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ATTENTION

Applied Materials, Inc. Welfare Plan Participants and Beneficiaries:

A Settlement Agreement May Affect Your Rights, this is not a solicitation from a lawyer:

  • The parent of an individual with an autism spectrum disorder (“Autism”) sued the Applied Materials, Inc. Welfare Plan (the “Plan” or “Defendant”) in a putative class action lawsuit: Stewart v. Applied Materials, Inc. Welfare Plan. The individual (called “Named Plaintiff”) seeks Plan coverage for speech therapy to treat Autism without age
  • Named Plaintiff and Defendant have reached a settlement agreement in which Defendant will (1) reimburse eligible Plan participants and beneficiaries for medically-necessary speech therapy to treat Autism that meets certain requirements received between June 12, 2011 through December 31, 2015 (the “Class Period”); and (2) pay $70,520 to reimburse Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees, costs, and other expenses (the "Agreement"). You may have the right to file a claim for unpaid or unreimbursed speech therapy received during the Class Period. A claim form with instructions is enclosed.
  • The District COurt for the Northern District of California has granted preliminary approval of the Agreement. This notice has been ordered to be provided to all potential Class Members.

Your Legal Rights In This Lawsuit

You may comment on the proposed Agreement - You have the right to comment on, object to or support the proposed Agreement. The Court will decide whether to approve or reject the proposed Agreement after a Final Hearing currently scheduled for July 13, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. The hearing will be held at the United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102, Courtroom 9 – 19th Floor. You may submit written comments or objections that you wish to be considered by the Court no later than May 19, 2019. You should not call the Court.

You may make a claim - if you were a participant or neneficiary under the Plan and incurred costs that were unpaid or reimbursed for speech therapy to treat Autism at any time between June 12, 2011 and December 31, 2015. Claims must be submitted by May 19, 2017. A claim form is in cluded with this notice.

You may do nothing - You do not need to take any action to receive coverage for qualifying, medically=necessary speech therapy under the Plan beginning on January 1, 2016. If the settlement is approved, any claims you have against Defendant or Applied Materials regarding insurance coverage for speech therapy to treat Autism will be released.

You may ask to be excluded - You can exclude yourself from the lawsuit. The Court has certified two classes for settlement purposes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) ("Rule 23(b)(3)"). A class member may opt out of a Rule 23(b)(3) class. To opt out, you must notify the Class Adminiistrator by May 19, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why did I get this notice?

You are receiving this notice because you (or a member of your family) are or were a participant or beneficiary in the Plan and made a claim for any type of treatment for Autism provided since June 12, 2011. You are not a class member simply because you got this notice. Only individuals who have received medically-necessary speech therapy to treat Autism during the Class Period can be “Class Members.” A complete definition of the classes appears in the Agreement, which is available at www.kantorlaw.net/AppliedMaterials. If you did NOT receive Speech Therapy to treat Autism, then you are NOT in the Class and you may disregard this notice.

2. What is a Class Action, and who is involved?

In a Class Action lawsuit, an individual or entity (the “Named Plaintiff”) sues individuals or entities (“Defendant[s]”) on behalf of him- or herself and others (“Class” or “Class Members”) who may have a similar claim. In a Class Action lawsuit, one Court makes decisions on behalf of everyone in the Class. In this lawsuit, the Named Plaintiff is the parent of a child with an Autism diagnosis. You and the other people receiving this notice may be Class Members.

3. What is this lawsuit about?

In the lawsuit, the Named Plaintiff claims that Defendant illegally excluded coverage of medically necessary speech therapy to treat Autism for children age 6 and older and after a participant or beneficiary exceeded 60 speech therapy visits in a calendar year. She alleges that these exclusions violated the Plan and the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (“Federal Mental Health Parity Act”). Defendant denied all claims, and denied violation of the Plan terms or the Federal Mental Health Parity Act.

4. What does the proposed Settlement Agreement provide?

The main points of the Agreement are described below. You are encouraged to review the entire proposed Agreement, which is available at www.Kantorlaw.net/AppliedMaterials. To be effective, the Court must approve the Agreement.

  • Claims Process for Unpaid and Unreimbursed Speech Therapy to Treat Autism

A Class Member (through his or her parents and/or legal guardian if under 18) will be eligible for payment from the Plan upon submission of a claim form (which is provided, with instructions, as part of this class notice).

That contains the following six items:

1. the member’s DSM diagnosis, who made the diagnosis, and the date of diagnosis;

2. the date(s) of speech therapy treatment (month/year);

3. the names of provider(s) of the speech therapy as well as addresses and phone numbers, if available;

4. the unreimbursed or unpaid charges or debt incurred with that treatment;

5. verification that the speech therapy was medically necessary;

6. verification that the claimant was a Plan participant or beneficiary at the time the speech therapy was provided.

To be entitled to reimbursement, the charges must be documented with some evidence of payment(s) or obligation, such as (but not limited to) cancelled checks, credit card account statements, checking account statements, provider ledgers or signed letters from the provider or the provider’s employer documenting the amount paid or debt incurred (so long as the letter clearly connects payments/debt with speech therapy service dates by at least the month/year).

A Class Member is entitled to reimbursement even if no claim was made to the Plan or a claim was made but denied on the basis of the age of the patient or the number of prior speech therapy treatments received that year. A Claims Processor will review the claims to confirm that the requisite items are on the claim form. The Claims Processor must provide a CLass Member with a deficient claim form an opportunity to cure any problems with the claim, and Class Counsel is empowered to assist the Class Member in making any claim.

  • Attorneys' Fees and Costs - Under the proposed Agreement, Class Counsel will receive $70,520 to compensate for time and expenses incurred in the litigation. You are permitted to review, object to, or support Class Counsel’s fees in connection with any comment on the Agreement. Alternatively, you may write or email Class Counsel and request information from them.
  • Claims Release - Class Members will release Defendant and Applied Materials, Inc. from any and all claims related to speech therapy to treat Autism that were or could have been brought in the lawsuit. This means that if you have any actual or potential claims arising out of Defendant’s alleged failure to pay for speech therapy to treat Autism, unless you opt out, those claims will be resolved as part of the Agreement, and your right to payment for any damages related to speech therapy coverage will be governed exclusively by the Agreement.

5. Can I opt-out?

Yes. If you opt-out you will not receive any benefits under the Agreement but you also will not release your claims against Defendant or Applied Materials, Inc. To opt-out, you must notify the Class Administrator that you have decided not to participate in the Settlement by May 19, 2017 by mailing notification to: Applied Materials, Inc. Welfare Plan Class Administrator Nickerson & Associates P.O. Box 2926 Seattle, WA 98111.

6. How can I respond to the proposed Settlement Agreement?

  • You May Comment on, Object to, or Support the Proposed Agreement.

You can ask the Court to deny approval by filing an objection. You can’t ask the Court to order a larger or different settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the settlement. If the Court denies approval, no relief will be awarded to the class and the lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

You may object to the proposed settlement in writing. You may also appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number (Stewart v. Applied Materials, Case Number 3:15-cv02632-JST), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Class Action Clerk, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, or by mailing them to the Claims Processor at the address listed below, and (c) be filed or postmarked on or before May 19, 2017.

The Court will hold a hearing on the proposed Agreement to consider comments and approve or reject the Agreement.

  • The Court currently has scheduled a hearing for July 13, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. The Court is located at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California, 94102, Courtroom 9 – 19th Floor (Hon. Judge Tigar presiding). The hearing date, time, and location can change without further notice. Please contact Class Counsel if you want to confirm the date and time of the hearing as that date approaches.

You are not required to attend the hearing, and you are not required to be present to submit comments for consideration. All comments on the Agreement, however, must be submitted in advance of the hearing to the address listed below. You may attend the hearing, and may choose to bring a legal representative if you wish and at your own expense.

You must provide notice if you plan to come to the hearing, or if you object to, wish to comment on, or formally support the Agreement by June 13, 2017.

  • Address to Comment on, Object to, or Support the Proposed Agreement

If you choose to submit written comments or appear at the Court hearing, your letter must be received no later than June 13, 2017 and must be mailed to:

The Applied Materials, Inc. Welfare Plan Settlement Claims Processor
Nickerson & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 2926
Seattle, WA 98111

Class Counsel will file your comments with the Court. Class Members should not attempt to call the Court.

7. What happens if I do nothing at all?

You are not required to do anything related to this lawsuit. You may still be eligible for speech therapy coverage as described in the response to Question #4 in this FAQ.

Regardless of whether you submit a claim, if the Court approves the settlement, any claims you have against Defendant or Applied Materials, Inc. regarding speech therapy to treat Autism that could have been brought in this lawsuit will be released unless you opt-out.

8. Where can I get more information?

For information about your rights related to the lawsuit, you may call or write Class Counsel:

Glenn Kantor or Lisa Kantor
Kantor & Kantor, LLP
19839 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91324
Tel. (818) 886-2525
Email: gkantor@kantorlaw.net or lkantor@kantorlaw.net

You may request from Class Counsel copies of any of the documents in this matter, including the motion for preliminary approval of the Agreement, which details the settlement and explains why approval is being requested:

  1. Claim Forms and Instructions
  2. Class Action Settlement Agreement
  3. Court Order Granting Preliminary Class Action Settlement Agreement and Certifying Classes

Contact or call us today at (818) 886-2525

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Client Testimonials

  • You have restored my faith in the goodness of people!

    “Thank you Glenn for accepting my case. I had all but given up on finding an attorney that was willing to take this case, and although you may not remember, I enclosed a note to you when I sent my [ins. co.] file asking you to please help me. You did that sir, and I can't thank you enough. My thanks to you Corinne for pursuing my case with vigor. I don't know much about how these legal things are handled, but I could tell by your communications with me, making sure I was always informed, that you were on top of it all. Also, you were ALWAYS available to me to answer questions, and your compassion for me and my situation is so much appreciated. I have had limited exposure to the legal system and attorneys, but I have never been able to just call and talk to them, as I could with you. I always had to speak with someone in the office that couldn't really answer my questions. My sincerest thanks and best wishes for you both You have restored my faith in the goodness of people!”

    Dick H.

  • Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information.

    “Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information. You've helped me understand my position with my disability insurance and payments so much better. There is some real comfort in feeling anchored in knowledge…of what is and what might be in the future. Thanks to you!”

    B.

  • Thank God for Kantor & Kantor.

    “Thank God for Kantor & Kantor and Denise Anderson. I appreciate everything you do!”

    Stephen Schaffer

  • there are no words that can express the feelings of gratitude and relief I have that you helped us

    “I wanted to thank you again for all of your help. My daughter would not be in treatment without your help. I can never thank you enough, there are no words that can express the feelings of gratitude and relief I have that you helped us, and I believe saved my little girl. Taking her back to Timberline Knolls was very difficult in many ways, I wish UBH could know the damage they have done to her by having her go in and out like this. When she went into Timberline Knolls the first time she was not happy to go exactly, no one wants to go into treatment, but she was open to going in and ready, for the first time, to really look at her issues and work hard to get better. When she had to leave Timberline she expressed that she wished she could have stayed because she felt like she was finally at a place where she was getting better and, though it was hard, she was really opening up and dealing with her issues for the first time, something she has had a hard time doing. I just wanted you to know that she was going down to a really bad place and without you I don't know what would have happened except that she would not be at Timberline Knolls right now getting better and I thought you should know this. With unending gratitude.”

    R.

  • I won the appeal.

    “Hi Glenn- This is a very belated thank you for your generous assistance and advice last summer, when I was appealing UBH's decision for my son. I won the appeal, at least for care at the partial hospitalization level (they wouldn't budge on residential, but the facility was accepting the partial care reimbursement for residential treatment). But the appeal was a great moral victory, and I think it's a great thing to have in the record, just in case he needs to go for treatment again. Thanks again for your generous help, I was very grateful for it. Wishing you a most happy Thanksgiving.”

    Terry S.