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Bisaccia v. Revel Systems Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 17, 2019

JOSEPH BISACCIA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
REVEL SYSTEMS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL AND ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND INCENTIVE AWARDS RE: DKT. NOS. 112, 113

          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiffs' motions for final approval of the class and collective action settlement and for attorneys' fees, costs, and incentive awards. Dkt. Nos. 112, 113. The Court held a final fairness hearing on June 20, 2019. Dkt. No. 116. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS final approval. The Court also GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees, costs, and incentive awards.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         On May 3, 2017, Plaintiff Joseph Bisaccia filed this putative class action against Defendant Revel Systems Inc. (“Revel”) for failure to pay overtime compensation as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). See Dkt. No. 1 (“Compl.”); see also 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. The initial complaint alleged that Plaintiff Bisaccia and other inside sales representatives (“ISRs”) employed by Defendant regularly worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but did not receive overtime compensation. Compl. ¶¶ 18, 20-21. Instead, Defendant classified them as “exempt” employees who were not entitled to such overtime compensation. Id.

         On July 18, 2017, Plaintiff sought conditional certification of a collective action as to all ISRs, across sales titles and across Defendant's various offices. Dkt. No. 20. Defendant eventually stipulated to conditional certification and distribution of judicial notice to the collective action members. Dkt. No. 36. Judicial notice was distributed pursuant to the parties' agreement, and the case now includes approximately 149 opt-in Plaintiffs.[1] Dkt. No. 102 at 1 and n.1; Dkt. No. 113 at 1 n.1.

         On June 7, 2018, Plaintiff Bisaccia, along with new Named Plaintiffs Rosie O'Brien and Joshua Michi, filed an amended complaint asserting putative class action claims under California and New York law in addition to the FLSA claims asserted in the original complaint. Dkt. No. 94 (asserting claims under Cal. Lab. Code §§ 226, 510, 512, 1194, 1198, IWC Wage Orders, Cal. Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq., and the New York Wage Theft Act).

         The parties participated in two mediations and were eventually able to reach an agreement. Dkt. No. 102 at 2. On August 16, 2018, the parties jointly filed a notice of settlement. Dkt. No. 97. The parties fully executed the Settlement Agreement on September 6, 2018, and filed a motion for preliminary approval of class and collective action settlement on September 20, 2018. Dkt. No. 102 at 2. The Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement on February 22, 2019. Dkt. No. 108.

         B. Settlement Agreement

         Following extensive formal discovery and with the assistance of a mediator, the parties eventually entered into a settlement agreement on September 6, 2018. Dkt. No. 102-2 (“SA”). The key terms are as follows:

         Collective Member Definition: The settlement includes all ISRs who were employed by Defendant from May 30, 2014 through and until January 15, 2017, and who properly and timely submitted a consent to join collective action form. SA §§ I(I), I(L).

         Class Definition: The settlement includes three Rule 23 settlement classes, defined as follows:

The California Class: All ISRs employed by Defendant who worked for Defendant in its California locations and who did not receive payment in exchange for a release of California claims through the Chatfield v. Revel class action settlement from May 30, 2013 through and until January 15, 2017, and who do not communicate a timely written request for exclusion from the settlement. SA §§ I(G), I(L).
The California Travel Class: All ISRs employed by Defendant who worked for Revel outside of California but who traveled to, and performed work in, California from May 30, 2013 through and until January 15, 2017, and who do not communicate a timely written request for exclusion from the settlement. Id.
The New York Class: All ISRs who were employed by Defendant in New York from May 30, 2011 through and until January 15, 2017, and who do not communicate a timely written request for exclusion from the settlement. Id.

         Settlement Benefits: Defendant will pay a total settlement amount of $2, 750, 000, including settlement payments to all Class and Collective Members, administrative costs, incentive awards, any attorneys' fees and costs award, and all individual settlement payments, including employee taxes but excluding employer taxes. SA § I(LL). Individual settlement payments will be calculated proportionately based on individualized damages calculations using payroll data provided by Defendant. See Id. § III(E)(4)(d). Individual settlement amounts will range from $250.71 to $56, 496.54. Dkt. No. 113-1 ¶ 3. The average settlement payment after deducting any attorneys' fees and costs is approximately $7, 818.58. Id. The settlement is non-reversionary. SA § III(E)(4)(d)(11).

         Release: All settlement Class and Collective Members will release:

• For New York Class Members, any statutory claims for unpaid wages (including but not limited to overtime pay, minimum wage, and regular wages), and claims for interest, penalties, or premiums in connection therewith, as well as any claims under the New York Labor Law that were alleged or could have been alleged under the facts pled in the Complaint during the Class Period. Class Members who are not FLSA Collective Members will not release FLSA claims. SA § I(HH).
• For California Class Members and California Travel Class Members, any statutory claims for unpaid wages (including but not limited to overtime pay, minimum wage, and regular wages), and claims for interest, penalties, or premiums in connection therewith, as well as any claims under the California Labor Code or California Wage Orders that were alleged or could have been alleged under the facts pled in the Complaint during the Class Period arising from work performed in California. Class Members who are not FLSA Collective Members will not release FLSA claims. Id.
• For FLSA Collective Members, all FLSA claims that were alleged or could have been alleged under the facts pled in the Complaint during the Class Period arising from work performed during the Class Period. Id.

Class and Collective Notice: A third-party settlement administrator will send class notices via U.S. First-Class Mail to each member of the classes, using a class list provided by Defendant. SA § III(G)(3)(a). The notice will include: the nature of the action, a summary of the settlement terms, and instructions on how to object to and opt out of the settlement, including relevant deadlines. See Dkt. Nos. 102-4, 102-5, 102-6 (proposed notices).

         Opt-Out Procedure: The parties propose that any putative class member who does not wish to participate in the settlement must sign and postmark a written request for exclusion to the settlement administrator no later than 60 days after the date notice is mailed. SA §§ I(DD), III(G)(5).

         Incentive Award: The Named Plaintiffs will apply for incentive awards of no more than $5, 000 each, subject to the approval of the Court. SA §§ I(Z), III(E)(1).

         Attorneys' Fees and Costs: Plaintiffs will file an application for attorneys' fees not to exceed 25% of the settlement fund, and costs not to exceed $20, 000. SA § III(E)(2).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Final ...


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