United States District Court, S.D. California
GEOFFREY MOYLE, an individual, PAULINE ARWOOD, an individual, THOMAS ROLLASON, an individual, and, JEANNIE SANDERS, an individual, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, and ROES 1 through 500, inclusive, Plaintiffs,
LIBERTY MUTUAL RETIREMENT BENEFIT PLAN; LIBERTY MUTUAL RETIREMENT PLAN RETIREMENT BOARD; LIBERTY MUTUAL GROUP INC., a Massachusetts company; LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, a Massachusetts company; and, DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT; DIRECTING ISSUANCE OF
NOTICE; AND SETTING FINAL APPROVAL HEARING [Dkt. No.
Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge.
Geoffrey Moyle, Pauline Arwood, Thomas Rollason, and Jeannie
Sanders (“Plaintiffs”) filed an unopposed Motion
for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement. Based on
the findings and reasoning below, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Approval.
23(e) requires the Court to determine whether a proposed
settlement is “fundamentally fair, adequate, and
reasonable.” Staton v. Boeing Co., 327 F.3d
938, 959 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotations omitted). In
making this determination, a court may consider: (1) the
strength of the plaintiff's case; (2) “the risk,
expense, complexity, and likely duration of further
litigation;” (3) “the risk of maintaining class
action status throughout the trial;” (4) “the
amount offered in settlement;” (5) “the extent of
discovery completed and the stage of the proceedings;”
(6) “the experience and views of counsel;” (7)
“the presence of a governmental participant;” and
(8) “the reaction of the class members to the proposed
settlement.” Id. (internal quotations
omitted). Moreover, the settlement may not be the product of
collusion among the negotiating parties. In re Mego Fin.
Corp. Sec. Litig., 213 F.3d 454, 458 (9th Cir. 2000);
see also Barani v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2014 WL
1389329, at *4 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2014).
considering whether to preliminarily approve a class
settlement, the Court should consider whether the deal is
both procedurally and substantively fair. In re Tableware
Antitrust Litig., 484 F.Supp.2d 1078, 1080 (N.D. Cal.
2007) (“preliminary approval of a settlement has both a
procedural and a substantive component”). Specifically,
the Court should confirm that “(1) the proposed
settlement appears to be the product of serious, informed,
non-collusive negotiations, (2) has no obvious deficiencies,
(3) does not improperly grant preferential treatment to class
representatives or segments of the class, and (4) falls
with[in] the range of possible approval.” Dilts v.
Penske Logistics, LLC, No. 08cv318-CAB(BLM), 2014 WL
12515159, *2 (S.D. Cal. July 11, 2014) (citations omitted).
The Settlement Is the Product of Serious, Informed,
settlement agreement is presumed to be fair if it is reached
in arm's length negotiations after relevant discovery has
taken place. Cohorst v. BRE Prop., Inc., No.
3:10cv2666-JM(BGS), 2011 WL 7061923, *12 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 14,
2011) (stating that voluntary mediation before a retired
judge in which the parties reached an agreement-in-principle
are factors “highly indicative of fairness”)
case, the proposed Settlement is the product of over seven
years of litigation. The Parties reached a settlement after
completion of fact and expert discovery, an order certifying
a class, a ruling in favor of Defendants on their motion for
summary judgment, a cross-appeal to the Ninth Circuit,
supplemental briefing and argument on Defendants'
supplemental motion for summary judgment and a pending motion
parties engaged an experienced class action and ERISA
mediator and attended two separate full-day mediations, which
was followed by several weeks of follow up over the telephone
when the parties finally accepted the mediator's proposal
on August 8, 2017.
the posture of the litigation and the process of negotiating
the Settlement indicate that the deal is informed and
non-collusive. Further, the Settlement's terms
demonstrate procedural fairness and lack of collusion.
The Settlement Treats All Class Members Fairly
the Court should consider whether the proposed Settlement
improperly grants preferential treatment to the Class
Representatives or any segment of the Class. In re
Tableware Antitrust Litig., 484 F.Supp.2d at 1079. Here,
the proposed Settlement affords all Class members relief
based on the accrual of past service credit at a rate of 50%
of their time at GEIC. The class members will receive
different amounts under the Settlement but that is based on
the differences in the past service credit earned while at
GEIC. The Settlement compensates each Class member in
proportion to the harm he or she suffered.
The Settlement Has No Obvious Deficiencies and Falls Well