Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If I Am Affected By The Settlement?
This case involves Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty rental vehicles that were picked up in Mexico after having been reserved in the U.S. through any online reservation platform.
The Court has conditionally certified the following Class: “All persons in the United States who reserved online and rented a Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty rental car with pick up in Mexico between May 24, 2009 and December 31, 2018.”
The following are not members of the Class: (1) the Honorable Leonard Stark, the Honorable Mary Walrath, the Honorable Samuel Conti, Anthony Piazza or Stephanie Chow; (2) any member of their immediate families; (3) any government entity, (4) The Hertz Corporation and its affiliated debtors: Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, LLC, Thrifty, LLC, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc., Firefly Rent A Car LLC, CMGC Canada Acquisition ULC, Hertz Aircraft, LLC, Dollar Rent A Car, Inc., Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Canada Inc., Donlen Corporation, Donlen FSHCO Company, Hertz Canada Limited, Donlen Mobility Solutions, Inc., DTG Canada Corp., DTG Operations, Inc., Hertz Car Sales LLC, DTG Supply, LLC, Hertz Global Services Corporation, Hertz Local Edition Corp., Hertz Local Edition Transporting, Inc., Donlen Fleet Leasing Ltd., Hertz System, Inc., Smartz Vehicle Rental Corporation, Thrifty Car Sales, Inc., Hertz Technologies, Inc., TRAC Asia Pacific, Inc., Hertz Transporting, Inc., Rental Car Group Company, LLC, & Rental Car Intermediate Holdings, LLC. (collectively, the “Reorganized Debtors”); (5) any entity in which the Reorganized Debtors have a controlling interest; (6) any of the Reorganized Debtors’ subsidiaries, parents, affiliates, officers, directors, employees, legal representatives, heirs, successors, or assigns; (7) counsel for the parties; and (8) any persons who timely opt-out of the Class.
What Is The Case About?
In May 2013, Enrico Moretti filed a lawsuit against Hotwire, Inc., The Hertz Corporation and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. alleging that they engaged in false advertising and other unfair practices with respect to Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty rental vehicles that were reserved online in the U.S. and picked up in Mexico. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Hotwire and Hertz DTAG advertised a low daily rate for Mexican rental cars, but then charged consumers a higher price at the rental counter as a result of (1) previously undisclosed and mandatory insurance coverage, and (2) converting the reserved U.S. rental rate into Mexican Pesos at an inflated exchange rate. Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of all similarly situated renters. Hertz DTAG denies that there is any factual or legal basis for the lawsuit and denies liability.
In May 2020, while the lawsuit was pending, Hertz DTAG filed a petition for relief in Delaware under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Under the current Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization (the “Plan”), which went into effect on June 30, 2021, unsecured creditors will receive payment in full for the amount of their allowed claims.
The Court has not finally determined whether the Class’s claim in the bankruptcy should be allowed; or the proper amounts of that claim.
What Does Plaintiff Seek To Recover In The Lawsuit?
Plaintiff alleges that Hertz DTAG advertised one low price for Mexican rentals, but charged consumers a higher price at the rental counter as a result of (1) previously undisclosed mandatory insurance coverage, and (2) converting the reserved U.S. rental rate into Mexican Pesos at an inflated exchange rate. Plaintiff contends that, based on his analysis of Hertz DTAG’s rental transaction records, the effect of these actions was that each renter paid an additional $26, on average, for each day of their rental period based on the combination of these two factors. Hertz DTAG disputes Plaintiff’s allegations and denies any fault, wrongdoing or liability.
Why Is This Case Being Settled?
The Court has not decided in favor of either side in the lawsuit. Neither Plaintiff nor Hertz DTAG have won or lost. Instead, Class Counsel have investigated the facts and applicable law concerning the Plaintiff’s and Class’s claims and Hertz DTAG’s defenses over the course of over 8 years of litigation and determined that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the Class. Plaintiff’s counsel has reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and has taken and defended numerous depositions. The Parties have also engaged in several mediations, both pre-and post-bankruptcy. After considering the risks and costs of further litigation, the Parties have each concluded that it is desirable that the Plaintiff’s claims be settled and dismissed on the terms of the settlement agreement.
Without a settlement, the Class would first need to convince the Bankruptcy Court to allow this claim to proceed as a Class Action. Hertz DTAG has preliminarily objected on procedural grounds, contending that Class Counsel lacked authority to present claims for each individual consumer, who should have filed a timely individual proof of claim in the Bankruptcy Court. The Class would then need to convince the Court to certify the Class and approve its claim. The Class asserts that the total class claim, if proven, would be approximately $100 million. However, the Court could reject the request for a Class claim or allow the claim on behalf of only a narrower class. Even if the Class was allowed to proceed, the Court could find that Hertz DTAG’s reservation process was not misleading, or that mandatory insurance charges and currency conversion rates would not have been material to most consumers’ rental choices. And even if it found that the Class had proven misconduct, the Court could find that the amount of the alleged overpayment was much lower than $26 per day.
After taking into account the risks and costs of further litigation, Plaintiff and his counsel believe that the terms and conditions of the settlement are fair, reasonable, adequate, and equitable, and that the settlement is in the best interest of the Class members.
What Is The Settlement?
Prior to this settlement, Hertz DTAG had proposed a Plan to govern how the remaining assets of the bankruptcy estates would be distributed among creditors with valid claims. Under the Plan, Hertz DTAG is required to pay in full all “allowed” claims for unsecured creditors like the proposed Class. However, money will be distributed to creditors only after the Court decides whether each creditor’s claim should be allowed and if so, in what amount. To obtain a copy of the Plan, visit https://restructuring.primeclerk.com/hertz.
In the settlement, the parties have agreed to value the Class claim at $20 million. This money will be used to pay: (1) the costs of administering the settlement, including providing notice to the Class, (2) attorneys’ and advisor fees, costs and incentives awarded by the Court, and (3) valid claims by Class members under this settlement. If there is money left over from the bankruptcy distribution to the Class after payment of these amounts, each valid claim’s share will be increased pro rata. If there is not enough money to pay all valid claims, each will be decreased pro rata.
What Can I Get In The Settlement?
If you timely file a valid claim that complies with the instructions on the claim form and in the notice, you will receive a cash payment. You may file a claim for every Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty rental car that you picked up in Mexico during the class period after having reserved that vehicle in the U.S. through an online reservation system. The amount of the payment to each claimant will depend on (1) the number of days the vehicle was rented, (2) how many other valid claims are filed; and (3) how much of the $20 million settlement remains after payments are made to administer the settlement (including providing this notice) and to Plaintiff and his lawyers and advisers (as approved by the Court). It is expected that each valid claimant will receive $26 per day for each Mexican rental during the Class Period. If you received an individualized notice of this settlement, it sets forth the number of Mexican rental days for which you qualify, as set forth in records obtained in the litigation from Hertz DTAG and its Mexican licensees. The actual amount paid on each claim could be lower than $26 per rental day if there are a large number of claims. It also could be higher than $26 per rental day if there are a small number of claims.
Cash payments will be distributed only if the Court gives final approval to the proposed settlement and only after any appeals are resolved and only after distributions are made in the bankruptcy case. If the Court does not approve the settlement, if the settlement is overturned on appeal, or if the settlement is terminated, no cash payments will be distributed.
How Do I Make A Claim?
To make a claim, you must fill out the claim form available on the Submit a Claim page. You can also request that a claim form be mailed to you, by calling the Claim Administrator by calling 1-855-545-0882 or writing to Hertz DTAG Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch St, Ste 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103. If you received an individualized notice of the settlement and enter your claimant ID number, you must verify your name and the number of your Mexican car rental days which will be pre-populated in the claim form, as well as verify or update your address. If you did not receive a pre-assigned claimant ID number, or you believe that the pre-populated information does not reflect all your qualifying Mexican car rentals during the Class Period, you must provide (1) your full name and address at the time of your rental(s); (2) the month(s) and year(s) of your rental(s), (3) the brand of each rental; (4) the number of rental days for each rental. All claimants also must verify that they ended up paying a daily rate that was higher than quoted to them when they made their original booking. All claims must be submitted under penalty of perjury.
You can submit the claim form online, or you can print it and mail it to the claim administrator at: Hertz DTAG Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch St, Ste 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103. If submitted online, claim forms must be submitted no later than November 23, 2021. If mailed, claim forms must be received by the Claim Administrator (not just postmarked), no later than November 23, 2021.
What Do Plaintiff And His Lawyers Get?
To date, Plaintiff’s lawyers have not been compensated for any of their work on this case. As part of the settlement, Class Counsel applied to the Court to award them up to 40% of the Class Claim (or a total of $8 million) to pay their Attorneys’ Fees, including the attorneys’ fees of their local counsel in the Delaware courts. Class Counsel also applied to the Court to award them their out-of-pocket expenses, which are estimated at approximately $140,000.00. In addition, Class Counsel applied to the Court to approve payment of 3% of the Class Claim ($600,00.00) to their bankruptcy advisors.
Plaintiff Moretti has not yet received compensation for his time and effort on the case, and the risks he undertook in bringing it. Plaintiff Moretti oversaw the litigation for more than eight years. He has spent more than 100 hours working on this case, for which he has not been paid, and which he would be owed $100,000 at his normal hourly rate which he earns as an economics expert. As part of the settlement, Plaintiff will apply to the Court for an incentive award of $75,000 to compensate him for his time and effort.
Plaintiff and his lawyers will file a motion with the Court on or before November 2, 2021 in support of their applications for attorneys’ fees, bankruptcy financial advisor fees, costs, and expenses and payments to the Plaintiff. A copy of that motion will be available on the settlement website. The Court will determine what amounts of fees, costs, expenses, and Class representative payments to award.
What Claims Are Released By The Settlement?
The settlement releases all claims by members of the Class against Hertz DTAG, their affiliates, and Hotwire that relate to the reservation and rental of Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty vehicles in Mexico. This release includes claims that may not yet be known or suspected. This means that, in exchange for being eligible for the cash benefits as a Class member, you will not be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the released parties that involves the settled claims. For further information, please see Section 14 of the Settlement Agreement and Release.
Separate from the settlement, claims against Hertz DTAG and certain affiliated entities will be released automatically by operation of bankruptcy law. This will occur whether or not the settlement is approved.
How Do I Exclude Myself From The Settlement?
You can exclude yourself from the Class if you wish to retain the right to sue separately for the claims released by the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot file a claim or object to the settlement.
To exclude yourself, you must complete and submit the online form at the settlement website or mail a request to exclude yourself from the settlement to the claim administrator at: Hertz DTAG Settlement Administrator, Attn: Exclusion, P.O. Box 58220, Philadelphia, PA 19102. If mailed, the exclusion request must contain your name, address, the words “I wish to be excluded from the Hertz DTAG Mexican Rental Car Class Action Settlement,” and your signature.
If submitted online, exclusion requests must be submitted by November 23, 2021. If mailed, exclusion requests must be received by the Claim Administrator (not postmarked) November 23, 2021.
Excluding yourself from the settlement will not permit you to retain claims that are released automatically by operation of bankruptcy law, such as claims against Hertz DTAG.
Unless you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will be deemed to have consented to the Court’s jurisdiction and authority to enter a final order upon the settlement, and you also will be deemed to have consented to the releases under the Plan.
How Do I Object To The Settlement?
You can ask the Court to deny approval of the settlement, or to reject or reduce the award of attorneys’ fees, advisor fees, costs or incentives to Plaintiff and his lawyers. To do so, you must timely file your objection in Court using the ECF filing system, or you must timely submit an objection to the Claim Administrator, who will then forward it to the Court. In your objection, you can’t ask the Court to order a larger settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the settlement or decide the amount of the award of attorneys’ fees, advisor fees, costs and incentives. If the Court denies approval to the entire settlement, no cash payments will be sent out, and the bankruptcy proceeding will continue as if no settlement had been reached.
You may also appear at the final approval fairness hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. If you want to raise an objection to the settlement at the final approval fairness hearing, you must first submit that objection in writing in accordance with the instructions contained in the notice.
Any objection must include: (1) the case name and number In re The Hertz Corporation, et al., Case No. 20-11218 (MFW) (Bankr. D. Del.); (2) your name, address, and telephone number; (3) documents, or testimony under penalty of perjury, sufficient to establish that you are a member of the Class; (4) a statement of your objection(s) and the basis for your objection(s); (5) a statement as to whether you are requesting the opportunity to appear and be heard at the final approval fairness hearing; (6) the name(s) and address(es) of all counsel (if any) who (a) are representing you in making the objection; (b) will appear on your behalf at the final approval fairness hearing; and/or (c) may be entitled to compensation in connection with your objection; (7) the name(s) and address(es) of all persons (if any) who will be called to testify in support of your objection; (8) copies of any papers, briefs, or other documents upon which your objection is based if not already in the court file; (9) a list of any other objections you or your counsel have submitted to any class action in any state or federal court in the United States in the previous five years (or affirmatively stating that no such prior objection has been made); and (10) your signature as objector, in addition to the signature of your attorney, if an attorney is representing you with the objection. Failure to include any element of this information and documentation may be grounds for overruling and rejecting or striking your objection.
All the information listed above must be electronically filed via the Court’s ECF system, or delivered to the Claim Administrator by mail, express mail, or personal delivery such that the objection is received by the Claim Administrator (not just postmarked or sent) on or before November 23, 2021. By submitting an objection, you consent to the jurisdiction of the Court, including to any order of the Court to produce documents or provide testimony prior to the final approval fairness hearing.
If you object to the settlement but still want to submit a claim in the event the Court approves the settlement, you must still submit a timely claim according to the instructions described above.
When Will The Court Decide If The Settlement Is Approved?
The Court will hold a hearing on December 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. (ET) to consider whether to approve the settlement. The hearing will be held in the in the courtroom of the Honorable Mary Walrath, United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, 824 N. Market St, Wilmington, DE 19801. The hearing may also be accessed online via Zoom. The hearing is open to the public. This hearing date may change without further notice to you. Consult this website or PACER, at ecf.deb.uscourts.gov, for updated information on the hearing date and time.
How Do I Get More Information?
You can inspect the documents connected with this settlement on the Important Documents page. Other papers related to the bankruptcy proceeding are available at https://restructuring.primeclerk.com/hertz. Additional papers filed in the underlying California lawsuit by the Class are available through PACER, the online service for the United States District Courts, at pacer.uscourts.gov.
You can contact the Claim Administrator by calling 1-855-545-0882 or writing to:
Hertz DTAG Settlement Administrator
1650 Arch Street, Ste 2210
Philadelphia, PA 19103
You can also obtain additional information by contacting Plaintiff’s Counsel at Hertz DTAG Settlement, Gutride Safier LLP, 100 Pine Street, Suite 1250, San Francisco, CA 94111, www.gutridesafier.com.
Do not call or contact the Court concerning this notice, the settlement or the lawsuit.