Case No. 0:21-cv-61210-SINGHAL/VALLE in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division

Case Summary

The Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Hearing provides important information regarding your right to participate in or to opt out of a proposed settlement in a putative class action lawsuit (referred to in this notice as the “Settlement”).  Named Plaintiff, John G. Baja (“Baja” or “Plaintiff”), filed a lawsuit against Defendant Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Defendant”), in which he alleges that Defendant provided him and other putative class members with a COBRA Notice that did not adequately inform class members how to exercise their right to elect COBRA coverage.  Plaintiff and Defendant are referred to in this notice together as the “Parties.”  Defendant disputes the allegations and has asserted that the COBRA Notice complied with all applicable laws.  That case is pending in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division.  The judge has not made any determination about who is right or wrong in the case.  A summary of the claims asserted in the lawsuit and the proposed Settlement follows.

  • The notice at issue is referred to as a “COBRA” Notice and the continuation of health insurance coverage after separation of employment is called “COBRA continuation coverage,” after the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.  The COBRA Notice is designed to provide former employees who were covered under employer sponsored group health care plans with information and details regarding their right to continue their healthcare coverage and the terms and conditions of that COBRA continuation coverage.  29 U.S.C. § 1166(a) (2), (a)(4), (c).
  • The lawsuit generally alleges Defendant provided Plaintiff and other putative class members with a deficient COBRA Notice.  More specifically, Plaintiff asserted that Defendant’s COBRA Notice did not adequately inform him how to exercise his right to elect COBRA continuation coverage because, in violation of 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606–4(b)(4) et seq., the COBRA Notice: (i) included inaccurate and misleading threats of criminal penalties and fines; and, (ii) was not written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant.  As a result of the alleged violations in the Complaint, Plaintiff sought statutory penalties, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses on behalf of himself and all others similarly-situated.   
  • Defendant denies that its COBRA Notice was deficient in any manner and denies that it has any liability to Plaintiff or their putative class whatsoever.  Rather, Defendant has asserted that its COBRA Notice complied with any and all relevant laws, including COBRA and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.  Furthermore, had the Parties proceeded in the litigation, Defendant further denies that the matter would have proceeded on a class action basis. 
  • At this point in the case, the presiding judge has not made any determination about who is right or wrong.  Rather, instead of proceeding with potentially years of litigation with uncertain outcomes, the parties have agreed to resolve the lawsuit through a Court-supervised settlement to avoid further cost and uncertainty.
  • The Parties seek to settle this dispute on behalf of Plaintiff  and a “Settlement Class,” which the Parties have agreed to define as follows:  “All participants and beneficiaries in the Costco Employee Benefits Program who were sent the COBRA Notice by or on behalf of Defendant at any time during the Class Period [i.e., between June 9, 2018 and June 9, 2021] who did not elect COBRA Coverage.”
  • Membership in the Settlement Class will be determined based upon Defendant’s records reflecting who received the specific COBRA Notice at issue during the Class Period.  It is estimated that the Settlement Class is comprised of 38,818 potential members.
  • You received notice of this Settlement by mail which directed you to this website because Defendant’s records indicate that you are a “Settlement Class Member” and eligible to receive payment from this proposed class action settlement.

Your rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in the Notice.  Here is a brief summary of your rights and options.  



Do Nothing

If you do nothing and the Court approves this Settlement, you will receive a settlement payment (the amount of which is described below).  As a member of the Settlement Class, you will release Defendant and others from any potential liability regarding the COBRA Notice, including but not limited to the issues raised in this lawsuit.

Ask to be Excluded by

September 27, 2022

If you do not want to be included in the case and the Settlement, you must take action to exclude yourself.  This is called “opting out.”  To opt out, you must send a written opt-out request to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by September 27, 2022.  Your written opt-out request must (i) state the case name and number (Baja. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, No. 0:21-cv-61210); (ii) state your name, address, telephone number, and email address; and (iii) include your personal signature.  If you elect to opt out, you may pursue your own individual action against Defendant for the claims raised in this case if you choose to do so.

Object by

September 27, 2022

If you do not like the Settlement, or any of its specific terms, you may “object.”  To object, you must file a written objection with the Court and send a copy of your objection to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by September 27, 2022.  Your written objection must (i) state the case name and number; (ii) provide the specific grounds for your objection; (iii) state whether your objection pertains to just you individually, or all or some of the proposed Settlement Class; (iv) state your name, address, telephone number, and email address; (v) state whether you intend to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing, either with or without your own counsel; and (vi) include your personal signature (and your counsel’s signature, if you have your own representation).  You may not file an objection if you opt out of the settlement.

Go to a Hearing on November 4, 2022

If you wish to be heard, you may attend the Final Approval Hearing and ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement. You are not required to attend the hearing.  If you opt out, you may not present your opinions regarding the Settlement at the Final Approval Hearing.


The Court still has to decide whether to approve this settlement, which may take some time, as explained in the FAQ section of this website.