UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 28, 2013
SIMONA MONTALVO, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
WERNER ENTERPRISES, INC. D/B/A "C.L. WERNER, INC.," A NEBRASKA CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 TO 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Margaret M. Morrow
Honorable Margaret M. Morrow
CLASS ACTION [PROPOSED] ORDER AND JUDGMENT GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL
OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS AND CLASS
Date: February 25, 2013
Time: 10 am Dept.: 780
Action filed: January 18, 2011 Action removed: February 17, 2011
The Plaintiff Classes, as defined below, and the settling Defendant Werner Enterprises, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "Defendants" or "Werner") have entered into an agreement to settle the above-captioned class action, subject to the Court's approval. The Settlement provides for the payment of compensation to each Class Member at Werner within the State of California during the class period.
Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Hearing and Order, this Court granted preliminary approval to the Settlement. The Preliminary Approval Order also approved of the proposed forms of notice and notice plan. The Court entered the Preliminary Approval Order after review and consideration of all of the pleadings filed in connection herewith.
In compliance with the Preliminary Approval Order, notice was sent to all Class Members via first-class mail. Furthermore, multiple follow-up mailings were performed for returned mail in addition to the distribution of any Notice Forms to Class Members requesting copies. The notice program was timely completed.
This matter is now before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement, Plaintiff's counsels' Attorneys Fees, Costs and Class Representative Enhancement. The Court has read, heard, and considered all the pleadings and documents submitted, and the presentations made in connection with the Motion which came for hearing on February 25, 2013. This Court finds that the proposed settlement appears to be the product of serious, informed, non-collusive negotiations, concludes that it has no obvious deficiencies, and that it does not improperly grant preferential treatment to any individuals. The Court finds that the settlement was entered into in good faith. The Court further finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate and that Plaintiffs have satisfied the standards for final approval of a class action settlement under federal law. Under the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the Trial Court has discretion to certify a Class where: "[Q]uestions of law or fact common to the members of the Class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to the available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy." Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 23(b)(3).
Certification of a Class is the appropriate judicial device under these circumstances.
Based on the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. This Court has jurisdiction over the claims of the Settlement Class Members asserted in this proceeding and over all parties to the action.
2. For the reasons set forth in the Preliminary Approval Order, in the transcript of the proceedings of the February 25, 2013 hearing, and in the court's order granting final approval, which are adopted and incorporated herein by reference, this Court finds that the applicable requirements of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 has been satisfied with respect to the Settlement Class and the proposed settlement.
3. The Class Definition is as follows: Those classified as student drivers or co-drivers who attended Defendant's Fontana, California Orientations during the Settlement Period (defined as January 18, 2007 through May 18, 2012). Settlement Class 1 consists of Class Members who attended but did not complete Orientation. Settlement Class 2 consists of Class Members who attended and completed Orientation.
4. The notice given to the Class Members fully and accurately informed the Class Members of all material elements of the proposed Settlement and of their opportunity to object or comment thereon; was the best notice practicable under the circumstances; was valid, due and sufficient notice to all Class Members; and complied fully with the laws of the State of California, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States Constitution, due process and other applicable law. The summary notices fairly and adequately described the Settlement and provided Class Members adequate instructions and a variety of means to obtain additional information. A full opportunity has been afforded to the Settlement Class Members to participate in this hearing, and all Settlement Class Members and other persons wishing to be heard have been heard. Accordingly, the Court determines that all Settlement Class Members who did not timely and properly execute a Request for Exclusion are bound by this judgment and order.
5. Pursuant to California law and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e), the Court hereby grants final approval to the Settlement and finds that it is fair, reasonable and adequate, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class as a whole. Accordingly, the Court hereby directs that the Settlement be effected in accordance with the Settlement Agreement and the following terms and conditions.
6. With this final approval of the proposed settlement, it is hereby ordered that any and all claims, debts, liabilities, demands, actions, or causes of action arising out of or relating to the facts, matters, transactions or occurrences referred to in this class action entitled Simona Montalvo v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., from January 18, 2007 through May 18, 2012 are hereby released.
7. It is hereby ordered that a Class Representative Enhancement of $7,500 for the Class Representative Plaintiff Simona Montalvo is fair and reasonable.
8. For the reasons set forth in the Application for an Award of Attorneys Fees and Costs, the court awards attorneys' fees of $191,666.66, litigation costs of $104,931.21, and $40,000 in fees and costs for the Claims Administrator fees. These amounts shall be paid out of the total settlement fund as set forth in this settlement agreement. Plaintiff's counsels' request falls within the range of reasonableness and the result achieved justifies the award.
9. Without affecting the finality of this matter, this Court shall retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over this action and the parties, including all Settlement Class Members, for purposes of supervising, administering, implementing, and enforcing, and interpreting the Settlement, and the claims process thereunder.
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