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Michael Gong-Chun, Gladibel v. Aetna Inc.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 16, 2012

MICHAEL GONG-CHUN, GLADIBEL
SOTIL-GAILLOUR, BRENDA BUCARIA, JEFF BRAGER, TANYA LEMONS, ELI
CRUZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC SIMILARLY SITUATED,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AETNA INC., A PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION; AETNA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, A CONNECTICUT CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE,
DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER: (1) PRELIMINARILY APPROVING CLASS SETTLEMENT; (2) CONDITIONALLY CERTIFYING SETTLEMENT CLASS; (3) APPROVING CLASS NOTICE AND RELATED MATERIALS; (4) APPOINTING CLASS REPRESENTATIVES AND CLASS COUNSEL; (5) APPOINTING SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR; AND (6) REQUIRING PARTIES TO SUBMIT PROPOSED IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE (Doc. 49)

On January 31, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a request for preliminary approval of a class action settlement. (Doc. 49.) Plaintiffs' request was heard on shortened time on February 15, 2012. Matthew Theriault, Esq., appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs and Leslie Abbott, Esq. appeared on behalf of Defendants. The essential terms of the parties' Joint Stipulation of Class Action Settlement ("Joint Stipulation") were set forth on the record, and the parties submitted the request for preliminary approval to the Court on the brief. The Court has considered the brief in support of the request for preliminary approval of the class action settlement as well as all supporting materials.

The following is HEREBY ORDERED:

1. The Court PRELIMINARILY APPROVES the Settlement and the Settlement Class based upon the terms set forth in the Joint Stipulation filed herewith. (Doc. 49-1, Exh. A.)

a. The Settlement appears to be fair, adequate, and reasonable to the Class;

b. The Settlement appears to be the product of arm's-length and informed negotiations and appears to treat all Class Members fairly; and

c. The Settlement falls within the range of reasonableness and appears to be presumptively valid, subject only to any objections that may be raised at the final fairness hearing and final approval by this Court;

2. The proposed class set forth in the Joint Stipulation satisfies the requirements of a settlement class because the class members are readily ascertainable and a well-defined community of interests exists in the questions of law and fact affecting the parties. It is ORDERED that the Settlement Class is Preliminarily Certified.

3. The Court APPROVES, as to form and content, the Notice of Pendency of Class Action, Proposed Class Action Settlement, and Hearing Date for Court Approval ("Notice of Pendency of Class Action") (Doc. 49-1, p. 7-39), in substantially the form attached as Exhibit A to the Joint Stipulation (see Doc. 49-1, p. 41-47.)

4. The Court approves the procedure for Class Members to participate in, to opt out of, and to object to, the Settlement as set forth in the Notice of Pendency of Class Action;

5. The Court DIRECTS the mailing of the Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Proposed Settlement by first class mail to the Class Members in accordance with the Implementation Schedule that will issue separately from this order. The Court finds the dates selected for the mailing and distribution of the Notice meet the requirements of due process and provide the best notice practicable under the circumstances and shall constitute due and sufficient notice to all persons entitled thereto;

6. The Plaintiffs Michael Gong-Chun, Gladibel Sotil-Gaillour, Brenda Bucaria, Jeff Brager, Tanya Lemons, and Eli Cruz are suitable class representatives and the Court APPOINTS them Class Representatives for the Settlement Class;

7. The Court APPOINTS Initiative Legal Group APC and the Law Offices of Mark Yablonovich as Class Counsel;

8. The Court CONFIRMS Rust Consulting as the Claims Administrator; 9. A final fairness hearing on the question of whether the proposed Settlement, attorneys' fees to Class Counsel, and the Class Representatives' Service Payments should be finally approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate as to the members of the Class is scheduled in Courtroom 7 on the date and time set forth in the implementation schedule, which will be issued separately from this order.

10. Within two (2) court days from the date of this order, the parties shall file a proposed implementation schedule in accordance with the terms of the Joint Stipulation.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120216

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