United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION
SETTLEMENT AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION
FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES RE: DKT. NOS. 63, 64
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are Plaintiff's motions for final
approval of class action settlement and for attorneys'
fees, costs and expenses, and a class representative
enhancement payment. Dkt. Nos. 63, 64. The Court held a final
fairness hearing on June 13, 2019. Dkt. No. 67. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS
final approval. The Court also GRANTS IN PART AND
DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's motion for
attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, and enhancement
Jesse Black filed this putative labor and employment class
action in Alameda Superior Court on January 31, 2017.
See Dkt. No. 1, Ex. A (“Compl.”).
Defendant T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) removed
the action to this Court in July 2017. Dkt. No. 1. In his
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he worked for Defendant as
a Senior Field Technician and was denied adequate overtime
compensation as well as meal and rest periods from
approximately 2008 through 2015. See Compl.
¶ 4. According to Plaintiff, Defendant had “a
company-wide” policy of scheduling technicians for
rotating “on-call” weeks in which they “had
to be available 24/7 to respond to service calls” and
“could not use that time freely for their own
purpose.” Id. ¶¶ 46, 56.
on-call week would run from Monday at 5:00 p.m. through the
following Monday at 7:59 a.m. Id. ¶ 46.
Defendant paid technicians $22.47 per day during these
on-call weeks, but “failed to pay Plaintiff and class
members for the remainder of the time during which they were
not free to use their time for their own purposes.”
Id. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant did not
have a policy permitting its employees to take a second
30-minute meal period on days they worked in excess of 10
hours. Id. ¶ 48.
basis of these facts, Plaintiff asserts nine causes of action
under California law on behalf of himself and the putative
class for: (1) unpaid overtime; (2) unpaid minimum wage; (3)
failure to provide meal periods; (4) failure to provide rest
periods; (5) failure to provide accurate wage statements and
maintain payroll records; (6) failure to pay wages upon
termination; (7) failure to provide reporting time pay; (8)
unlawful business practices; and (9) unfair business
practices. See Id. ¶¶ 39-115.
parties participated in mediation on August 21, 2018, and
were able to agree on the principal terms of a settlement
agreement. Dkt. No. 49. The parties filed their motion for
preliminary approval of class action settlement on October
25, 2018, Dkt. No. 51, which the Court granted on February 8,
2019, Dkt. No. 56.
extensive formal discovery and with the assistance of a
mediator, the parties eventually entered into a settlement
agreement on October 10, 2018. Dkt. No. 51-1 ¶¶
4-6, Ex. 1 (“SA”). The key terms are as follows:
Definition: The settlement includes all persons who have
worked for Defendant as non-exempt, hourly-paid field
technicians in California at any time from February 1, 2013
through the date of Preliminary Approval. SA ¶
Benefits: Defendant will pay a total settlement amount
of $980, 000, including settlement payments to all Class
Members totaling an estimated $594, 580 after excluding
settlement administrative costs estimated at $10, 000, any
incentive awards, any attorneys' fees and costs award,
and a payment of $18, 750 to the Labor Workforce Development
Agency pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004
(PAGA). SA ¶¶ 8, 13, 25; Dkt. No. 64 at 4.
Individual settlement payments will be calculated
proportionately based on the number of workweeks a Class
Member worked during the class period. SA ¶ 35.
Individual settlement amounts will average approximately $3,
110. Dkt. No. 64 at 2; Dkt. No. 64-2 ¶ 16.
All settlement Class Members will release:
all claims, rights, demands, liabilities, and causes of
action, arising from, or related to, the claims alleged or
which could have been alleged in the proposed First Amended
Complaint based on the same set of operative pleaded facts,
including: (i) all claims for unpaid wages, including
overtime; (ii) all claims for meal and rest break violations;
(iii) all claims for unpaid minimum wages; (iv) all claims
for the failure to timely pay wages upon termination; (v) all
claims for the failure to timely pay wages during employment,
including but not limited to any on call time alleges to be
compensable but not paid; (vi) all claims for wage statement
violations; (vii) all claims for failure to pay reporting
time compensation or paid sick leave; and (viii) all claims
asserted through California Business & Professions Code
§§ 17200, et seq., and California Labor Code
§§ 2698, et seq. based on the preceding claims.
SA ¶ 21.
Notice: A third-party settlement administrator will send
class notices via U.S. mail to each member of the class,
using a class list provided by Defendant. SA ¶ 39. 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. No. 51-1, Ex. A (proposed notice).
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 30 days after the date
notice is mailed. SA ¶¶ 24, 44.
Award: The Named Plaintiff will apply for an incentive
award of no more than $10, 000, subject to the approval of
the Court. SA ¶¶ 7, 31.
Fees and Costs: Plaintiff will file an application for
attorneys' fees not to exceed one-third of the settlement
fund ($326, 667), and costs not to exceed $20, 000. SA ¶
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