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Texas law makes it clear utilities cannot sneak hidden fees into utility bills, as Greystar Water Utility recently discovered during a class action lawsuit.
Both parties have agreed to a settlement for a class action lawsuit that asserts Greystar Management Services LP and Riverstone Residential Group debased Texas Water Code and Texas Administrative Code by charging Texas residents at specified apartment complexes incorrect water and sewer fees. You can discover the complete list of the defendants at the class action settlement website www.GreystarWaterUtilitySettlement.com.
Primary plaintiff Justin Regehr initiated the Greystar class action lawsuit on June 11, 2015. According to court documents, Regehr claimed Greystar inaccurately charged a utility connection, activation and new account fee for the establishment of water and sewer services. The class action lawsuit claimed the connection fee cost Regehr $12.50, which the lead plaintiff insists is a fee illegal under Texas consumer protection law. During negotiations to reach a class action settlement, Regehr presented his lease, which demonstrated Greystar did not have the legal authority to assess the fees in question
Greystar has agreed to create a settlement fund worth $2.7 million, which the company will use to pay eligible class members, as well as court costs and attorney fees. Regehr also receives an incentive fee for bringing the case to court. Greystar continues to deny the assertions made in the class action lawsuit. However, the company has agreed to the settlement to avoid paying the costs associated with protracted litigation.
What You Need To Know
Class counsel has stated that eligible class members “include all current and former residential tenants at certain properties who, since June 2011, were residential tenants at a property in which Greystar served as owner, landlord or manager, and/or SFV Cantebrea was the legal titleholder, and who were charged and paid the fees at dispute in the Greystar class action lawsuit.” Class members have until August 18, 2017 to opt out of the settlement or dispute any provision in the agreement. Class counsel estimates the potential award will be around $14.50 for every qualified household.
The class action settlement does not require eligible class members to submit claim forms. Anyone who chooses not to opt out of the class action settlement can expect a financial award. The judge presiding over the case formally called Justin Regehr v. Greystar Management Services LP, et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-00051-SS, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division has scheduled the final hearing on September 1, 2017. Class members can find out what transpired during the final hearing by visiting the class action website. Four law firms have at least one attorney litigating for eligible class members. The defense counsel consists of Michael A. Logan from the law firm Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC.