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Kress v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 7, 2018

SAMUEL BRANDON KRESS, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CONSOLIDATED ACTION SETTLEMENT; APPROVING AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS AND CLASS REPRESENTATIVE SERVICE AWARDS; AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF DISMISSAL OF THE ACTION

          Troy L. Nunley, United States District Judge.

         This matter came for hearing on April 19, 2018, upon the Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of the Proposed Settlement of this action on the terms set forth in the Settlement Agreement and Release, (the “Settlement Agreement”) attached hereto as Exhibit A. Due and adequate notice having been given to the Class Members and the Court having considered the Settlement Agreement, all papers and proceedings held herein, and all oral and written comments received regarding the proposed Settlement, and having reviewed the record in this action, Kress et al. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Case No. 2:08-cv-00965 TLN/AC (“Consolidated Action”), and good cause appearing, finds that:

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff Lac Anh Le originally filed her complaint in the United States District Court, Northern District of California on October 26, 2007, and Plaintiff Samuel Brandon Kress originally filed his complaint, captioned Kress v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County on January 18, 2008; and

         WHEREAS, the Kress case was removed by PwC to the United States District Court, Central District of California, and both the Le and Kress cases were subsequently transferred to the United States District Court, Eastern District of California; and

         WHEREAS, on or about August 14, 2008, the separate Le and Kress cases were consolidated to form Kress v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 2:08-cv-00965-TLN-AC; and

         WHEREAS, by Order dated January 10, 2013, the Court certified a class action under the California Labor Code and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 23, which is defined as all persons employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC” or “Defendant”) in California who, at any time during the period of October 27, 2003 to January 10, 2013: (a) worked as Senior Associates in the Attest Division of PwC's Assurance Line of Service, (b) were not licensed as certified public accountants (“CPAs”) for some or all of the period they worked in this position, and (c) were classified as overtime exempt employees while working in this position; and

         WHEREAS, Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, Marlin & Saltzman LLP, Law Office of Steven Elster, and Wynne Law Firm serve as Class Counsel for the litigation class and Plaintiffs Samuel Brandon Kress and Jesse Kenny serve as Class Representatives for this class; and

         WHEREAS, the Parties have engaged in private mediation before Mark S. Rudy on April 17, 2017, which resulted in a signed Memorandum of Understanding, dated April 17, 2017, and the Settlement Agreement and Release; and

         WHEREAS, a resolution of the Consolidated Action was reached following a mediator's proposal by Mark S. Rudy; and

         WHEREAS, the Class Representatives, Other Named Plaintiffs (David Beadles and Willow Markham), and Class Counsel believe that this case is meritorious and that the certification of a class of Attest Senior Associates was and continues to be appropriate; and

         WHEREAS, PwC denies any liability and wrongdoing of any kind associated with the claims alleged in the Consolidated Action, and continues to deny that the Consolidated Action is appropriate for class treatment for any purpose other than this Settlement; and

         WHEREAS, PwC contends, among other things, that it has complied at all times with California law, including the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 4-2001, and the California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq., the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and all other state labor codes, and specifically contends that its classification of any of its Associates and Senior Associates as exempt employees was and continues to be a correct classification under the Professional, Administrative and Executive Exemptions under California law, the FLSA, and all other state labor codes; and

         WHEREAS, PwC is not reclassifying any of its Associates or Senior Associates as non-exempt as a condition of the Settlement Agreement and Release, or otherwise; and

         WHEREAS, Class Counsel has conducted a thorough investigation into the facts of the Consolidated Action, is knowledgeable about and has done extensive research with respect to the applicable law and the defenses asserted by Defendant to the claims of the class of Attest Senior Associates and has diligently litigated the Class Members' claims against ...


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