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Epstein v. World Acceptance Corp.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

August 29, 2017

EDNA SELAN EPSTEIN, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
v.
WORLD ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION, Defendants.

          AMENDED ORDER PRELIMINARILY APPROVING SETTLEMENT AND PROVIDING FOR NOTICE

          THE HONORABLE MARY GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         WHEREAS, a securities class action is pending in this Court entitled Epstein v. World Acceptance Corporation, , No. 6:14-cv-01606-MGL (the “Litigation”);

         WHEREAS, on August 24, 2017, the parties to the Litigation, Lead Plaintiff Operating Engineers Construction Industry and Miscellaneous Pension Fund, on behalf of itself and the other Members of the Settlement Class (defined below), and defendants World Acceptance Corporation (“World Acceptance”), A. Alexander McLean, III, John L. Calmes, Jr., Kelly M. Malson and Mark C. Roland (together, “Defendants, ” and, collectively with Lead Plaintiff, the “Settling Parties”) entered into the Stipulation of Settlement (the “Stipulation”), which is subject to review under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and which, together with the Exhibits thereto, sets forth the terms and conditions for the proposed settlement of the claims alleged in any of the complaints filed in this Litigation on the merits and with prejudice;

         WHEREAS, Lead Plaintiff has made an application, pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for an order preliminarily approving the Settlement in accordance with the Stipulation, certifying the Settlement Class for purposes of the Settlement only, and allowing notice to Members of the Settlement Class as more fully described herein;

         WHEREAS, the parties to the Stipulation having consented to the entry of this Order;

         WHEREAS, the Court having read and considered (a) Lead Plaintiff's motion for preliminary approval of the Settlement, and the papers filed and arguments made in connection therewith; and (b) the Stipulation and the accompanying Exhibits attached thereto;

         WHEREAS, unless otherwise specified all capitalized terms used, but not otherwise defined, herein have the same meanings as set forth in the Stipulation;[1]

         NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, this 28th day of August, 2017, that:

         1. The Court hereby preliminarily approves the Stipulation and the Settlement set forth therein as being fair, reasonable and adequate to Settlement Class Members (defined in ¶2 below), subject to further consideration at the Settlement Hearing described in ¶5 below.

         2. Pursuant to Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court preliminarily certifies, for purposes of settlement only, a Settlement Class consisting of all Persons who purchased or otherwise acquired World Acceptance common stock between January 30, 2013 and August 10, 2015, inclusive. Excluded from the Settlement Class are: World Acceptance; the affiliates and subsidiaries of World Acceptance; the Individual Defendants; members of the Immediate Family of each of the Individual Defendants; the Officers and directors of World Acceptance during the Class Period; the heirs, successors, and assigns of any excluded person or entity; and any entity in which any excluded person has or had a controlling interest. Also excluded from the Settlement Class are those Settlement Class Members who exclude themselves by submitting a timely and valid request for exclusion in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Notice (defined in ¶8 below).

         3. The Court finds, for the purposes of the Settlement only, that the prerequisites for a class action under Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been satisfied in that: (a) the number of Settlement Class Members is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; (b) there are questions of law and fact common to the Settlement Class; (c) the claims of the Lead Plaintiff are typical of the claims of the Settlement Class it seeks to represent; (d) Lead Plaintiff and Lead Counsel have and will fairly and adequately represent the interests of the Settlement Class; (e) the questions of law and fact common to the Members of the Settlement Class predominate over any questions affecting only individual Settlement Class Members; and (f) a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.

         4. The Court finds and concludes that pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and for the purposes of the Settlement only, Lead Plaintiff is an adequate class representative and certifies Lead Plaintiff as the class representative for the Settlement Class. The Court also appoints Lead Counsel as class counsel for the Settlement Class, pursuant to Rule 23(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         5. A hearing (the “Settlement Hearing”) pursuant to Rule 23(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is hereby scheduled to be held before the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Greenville, Division, 300 East Washington Street, Greenville, South Carolina 29601, on December 18, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. ET for the following purposes:

(a) to finally determine whether this Litigation satisfies the applicable prerequisites for class action treatment under Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
(b) to determine whether the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate to Settlement Class Members, and ...

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