to carry firearms (“LTCF”). The
information allegedly disclosed included names, addresses, and reason for appeal (“LTCF Information”). The
lawsuit also alleges that certain policies and practices of the Defendants are illegal and should be changed.
There are two sets of individuals who are Settlement Class Members. The first group includes those persons whose
allegedly confidential information was disclosed by the City of Philadelphia on its website
http://www.phila.gov/map (the “Website”) during the period of
August 11, 2012 through August 15, 2012. On August 15, 2012, the City
of Philadelphia removed any public access to the allegedly confidential LTCF information through the Website.
The second group of individuals who are Settlement Class Members are those persons whose allegedly confidential
information may have been accessible to persons and entities who should not have had access to such information,
but whose allegedly confidential LTCF information may not have been publicly disclosed on the Website.
The Settlement would entitle each Settlement Class Member to a share of a $1.425 million Settlement Fund (after
payment of an incentive award to the representative Plaintiffs, and attorneys’ fees and expenses).
also get additional information by calling 1-800-222-2760 or by writing to Philadelphia Class Action Settlement, c/o
Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 1387, Blue Bell, PA 19422.
Your legal rights are affected regardless of whether you act or don’t act. Read this notice carefully.
|YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT
If the Settlement is approved by the Court and not overturned on appeal, class members will receive a payment
under the Settlement, the sum of which will depend on the amount of attorneys’ fees and expenses
awarded by the Court, the amount of any incentive award for the representative Plaintiffs, and
whether the class member is a member of Subclass I or Subclass II.
If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be bound by the Settlement or
judgment and will not be entitled to any payment as provided for by the Settlement. You will be free
to pursue your claims against the Defendants. This is the only option that allows you to bring or be
part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants in this case about the same legal claims that are
advanced in this case. To validly exclude yourself from the class action and pursue your claims
separately, you must do so postmarked no later than October 6, 2014.
If you do not exclude yourself, you may file with the Court a document explaining why you do not
like the Settlement or the request for legal fees and expenses. To be considered, you must file your
written objection with the Court by October 6, 2014.
|Go to a Hearing
You may ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement or the request for legal fees
These rights and options – and the deadlines to exercise them – are explained in this notice.
The Court in charge of this case still must decide whether to give final approval to the Settlement. Likewise,
payments to class members will be distributed only if the Court grants final approval of the Settlement and after any
appeals are resolved.
I. WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?
The Plaintiffs in this lawsuit claim that the Defendants, including the City of Philadelphia, disclosed, through an
Internet website, the LTCF Information of approximately 1,745 people who appealed to the Philadelphia Board of
Licenses and Inspections Review regarding the denial or revocation of their license to carry firearms. The Plaintiffs
claim that under Pennsylvania law and, in particular, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i), such LTCF Information is confidential and
cannot legally be disclosed to the public or to those that are not otherwise entitled to access. The Plaintiffs also claim that
the Defendants may have improperly allowed certain persons and entities access to LTCF Information of an additional
approximately 1,520 people in violation of Pennsylvania law. The Defendants deny that the LTCF Information at issue
is confidential under Pennsylvania law and they deny that they did anything wrong. There is no reason to believe that
LTCF Information of any class members has been further disclosed since the filing of this lawsuit.
II. WHAT DOES 18 PaC.S. § 6111(i) STATE?
The specific law under which the Plaintiffs sued can be found in Title 18, Section 6111(i) of the Pennsylvania
Statutes and states:
Confidentiality — All information provided by the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant,
including, but not limited to, the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant's name or identity,
furnished by a potential purchaser or transferee under this section or any applicant for a license to
carry a firearm as provided by section 6109 shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure.
In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed by this chapter, any person, licensed dealer,
State or local governmental agency or department that violates this subsection shall be liable in civil
damages in the amount of $1,000 per occurrence or three times the actual damages incurred as a
result of the violation, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorney fees.
III. WHY IS THIS A CLASS ACTION?
In a class action, one or more people, called the Representative Plaintiffs (also known as “class representatives”),
sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. All of these people are known as a Class, Class Members or
Settlement Class Members. A class action resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude
themselves from the Class. Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline F. Allen is in charge of this lawsuit.
IV. WHY IS THERE A SETTLEMENT?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement with
the assistance of an independent mediator. That way, they both avoid the costs and risks of a trial, and the people
affected will receive compensation. The Representative Plaintiffs and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for
the approximately 1,745 persons who had, and the approximately 1,520 persons who may have had, LTCF Information
disclosed in alleged violation of Pennsylvania law.
V. HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?
If you received a notice in the mail then you are a member of the Settlement Class. Every member of the Settlement
Class fits the following overall description:
The 3,265 persons who appealed the denial or revocation of their License to Carry Firearms to the Philadelphia Board of Licenses and Inspections Review, and whose allegedly confidential information, including name, address and reason for appeal (“LTCF Information”), appeared in the City of Philadelphia’s “Hansen” database during the period of January 1, 2007 through February 6, 2014, which LTCF Information may have been disclosed to individuals and/or entities not entitled to access in alleged violation of 18 Pa.C.S. §6111(i). Excluded from the Settlement Class are the current members of Philadelphia City Council and the officers and employees of the Defendants.
The Settlement Class includes the following two subclasses:
The 1,745 members of the Settlement Class whose LTCF Information was available for public viewing on the City of Philadelphia owned and operated website
during the time period of August 11, 2012 through August 15, 2012.
The 1,520 members of the Settlement Class who are not members of Subclass I.
VI. DO I NEED TO PROVE THAT MY LTCF INFORMATION WAS DISCLOSED OR THAT I AM A
MEMBER OF THE SETTLEMENT CLASS?
No. You do not need to prove that your LTCF Information was disclosed by the Defendants and you do not need
to prove that you are a member of the Settlement Class. If you received a notice in the mail then you are a member of
the Settlement Class.
VII. WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
The City of Philadelphia, on behalf of all of the Defendants, has agreed to pay $1,425,000 (One Million Four
Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars) to resolve this lawsuit. The money will be used to: (1) compensate Settlement
Class Members; (2) pay incentive awards of $100 each to the representative Plaintiffs; and (3) pay attorneys’ fees and
expenses. The City of Philadelphia has also agreed to separately pay for the cost to administer this Settlement.
In addition, the City of Philadelphia has agreed to change certain policies and practices, and to take certain actions,
including, but not limited to the following:
- Not make LTCF Information available to the public in the future.
- Provide appropriate annual training to members of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia License
and Inspection board of Review regarding the confidentiality of LTCF Information.
- Provide appropriate customer service training for members of the Gun Permits Unit of the Philadelphia Police
- Not require a United States citizen or lawful immigrants who possess a valid United States Passport, to provide
any naturalization papers or other documentation to apply for or receive an LTCF, unless there exists a legitimate
question as to the validity of the identification.
- Not deny or revoke any LTCF because a person answered “no” to any question relating to whether the applicant
had been charged and/or convicted of any crime where the applicant obtained an expungement or pardon from
the charge or conviction.
- Destroy all documents, other than the LTCF Application on the form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police
and any related denial or revocation letters, in its possession or under its control relating to all current and past
LTCF applications, including military discharge papers, fingerprints, and reference forms, after five years.
- Process all LTCF applications and issue an approval or denial, within forty-five (45) calendar days, as required
by Pennsylvania law.
- If an LTCF application is denied, return to the applicant, within twenty (20) days, the fee paid, less five dollars
($5.00) as required by Pennsylvania law.
- Not advise LTCF applicants or holders that it is mandatory to immediately disclose the pendency or existence
of their LTCF during an interaction with law enforcement, although it is permissible to advise that it is strongly
- Not confiscate any LTCF unless it is evidence of a crime and, in the event confiscation occurs, immediately
issue a property receipt setting forth the LTCF number and the confiscating officer’s name and badge number.
- Not confiscate any firearm unless that firearm is evidence of a crime and, in the event a firearm is confiscated,
immediately issue a property receipt setting forth the make, model and serial number of the firearm, the
condition of the firearm and the name and badge number of the confiscating officer.
- Not require an applicant for an LTCF to disclose whether he or she owns or possesses firearms or ammunition.
A complete description of the Settlement is set forth in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of
the Settlement Agreement on the Settlement Documents page or by calling
VIII. WHAT CAN I GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT AND WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET IT?
The benefits that class members will receive from the Settlement depend on whether they are a member of Subclass I or
If the Settlement is approved by the Court and not overturned or modified on appeal, each of the approximately
1,745 members of Subclass I will receive a payment. The amount to be provided to each member of Subclass I is
expected to be expected to be in the range of $520 to $550, although the actual amount will depend on the amount of the attorneys’ fees and
expenses approved by the Court and the amount of the incentive award for the Representative Plaintiffs approved by
Each of the approximately 1,520 members of Subclass II will receive a check in the sum of $25 if the Settlement
is approved by the Court and not overturned or modified on appeal. The amount that Subclass II members will receive
is not dependent on the amount of attorneys’ fees and expenses approved by the Court.
Class members do not need to do anything to receive payment.
IX. WHEN DO CLASS MEMBERS GET THEIR PAYMENT?
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing on October 29, 2014 to decide whether to approve the Settlement.
If Judge Allen approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether those appeals can be
resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. If the Settlement is approved by the Court and
no appeals are filed, you should receive your payment within a few months of the date that Judge Allen approves
the Settlement. Everyone will be informed of the progress of the Settlement. Please be patient.
X. WHAT AM I GIVING UP TO GET A PAYMENT OR STAY IN THE CLASS?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part
of any other lawsuit against the Defendants, its employees, or its elected officials about the legal issues in this case. It
also means that all the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you do not exclude yourself, you will
agree to release all claims that you have against the Defendants relating to the disclosure of your LTCF Information.
XI. HOW CAN I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
If you do not want a payment from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue the
Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to preserve your rights. This is
called excluding yourself – or is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter by mail saying that you want to be excluded
from Doe, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number,
and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than October 6, 2014 to
Philadelphia Class Action Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 1387, Blue Bell, PA 19422.
You can’t exclude yourself by telephone or e-mail. If you ask to be excluded, you will not get any settlement
payment, you cannot object to the Settlement, but you will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this
lawsuit and you may be able to sue or continue to sue the Defendants in the future.
XII. IF I DO NOT EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I SUE THE DEFENDANTS FOR THE SAME THING LATER?
No. If you do not exclude yourself, you will give up the right to sue the Defendants for the claims that this
Settlement involves, namely the disclosure of your LTCF Information. If you have a pending lawsuit regarding the
disclosure of your LTCF Information by any of the Defendants, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You
must exclude yourself from this class action to commence or continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion
deadline is October 6, 2014.
XIII. IF I EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I GET MONEY FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money from the settlement, but you may sue, continue to
sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against the Defendants.
XIV. DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?
The Court approved Joshua Prince, Esquire of Prince Law Offices, P.C., Benjamin R. Picker, Esquire of
McCausland Keen & Buckman, Jonathan Goldstein, Esquire of McNelly & Goldstein, LLC, and Jon S. Mirowitz,
Esquire to represent you and the other Class Members. Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be
charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
XV. HOW WILL THE LAWYERS AND THE REPRESENTATIVE PLAINTIFFS BE PAID?
Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses as a percentage of the $1,425,000 Settlement and
will ask the Court to award an additional incentive payment of $100 to each Representative Plaintiff. The Settlement
Agreement provides that up to one-third of the Settlement Fund will be paid to Class Counsel as an award of
attorneys’ fees and expenses. These amounts will be deducted from the Settlement Fund before payments are made to
Class Members. The costs of administering the Settlement will not be deducted from the Settlement Fund and, instead,
will be paid separately by the City of Philadelphia.
XVI. HOW DO I OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT IF I DO NOT AGREE WITH IT?
If you are a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give objections
why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter
(with sufficient postage) saying that you object to the proposed Settlement in Doe, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et
al. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, the case number (121203785), and the
reasons why you object to this Settlement. Mail the objection to these three different places (with sufficient postage)
so that it is filed by October 6, 2014:
Philadelphia Court of
City Hall Room 284
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Joshua G. Prince, Esquire
Prince Law Offices, P.C.
646 Lenape Road
Bechtelsville, PA 19505
Craig Straw, Esquire
Chief Deputy, Civil Rights Unit -
Philadelphia Law Department
1515 Arch Street, 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
When filing your Objection with the Court by mail or in person, you must include a check or money order
payable to the “Philadelphia Prothonotary” for the scanning fee. If you fail to pay the fee, your Objection may not
be accepted by the Court and may be returned to you, possibly causing you to miss the Objection filing deadline. To
calculate the amount of the scanning fee that you must pay, count the number of pages of your Objection (including
any documents you attached to it) and multiply it by $1. For example, if your Objection, including any documents you
attached to it, consists of five pages, you must include with your Objection a check or money order in the sum of $5
payable to the “Philadelphia Prothonotary.” There is no scanning fee if you electronically file your Objection. If you
have any questions about filing your Objection with the Court, please call the Prothonotary’s Office at (215) 686-6652.
XVII. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTING AND EXCLUDING MYSELF?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only
if you stay in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be a part of the
Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer legally affects you.
XVIII. WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE COURT DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT?
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement. You may attend and
you may ask to speak, but you do not have to do so.
On October 29, 2014 Judge Allen will hold the Final Approval Hearing in Philadelphia City Hall Room 480
(located on the 4th Floor at 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107) to determine whether the proposed
Settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable. The Court will listen to Class Counsel, Defendants’ Counsel, and to
the members of the Settlement Class (or their counsel) who have timely and properly asked to speak at the Final
Approval Hearing. The Court will also decide the amount of attorneys’ fees and expenses to pay to Class Counsel.
If the Final Approval Hearing is rescheduled by the Court the new date will be posted on this Settlement Website.
We do not know how long it will take the Court to make its decision.
XIX. DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE HEARING?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions that Judge Allen may have. However, you are welcome to come at
your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed
your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not
XX. MAY I SPEAK AT THE HEARING?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must appear at the
Final Approval Hearing on October 29, 2014. At the appropriate time, Judge Allen will ask if anyone would like to
speak at the hearing, at which time you should raise your hand. At the Court’s discretion, the Court may provide you
with a limited time to speak. You cannot speak at the Final Approval Hearing if you excluded yourself.
XXI. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOTHING AT ALL?
If you are a class member and you do nothing, you will eventually receive a check in an amount that is dependent upon which Subclass you
are in, the amount of the incentive award provided to the Representative Plaintiffs, and the amount of attorneys’ fees
and expenses approved by the Court, unless the Settlement is ultimately not approved by the Court or is overturned on
XXII. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE QUESTIONS OR WANT MORE INFORMATION?
This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in a Settlement Agreement. You can get
a copy of the Settlement Agreement on the Settlement Documents page.
Una versión en español de este Aviso de clases puede ser obtenida llamando al Administrador del Acuerdo al