Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why did I get a Notice?

    The Court authorized the Notice because you have the right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your rights and options before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

    The Honorable Laura Inveen of the Superior Court of the State of Washington in and for King County is overseeing this class action. The case is known as Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA (consolidated with Case No. 17-2-25052-0 SEA) (the “Action”). The people who filed this lawsuit are called the “Plaintiffs,” and the university they sued, Washington State University, is called the “Defendant.”

    To view a copy of the Notice, click here.

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    On or about June 9, 2017, WSU announced that in April 2017, a hard drive containing a backup of WSU’s Social & Economic Sciences Research Center’s (“SESRC”) server had been stolen from a storage unit at Quality Self Storage in Olympia, Washington (the “Security Incident”). The hard drive contained Personal Information of over a million individuals. The parties dispute whether the Personal Information on the hard drive has been disclosed to the public or accessed by unauthorized individuals.

    The Plaintiffs claim that Defendant failed to protect adequately their Personal Information and that they were injured as a result. Defendant denies any wrongdoing, and no court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any wrongdoing or that the Defendant violated the law. Defendant denies these and all other claims made in the Action. By entering into the Settlement, the Defendant is not admitting that it did anything wrong.

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  3. Why is this a class action?

    In a class action, one or more people called the "Class Representatives" sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. Together all of these people are called a "class" or "class members". One court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those class members who ask to be excluded from the class.

    The Settlement Class Representatives in this case are Sarah Armon, Abhi Sheth, Landon Thurman, and Dale Dean.

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  4. Why is there a settlement?

    The Settlement Class Representatives and the Defendant do not agree about the claims made in this Action. The Action has not gone to trial and the Court has not decided in favor of the Settlement Class Representatives or the Defendant. Instead, the Settlement Class Representatives and the Defendant have agreed to settle the Action. The Settlement Class Representatives and the attorneys for the Settlement Class (“Class Counsel”) believe the Settlement is best for all Settlement Class Members because of the risks and uncertainty associated with continued litigation and the nature of the defenses raised by the Defendant.

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  5. How do I know if I am a part of the Settlement?

    If you received a postcard notice of this Settlement, you have been identified by the Claims Administrator as a Settlement Class Member. More specifically, you are a Settlement Class Member, and you are affected by this Settlement, if you were mailed a notice from WSU in or around June 2017 concerning the Security Incident.

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  6. Are there exceptions to being included in the Settlement?

    Yes, the Settlement does not include the Defendant, any entity in which the Defendant has a controlling interest, and the Defendant’s officers, directors, legal representatives, successors, subsidiaries, and assigns; any judge, justice, or judicial officer presiding over this matter and the members of their immediate families and judicial staff; and any individual who timely and validly requests to be excluded from the Settlement Class.

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  7. What if I am still not sure whether I am part of the Settlement?

    If you are still not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, you may call the Claims Administrator’s toll-free number at 1-855-456-5222, or write to the Claims Administrator at the address below:

    Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA
    c/o WSU Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 6727
    Portland, OR 97228-6727

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  8. What does the Settlement provide?

    The Settlement will provide Settlement Class Members with the following benefits:

    • Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services;
    • Cash payment for reimbursement of documented Out-of-Pocket Costs;
    • Cash payment for Lost Time; and
    • Certain remedial measures and enhanced security measures that WSU will or has taken as a result of this Action.
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  9. I never gave WSU my information. How did they get it?

    The stolen hard drive contained documents that included personal information from studies and evaluations conducted by WSU’s Social & Economic Sciences Research Center. Public agencies regularly contract with the SESRC to evaluate their programs and services. These agencies include school districts, colleges and other customers. As one example, school districts may provide student information to the SESRC for use in studies of their educational system – such as to monitor and analyze performance, to provide predictive testing, to assist with student aid administration, or to improve instruction. Additionally, in some cases, data sets provided by agencies were used for longitudinal studies that ran over the course of several years. Federal law permits these public agencies to share personally identifiable information with the SESRC so that it can conduct these studies.

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  10. Tell me more about the Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services.

    Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services helps protect you from unauthorized use of your personal information. If you already have credit monitoring services, you may still sign up for this additional protection. The Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services provided by this Settlement are separate from, and in addition to, the one year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection offered by WSU in 2017. You are eligible to make a Claim for the Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services being offered through this Settlement even if you did not sign up for the previous services.

    Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services are being provided by Identity Guard. These Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services include:

    • Three bureau credit monitoring providing notice of certain changes to your profile;
    • Authentication Alerts when someone attempts to make a change to your personal account information within Identity Guard’s network;
    • High Risk Transaction Alerts to provide notice of high-risk transactions including but not limited to account takeovers, wire transfers, tax refunds, payday loan applications, and cell service applications;
    • Dark Web Monitoring providing notification if your Social Security number, credit card numbers, financial account numbers, health insurance number, and more are found on the Dark Web;
    • Threat Alerts powered by IBM's Watson providing proactive alerts about potential threats relevant to you found by IBM's Watson AI (for example, breaches, phishing scams, and malware vulnerabilities);
    • Customer Support and victim assistance provided by Identity Guard;
    • Up to $1 million dollars reimbursement insurance from AIG covering losses due to identity theft with stolen funds reimbursement and $1 million dollars identity theft insurance;
    • Anti-phishing & safe Apps for iOS & Android Mobile devices; and
    • Safe browsing software for PC & Mac to help protect your computer against malicious content with an add-on for your Safari, Chrome, and Firefox web browsers that delivers proactive malware protection by blocking various malware delivery channels including phishing, malvertisements, and Flash, as well as blocks content and tracking cookies to help protect personal information.

    More information about the Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services being provided by Identity Guard through this Settlement is available at www.identityguard.com/wsudatabreachsettlement.

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  11. Tell me more about the cash payments for reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Costs.

    If you spent money remedying or addressing identity theft and fraud that was plausibly connected to the Security Incident, or you spent money on protection from future harm because of the Security Incident, you may make a Claim for reimbursement of up to $5,000.00 in Out-of-Pocket Costs.

    Out-of-Pocket Costs consist of unreimbursed losses and consequential expenses that were incurred between June 9, 2017, and September 17, 2019, that were related to identity theft and fraud and are plausibly connected to the Security Incident, as well as any expenses related to the identity theft or fraud. Examples include: (1) late fees, declined payment fees, overdraft fees, returned check fees, customer service fees, card cancellation or replacement fees, (2) credit-related costs associated with purchasing credit reports, credit monitoring or identity theft protection, (3) costs to place a freeze or alert on credit reports, and (4) costs to replace a driver’s license, state identification card, or a Social Security number. Other losses or costs plausibly connected to the Security Incident may also be eligible for reimbursement.

    Claims for cash payments for Out-of-Pocket Costs must be supported by Reasonable Documentation. Reasonable Documentation means written documents supporting your Claim, such as credit card statements, bank statements, invoices, telephone records, and receipts.

    Individual cash Out-of-Pocket Payments may be reduced pro rata depending on the number of Class Members that participate in the Settlement.

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  12. Tell me more about the cash payments for Lost Time.

    If you spent time remedying or addressing issues plausibly connected to the Security Incident, including time spent on identity fraud, theft, fraud, bank fees, card cancellations, credit card fees, late fees, declined payment fees, overdraft fees, returned check fees, customer service fees, card cancellation or replacement fees, credit-related costs associated with purchasing credit reports, credit monitoring, or identity theft protection, placing a freeze or alert on credit reports, and replacing a driver’s license, state identification card, or Social Security number, you may make a Claim for a cash payment of $15.00 per hour for up to three hours of time (up to $45.00).

    You are not required to provide Reasonable Documentation with your Claim Form to receive a Lost Time Payment. To receive a Lost Time Payment, you will be required to state the actual time spent remedying issues plausibly connected to the Security Incident, and swear that the information you are providing is “true and accurate under penalty of perjury.”

    Individual cash Lost Time Payments may be reduced pro rata depending on the number of Settlement Class Members that participate in the Settlement.

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  13. Tell me more about the Defendant’s remedial measures and enhanced security measures.

    As a result of the Action, Defendant has provided notice to Settlement Class Members of the Security Incident, including offering two years of credit monitoring services; completed an investigation into the cause and scope of the Security Incident, including, but not limited to, investigation of the back-up policies for the servers involved in the Security Incident; completed remediation of the vulnerabilities related to the Security Incident; and instituted policies, procedures, and additional security-related remedial measures.

    For more information, please see the Settlement Agreement, available here.

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  14. What am I giving up to get a Settlement payment or stay in the Settlement Class?

    Unless you ask to be excluded, you are choosing to remain in the Settlement Class. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. You will not be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant and related parties about the legal issues in this Action, resolved by this Settlement, and released by the Class Action Settlement Agreement and Release. The specific rights you are giving up are called Released Claims (see FAQ 15).

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  15. What are the Released Claims?

    In exchange for the Settlement, Settlement Class Members agree to release Defendant, its Related Entities, and each of their past or present divisions, and related or affiliated entities, and each of their respective predecessors, successors, directors, regents, officers, employees, principals, agents, attorneys, insurers, and reinsurers (“Released Persons”) from any and all claims and causes of action including, without limitation, any causes of action under Washington State’s and similar state consumer protection statutes, including Chapter 19.86, et seq.; Chapter 19.25 RCW, et seq.; Chapter 42.56 RCW, et seq.; Chapter 42.48 RCW, et seq.; negligence; negligence per se; breach of contract; breach of implied contract; breach of fiduciary duty; breach of confidence; invasion of privacy; misrepresentation (whether fraudulent, negligent or innocent); unjust enrichment; bailment; wantonness; failure to provide adequate notice pursuant to any breach notification statute or common law duty; and including, but not limited to, any and all claims for damages, injunctive relief, disgorgement, declaratory relief, equitable relief, attorneys’ fees and expenses, pre-judgment interest, credit monitoring services, the creation of a fund for future damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, special damages, exemplary damages, restitution, the appointment of a receiver, and any other form of relief that either has been asserted, or could have been asserted (including, but not limited to, assigned claims and any and all “Unknown Claims”), by any Settlement Class Member against any of the Released Persons based on, relating to, concerning, or arising out of the Security Incident and alleged theft of personal information or the allegations, facts, or circumstances described in the Litigation. Released Claims shall not include the right of any Settlement Class Member or any of the Released Persons to enforce the terms of the Settlement, and shall not include the claims of Successful Opt-Outs.

    The Released Claims do not include claims against any person who committed the criminal acts involved in the Security Incident and persons or entities that intentionally misuse the Personal Information stolen in the Security Incident for unlawful purposes.

    More information is provided in the Class Action Settlement Agreement and Release, which is available here.

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  16. How do I make a Claim for Settlement Benefits?

    You must complete and submit a Claim Form by September 17, 2019. You may file a Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services, Out-of-Pocket Costs, and Lost Time.

    Claim Forms may be submitted online here, or downloaded and printed here, and mailed to the Claims Administrator at the address on the form. Claim Forms are also available by calling 1-855-456-5222 or by writing to Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA, c/o WSU Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 6727, Portland, OR 97228-6727. The quickest way to file a Claim is online.

    If you received a Notice by mail, use your Unique ID to file your Claim Form. If you lost or do not know your Unique ID, please write to the Claims Administrator at the address above to obtain it.

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  17. How do I make a Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services?

    If you received a Notice in the mail, you may use the Claim Form provided to file a Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services. Simply provide your email address, tear the Claim Form at the perforation, and place it in the mail on or before September 17, 2019. If you prefer not to provide your email address on the tear-away Claim Form mailed to you, you may instead submit a Claim Form online, here, or download and mail a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator.

    Instructions for filling out a Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services are included on the Claim Form. You may access the Claim Form on the Important Documents page of this website.

    The deadline to file a Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services is September 17, 2019.

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  18. How do I make a Claim for a cash payment for reimbursement of my documented Out-of-Pocket Costs?

    To file a Claim for a cash payment of up to $5,000.00 for reimbursement of documented Out-of-Pockets Costs, you must submit a valid Claim Form electing to receive a payment for documented Out-of-Pockets Costs. The Claim Form requires that you sign the attestation regarding the information you provided and that you include Reasonable Documentation, such as credit card statements, bank statements, invoices, telephone records, and receipts.

    Instructions for filling out a Claim for documented Out-of-Pocket Costs are included on the Claim Form. You may access the Claim Form online here or on the Important Documents page of this website.

    The deadline to file a Claim for documented Out-of-Pocket Costs is September 17, 2019.

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  19. How do I make a Claim for a cash payment for Lost Time?

    To file a Claim for a cash payment of up to 3 hours of Lost Time, at $15.00 per hour (up to $45.00 total), for time spent remedying or addressing issues plausibly connected to the Security Incident, you must submit a valid Claim Form electing to receive a payment for Lost Time. The Claim Form requires that you sign the attestation regarding the information you provided.

    Instructions for filling out a Claim for Lost Time are included on the Claim Form. You may access the Claim Form online here or on the Important Documents page of this website.

    You may file a Claim for Lost Time in addition to Claims for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services and documented Out-of-Pocket Costs.

    The deadline to file a Claim for Lost Time is September 17, 2019.

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  20. What happens if my contact information changes after I submit a Claim?

    If you change your mailing address or email address after you submit a Claim Form, it is your responsibility to inform the Claims Administrator of your updated information. You may notify the Claims Administrator of any changes by writing to:

    Armon et al. v. Washington Sate University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA
    c/o WSU Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 6727
    Portland, OR 97228-6727

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  21. When and how will I receive the benefits I Claim from the Settlement?

    If you make a valid Claim for Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services, Identity Guard will send you information on how to activate your credit monitoring within sixty (60) days of the date the Settlement becomes final (the “Effective Date”) or within thirty (30) days of the date the Claim is approved, whichever is later.

    Checks for valid Claims for documented Out-of-Pocket Costs and Lost Time will be provided by the Claims Administrator via mail within sixty (60) days of the date the Settlement becomes final (the “Effective Date”) or within thirty (30) days of the date the Claim is approved, whichever is later. The approval process may take longer than one year. Please be patient and check this website for updates.

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  22. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Yes, the Court has appointed Michael K. Rhodes of Mix Sanders Thompson PLLC, Kim D. Stephens and James Bulthuis of Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC, Rachel R. Bender of Bender Law, PLLC, and Tina Wolfson of Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC, as Class Counsel to represent you and the Settlement Class for the purposes of this Settlement. You may hire your own lawyer at your own cost and expense if you want someone other than Class Counsel to represent you in this Action.

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  23. How will Class Counsel be paid?

    Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award them attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses of $806,194.00. They will also ask the Court to approve $2,500.00 Service Payments to each of the four Settlement Class Representatives for participating in this Action and for their efforts in achieving the Settlement. If awarded, these amounts will be paid by Defendant. The Court may award less than these amounts.

    Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and Service Awards will be made available at this website on the Important Documents page before the deadline for you to comment or object to the Settlement. You can request a copy of the application by contacting the Claims Administrator at the address below:

    Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA
    c/o WSU Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 6727
    Portland, OR 97228-6727

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  24. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member and want to keep any right you may have to sue or continue to sue the Defendant on your own based on the claims raised in this Action or released by the Released Claims, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called asking to be excluded from–or “opting out” of–the Settlement.

    To ask to be excluded from the Settlement, you must complete and sign a request for exclusion. The request for exclusion must be in writing and:

    • Identify the case name Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA;
    • State the name, address, and telephone number of the Settlement Class Members seeking exclusion;
    • Be physically signed by the Person(s) seeking exclusion; and
    • Must also contain a statement to the effect that “I/We hereby request to be excluded from the proposed Settlement Class in Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA.”

    A valid request for exclusion requires you to state your full name, current mailing address, and telephone number; be physically signed by you; and contain a statement to the effect that “I hereby request to be excluded from the proposed Settlement Class in Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA.”

    The request for exclusion must be postmarked or received by the Claims Administrator at the address below no later than August 19, 2019:

    Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA
    c\o WSU Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 6727
    Portland, OR 97228-6727

    You cannot ask to be excluded by telephone, or email.

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  25. If I ask to be excluded, can I still get Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services and a Settlement payment?

    No. If you ask to be excluded, you are telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. You can only get free Credit Monitoring and Insurance Services and a cash payment if you stay in the Settlement and submit a valid Claim Form.

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  26. If I do not ask to be excluded, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?

    No. Unless you ask to be excluded, you give up any right to sue the Defendant and Released Parties for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must ask to be excluded from this Action to start or continue with your own lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant or any of the Released Parties. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.

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  27. How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can tell the Court that you do not agree with all or any part of the Settlement. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. To object, you must mail a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA. Be sure to include

    1. your full name, current mailing address, and telephone number;
    2. a signed statement that you believe you are a member of the Settlement Class;
    3. the specific reasons you are objecting to the Settlement;
    4. all documents or writings that you wish the Court to consider; and
    5. a statement indicating whether you or your attorney intends to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing.

    Mail your objection to the addresses listed below, postmarked by August 19, 2019:


    Court WSU Claims Administrator
    King County Superior Court
    516 Third Avenue
    Room C-203
    Seattle, WA 98104
    Armon et al. v. Washington State University,
    Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA
    c/o WSU Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 6727
    Portland, OR 97228-6727
    Class Counsel Defense Counsel
    Rachel Bender
    Bender Law PLLC
    1001 Fourth Avenue
    Suite 3200
    Seattle, WA 98154
    Casie Collignon
    Baker & Hostetler LLP
    1801 California Street
    Suite 4400
    Denver, Colorado 80202-2662
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  28. What is the difference between objecting and requesting exclusion?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class (that is, do not ask to be excluded). Requesting exclusion is telling the Court you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class or the Settlement. If you ask to be excluded, you cannot object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.

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  29. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on October 25, 2019, at 9:00 a.m., before the Honorable Laura Inveen of the Superior Court of the State of Washington in and for King County, Courtroom W-864, Department 48, 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104.

    At this Final Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and decide whether to approve the Settlement; Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses; and the Service Payments to the Settlement Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will also listen to people who have asked to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing.

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  30. Do I have to come to the Final Fairness Hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to attend 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 mail your written objection on time the Court will consider it.

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  31. May I speak at the Final Fairness Hearing?

    Yes. If you wish to attend and speak at the Final Fairness Hearing, you must indicate this in your written objection (see FAQ 27). Your objection must state that it is your intention to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing and must identify any witnesses you may call to testify or exhibits you intend to introduce into evidence at the Final Fairness Hearing. If you plan to have your attorney speak for you at the Final Fairness Hearing, your objection must also include your attorney’s name, address, and phone number.

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  32. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member and you do nothing, you will not receive any Settlement benefits. You will also give up rights explained in FAQ 14 and FAQ 15, including your right to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendant or any of the Released Parties about the legal issues in this Action and released by the Settlement Agreement.

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  33. How do I get more information?

    This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. Complete details are provided in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement and other related documents are available on this website on the Important Documents page, by calling 1-855-456-5222, or by writing to Armon et al. v. Washington State University, Case No. 17-2-23244-1 SEA, c/o WSU Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 6727, Portland, OR 97228-6727. Publicly filed documents can also be obtained by visiting the office of the Clerk of the King County Superior Court or reviewing the Court’s online docket.

    If you have questions you may email Class Counsel at info@WSUSettlement.com or contact them at the addresses listed below:

    Mix Sanders Thompson, PLLC
    1420 Fifth Avenue
    Suite 2200
    Seattle, WA 98101
    Bender Law, PLLC
    c/o WSU Security Incident Settlement
    1001 Fourth Ave, Suite 3200
    Seattle, WA 98154
    Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC
    c/o WSU Security Incident Settlement
    1700 Seventh Ave, Suite 2200
    Seattle, WA 98101-4416
    Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC
    c/o WSU Security Incident Settlement
    8424 Santa Monica Boulevard, #575
    West Hollywood, CA 90069

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THIS SETTLEMENT. THE COURT CANNOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.

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