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Lara v. Sugar Foods Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 20, 2018

RICARDO LARA, as an individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
SUGAR FOODS CORPORATION, a New York Corporation; and DOES 1 through 100, Defendants.


          Honorable Stephen V. Wilson United States District Judge

         The Plaintiff Class, as defined below, and the settling Defendant Sugar Foods Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Defendant” or “Sugar Foods Corporation”) have entered into an agreement to settle the above-captioned class action, subject to the Court's approval. The Settlement provides for the payment of compensation to each Class Member who was employed as a non-exempt employee at Sugar Foods Corporation within the State of California during the class period.

         Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Hearing and Order, this Court granted preliminary approval to the Settlement. The Preliminary Approval Order also approved the Notice of Class Action Settlement and the notice plan. The Court entered the Preliminary Approval Order after review and consideration of all of the pleadings filed in connection herewith.

         In compliance with the Preliminary Approval Order, notice was sent to all Class Members via first-class mail. Furthermore, multiple follow-up mailings were performed for returned mail in addition to the distribution of any Notice of Class Action Settlement to Class Members requesting copies. The notice plan was timely completed.

         This matter is now before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement, Attorney Fees, Costs and Class Representative Enhancement. The Court has read, heard, and considered all the pleadings and documents submitted, and the presentations made in connection with the Motion which came for hearing on February 26, 2018. This Court finds that the proposed settlement appears to be the product of serious, informed, non-collusive negotiations, has no obvious deficiencies, and does not improperly grant preferential treatment to any individuals. The Court finds that the settlement was entered into in good faith. The Court further finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate and that Plaintiff has satisfied the standards for final approval of a class action settlement under federal law. Under the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the Trial Court has discretion to certify a Class where questions of law or fact common to the members of the Class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to the available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 23(b)(3).

         Certification of a Class is the appropriate judicial device under these circumstances.

         Based on the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

         1. This Court has jurisdiction over the claims of the settlement Class Members asserted in this proceeding and over all parties to the action.

         2. For the reasons set forth in the Preliminary Approval Order, which are adopted and incorporated herein by reference, this Court finds that the applicable requirements of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 have been satisfied with respect to the Settlement Class and the proposed settlement.

         3. The Class Definition is as follows: All persons employed by Sugar Foods as non-exempt hourly-paid employees in the State of California between April 28, 2013 and November 14, 2017 (Class Members).

         4. The notice given to the settlement Class Members fully and accurately informed the Class Members of all material elements of the proposed settlement and of their opportunity to object or comment thereon; was the best notice practicable under the circumstances; was valid, due and sufficient notice to all Class Members; and complied fully with the laws of the State of California, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States Constitution, due process and other applicable law. The summary notices fairly and adequately described the settlement and provided Class Members adequate instructions and a variety of means to obtain additional information. A full opportunity has been afforded to the settlement Class Members to participate in this hearing, and all settlement Class Members and other persons wishing to be heard have been heard. Accordingly, the Court determines that all settlement Class Members who did not timely and properly opt out are bound by this judgment and order.

         5. Pursuant to California law and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e), the Court hereby grants final approval to the settlement and finds that it is fair, reasonable and adequate, and in the best interests of the settlement Class Members as a whole. Accordingly, the Court hereby directs that the settlement be effected in accordance with the Amended Class Action Settlement Agreement and Joint Stipulation and the following terms and conditions.

         6. Upon entry of Judgment by the Court in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, the Class Members shall fully and finally release and discharge the Released Parties from the claims released in the Settlement. Specifically, the Settlement specifies the following releases from Class Members:

         Released Claims means any and all liabilities, demands, claims, causes of action, complaints, and obligations, whether known or unknown, against Sugar Foods, its parent company, affiliates, successors and assigns that are or that could have been pled based on the factual allegations in the operative Complaint. The Released Claims specifically include claims for meal period violations (Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512); any claims related to the punch-in and punch-out times for meal periods, the rounding or recording of those punch-in and punch-out times, and payments related to them (including derivative claims for minimum wage and overtime) (Labor Code §§ 510, 1194, and 1197); rest period violations (Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512); wage statement violations (Labor Code § 226 et seq.); penalties for failure to timely pay all wages during employment (Labor Code §§ 204 and 210); waiting time penalties for failure to pay all wages due upon ...

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