Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cifuentes v. CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

October 23, 2017

WILLIAM CIFUENTES, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated persons, Plaintiff,
v.
CEVA LOGISTICS U.S., INC., Defendant.

          ORDER (1) CERTIFYING SETTLEMENT CLASS; (2) GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT; AND (3) APPROVING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND INCENTIVE PAYMENT [DOC. NOS. 20, 21, 22]

          MARILYN L. HUFF, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         On August 3, 2016, Plaintiff William Cifuentes (“Plaintiff”) filed a purported class action complaint against Defendant CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc. (“CEVA”) alleging violations of various wage and hour provisions of the California Labor Code, as well as the California Unfair Competition Law. (Doc. No. 1.) Subsequently, after private mediation, the parties reached a tentative settlement agreement. (Doc. No. 16-5.) On June 12, 2017, the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement, provisionally certified a settlement class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), and approved the form and manner of notice. (Doc. No. 19.)

         On July 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed unopposed motions for attorneys' fees, litigation costs, and an incentive award. (Doc. Nos. 20, 21.) On September 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for final approval of the settlement. (Doc. No. 22.) On October 23, 2017, the Court held a fairness hearing. No class member filed an objection, and no objectors appeared at the hearing. Joshua G. Konecky appeared for Plaintiff. Fraser A. McAlpine appeared for CEVA. For the reasons that follow, the Court certifies the settlement class, grants final approval of the class settlement, and approves Plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees, costs, and an incentive award.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Settlement Details

         This is a wage and hour class action filed on behalf of all individuals who have performed one or more deliveries in California for CEVA, while being classified as an independent contractor, no more than four years prior to the filing of the Complaint. (Doc. No. 1.) CEVA is a delivery company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and engages in delivery services in California. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff claims that CEVA improperly categorized class members as independent contractors, rather than as employees, and as a result denied them the rights and protections afforded by the California Labor Code. (Id. ¶ 2.) Additionally, Plaintiff claims that CEVA failed to make meal and rest periods available to class members, did not provide accurate, itemized wage statements, and failed to reimburse class members for reasonable business expenses. (Ibid.) Lastly, Plaintiff claims CEVA failed to compensate class members for all hours worked, overtime, and full wages upon departure from the company as required by California Labor Code §§ 201, 202, and 203. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks compensation, attorneys' fees, and costs. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 5.)

         On June 12, 2017, the Court provisionally certified a settlement class consisting of “[a]ll individuals who have personally made one or more deliveries for CEVA while being classified by CEVA as an independent contractor, at any time” between August 3, 2012 and February 14, 2017. (Doc. No. 16-5 at PageID 148.) After the Court's preliminary approval order, the Court-appointed Settlement Administrator, JND Class Action Administration LLC (“JND”), issued the Court-approved Settlement Notice (in English and Spanish) to the settlement class members, using the most recent mail and email contact information held by the parties, as updated through data from the National Change of Address (NCOA) database and skip-trace databases. (Doc. No. 22-1, McDermott Decl., ¶¶ 4-7.) JND identified sixty-five unique class members, and was able to effectuate delivery to all but three of the addresses on file. (Id. at ¶ 4, 7.) Class members had sixty days to object to the settlement, raise disputes regarding the calculation of their awards, or opt-out of the settlement altogether. No class member elected to lodge any objections.

         Under the proposed settlement, CEVA will pay $1, 750, 000 to establish a settlement fund to resolve the litigation. (Doc. No. 16-5 at PageID 150.) That amount does not include the employer's share of payroll taxes on any wage payments. (Id. at PageID 159.) The settlement will be divided proportionally according to the number of weeks each class member worked. (Id. at PageID 164.) The class members will receive payment from the settlement fund less administrative costs; payments required under the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”); a reserve fund; Plaintiff's service award; and attorneys' fees and expenses. (Id. at PageID 165-68.); Cal. Lab. Code § 2699(i). Class members will not have to file claims to receive their payment. (Id. at PageID 164.) The PAGA payment will take $87, 500 from the settlement fund and set aside 75% of it for the California Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). (Id. at PageID 167.) The reserve fund will consist of 2% of the settlement fund, and will pay for any late or unexpected claims. (Id. at PageID 165.) Additionally, any remaining finances in the reserve fund will be donated to the parties' agreed upon cy pres beneficiary, Legal Aid at Work (LAAW). (Id. at PageID 164.) The class representative's requested service award is $7, 500. (Id. at PageID 166.) The parties agreed to a maximum attorney fee award of $583, 333. (Ibid.) Finally, none of the funds will revert back to Defendant if unclaimed. (Id. at PageID 164.)

         In exchange for this compensation, Plaintiff and the class members will release a wide array of potential claims against CEVA. Specifically, the class members will “fully, finally, and forever settle, compromise, and discharge disputes and claims arising from or related to this Action.” (Id. at PageID 157.) The released claims include:

. . . all claims that have been alleged or that could have been alleged in the operative Complaint based on the allegations, claims, facts and/or legal theories raised by the operative Complaint including but not necessarily limited to all of the following claims for relief: (a) violation of California Labor Code §§ 226.7(a) and 512(a) (denial of meal breaks); (b) violation of California Labor Code § 226.7(a) (denial of rest breaks); (c) violation of California Labor Code §§ 200 and 204 (failure to pay compensation for all time worked); (d) violation of California Labor Code §§ 226(a), 1174 and 1175 (inaccurate wage statements); (e) violation of California Labor Code §§ 201-03 (unpaid wages at discharge); (f) violation of California Labor Code §§ 1194 (failure to pay overtime); (g) violation of California Labor Code §§ 221 and 2802 (unreimbursed expenses and unlawful deductions from pay); (h) violations of California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq.; (i) representative action under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”); (j) any other claims or penalties under the wage and hour laws pleaded in the Action or that could have been pleaded based on the allegations, claims, facts and/or legal theories alleged therein; (k) all damages, penalties, interest and other amounts recoverable under said causes of action under California and federal law, to the extent permissible, including but not limited to the California Labor Code as to the facts alleged in the operative Complaint, the applicable Wage Orders as to the facts alleged in the operative Complaint, and the California Unfair Competition Law; and (1) claims under PAGA that were or could have been premised on the facts and legal theories raised in the operative Complaint.

(Id. at PageID 152.) Plaintiff agreed to a broader release of claims, which states:

In exchange for the consideration set forth in this Agreement, Plaintiff Cifuentes for himself and his heirs, successors and assigns, hereby waive[s], release[s], acquit[s] and forever discharge[s] the Released Parties, from any and all claims, actions, charges, complaints, grievances and causes of action, or whatever nature, whether known or unknown, which exist or may exist on Plaintiff's behalf as of the date of this Agreement, including but not limited to any and all tort claims, contract claims, wage claims wrongful termination claims, disability claims, benefit claims, public policy claims, retaliation claims, statutory claims, personal injury claims, emotional distress claims, invasion of privacy claims, defamation claims, fraud claims, quantum meruit claims, and any and all claims arising under any federal, state or other governmental statute, law, regulation or ordinance, including, but not limited to claims for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the California Labor Code, the Wage Orders of California's Industrial Welfare Commission, other state wage and hour laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, California's Whistleblower Protection Act, California Business & Professions Code Section 17200 et seq., and any and all claims arising under any federal, state or other governmental statute, law, regulation or ordinance.

(Id. at PageID 158 (emphasis in original).)

         II. Class Members' Notice of Settlement

         After the Court preliminarily approved the settlement's terms, Defendant provided JND “an electronic file containing, among other information, the names and addresses of individuals identified as Class Members. The file contained a total of 89 records; however, because 13 subcontractors later became owner operators and 11 subcontractors worked for more than one owner operator, the list contained 65 unique Class Members.” (Doc. No. 22-1 at ¶ 4.) “Prior to mailing notices, JND updated Class Member address information using data from the National Change of Address (NCOA) database and skip-trace databases. After these updates, a total of 65 Class Members had a complete mailing address[.]” (Id. at ¶ 5.) “Pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, on July 6, 2017, JND mailed the class action notice in English and Spanish [] via first-class regular U.S. mail to the 65 Class Members identified on the Class Mailing List.” (Id. at ΒΆ 6.) JND mailed a copy of the notice to all but three of the class ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.