CANOGA PARK (CBSLA.com) — After overcharging thousands of customers due to a billing error, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to dole out tens of millions of dollars as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement announced in August.
The department has said it overcharged customers some $44 million due to a flaw in its billing system and plans to repay its customers. After recent refunds and credits, the department said it will pay out an additional $36 million.
But the issue isn’t completely resolved. Attorneys representing different plaintiffs in the suit have not been able to agree on whether it is a good deal.
On Friday, a Superior Court judge declined to give preliminary approval to the settlement, telling the plaintiffs’ lawyers to iron out their differences first.
Among the settlement’s shortcomings, said Brian Kabatek, former president of the Consumer Attorneys of California, who reviewed the settlement but does not represent plaintiffs in the case, is a provision that allows the LADWP to decide which ratepayers get reimbursed and how much they receive.
“This is possibly the worst settlement I’ve ever seen,” he said.
But Jack Landskroner, a Cleveland attorney who is representing at least one overcharged customer, defended the settlement, saying it calls for 100 percent recovery of funds to overcharged customers.
LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards also said in an e-mail that “every customer will receive 100 cents on the dollar.”
The settlement will be reviewed in court in November after the lawyers have convened.