Judge Donna Geck opined she was perplexed and puzzled by the terms of a class-action settlement over Blaze Pizza coupon cards that had been negotiated between a Blaze Pizza customer and the company itself.
Blaze, a popular pizza franchise in college communities like Isla Vista, agreed to pay plaintiff Marc Zebrasky $1,500 for his troubles in filing the lawsuit and Zebrasky’s attorney — a specialist in class-action lawsuits — $67,000 in legal fees. But the judge questioned how any other members of the potentially affected class of up to 80,000 customers would be made aware that they had been wronged in the first place or that a legal remedy had been made available to them.
In this case, Zebrasky had less than $10 left on a gift card and he sought to redeem that into cash. Blaze refused, contrary to the mandate explicit in state law, hence the complaint. Under the terms of the class-action settlement proposed by the two parties, Blaze would run one ad in USA Today to notify other potential victims they had a claim. Judge Geck’s tentative ruling found the outreach efforts outlined in the proposed settlement fell woefully short.