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Cordy v. USS-POSCO Industries

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 8, 2014

CARL CORDY, Plaintiff,
v.
USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT SUBCLASSES, APPROVAL OF NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT, AND SEEING HEARING FOR FINAL APPROVAL; GRANTING STIPULATION REGARDING APPOINTMENT OF CLASS REPRESENTATIVE FOR ITEMIZED WAGE STATEMENT PENALTY SUBCLASSRe: ECF Nos. 58, 64

JON S. TIGAR, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In this proposed wage-and-hour class action, the Court previously denied a motion for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement without prejudice. The parties have renewed their joint motion for preliminary approval after revising some portions of their proposed settlement. For the reasons set forth below, the renewed motion is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Cordy's Claims

Plaintiff Carl Cordy is a former employee of Defendant USS-Posco Industries ("Posco") who worked at Posco's Pittsburg, California, steel manufacturing and production facilities. Complaint ¶¶ 10-12, ECF No. 1; Amended Answer ¶ 10, ECF No. 19. Cordy alleges that Posco had a policy and practice of denying legally required compensation to its hourly production and maintenance ("P&M") employees. Complaint ¶¶ 1-6. Cordy alleges that Posco denied workers compensation for all time worked (specifically, for time spent donning protective gear, clocking in before their shifts began, and walking to and from their work stations), denied employees meal and rest periods, failed to provide itemized wage statements, and failed to timely pay wages upon termination or resignation. Id.

B. Procedural History

Cordy brought a proposed class action complaint against Defendants Posco, United States Steel Corporation, Posco-California Corporation, Pitcal, Inc., and Does 1-50 in February 2012. Complaint. He brought causes of action for failure to compensate for all hours worked pursuant to California Labor Code §§ 204 & 1194, for failure to provide meal and rest periods in violation of California Labor Code §§ 226.7 & 512, for unpaid wages and waiting time penalties pursuant to California Labor Code §§ 201-203, for failure to provide itemized wage statements pursuant to California Labor Code § 226, for violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, California Business & Professional Code § 17200, et seq., and for penalties pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act, California Labor Code §§ 2699(a) & 2699(f). Complaint ¶¶ 33-92.

Counsel for Cordy and Posco engaged in formal and informal discovery, exchanging documents related to the claims at issue, deposing twenty individuals, including Cordy, Posco executives, and proposed class members, and producing 40 declarations by Posco employees and executives. Declaration of Carolyn Cottrell ("Cottrell Decl.") ¶¶ 7-8, ECF No. 59. The parties then mediated the dispute before Jeffrey Kravis, after which the parties reached a class-wide settlement subject to the Court's approval. Id . ¶ 10.

The Court denied Plaintiff's previous motion for provisional settlement in August. ECF No. 52. Plaintiff filed this revised motion in October. ECF No. 58.

C. Proposed Settlement

The Settlement Agreement provides for a Gross Settlement Amount of $3, 500, 000. The Gross Settlement Amount shall be used to satisfy: an estimated $2, 170, 658 in settlement awards to the Class Members, claims-administration fees estimated to be $19, 621, enhanced payments to the Class Representatives ($8, 000 to named Plaintiff Carl Cordy, and $1, 500 to Donald Jones, representative of the Itemized Wage Statement Subclass), payment of $25, 000 to the California Labor Workforce Development Agency, a $125, 000 contribution to the Hold-Back Fund for payment of disputed and late claims and undisputed expenses, the remainder of which will revert to Defendant to pay some of its share of payroll taxes on the settlement awards, and attorney's fees and costs not to exceed 33% of the Gross Settlement Amount. Cottrell Decl. ¶ 26.

D. Jurisdiction

The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2). The amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. Cordy alleges, and Defendants do not dispute, that members of the proposed Class are ...


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