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Class Actions
Class Actions


Tenants' Project
CLASS ACTIONS





Introduction to Class Actions

Class Action Settlements
APTS DOWNTOWN
CLASS ACTION
Settlement Page
Apts Downtown Settlement

Pending Class Actions
Class Action Case Proceedings

Introduction to Class Actions

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In a class action, the representative or name plaintiffs represent a class of people with the same complaint or injury. The Tenants' Project uses class actions to challenge illegal lease provisions and clean up leases because usually every tenant has the same standard lease, drafted by the landlord, with exactly the same illegal provisions. A class action cannot be used for individualized claims or damages. For example, if a tenant claims that they were overcharged for cleaning their own unit or for damage that only relates to their unit, this would probably not be appropriate for a class action, unless the landlord charges all tenants for the same cleaning or damage.
There is no way to join a class action as eligible class members are automatically included. Class members can opt out of the class and pursue their claims on an individualized basis. Unless they opt out class members are bound by the class action judgment, even if they never received notice.
In addition to cleaning up illegal leases, the Tenants' Project uses class action to establish favorable precedent. If the Iowa Supreme Court or Iowa Court of Appeals makes a ruling, for example, finding that automatic carpet cleaning clauses are prohibited under the Iowa Landlord Tenant Act, then that ruling becomes precedent for all Iowa district courts. If the Iowa Supreme Court makes a ruling in a published decision that is binding on all Iowa courts and for all citizens of Iowa.


Class Action Settlements

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Like most civil cases, many class actions end in a settlement that is negotiated between the class representatives and class counsel and the defendants. Often a class action settlement includes payment to class members, but a class action settlement with injunctive relief that requires policy and action changes by defendants with an enforcement mechanism is also possible. The focus of the Tenants' Project in class actions and other litigation is not on punishment or damages, but on making sure the landlord tenant relations going forward are fair and just for both tenants and landlords.
In terms of sheer numbers and impact, the most important for the Tenants' Project is the Apts. Downtown class action settlement. This settlement, has been approved by the Court and covers tenants and subtenants with Apts. Downtown and Apts. Near Campus for the 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 lease terms. This settlement is just for the use of illegal lease provisions, predominately carpet cleaning and does not cover any individualized charges for cleaning or damage. An estimated 14,000 tenants are eligible for a payment of $65 per year for each year they were a tenant during the four annual lease terms covered. For more information and to register for payment, go to the Apts Downtown Settlement Website. Here is the March 30, 2016 Iowa City Press Citizen Story and the March 31, 2016 Daily Iowan Story.
Also pending court approval is the Staley v. Barkalow Settlement . This settlement includes 2010-11 and 2011-12 tenants of Big Ten Property Management and TSB Holdings and provides for a $65 payment per year for each eligible tenant. For more information and to register go to .



Pending Class Actions

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The Tenants' Project currently has four pending class actions. You can follow the links below for more information: Neither class notification nor any class payments have been ordered by the Court in any of these cases.


Case Proceedings

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Here is a link for all Tenants' Project Class Action Rulings, including both summary & declaratory judgment rulings with regard to illegal lease provisions and class certification rulings.