Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I get the Notice?

    A Court authorized the Notice because you had a right to know about the Settlement of this class action lawsuit The Notice explained the lawsuit, the Settlement and your legal rights.

    San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine A. Bacal has overseen this case. The case is known as Garvin v. San Diego Unified Port District, Case No. 37-2020-00015054-CU-MC-CTL (Cal. Sup. Court S.D.). The person who sued is called the “Plaintiff.” The Defendant is the San Diego Unified Port District (the “Port”.)

    The Settlement resolved the claims against the Port in the lawsuit.

    To view a copy of the Notice, click here.

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  2. What was this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit claimed that the Port’s Resolution 2018-065, which resumed collection of a fee originally adopted by the Port’s Ordinance 2030 and which required rental car companies to collect from their customers and remit to the Port a $3.50 Fee (the “Fee”) for each rental transaction (not per day) on Port tidelands, was an illegal and unconstitutional tax. This lawsuit asked for a refund of the Fees from the Port to persons who rented vehicles at locations in San Diego, California on Port tidelands, from May 10, 2018 to July 24, 2020, and who were assessed a $3.50 fee by the car rental companies, for each rental transaction (not per rental day), that was then remitted to the Port. The lawsuit followed other lawsuits filed by several rental car companies against the Port about the Fees. In those cases, the plaintiff rental car companies alleged that the Fee was unconstitutional. These cases are called the “Enterprise Actions.” For a full explanation of the allegations in the lawsuit, view a copy of the Class Action Complaint, which can be accessed here.

    The Port denied all of the claims in the lawsuit. The Port further contends that the claims asserted in the Class Action Complaint are not amenable to class certification. Nevertheless, given the risks, uncertainties, burden, and expense of continued litigation, the Port agreed to settle all claims alleged in the Class Action Complaint on the terms set forth in the Settlement Agreement, subject to Court approval.

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  3. Which rental car companies collected the Fee?

    The Fee was collected by virtually all rental car companies including, without limitation:

    • Advantage Rent a Car
    • Alamo Rent A Car
    • Avis Rent a Car
    • Budget Rent a Car
    • Dollar Rent a Car
    • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
    • E-Z Rent a Car
    • Fox Rent a Car
    • Green Motion
    • Hertz Car Rental
    • National Car Rental
    • Payless Car Rental
    • Sixt
    • Thrifty Car Rental
    • Zip Car
    • Pacific Rent a Car
    • Mex Rent A Car
    • Express Rent a Cheap Car
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  4. At what rental car locations were the Fees collected?

    The Fee was collected on vehicle rentals originating at locations on Port tidelands that included vehicle rentals at the San Diego International Airport and its adjacent Rental Car Center, as well as at other rental car locations on San Diego Port Tidelands.

    The Fee was collected only once per each vehicle rental transaction and was not related to the number of days the vehicle was rented.

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  5. Why was this a class action?

    In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Plaintiff Jeffrey Garvin) sued on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims. Together, all the people with similar claims (except those who exclude themselves) are members of a “Settlement Class.”

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  6. Why was there a settlement?

    The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or the Port. In the related lawsuit brought by two rental car companies, the Court issued a tentative decision declaring the fee illegal and unconstitutional. The Port continues to dispute that decision. Instead, Plaintiffs and the Port have agreed to the Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Settlement Class Members will have received the benefits described in FAQ 9. The Port denied all legal claims in this case. Plaintiff and his lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.

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  7. Who was included in the Settlement?

    If you received the Notice by email or mail, you were likely a Settlement Class Member.

    The Settlement Class included all persons who rented vehicles from car rental companies, with the rentals originating at locations in San Diego, California on Port tidelands, from the period of May 10, 2018 to July 24, 2020 and who were assessed a $3.50 fee by the car rental companies that was then remitted to the San Diego Port.

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  8. What if I am not sure whether I was included in the Settlement?

    If you are still not sure whether you were in the Settlement Class or have any other questions about the Settlement call the toll-free number, 1-855-907-2110.

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  9. What did the Settlement provide?

    The benefits provided by the Settlement were as follows:

    1. The Port paid a non-reversionary cash sum in the amount of all Fees remitted to the Port by any rental car company pursuant to Resolution 2018-065 and Ordinance 2030 and accrued interest (less the Attorneys’ Fees and Costs paid to settle the related Enterprise Actions), into the Settlement Fund. This amount is was approximately $6.6 million dollars. All Cash Awards and Settlement Costs were paid from the Settlement Fund.
    2. All Settlement Class Members who submitted a valid claim form were eligible to receive a Cash Award. The amount of each Cash Award was determined by the number of rental transactions claimed by the Settlement Class Member multiplied by $3.50.

    There was no cap on the number of rentals each Settlement Class Member could have submitted in their claim for reimbursement out of the Settlement Fund. However, any Settlement Class Member who claimed to have paid the Fee of $3.50 more than six times (i.e., claims more than $21) must have done so under penalty of perjury, and any Settlement Class Member who claimed to have paid the Fee of $3.50 more than 20 times (i.e., claims more than $70) must have provided evidence in support of their claim.

    If any funds are unclaimed or remain unused after the distribution and payment of all Settlement Costs, they will be transferred to the San Diego Association of Governments (“SANDAG”) to use to improve ingress and egress at the Consolidated Rental Car Center at the San Diego International Airport. If, for any reason, the Parties or the Court determines that this recipient is no longer appropriate, the Parties will agree on replacement recipients, subject to Court approval. If there is no agreement, Class Counsel will move for Court approval of appropriate recipients.

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  10. How do I file a claim?

    If you qualifed for a Cash Award you must have completed and submitted a valid claim form. The deadline to file a claim online was 11:59 p.m. PST on October 20, 2020. Pursuant to an order of the Court, claims submitted on or before 11:59 p.m. PST November 2, 2020 were also be considered for inclusion within the Settlement.

    Claim Forms submitted by mail must have been postmarked on or before October 20, 2020. Pursuant to an order of the Court, claims postmarked on or before November 2, 2020 were also considered for inclusion within the Settlement.

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  11. When will I receive my payment?

    The Settlement Administrator has issued payments to those who submitted qualifying claim forms. If you selected that you wanted to receive a digital payment, be sure to check your email inbox. Otherwise, if you selected the check payment, then a check should have been mailed to the address which you provided.

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  12. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was October 20, 2020. That date has now passed and it is no longer possible to exclude yourself from the Settlement

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  13. If I didn’t exclude myself, can I sue Port for the same thing later?

    No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up any right to sue the Port for legal claims that the Settlement resolves. If you start your own lawsuit, you will have to hire your own lawyer, and you will have to prove your claims.

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  14. What did I give up to stay in the Settlement Class?

    Unless you excluded yourself from the Settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against the Port or other Released Parties about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or other legal proceeding. Unless you excluded yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court related to the Settlement will bind you. If you filed a claim form or did nothing at all, you released the Port and other Released Parties from all of the claims described and identified in Section XIII of the Settlement Agreement.

    To view a copy of the Settlement Agreement, click here. The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the releases and describes the released claims, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firm representing the Class listed in FAQ 16, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the released claims or what they mean.

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  15. If I excluded myself, can I still receive a payment?

    No. You will not get a payment from the Settlement Fund if you excluded yourself from the Settlement because you are no longer included in the Settlement Class.

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  16. Did I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has appointed the law firm of Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes, LLP to represent all members of the Settlement Class.Their contact information is as follows:

    Helen I. Zeldes
    Ben Travis
    501 W. Broadway
    Suite 800
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Call 1-619-400-4990

    You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you wanted to be represented by another lawyer, you would have had to hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.

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  17. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Class Counsel requested an award of attorneys’ fees up to 20% of the total Settlement Fund, reflecting the substantial work they have done on behalf of the named Plaintiff and the Settlement Class Members, in addition to a reasonable amount to reimburse them for the costs they have incurred. The Court decided the amount of fees and expenses to award.

    Class Counsel also requested that a Service Award of $5,000 be paid from the Settlement Fund to the Class Representative for his service on behalf of the whole Settlement Class.

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

    The deadline to object to the Settlement was October 20, 2020. The date has now past and it is no longer possible to object to the Settlement. Back To Top

  19. What’s the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to a Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from it. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to a Settlement because you will not be part of the settling class.

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

    The Court held a hearing and decided to approve the Settlement and any requests for fees and expenses (“Final Approval Hearing”).

    The Court held a Final Approval Hearing for the Settlement in late November in Department 69 of the San Diego Superior Court, Central Division, Hall of Justice 330 West Broadway San Diego, CA 92101. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court considered and determined the Settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate, ruled on Objections to the Settlement, determined the attorneys’ fees, costs award and the service award to the Class Representative, and determined a Judgment to approve the Settlement should be entered.

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  21. Did I have to attend the hearing?

    No. Class Counsel answered any questions the Court may have had. However, you were welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you sent an objection, you did not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, to the proper address, and it complied with the other requirements set forth in FAQ 18, the Court considered it. You could have paid your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it was not necessary.

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  22. May I speak at the hearing?

    The opportunity to speak at a hearing has passed. The Court held a Final Approval hearing in late November and approved the Settlement. More details about the Court’s decision can be found in the Final Approval Order.

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  23. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you did nothing, you will receive no benefits from the Settlement.

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  24. How do I get more information?

    This website and the Notice summarize the Settlement. More details can be found in the Settlement Agreement. You can obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement and other Settlement related documents on the Important Documents page of this website. You may also contact the Settlement Administrator with questions by calling the toll-free number 1-855-907-2110, or writing to:

    Garvin Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 3607
    Portland, OR 97208-3607

    Do not contact the San Diego Unified Port District or the Court for information.

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