UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
November 30, 2010
MARY CARNEY, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
HILLSTONE RESTAURANT GROUP, INC., AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable George H. Wu Judge, United States District Court
Removal Date: April 21, 2010
REVISED ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
Hearing: Date: November 15, 2010 Time: 8:30 a.m.
On November 15, 2010, a hearing was held on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement. The Court considered Plaintiff's Motion and supporting evidence as well as the Joint Stipulation of Settlement and Release ("Settlement Agreement"), and exhibits attached thereto, including the [Proposed] Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Proposed Settlement and Hearing Date for Court Approval ("Notice"), [Proposed] Claim Form/FLSA Consent Form, and [Proposed] Exclusion Form. The Court also balanced a number of factors relevant to the claims asserted in the Second Amended Complaint, including the risk, expense, complexity, and likely duration of further litigation; the risk of maintaining class action status throughout the trial; the amount offered in settlement; the extent of discovery completed and the stage of the proceedings; the experience and views of counsel; and the reaction of the class members to the proposed settlement.
Having considered the Settlement Agreement, and all the supporting legal authorities and documents, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. For purposes of the proposed settlement, the action is certified as a class action on behalf all current and former non-exempt employees employed by Defendant in California from March 18, 2006 through the date upon which the Court grants the Preliminary Approval Order ("Class Period"), excluding any current or former employee(s) of Defendant who file and/or have filed any judicial action(s) against Defendant in state and/or federal court, during the Class Period, for the claims released pursuant to the Settlement Agreement ("Class Members").
2. The class action settlement set forth in the Settlement Agreement is preliminarily approved as it appears to be fundamentally fair, adequate and within the range of reasonableness. See Fed. Rule Civil Pro. 23(e); Class Plaintiffs v. City of Seattle, 955 F.2d 1268, 1276 (9th Cir. 1992). The Court finds the Settlement Agreement to be presumptively valid, subject only to any objections that may be raised at the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing.
3. The Court hereby approves Plaintiff Mary Carney as class representative for the Settlement Class.
4. The Court hereby approves The Carter Law Firm, The Cooper Law Firm, P.C., and Phelps Law Group, as Class Counsel for the Settlement Class.
5. The Court hereby approves Simpluris, Inc. as Claims Administrator for the purpose of this settlement
6. The Court approves, as to form and content, the proposed Notice, Claim Form/FLSA Consent Form, and Exclusion Form (collectively, "Notice Packet").
7. The Court directs the mailing, by first class mail, of the Notice Packet to the Class Members in accordance with the schedule set forth in the Settlement Agreement. The Court finds that the dates and methods selected for the mailing of the Notice Packet meet the requirements of due process, provide the best notice practicable under the circumstances and constitute due and sufficient notice to all persons entitled to notice.
8. The Court reserves final approval of the requested attorneys' fees and costs, as well as the class representative's service payment, and will rule on these requests at the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing.
9. To facilitate the administration of this Settlement, the Court hereby enjoins Plaintiff and all Class Members from filing or prosecuting any claims, suits or administrative proceedings (including filing claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement) regarding claims released by the Settlement, unless such Class Members have submitted a valid and timely Exclusion Form.
10. The Court orders the following Implementation Schedule for further proceedings:
a. Preliminary Approval Hearing November 15, 2010
b. Deadline for Defendant to Submit Class Information to Claims Administrator (Within 30 days after entry of this Order)
c. Mail Notices to Class Members (Within 30 days after the Claims Administrator receives the Class Information)
d. Deadline for Class Members to Postmark/Mail Exclusion Forms (30 days after Notice is mailed)
e. Deadline for Receipt by Court and Counsel of any Objections to Settlement (30 days after Notice is mailed)
f. Deadline for Class Members to Postmark/Mail Claim/FLSA Consent Forms. (45 days after Notice is mailed)
g. Deadline for Class Counsel to file Motion for Final Approval of Settlement & Attorneys' Fees (10 days prior to the Final Fairness Hearing and Final Approval)
h. Final Fairness Hearing and Final Approval March 17, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 30th day of November, 2010
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