THOMAS ZABOROWSKI, et. al, on behalf of themselves and a putative class, Plaintiffs,
MHN GOVERNMENT SERVICES, INC. and MANAGED HEALTH NETWORK, INC., Defendants.
ORDER RE FLSA COLLECTIVE ACTION NOTICE DOCUMENTS
SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.
On May 1, 2013, the Court granted defendants' motion to stay the case pending its appeal of the Arbitration Order, to become effective once the conditionally certified FLSA class receives its notification and invitation to opt into the case. The Court ordered the parties to jointly file a proposed notice. Although it appears there was a significant attempt to reach an agreement on the notices, the parties were unable to agree on all aspects of the notice, and requested that the Court resolve these differences. The Court will address each issue in turn.
1. Notice Procedure
The parties agreed that the notification costs will be borne by plaintiffs, the notices will be distributed by mail and email, and the notification period will be 75 days. The parties disagreed about whether the contact information of the putative class, the Military and Family Life Consultants ("MFLCs"), should be produced to plaintiffs or a third party.
The Court has already ordered that defendants produce the contact information to plaintiffs. See Docket No. 80 at 6. In case there is any confusion, the Court again ORDERS defendants to produce to plaintiffs in Microsoft Excel or comparable format the names, all known addresses, all known e-mail addresses, and all known telephone numbers of all known MFLCs, by no later than June 21, 2013.
2. Heading and Caption
Defendants' proposed notice uses a caption similar to a court document. Plaintiffs' simpler caption merely states the name of the court. The Court prefers defendants' proposed caption, which makes the notice look more like an official court document, and less like an advertisement.
Defendants' proposed notice includes a footer that states, "NOTICE OF CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION CASE NO. 12-CV-05109-SI." Plaintiffs' proposed notice includes a footer that states, "For more information, visit www.MFLC-OT.com or call toll free XXX-XXX-XXXX." The Court finds that both of these footers provide useful information to the MFL Consultants. Therefore, the footer shall include both parties' proposed footers, with defendants' footer above plaintiffs' footer.
4. Description of Defendants' Position
In § 3 of the notice, defendants' proposed explanation of their position is: "MHNGS denies the Plaintiffs' allegations and contends that MFLCs were properly classified as independent contractors and are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA , and that, even if they were not properly classified as independent contractors, they were exempt from overtime. " Plaintiffs argue that the emphasized clause should be redacted, because it is redundant. The Court finds that the additional language is not redundant or duplicative; it adds extra information, and therefore should be included.
5. Joining the Lawsuit
Plaintiffs' proposed explanation of joining the lawsuit includes the following explanation: "If you have provided services as an MFLC independent contractor to MHNGS at any time from October 2, 2009 to the present, you may join this lawsuit. You can join by mailing, faxing, or emailing the enclosed green "Consent to Join" form to the Plaintiffs' attorneys before the deadline. " Defendants object to the emphasized words, arguing that they are duplicative and unnecessary. The ...