United States District Court, S.D. California
SHANNON NANGLE and TIMOTHY MYERS, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
PENSKE LOGISTICS, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT AND AWARDS OF
ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS AND CLASS REPRESENTATIVE PAYMENTS
[DOC. NO. 91]
Cathy Ann Bencivengo United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' unopposed
motion for final approval of class action settlement and
award of attorneys' fees, costs and class representative
enhancement awards. [Doc. No. 91.] The Court held a hearing
on this motion on May 22, 2017. As discussed below, the
motion for final approval is granted, and the motion for
attorneys' fees, costs and class representative
enhancement awards is granted in part.
initiated this putative class action lawsuit in the Superior
Court of San Diego County on February 28, 2011, alleging
various wage and hour violations of California's Labor
Code and its Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof.
Code § 17200. Defendants removed the case to this Court
on April 18, 2011.
November 30, 2016, after nearly six years in which the
litigation was pending, the parties notified the Court that they
had reached a settlement of the remaining certified claims.
Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval
of the class action settlement, which is memorialized in a
written settlement agreement dated January 23, 2017. [Doc.
Nos. 88, 90.]
agreement provides for settlement of claims for unpaid
overtime and non-compliant meal periods under the California
Labor Code and Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and derivative
claims for wage statement and waiting time penalties. It
authorizes: (1) a class settlement in the amount of $500,
000; (2) an average class member award of approximately $500
from the Net Settlement amount; (3) a class representative
award of $10, 000 per person; (4) $12, 500 in class
administrator fees; and (5) civil penalties of $7, 500 to be
paid to the Labor Workforce and Development Agency.
Additionally, $125, 000 in attorneys' fees and $13, 292
in costs is being requested. [Doc. No. 90.]
January 23, 2017, Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for
preliminary approval of their settlement. [Doc. No. 88.] The
Court granted the motion and preliminarily approved the
settlement on February 06, 2017. [Doc. No. 89.] The
preliminary approval order set a final approval hearing for
May 22, 2017. The final approval hearing took place as
scheduled. Counsel for both parties attended. No class
members filed objections to the settlement, and no class
members attended the hearing. However, six class members
requested exclusion from the settlement.
Final Approval of Settlement
Certification of the Settlement Class
settlement here envisions certification of a class of
“all persons employed by Penske in California as hourly
paid drivers for all delivery accounts, excluding any
employees assigned to the California Whirlpool Account, at
any time during the period from February 27, 2007 through the
date of an Order granting preliminary approval of the
Settlement or 90-days from the date of November 22, 2016,
whichever is sooner.” [Doc. No. 90 at 4.] As a
threshold matter, the Court must “ascertain whether the
proposed settlement class satisfies the requirements of Rule
23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to
all class actions, namely: (1) numerosity, (2) commonality,
(3) typicality, and (4) adequacy of representation.”
Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1019 (9th
Cir. 1998). Additionally, the Court must determine whether
class counsel is adequate and whether “the action is
maintainable under Rule 23(b)(1), (2), or (3).” In
re Mego Fin. Corp. Sec. Litig., 213 F.3d 454, 462 (9th
Cir. 2000) (quoting Amchen Prod. v. Windsor, 521
U.S. 591, 614 (1997)).
requirement is satisfied if the class is “so numerous
that joinder of all members is impracticable.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1). “A class greater than forty
members often satisfies this requirement. . . .”
Waller v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 295 F.R.D. 472, 482
(S.D. Cal. 2013) (citing Californians for Disability
Rights, Inc. v. Cal. Dep't of Transp., 249 F.R.D.
334, 346 (N.D. Cal. 2008)). Here, notice packets were mailed
to 641 potential class members. Joinder of all these
potential plaintiffs would be impracticable. Accordingly,
this requirement has been met.
requirement is satisfied if “there are questions of law
or fact common to the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(2).
“To satisfy this commonality requirement, plaintiffs
need only point to a single issue common to the class.”
Vasquez v. Coast Valley Roofing, Inc., 670 F.Supp.2d
1114, 1121 (E.D. Cal. 2009). Here, the commonality
requirement is satisfied because all of the class claims
concern whether Defendant violated California Labor Code and
the UCL by failing to pay overtime, incorrectly deducting
off-the-clock work, failing to provide compliant meal
periods, and other derivative claims for wage statement and
waiting time penalties.
requirement is satisfied if “the claims or defenses of
the representative parties are typical of the claims or
defenses of the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(3).
“The test of typicality is whether other members have
the same or similar injury, whether the action is based on
conduct which is not unique to the named plaintiffs, and
whether other class members have been injured by the same
course of conduct.” Hanon v. Dataproducts
Corp., 976 F.2d 497, 508 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal
quotations and citation omitted). Here, the typicality
requirement is satisfied because the claims of named
Plaintiffs and the class are the same. The wrongful conduct
alleged in the complaint is not unique to the class
representatives, and the damages to the class members, if
any, are similar insofar as they relate to unpaid wages and
Labor Code violations.
Adequacy of Class Representative
final Rule 23(a) requirement is that “the
representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the
interests of the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(4). The
requires the Court address two questions: “(a) do the
named plaintiffs and their counsel have any conflicts of
interest with other class members and (b) will the named
plaintiffs and their counsel prosecute the action vigorously
on behalf of the class.” In re Mego Fin. Corp. Sec.
Litig., 213 F.3d at 462. Here, this requirement is
satisfied because there is no obvious conflict between Ms.
Nangle and Mr. Myers' interests and those of the class
Adequacy of Class Counsel
certifying a class must consider: “(i) the work counsel
has done in identifying or investigating potential claims in
the action; (ii) counsel's experience in handling class
actions, other complex litigation, and the types of claims
asserted in the action; (iii) counsel's knowledge of the
applicable law; and (iv) the resources that counsel will
commit to representing the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(g)(1)(A). The Court may also consider “any other
matter pertinent to counsel's ability to fairly and
adequately represent the interests of the class.”
Id. at 23(g)(1)(B). Ultimately, when only one
applicant seeks appointment as class counsel, the court must
determine that “[c]lass counsel . . . fairly and
adequately represent the interests of the class.”
Id. at 23(g)(4). Here, Class Counsel has provided
evidence of his firm's experience litigating overtime and
rest/meal period cases, along with other wage and hour class
cases, and there is nothing in the record to suggest that
counsel is not able to fairly and adequately represent this
Class. Accordingly, the Court finds this element satisfied
for the purposes of certification of the settlement class.
Predominance and Superiority
addition to meeting the conditions imposed by Rule 23(a), the
parties seeking class certification must show that the action
is maintainable under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(1), (2) or
(3).” Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 1022. “Rule 23
(b)(3) permits a party to maintain a class action if . . .
the court finds that questions of law or fact common to class
members predominate over any questions affecting only
individual members, and that a class action is superior to
other available methods for fairly and efficiently
adjudicating the controversy. Connecticut Ret. Plans
& Trust Funds v. Amgen Inc., 660 F.3d 1170, 1173
(9th Cir. 2011), aff'd, 133 S.Ct. 1184 (2013)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3)). The “predominance
inquiry tests whether proposed classes are sufficiently
cohesive to warrant adjudication by representation.”
Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 1022-23 (quoting Amchen
Prods, Inc., 521 U.S. at 623). It requires an
examination into whether there are “legal or factual
questions that qualify each class member's case as a
genuine controversy.” Id.
all of the class members were allegedly subject to Defendants
purported illegal wage deductions and wage forfeitures. The
legal and factual questions common to each class member's
claim predominate over any questions affecting individual
class members, and a class action is superior to other
methods for adjudicating this controversy. Accordingly, the
Court finds that the predominance and superiority inquiries
have been satisfied.
light of the foregoing, the Court conditionally certifies the
class for the purposes of settlement.
Legal Standard for Final Approval of ...