Archive Page 2

Future Settlement Money

With many ex-Hellerites receiving settlement payments this week, several questions arise.  Below are questions being asked by former Heller Ehrman employees along with answers formulated from court filings and the settlement agreement.

Will there be settlement checks in the future, besides what we just received?

The settlement checks recently received by members of the employee class as a result of our lawsuit against the shareholders constitute payment of each respective employee’s “priority wages.” Given that the Heller Ehrman estate is in bankruptcy, any payouts to the various creditors of Heller Ehrman, which number in the hundreds, must follow bankruptcy court rules. In general, a creditor in a bankruptcy matter has a right to secured, priority, non-priority (aka, unsecured) or subordinated payments, depending on the status of the creditor. Employee wages can be treated as a “priority” claim against the estate, but the amounts so treated as priority are capped in various ways. See, for instance, the three sample explanations located under Exhibit “D” in the fat “Disclosure Statement in Support of Joint Plan of Liquidation of Heller Ehrman LLP” that all members of the employee class should have received in May 2010.

In this regard, “wages” include such items as accrued but unused vacation time and WARN Act wages. See, again, the Disclosure Statement for details.

(Note that Heller Ehrman, like most private companies, did not have a policy to payout any accrued but unused sick time upon termination of employment. As a result, the settlement does not include any payment for accrued but unused sick time.)

If the settlement award to any given employee included payouts in addition to his or her priority award, subsequent “non-priority” payouts are expected to be made in various installments over a period of several years. With regard to these non-priority payouts, we will be in the same bucket as hundreds of other non-employee creditors, such as landlords, Williams Lea, etc. How much of our respective non-priority awards will eventually be received by us will be determined by how much money the unsecured creditors’ committee is successful at obtaining from various entities who owe money to the Heller Ehrman estate.

Because of the multi-year process of liquidating the Heller Ehrman estate, make sure you keep your address current with the Bankruptcy Court.

Are there ongoing efforts by Blum Collins to collect the interest, penalties and any other Warn Act fees due to us?

Blum Collins’s role in this matter concluded with the adoption of the settlement. And note that bankruptcy court rules do not permit the payment of interest.

With regard to the payment of waiting-time penalties, the settlement does allocate $7 million in waiting-time penalty awards to the employee class, but this is treated as a subordinated payout. As a result, it is unlikely that the Heller Ehrman estate will have any funds left to pay any waiting-time penalties.

It just seems like such a lot of fees paid to counsel for such a small return for the class. Thoughts?

Note that the employee class likely will eventually receive several million dollars in wage payments from the Heller Ehrman estate once the multi-year installment payouts conclude.

The fees paid to Blum Collins were paid by the Heller Ehrman estate, not out of the employee-class awards directly. With regard to the appropriateness of the amount of those fees ($950,000, which covers both fees and Blum Collins’s expenses), that is a subjective matter, a full discussion of which is beyond the scope of this reply.

Likewise, with regard to the appropriateness of how the settlement was structured, that also is a subjective matter beyond the scope of this reply, other than to note that the employee class needed to vote on accepting the proposed settlement, and in so doing, did accept the proposed settlement by a margin well in excess of the required super-majority percentage.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Advertisements

IMPORTANT – Creditor Change of Address Form

IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Also see UPDATE 5:20PM below

We’ve just been informed that if your address has changed since you filed a claim with the Bankruptcy Court, you must complete a Creditor Change of Address Form.

In a previous communication from Blum Collins, it was stated that you could Development Specialists, Inc. with your change of address.  THIS IS INCORRECT.

The message from Heller Ehrman who is ready to distribute checks is as follows:

You may have sent to us some time in the past a change of address; however, we have recently learned that we are prohibited from sending court distributions (such as the Biggers settlement checks) to addresses that are not on the Bankruptcy Court record.

If you have changed your address at any time since filing your claim and did not update the court, you must fill out and mail to the court the attached Change of Address form as soon as possible in order to receive court distributions in a timely manner.  Distributions are due to be sent in early September.

Update at 5:20 PM PDT

In addition, John Fiero of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones which is representing the Heller estate, highly recommends that you also send a cc of the form to the address at the bottom of the form.  The court may take a long time to do so so it is in your best interest to take this extra step.

Creditor Change of Address Form

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Heller Ehrman Liquidation Plan Approved – Money On Its Way

From Blum Collins:

We are happy to report that on August 9, 2010 the Bankruptcy Court approved the proposed Plan of Liquidation that will fund the settlement with the class of former employees.

When Will the Employees be Paid Their Priority Claims?

Assuming all contingencies in the plan are met for the Plan to become effective (which we believe is now likely), payments on the priority amount of the employees’ claims could be made within 30 days from now. The timing of payment of the non-priority amounts will depend on when additional funds come into the estate.

Kyle Everett at DSI Will be Sending the Checks

If the plan becomes effective, the claims administrator, Kyle Everett at a company called DSI, will send you a check.

If you want to ensure that you receive any payment to class members that might be coming to you, you should send your current address to Mr. Everett, who is the claims administrator:

Kyle Everett
Development Specialists, Inc.
235 Pine Street, Suite 1150
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.981.2717 Phone
415.981.2718 Facsimile
keverett@dsi.biz

Settlement Agreement Update

The following update was received from Blum Collins today:

We are happy to report that the Bankruptcy Court has, with regard to payments to class members, approved the settlement between the Heller Ehrman bankruptcy estate and the certified class of former employees.

The Court held a hearing to review the settlement on July 8, 2010, and issued its order on July 16, 2010.

The Plan of Liquidation Is Set for Hearing on August 9, 2010

The Court still needs to review and approve the proposed Plan of Liquidation that will fund the settlement. This is now scheduled for a hearing on August 9, 2010.

When Will the Employees be Paid Their Priority Claims?

If the Court approves the Plan of Liquidation on August 9, 2010 (instead of continuing the hearing again), it is possible that payments could be made within 30 days thereafter. We’ll know more on August 9, 2010.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Memorial Service for Ebba Jensen

A note from Norman Aguon of the San Francisco office:

Thank you all for being so patient for news about services for our Ebba. Because EJ had no family nor designated executor, nor power of attorney we have had to overcome some issues surrounding who could take charge of her remains and see to it that her wishes would be carried out. We have worked out all those details and, in keeping with her wishes, we have prepared a celebration of her life at:

Saturday, July 17 at 11:00 AM

Lake Merrit Chapel
1330 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, CA

In addtion to a presentation of some of Ebba’s favorite music there will be a program of remembrances and an opportunity for all to share their memories of our friend. There will be a release of 73 balloons in honor of her nearly 73 years of life. July 16, 2010 would have been her 73rd birthday. We are also inviting you all to a reception immediately following in the hall immediately adjacent to the chapel.

If you plan to attend, so that we can get an accurate head count for the caterers, please r.s.v.p. to ebbawjensen at gmail dot com and send the names (numbers) of others that you invite who are planning on attending.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Class Action Ballot Deadline Looms

The following communication has been received from Blum Collins in regards to the Class Action ballot deadline.  Please read the contents of the message below for instructions on how ballotting works.

If you have not done so already, please return your blue ballot this week for accepting the plan of liquidation of Heller Ehrman LLP.  The plan administrator must receive your ballot by June 16, 2010.  Many of you will need to mail the ballot by tomorrow, Tuesday, June 8, 2010, to ensure that it arrives in time.

How to Get Your Ballot

A blue-colored ballot was mailed to you by the plan administrator.  If you didn’t receive it, you should download and print a replacement ballot by clicking this link (or pasting it in the address bar of your browser):  http://www.docstoc.com/docs/40497124/Blue-Ballot.

When you download it and print it, it needn’t actually be on blue paper.

To Fill Out Your Ballot

To fill out your ballot, you will need two numbers from the Exhibit 1 notice which all class members should have received in the mail a few weeks ago (with the April 9, 2010 Notice to Plaintiff Class of Proposed Settlement).  This is the Exhibit that explained your specific dollar amounts for the settlement of the employee class action.  In bankruptcy, your vote is weighted in part by the dollar amount of your claims.

View a Sample Exhibit 1

To view a copy of a sample Exhibit 1, along with our handwritten notes, please click this link (or paste it into the address bar of your internet browser):   http://www.docstoc.com/docs/35561321/Mark-up-of-Exhibit-1-to-the-Notices-to-Plaintiff-Class-Members.

On the reverse side of your blue ballot, write down the dollar figure from Line 11 of your Exhibit 1 into the blank on the blue ballot for “Class 7.”  Your copy of Exhibit 1 will not contain line numbers, but you can figure out which line is Line 11 by comparing your Exhibit 1 with the sample Exhibit 1 linked to this email above.

Next, write down the dollar figure from Line 12 of your Exhibit 1 into the blank on the blue ballot for “Class 8.”

For now, you needn’t do anything with your Line 10 figure.  This part of your claim falls in a different class that does not vote.

Check the “Vote to Accept” box next to both the Class 7 and Class 8 lines, and then fill out the “Step C: Complete Balloting Information” on the blue ballot.

Finally, be sure to sign the blue ballot, and then mail it (no fax or email) to the address at the bottom of the blue ballot so that it arrives before June 16, 2010.

Call Us if You Need Your Line 11 and Line 12 Info

If you cannot locate your Exhibit 1 which was sent to you a few weeks ago, telephone Annette Weber in our office:  213-995-5052 ext. 4.  She will give you the dollar amount of your Line 11 figure (which you would insert in the Class 7 blank on the ballot) and your Line 12 figure (which you would insert in the Class 8 blank on the ballot).

Plan of Liquidation Ballot

The following communication has been received from Blum Collins in regards to the Plan of Liquidation packets which we mailed to all class members this week.  Please read the contents of the message below for instructions on how ballotting works.

You should receive your blue ballot this week for accepting the plan of liquidation of Heller Ehrman LLP. To fill it out, you will need some numbers from the Exhibit 1 notice which all class members should have received in the mail a few weeks ago (with the April 9, 2010 Notice to Plaintiff Class of Proposed Settlement). This is the Exhibit that explained your specific dollar amounts for the settlement of the employee class action. In bankruptcy, your vote is weighted in part by the dollar amount of your claims.

View a Markup of Exhibit 1

To view a copy of the exemplar Exhibit 1, along with our handwritten notes, please click this link (or paste it into the address bar of your internet browser): http://www.docstoc.com/docs/35561321/Mark-up-of-Exhibit-1-to-the-Notices-to-Plaintiff-Class-Members.

Fill Out the Blue Ballot

On the reverse side of your blue ballot, write down the dollar figure from Line 11 of your Exhibit 1 into the blank on the blue ballot for “Class 7.” Your copy of Exhibit 1 will not contain line numbers, but you can figure out which line is Line 11 by comparing your Exhibit 1 with the exemplar linked to this email above.

Next, write down the dollar figure from Line 12 of your Exhibit 1 into the blank on the blue ballot for “Class 8.”

For now, you needn’t do anything with your Line 10 figure. This part of your claim falls in a different class that does not vote.

Check the “Vote to Accept” box next to the Class 7 and Class 8 lines, and then fill out the “Step C: Complete Balloting Information” on the blue ballot.

Finally, be sure to sign the blue ballot, and then mail it (no fax or email) to the address at the bottom of the blue ballot before June 16, 2010.

Vote in Favor of the Plan of Liquidation

The Plan of Liquidation must be approved if the class members are to be paid by this summer. We strongly encourage you to vote for the plan.

There are myriad legal issues involved in the approval of the plan of liquidation, and you can do your part by filling out and returning your blue ballot.

If You Need a Copy of Your Exhibit 1 or Blue Ballot, Request It

If you need a copy of your Exhibit 1 that contains your specific settlement information, which was mailed to the address on the Bankruptcy Court’s records for you on April 9, 2010 by the claims administrator for the Heller estate, or if you need your blue ballot, then the most direct way for you to get it is to request a copy from the claims administrator:

Kyle Everett
Development Specialists, Inc.
235 Pine Street, Suite 1150
San Francisco, CA 94104

415.981.2717 Phone
415.981.2718 Facsimile

keverett@dsi.biz

The blue ballot is simply a form that you could instead download by clicking this link (or pasting it in the address bar of your browser):

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/40497124/Blue-Ballot.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Life preserver.jpg
Remember the words of Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure):

". . . sitting on our butts is not going to help us either. Maybe by climbing out of here, we can save ourselves. If you've got any sense, you'll come along with us."

Contact Us!

Send us your information as to job leads, networking, or just plain vent!
Go ahead, say it!
Add to Technorati Favorites
Bloggers' Rights at EFF

Credits

This blog has been created by Thomas MacEntee.

Recent Comments

Terms of Service

Heller Highwater (hellerdrone.wordpress.com)
Last Modified: September 14, 2008

- Don't be a dill weed.

- Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

- Ladies and children first.

- This is a rescue, not a bitch session.

- Help don't harm.

- Save the snarks for the attorneys and Above The Law.

Heller Highwater is not:

- a place to practice viscious and vindictive "whisper down the lane" rumour-mongering;

- a place to bad mouth co-workers;

- a place for diatribes against specific people or specific incidents;

- a place to heap pity on poor Heller Ehrman staff by outsiders;

- a place that discriminates or sets margins noting who is outside and who is inside - we even welcome supportive Heller Ehrman attorneys!;

- meant to further the demise of Heller Ehrman, LLP.

Heller Highwater is:

- a place for support, a place of empowerment, a place of passion;

- a place to learn about job leads, resume preparation, skill building, training, new opportunities, and how to succeed in a new workplace;

- a place to keep up on the latest news as to how Heller Ehrman management intends to treat its support staff as it winds down its operations - will it be every woman for herself? or will it be "let me hold the door for you and is there anything else I can do for you"?

- a place of refuge.

Note: in no way, shape or form is Heller Highwater sanctioned, supported or even recognized, (but it is very likely monitored) by the management of Heller Erhman, LLP. The opinions represented here and on each and every page of Heller Highwater do not constitute the opinions of Heller Ehrman, LLP or its shareholders or its management. In addition, the comments left by visitors do not reflect the opinions of Heller Highwater.