Case Status Update

Update: On March 24, 2015, Judge Norken held a Final Fairness Hearing and issued an Order granting final approval to the settlement after determining that it was fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. Based upon the Settlement Agreement, we anticipate that settlement awards will be sent to Eligible Class Members in approximately November, or as soon thereafter as reasonably practicable.


On October 30, 2014, Judge Norken issued an Order Granting Complainants’ Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement.  A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE.  A copy of Judge Norken’s Preliminary Approval Order is available HERE.  A copy of the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement is available HERE. Information and answers to frequently asked questions about the settlement can be found HERE. A press release about the settlement is available HERE.

Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, SSA has already sent an email dated November 13, 2014 to all current employees of the Agency that provided a general announcement concerning the Settlement, with a link to a copy of the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Claim Form. In addition, on November 13, 2014, SSA posted an announcement on the SSA intranet concerning the Settlement with a link to the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Claim Form.

Information Regarding Claim Forms

Settlement Class Members who wish to receive a monetary settlement award must fill out and return a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator. You may return your Claim Form by mail, fax, or email, to the address below. If sent by mail, the Claim Form must be postmarked by February 26, 2015 to be timely. If sent by fax or email, the Claim Form must be transmitted by February 26, 2015 to be timely.

SSA Disability Class Action
Claims Administrator
c/o Angeion Group
1801 Market Street
Suite 660
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone 215-563-4116
Fax: 215-525-0209
Email: SSA [at] angeiongroup [dot] com

By no later than November 28, 2014, SSA will mail and/or email individuals who have been identified by SSA as actual or possible Settlement Class Members, special Claim Forms to use to reflect the fact that they have already been identified as actual or possible Settlement Class Members.  If you receive such a Claim Form in the mail or by email (and these forms should be received by mid-December 2014), you should complete it and follow the instructions to send it to the Claims Administrator by no later than February 26, 2015.

Other individuals may also be eligible to participate in the class relief, regardless of whether they receive a special Claim Form by email or mail.  If you believe that you are a Settlement Class Member after reading the Notice posted HERE, but you do not receive a special Claim Form in the mail or by email by mid-December 2014, then you should print out and complete the Claim Form that is posted HERE and send it to the Claims Administrator by no later than February 26, 2015.

If you have any questions about the Settlement or the Claim Forms, please call Sandy Peneda at (215) 563-4116 or email her at speneda [at] angeiongroup [dot] com.

Background

In November 2008, lawyers and advocacy groups for disabled employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) were granted class-action status for a groundbreaking action against the agency that is currently before a judge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The class action (captioned Jantz, et al. v. Michael Astrue, Social Security Admin.) is currently pending before the EEOC.

In the Jantz action, employees allege that SSA discriminates against targeted disability employees (“TDEs”) “by creating a glass ceiling and limiting promotional and other career advancement opportunities,” according to the consortium of law firms handling the case for the complainants. Litigants are seeking back pay and compensatory damages for lost promotional opportunities.

Targeted disabilities are defined by the EEOC to include: deafness, blindness, paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental illness, and genetic and physical conditions affecting the limbs or spine.

Lead Plaintiffs / Class Agents

Ronald Jantz, T. Jameel Muhammad, Donna Ring, Ellen Altemose and Karl Baldwin are the Lead Plaintiffs / Class Agents in this class action law suit. Mr. Jantz filed an EEO Complaint in August 2005, which was converted to a class complaint in October 2006. He is a targeted disabled employee: he’s deaf. Mr. Jantz is highly qualified: he holds an MBA in Finance/Accounting, a Bachelors of Business Administration and an Associates of Business Administration. Despite numerous applications for promotions and other advancement opportunities, Mr. Jantz was never promoted throughout his 23 year career at SSA. After 23 years of stagnation at his grade level, Mr. Jantz decided to take action. Muhammad, Ring, Altemose and Baldwin were added as Lead Plaintiffs / Class Agents when Plaintiffs moved for class certification in 2008.