Frequently Asked Questions

Who should read this Notice?
Why was this Notice sent?
What is the lawsuit about?
What is a class action?
Who is in charge of this class action?
Why are there settlements in the lawsuit?
Which insurance companies have agreed to settle?
Who is part of the Class and settlements?
Help me understand who is included.
How do I know if I was damaged by lead?
Can I get out of the Class?
What if I’m still not sure whether I am included?
What do the settlements provide?
How much money can I get?
How will the Settlement Fund be created?
What rights am I giving up?
How can I get a payment?
What will I need to prove my claim?
Do I have a lawyer in this case?
What about lawyers’ fees, expenses, and other costs?
What happens if I do nothing at all?
How do I get more information?
I have not received an allocation letter. What should I do?
When will I receive my award?
What form of payment will I receive?
How were awards determined?
What should I do if I agree with my award?
What should I do if I disagree with my award?
I scheduled a hearing with the Special Masters. What documents should I take with me?
I appeared at a hearing before the Special Masters but I disagree with their decision. What should I do?
There was a mistake with my gender and/or years of exposure. What should I do?
Two of my children (my brothers/sisters/etc.) received awards but the other/I didn’t. Why?
An eligible claimant is incarcerated. How can he/she collect the award?
An eligible claimant is now deceased. How do the heirs collect the award?
Who should I inform if my contact information changes?
Who do I call if I have questions concerning my award?
Who else should I call if I have further/future questions concerning my claim/award?


Who should read this Notice?

Victims of the lead poisoning claims covered by this lawsuit, as well as the parents, guardians, and legal representatives of those victims, should read this Notice carefully. The Notice uses “You” and “I” to refer not only to class members (victims) but also to others who can act upon a victim’s legal rights.    Back to top

Why was this Notice sent?

You have rights and options before the Court decides whether to approve each of the settlements. If it does, and any objections and appeals are resolved, the Court will decide how much money you might get. This Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlements, your legal rights, and how to qualify for a payment.    Back to top

What is the lawsuit about?

This lawsuit is about whether lead present in HANO’s public housing developments harmed the people who lived, stayed, or visited there. The lawsuit also said that many children who were exposed to lead developed learning, reading, growth, hearing, physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems, as well as permanent brain damage, and some possibly died as a result. The people who sued are called Plaintiffs. The organizations and companies they sued, HANO, C.J. Brown Property Management, Inc., C.J. Brown Public Housing, Inc., Ventana Property Management, Inc., and Ventana Public Housing Management, Inc., and their insurance companies are called the Defendants.    Back to top

What is a class action?

In a class action, one or more people sue for all people who have similar claims. The person or people who sue are called the Class Representatives (in this case Sheila Green, Aretha Arnold-Haynes, Joyce Galmon, Barbara Vincent-Robinson, and Detress Lewis). The people included in the class action are called Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members.    Back to top

Who is in charge of this class action?

Judge Tiffany G. Chase of the Civil District Court in and for the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, is in charge of this case: Billieson v. City of New Orleans, et al, No. 94-19231. Attorneys Scott R. Bickford and James M. Williams have been appointed to be the Special Masters and oversee the settlement fund.    Back to top

Why are there settlements in the lawsuit?

The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, the insurance company Defendants have agreed to settle. The settlements make money available to eligible Class Members and avoid the costs, risks and delays of a trial. The Class Representatives and their lawyers think the insurance settlements are best for the Class. Notice of a HANO settlement has not yet been issued.    Back to top

Which insurance companies have agreed to settle?

National Union Fire Insurance Company; Lexington Insurance Company; United States Fire Insurance Company; Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association; Starr Indemnity & Liability Company (formerly Republic Insurance Company); and Scottsdale Insurance Company have agreed to settle.    Back to top

Who is part of the Class and settlements?

You are a Class Member if, before February 17, 2001, you were damaged by lead present in these HANO public housing developments: Iberville, Florida, Lafitte, B.W. Cooper, St. Bernard, Desire, Guste, Fischer, St. Thomas, or C.J. Peete/Magnolia, and either:

  • You have filed a lawsuit against HANO and/or C.J. Brown Property Management, Inc., C.J. Brown Public Housing, Inc. and/or Ventana Property Management, Inc., Ventana Public Housing Management, Inc. and/or the City of New Orleans saying that you were hurt from exposure to lead at one of the HANO public housing developments; or
  • You have or can get medical documents or other evidence showing you were lead poisoned, specifically a document that shows you had an elevated blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dl) of whole blood, or higher, when you were six years old or younger and you were born on or after December 12, 1987.    Back to top

Help me understand who is included.

This chart helps you understand whether you are included or not.    Back to top

How do I know if I was damaged by lead?

You might have been exposed to lead, for example, as paint chips or dust inside the housing units and stairwells, or in the soil outside. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that an elevated level of lead is 10 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dl) of whole blood, or higher. You might have been tested one or more times in the past. Register if you aren’t sure.    Back to top

Can I get out of the Class?

No. Class Members were already given an opportunity to get out (exclude themselves) from the Class. If you fit the description in Question 8 you are automatically included, and you cannot start a lawsuit against the defendants for the claims covered by this class action.    Back to top

What if I’m still not sure whether I am included?

Call toll-free 1-888-768-2043, go to www.HanoLeadSettlements.com or write to Billieson Notice Administrator, c/o Analytics, Inc., P.O. Box 2010, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2010 for more information.    Back to top

What do the settlements provide?

A $65,520,174.19 Settlement Fund will pay valid claims from among an estimated 10,000 or more Class Members, as well as lawyers’ fees and expenses and other costs. It will also pay for administration of the settlements. See also Question 21 about these fees and costs.    Back to top

How much money can I get?

Based in part on the Registration Forms, the Special Master will begin to create a plan, or formula, to help the Court decide how to divide up the Settlement Fund. The exact amount of money each Class Member might get will be based on how bad your injuries are, and various other factors, including for example, the amount of time you lived, stayed, or visited at HANO housing, your blood lead level, how long your elevated blood lead level lasted, the medical evidence you have or can get, your medical treatments and bills, and the total number of valid Claim Forms received after the settlements are approved.    Back to top

How will the Settlement Fund be created?

The settling insurance companies each negotiated a different Settlement Agreement, which took into account the policy terms and limits. Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association contributes $309,174.19. United States Fire Insurance Company contributes $325,000. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA and Lexington Insurance Company contributes $1,320,000. Starr Indemnity & Liability Company contributes $1,066,000. Scottsdale Insurance Company contributes $57,000,000. The remaining $5,500,000 is from a 2004 settlement with Travelers Insurance Company.    Back to top

What rights am I giving up?

If the settlements are approved and final, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Basically you will give up any and all claims related to lead poisoning at a HANO development regardless of the amount of money you receive (even if that amount is $0). The specific rights which Class Members are giving up are called Released Claims. The Released Claims are described in detail in the Settlement Agreements which are available at www.HanoLeadSettlements.com.    Back to top

How can I get a payment?

First, you must send in the Registration Form enclosed with this Notice by October 20, 2011. You may also register at the website or by calling the toll free number. Class Members who register will receive another Notice with the Special Master’s plan to divide up the money, together with a Claim Form, when the claims process begins.    Back to top

What will I need to prove my claim?

If the Court approves the settlements, the Claim Form will say what you need to prove your claim and receive a payment. You will need evidence (see Questions 8 and 14), so you should start now to get it if you don’t already have it.    Back to top

Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court decided that attorneys Gary J. Gambel of Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel; Roderick Alvendia of Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest, LLC; Gilbert V. Andry, IV of The Andry Law Firm, LLC; Joseph M. Bruno of The Law Offices of Joseph M. Bruno; Walter M. Leger, Jr. of Leger & Shaw; Suzette Peychaud- Bagneris of The Bagneris Law Firm; Peter B. Sloss of Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel; Deborah M. Sulzer of Deborah M. Sulzer, LLC; and Jennifer N. Willis of Willis and Buckley, APC should represent you and other Class Members. Together, these lawyers are called Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by a different lawyer, you may hire one at your own cost.    Back to top

What about lawyers’ fees, expenses, and other costs?

Class Counsel will ask for a total of up to 45% of the Settlement Fund for their fees and expenses. They will also ask that up to $15,000 be paid from the Settlement Fund to each of the five named Plaintiffs and five Class Representatives who provided service in the class action. The Court might award less, but not more. Other costs required by the settlements, including the cost to provide thorough notice, as well as to receive, verify and administer the claims that are submitted—however many that is—will also be deducted from the Settlement Fund. Because this case involves personal injuries and medical documentation, these costs will be substantial, but cannot be known until Claim Forms have been received and processed.    Back to top

What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do not register to receive a Claim Form, and you do not submit a Claim Form when they become available, you will not get any money from these settlements. If you do not like the settlements but you do not object, you will lose your right to be heard in Court.    Back to top

How do I get more information?

You may call 1-888-768-2043 toll free; write to Billieson Notice Administrator, c/o Analytics, Inc., P.O. Box 2010, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2010; or visit the website at www.HanoLeadSettlements.com, where you will find answers to common questions about the settlements, a Registration Form, the Settlement Agreements, plus other information to help you determine whether you are a Class Member and whether you are eligible for a payment.

I have not received an allocation letter. What should I do?

The allocation letters were mailed on August 13, 2013. It may take up to one week for you to receive your letter. Please be patient. If, however, you have not received you allocation letter by August 22, 2013, please call 1-888-768-2043.    Back to top

When will I receive my award?

It is likely that checks will be available by the second week of December 2013.    Back to top

What form of payment will I receive?

The court will issue checks and notify you when they are ready for pickup.    Back to top

How were awards determined?

The court obtained expert medical opinions regarding the effects of lead exposure. Your award was determined based on your blood lead levels, your gender, years of exposure and certain medical effects caused by lead exposure. See allocation matrix.    Back to top

What should I do if I agree with my award?

You do not need to do anything at this time. As soon as all necessary processing is complete, you will receive a letter telling you where and when you may receive your payment from the Claims office. Because certain individuals may disagree with the allocation, the Court must allow sufficient time for everyone to be heard. It is likely that checks will be available by the second week of December 2013.    Back to top

What should I do if I disagree with my award?

If you disagree with your award, you must call the Special Masters’ office at 1-888-768-2043 before August 30, 2013 AND file a written objection with the Clerk of Civil District Court located on the 4th floor of Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, 421 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70112, no later than Friday, August 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm CDT. Only written objections will be accepted. Objections may be typed or handwritten but must be legible. If you choose to mail your objection, it must be U.S. postmarked no later than August 30, 2013. You must then appear at a hearing which will be held September 18-20, 2013, by the Court’s Special Masters. You will be given a specific hearing date when you call the Office of the Special Masters.

THE WRITTEN OBJECTION MUST CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING:

Your Claim Number
Claimant's Full Name
Claimant's Birthday
Claimant's Social Security Number
Your Telephone Number
A Concise Statement Describing the Reasons for Your Objection

Please contact your individual attorney if you have any questions about these procedures or if you are unrepresented you may call any of the class counsel.  Back to top

I scheduled a hearing with the Special Masters. What documents should I take with me?

Claimant's Social Security card, proof of date of birth, years of residence, medical records, any records showing ADD/ADHD other learning disabilities (from a school, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or physician), and any other documents you believe support your claim of lead poisoning.    Back to top

I appeared at a hearing before the Special Masters but I disagree with their decision. What should I do?

If you disagree with the Special Masters’ determination at the hearing, you can appeal to the Court and be heard on September 27, 2013. Only those individuals who first appear before the Special Masters will be heard by the Court on September 27, 2013.    Back to top

There was a mistake with my gender and/or years of exposure. What should I do?

You must call the Special Masters' office at 1-888-768-2043 before August 30, 2013 AND file a written objection with the Clerk of Civil District Court.  See above instructions.    Back to top

Two of my children (my brothers/sisters/etc.) received awards but the other/I didn’t. Why?

If the individual was born on or after 12/12/87, we did not receive a timely POC or supporting documentation.  If you disagree with this determination, you will need to call the Special Masters' office at 1-888-768-2043 before August 30, 2013 AND file a written objection with the Clerk of Civil District Court.  See above instructions.    Back to top

An eligible claimant is incarcerated. How can he/she collect the award?

If you are represented, contact your attorney. If you are not, contact one of class counsel listed on the reverse of the Notice of Rights.    Back to top

An eligible claimant is now deceased. How do the heirs collect the award?

If you are represented, contact your attorney. If you are not, contact one of class counsel listed on the reverse of the Notice of Rights.    Back to top

Who should I inform if my contact information changes?

Please call the Special Masters’ office at 1-888-768-2043.    Back to top

Who do I call if I have questions concerning my award?

Please contact class counsel.    Back to top

Who else should I call if I have further/future questions concerning my claim/award?

If you are represented, contact your attorney. If you are not, contact one of class counsel listed on the reverse of the Notice of Rights.    Back to top