United States District Court, N.D. California
APPROVAL AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES RE: ECF NOS.
TIGAR United States District Judge.
the Court are Plaintiff Jimmie Jarrell's unopposed
motions for final approval of the class action settlement,
ECF No. 44, and for attorneys' fees, costs, and an
incentive award to the named plaintiff, ECF No. 45. The Court
granted preliminary approval of the settlement on August 4,
2017, and held a fairness hearing on January 11, 2018. ECF
Nos. 43, 48. As ordered by the Court, counsel and the
settlement administrator filed supplemental declarations in
support of Jarrell's motion for attorneys' fees and
costs on January 25 and February 6, 2018. ECF Nos. 51, 52,
54. The Court will grant the motion for final approval and
grant in part and deny in part the motion for attorneys'
fees, costs, and incentive award.
Jimmie Jarrell brings this wage and hour class action against
Defendant AmeriGas Propane, Inc., on behalf of himself and
other individuals who are or have been employed by AmeriGas
as service technicians. The alleged violations concern meal
and rest periods, payment for on-call time and travel time,
vacation pay, and accuracy of wage statements.
August 4, 2017, the Court conditionally certified a
settlement class and granted preliminary approval of the
class action settlement agreement. ECF No. 43. The settlement
class consists of “[A]ll persons employed by AmeriGas
as a Service Technician (a non-exempt or hourly position) in
California from February 16, 2012, through the date of
preliminary approval.” Id. at 4 (citation
omitted) (alteration in original).
settlement provides for a common fund of $800, 000,
including: (1) payouts to class members; (2) attorneys'
fees of not more than $266, 640 (33.33% of the common fund);
(3) litigation costs and expenses not to exceed $35, 000; (4)
settlement administration costs, estimated to be $20, 000;
(5) an incentive award to Jarrell, not to exceed $10, 000;
(6) a $30, 000 payment to the California Labor Workforce
Development Agency; and (7) payroll taxes. ECF No. 37-1 at
30. Class member payouts will vary based on the number of
weeks each class member worked during the class period.
Id. at 33. Current employees who do not opt out will
automatically receive a payout, whereas former employees must
submit a claim form. Id. at 68, 86.
time of preliminary approval, counsel estimated that there
were 231 class members. ECF No. 37-1 at 3. However, the final
class list included 283 members. ECF No. 47 at 5.
required notice to federal and state attorneys general under
the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1715(b), was
sent on May 5, 2017. ECF No. 39 at 2. This notice occurred
more than 90 days before the date of this order, as required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1715(d).
FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
claims, issues, or defenses of a certified class may be
settled . . . only with the court's approval.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e). “Adequate notice is critical to
court approval of a class settlement under Rule 23(e).”
Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1025 (9th
Cir. 1998). In addition, Rule 23(e) “requires the
district court to determine whether a proposed settlement is
fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable.”
Id. at 1026. To assess a settlement proposal, the
district court must balance a number of factors:
(1) the strength of the plaintiffs' 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.
Churchill Vill., LLC v. Gen. Elec., 361 F.3d 566,
575 (9th Cir. 2004). There is no governmental participant in
this case, so the Court need not consider that factor.
Adequacy of Notice
must “direct notice [of a proposed class settlement] in
a reasonable manner to all class members who would be bound
by the proposal.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e)(1). “The
class must be notified of a proposed settlement in a manner
that does not systematically leave any group without
notice.” Officers for Justice v. Civil Serv.
Comm'n of City & Cty. ...