Outcome: $44,530,000 Settlement
Largest collective settlements obtained against the predatory online tribal lending industry
2022: Darlene Gibbs, et al., v. Mike Stinson, et al. (No.: 3:18-cv-676) and Darlene Gibbs, et al. v. Elevate Credit, Inc. (No.: 3:20-cv-632) in the Eastern District of Virginia
2020: Gibbs et al. v. TCV V, L.P. et al., Case No.: 3:19-cv-00789 in the Eastern District of Virginia, $50,050,000.00 settlement and the cancellation of approximately $383,000,000.00 in debt
2019: In Re: Think Finance, LLC et al., Case No.: 3:17-cv-00495-MHL in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. $55,750,000.00 settlement, $380,711,145.15 in debt cancellation, deletion of 920,772 loans, $7,500 service awards to each of the 25 Nationwide Class Representatives
Judge M. Hannah Lauck of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has granted final approval in the last of a series of cases. These cases arose from what the plaintiffs claimed was a predatory rent-a-tribe lending scheme operated by Think Finance. Throughout almost five years of litigation, these settlements have provided close to $1 billion in monetary relief and debt cancellation to customers of Great Plains, Plain Green, and MobiLoans.
In the settlements approved on August 16th, defendants have agreed to pay $44,530,000 to be distributed to class members. This settlement adds up to approximately $150 million in cash and over $750 million in debt forgiveness, making it the largest collective settlements obtained against the predatory online tribal lending industry. Under the settlement, consumers will automatically receive the benefits without having to submit a claim form.
In prior cases, plaintiffs reached settlements with the tribal lender fronts, the company responsible for the entire scheme, and the participating hedge funds and others. Through these cases, Think Finance and one of the tribal fronts went out of business. Additionally, plaintiffs obtained agreements to cancel all debts included within the settlement, namely all loans from Great Plains, Plain Green prior to June 1, 2016, and MobiLoans prior to May 6, 2017. They also secured the removal of all negative trade lines from credit reports and obtained other related non-monetary relief.
In the 2020 settlement in the Eastern District of Virginia, plaintiffs secured a $50,050,000.00 settlement and the cancellation of approximately $383,000,000.00 in debt. In a 2019 bankruptcy court proceeding, the Court approved a $55,750,000.00 settlement, with $380,711,145.15 in debt cancellation, deletion of 920,772 loans, and $7,500 service awards to each of the 25 Nationwide Class Representatives.