United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR
FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND MOTION FOR
ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS DKT. NOS. 50, 53
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR., United States District Judge
before the Court are two unopposed motions in this class
action. First, Plaintiff Kyle Cuzick, individually and on
behalf of the settlement class as defined herein, moves for
final approval of class action settlement. Dkt. No. 53.
Second, Plaintiff moves the Court for an award of
attorneys' fees and costs. Dkt. No. 50. The Court held a
final fairness hearing on both motions on May 10, 2018. For
the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS IN
PART the motion for final approval of class action
settlement and the motion for attorneys' fees and costs.
25, 2016, Plaintiff filed this action in Alameda Superior
Court, alleging that Defendant's pay, meal, and rest
break practices violated the California Labor Code,
California Unfair Competition Law, and the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”). Plaintiff then filed the
operative First Amended Complaint on June 22, 2016.
See Dkt. No. 1-4 (“FAC”). Plaintiff
asserts eight causes of action: (1) failure to provide meal
periods, Cal. Lab. Code §§ 204, 223, 226.7, 512,
1198; (2) failure to provide rest breaks, id.
§§ 204, 223, 226.7, 1198; (3) failure to pay hourly
and overtime wages, id. §§ 223, 510, 1194,
1197, 1198; (4) failure to provide accurate written wage
statements, id. § 226; (5) failure to timely
pay all final wages, id. §§ 201-203; (6)
unfair and unlawful business practices, Cal. Bus. & Prof.
Code §§ 17200 et seq.; (7) failure to
compensate for all hours worked, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201
et seq.; and (8) statutory penalties under the
Private Attorneys General Act, id. §§ 2698
et seq. FAC ¶¶ 20-134.
worked for Defendant in an hourly wage position as a
non-exempt employee from approximately November 2015 to March
2016. Id. ¶ 5. During this time, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant had a policy of requiring its
employees to return to their work stations on or before the
thirtieth minute of their thirty-minute meal break and on or
before the tenth minute of their ten-minute rest period.
Id. ¶¶ 28, 46. Moreover, Plaintiff states
that Defendant would deduct meal break and rest periods from
his and other non-exempt employees' timecards, regardless
of whether Defendant actually provided them. Id.
¶¶ 32, 64-65. On the basis of these facts,
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, statutory penalties,
restitution, attorneys' fees and costs, as well as
whatever relief “the Court deems just and
proper.” See Id. at 21.
extensive formal discovery and with the assistance of a
private mediator, the parties entered into a settlement
agreement. Dkt. No. 53-1 Ex. A (“SA”). The key
terms are as follows:
Definition: All individuals who were employed by
Defendant in California as non-exempt employees between May
25, 2012, and October 11, 2017. Id. §§
1.16-1.17. The parties have represented that there are
approximately 1, 292 class members. Dkt. No. 53-1 ¶ 8.
Relief: Defendants will pay a maximum of $952, 000.00
(the “Maximum Settlement Amount”), inclusive of:
(a) payments to participating class members; (b) class
counsel's attorneys' fees; (c) class counsel's
and the class representative's litigation costs and
associated expenses, which are capped at $10, 000; (d) the
payment to the settlement administrator for claims
administration costs; (e) enhancement payments to be made by
Defendant to Kyle Cuzick (f) payment to the California Labor
Workforce Development Agency as part of the consideration for
the release of all released claims; and (g) all payroll
taxes. SA §§ 1.7, 1.8, 10.
parties have estimated that individual class members'
gross recovery, before deductions for taxes, fees, and other
costs, will be approximately $737. Dkt. No. 53-1 ¶ 16.
The class, including Plaintiff, will release Defendant from
all claims, whether known or unknown, that were asserted or
could have been asserted arising from or related to
allegations set forth in the complaint. SA § 7.1.
and Objection Procedures: A person in the settlement
class may request to be excluded from the settlement by
sending a written request. SA § 8.4. A class member may
also object to the terms of the proposed settlement, the
award of attorneys' fees, or Plaintiff's incentive
award by sending a written objection. SA § 8.3. The
class notice specified procedures for submitting a valid and
timely objection or request for exclusion. See Dkt.
No. 39-2, Exs. 1-2.
Award: Plaintiff requests a Class Representative
enhancement award of $10, 000. SA § 10.4. Defendant does
not oppose this request. Id.
Fees and Costs: Plaintiff has filed an application for
attorneys' fees not to exceed $317, 333.33. SA §
10.6. Defendant does not oppose this request. Id.
FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL
approval of a class action settlement requires, as a
threshold matter, an assessment of whether the class
satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
23(a) and (b). Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d
1011, 1019-1022 (9th Cir. 1998). Because no facts that would
affect the Court's reasoning have changed since the Court
provisionally certified the nationwide FLSA overtime and
California overtime and vacation classes under FRCP 23(a) and
(b) on October 11, 2017, this order incorporates by reference
its prior analysis under Rules 23(a) and (b). See
Dkt. No. 45 at 4-7. This order also incorporates by reference
its previous provisional certification of Plaintiff as class