United States District Court, S.D. California
MARIA T. GONZALEZ, on Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
EXAMINATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., a Nevada Corporation; LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, a Delaware Corporation; SOKO UNITED CORP., a California Corporation; and DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants. EXAMINATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., a Nevada Corporation, Third-Party Plaintiff,
SOKO UNITED CORP., a California Corporation, Third-Party Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR
(1) FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT; AND (2)
ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND INCENTIVE AWARD (ECF NOS. 74,
Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge.
before the Court are Plaintiff Maria T. Gonzalez's
unopposed Motions for (1) Final Approval of Class Action
Settlement (“Final Approval Mot., ” ECF No. 74);
and (2) Attorneys' Fees, Costs, and Incentive Award
(“Att'y Fee Mot., ” ECF No. 75). The Court
conducted a hearing on August 22, 2019. See ECF No.
80. Because the settlement is fundamentally fair, reasonable,
and adequate, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's unopposed Final Approval Motion. Further,
because the requested attorneys' fees, costs, and
incentive award are reasonable, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiffs' Attorney Fee Motion.
case began when Plaintiff Maria T. Gonzalez filed an action
against Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
(“LabCorp”) and Examination Management Services,
Inc. (“EMSI”) on May 24, 2017. See
generally ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”). Plaintiff
alleged Defendants improperly classified her and other
phlebotomists as independent contractors. Id. ¶
1. Plaintiff further alleged that this misclassification
caused damages under several provisions of both federal and
state law, including damages for failure to pay minimum wage,
failure to provide accurate wage statements, and failure to
provide timely payment of all wages upon discharge.
Id. ¶ 3.
November 10, 2017, EMSI added Soko United Corporation
(“Soko”) as a third-party defendant, alleging
indemnity-based claims. See generally ECF No. 27.
Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint that added Soko as
a defendant and alleged that Soko was the joint employer of
Plaintiff and the proposed class along with EMSI and LapCorp.
See generally ECF No. 29 (“SAC”).
March 7, 2018, the Parties attended a telephonic Early
Neutral Evaluation with the Honorable Jill L. Burkhardt;
however, the Parties did not agree to settlement terms at
that time. See generally ECF No. 52. The Parties
attended a mediation conducted by Jeffrey Krivis of First
Mediation Corporation on July 5, 2018. Declaration of Aaron
M. Olsen in Support of Final Approval Mot. (“Olsen
Approval Decl., ” ECF No. 74-2) ¶ 7. Through that
mediation, “the Parties were able to reach an
outstanding settlement agreement on behalf of Plaintiff and
the proposed Class.” Id.
September 21, 2018, the Parties sought preliminary approval
from the Court, see generally ECF No. 66, which the
Court granted. See generally ECF No. 73. Notice was
then provided to all 118 Class Members. Declaration of
Elizabeth Kruckenberg (“Kruckenberg Decl., ” ECF
No. 74-7) ¶ 5. Three Class Members have opted out of the
Settlement, leaving 115 Class Members. Id. ¶ 8.
No Class Members have objected to the Settlement.
Id. ¶ 9.
Parties are now before the Court to seek the Court's
final approval of their Settlement. See generally
ECF No. 74.
Parties have submitted a comprehensive settlement agreement
with approximately forty pages of substantive terms. ECF No.
66-2 at 2-46 (“Proposed Settlement
Proposed Settlement Class
Proposed Settlement Class is defined to include “all
Persons, regardless of specific title, who currently work
for, or previously worked for, Soko as a phlebotomist,
examiner, and/or PST Specialist who also worked at a LapCorp
location pursuant to the Independent Contractor Agreement
between Soko and EMSI, and/or the Provider Agreement between
EMSI and LapCorp, at any time during the period of May 24,
2013 through the date of the Preliminary Approval
Order.” Proposed Settlement Agreement ¶ 2.6.
According to the Parties' investigation and available
data, this constitutes “one hundred eighteen (118)
Class Members.” See id.
Class Members have excluded themselves from the Settlement,
leaving 115 Settlement Class Members. Kruckenberg Decl.
¶ 8. None of the remaining 115 Settlement Class Members
has objected to the Settlement. See Id. ¶ 9.
Proposed Monetary Relief
Proposed Settlement Agreement provides for $700, 000 in Gross
Settlement Proceeds, Proposed Settlement Agreement ¶
5.1(a), “used to pay: (1) $175, 000 in attorneys'
fees; (2) $5, 000 in litigation expenses; (3) $6, 500 in
administrative expenses; (4) $5, 000 for the Class
Representative Service Award; (5) $10, 000 for payment to the
[California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
(“LWDA”)] pursuant to [the Private Attorneys
General Act (“PAGA”)]; and (6) the remainder
$498, 500 used to pay the Settlement Class Members
(“Net Settlement Proceeds”).” Final
Approval Mot. at 6.
the 115 Settlement Class Members will receive a portion of
the Settlement Fund “based on weeks worked”
during the class period. Proposed Settlement Agreement ¶
5.1(b). Should the Court approve the Proposed Settlement
Agreement, each of the 115 Settlement Class Members will
receive a payout as calculated in the Individual Work Weeks
Form with Assumed Payout, attached as Exhibit B to the Decl.
of Aaron M. Olsen. See Olsen Approval Decl. Ex. B,
ECF No. 74-4. “[I]f a straight average allocation ...