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Clemens v. Hair Club For Men LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 23, 2016

TERESA CLEMENS, JORDAN SIMENSEN, and ADRIA DESPRES, individuals, for themselves and all members of the putative class and on behalf of aggrieved employees pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act “PAGA”, Plaintiffs,
v.
HAIR CLUB FOR MEN, LLC, a Delaware corporation, and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER RE PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT AND NOTICE TO THE CLASS

          WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         In this wage-and-hour class action, plaintiffs move for preliminary approval of a class settlement agreement. For the reasons stated below, the motion is Granted, reserving on final approval and on any incentive award, attorney’s fees, and costs later.

         STATEMENT

         The background of this action has been set forth in a prior order and needs not be discussed in detail herein (Dkt. No. 60). In brief, plaintiffs Teresa Clemens, Jordan Simensen, and Adria Despres, bring claims against their former employer, defendant Hair Club for Men, LLC, alleging various claims arising out of Hair Club’s meal-period and rest-break practices and for penalties for alleged inaccuracies on wage statements under Section 226 of the California Labor Code. An order certified a class only as to plaintiffs’ wage-statement claims and appointed Clemens and Simensen (but not Despres) as lead plaintiffs. The class includes 197 employees and former employees of Hair Club.

         Throughout the case, both before and after the certification of the class, the parties engaged in extensive classwide discovery, including thousands of pages of written discovery, significant research, interviews of class members, and thirty-eight depositions (fifteen taken by plaintiffs, twenty-three by defendant, all lasting at least an hour and averaging more than three hours). Following class certification, the parties attended a four-and-one-half-hour settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero at which they negotiated the instant classwide settlement agreement.

         Plaintiffs now move for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement. This order follows a brief from plaintiffs, a statement of non-opposition from defendant, and oral argument.

         ANALYSIS

         “A settlement should be approved if it is fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable.” Torrisi v. Tucson Elec. Power Co., 8 F.3d 1370, 1375 (9th Cir. 1993) (internal quotations omitted).

         1. Proposed Settlement.

         Under the proposed settlement, the key terms would be as follows:

         Settlement Fund: Hair Club would pay a total of $500, 000 to settle claims in this action, although the amount would “be proportionally reduced based on any Settlement Class members who opt out.”

Plaintiffs’ Individual Claims: Hair Club would pay $47, 500 to settle the individual plaintiffs’ non-certified claims, to be apportioned among them based on the duration of their employment with Hair Club.
• Incentive Award: Clemens and Simensen plan to request an incentive award of $1, 250 each, for a ...

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