United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION
SETTLEMENT, AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS, AND
Elizabeth D. Laporte United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is the Motion for Final Approval of Class Action
Settlement and Award of Attorneys' Fees (“Final
Approval Motion”). See ECF Nos. 147, 150.
Having reviewed the Settlement Agreement and the parties'
arguments and papers, the Court GRANTS the
Factual and Procedural History
Dale Wilson (“Plaintiff”) was employed as a
technician at Redwood City, California, facility of
Defendants Tyco Electronics Corporation (“Tyco”)
and TE Connectivity Networks, Inc. (“TECN”)
(together, “Defendants”) between 1972 and 2013.
Wilson Decl., ECF No. 77-12 ¶ 2. Plaintiff contends that
due to pressures of work or interruptions by his supervisor,
Plaintiff sometimes had an interrupted meal break or missed
his meal break completely. Id. at ¶ 4. In an
ordinary week, Plaintiff did not get a full meal break on
three out of five days. Id. Because of
Defendants' auto-deduct policy, Defendants did not
compensate Plaintiff for these missed or interrupted meal
October 1, 2014, Plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit
against Defendants in the Superior Court for the State of
California, County of San Mateo, No. CIV530714 alleging
causes of action for: (1) Failure to Provide Meal Periods
(Lab. Code §§ 204, 223, 226.7, 512, and 1198); (2)
Failure to Provide Rest Periods (Lab. Code §§ 204,
223, 226.7, and 1198); (3) Failure to Pay Hourly Wages (Lab.
Code §§ 223, 510, 1194, 1194.2, 1197, 1997.1, and
1198); (4) Failure to Provide Accurate Written Wage
Statements (Lab. Code § 226(a)); (5) Failure to Timely
Pay All Final Wages (Lab. Code §§ 201-203); (6)
Unfair Competition (Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200,
et seq.); and (7) Civil Penalties (Lab. Code
§§ 2698, et seq.). Compl., ECF No. 1, Ex.
A. The Complaint seeks recovery of wages on behalf of
Plaintiff and on behalf of a class of “[a]ll persons
employed by Defendants in hourly or non-exempt positions in
California from October 1, 2010, through the date of class
certification, who had a ½ hour deducted from their
paychecks for a meal period.” Compl. ¶ 11.
contend that they have complied with all state wage and hour
laws and do not believe that any liability to Plaintiff or
Class Members exists, or that Plaintiff or Class Members are
entitled to any recovery. Ans., ECF No. 1, Ex. B. According
to Defendants, Tyco has, throughout the class period, had a
meal and rest policy that provides and permits meal and rest
breaks in accordance with California law. Pereira Decl., ECF
No. 79-5 ¶ 4.
October 31, 2014, Defendants filed its answer, ECF No. 1-2,
and then removed the action to the Northern District of
California under the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”) on November 3, 2014, ECF No. 1. On
January 22, 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case
to state court arguing that Defendants had not proved by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeded $5, 000, 000 as required by the CAFA. ECF No. 17. On
March 26, 2015, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion to
remand without prejudice, noting that discovery might reveal
that there is a good faith reason to remand this case. ECF
No. 31. Following certain discovery, on August 9, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a renewed Motion to Remand, ECF No. 66, which
the Court denied on October 3, 2016. ECF No. 76.
and Defendants both served and responded to several sets of
written discovery responses. See ECF Nos. 99-102.
The Parties exchanged extensive data, information, and
documents concerning the claims, defenses, and alleged
damages at issue in the Action, including production of time
records for a sample of Class Members, meal period premium
data for a sample of Class Members, Plaintiff's wage
statements and personnel file and relevant policy documents,
and other various Class Member data. Defendants deposed
Plaintiff Dale Wilson on October 15, 2015. ECF No. 147-1
¶ 10. Plaintiff interviewed putative class members to
investigate their experiences as Tyco's employees. ECF
No. 147-1 ¶ 12. Plaintiff deposed Lynne Pereira as an
individual and as Defendants' Person Most Knowledgeable
on August 23, 2016. Setareh Decl., ECF No. 147-1 ¶ 13.
October 11, 2016, Plaintiff moved for class certification.
Plaintiff's motion sought to certify three proposed
subclasses: (1) meal break class; (2) rest break class; and
(3) auto-deduct class. On February 9, 2017, the Court granted
in part Plaintiff's motion for class certification. ECF
No. 96. The Court denied Plaintiff's motion for class
certification as to the meal and rest break classes because
individual inquiries predominated. Id. On January
25, 2018, following supplemental briefing by the parties, the
Court certified the auto-deduct class. ECF No. 118. On
February 8, 2018, Defendants filed a petition for permission
to appeal the district court's class certification order
regarding the auto-deduct class with the Ninth Circuit, No.
18-80018. Defendants' request for
immediate appeal was withdrawn on May 11,
2018, when the parties agreed to settle the case. Setareh
Decl., ¶ 22.
at least two mediation sessions with a neutral mediator, the
parties agreed to settle this action for a total amount of
$4, 960, 000 for 1, 300 class members. Setareh Decl.
¶¶ 25-26. The proposed settlement amount includes
(a) payments to Class Members (an average of approximately
$2, 450.87); (b) Class Counsel's attorneys' fees and
litigation costs (not to exceed $1, 653, 333.30 in fees and
not to exceed $50, 000 in costs), (c) settlement
administration costs (not to exceed $45, 000), (d)
enhancement award to Plaintiff (not to exceed $7, 000), and
(e) payment to the California Labor & Workforce
Development Agency (“LWDA”) to resolve the claims
arising under California's Private Attorney General Act
($50, 000). Setareh Decl. ¶ 31; Settlement Agreement,
ECF No. 136-1 ¶ 56. After deduction from the total
settlement amount of attorneys' fees and costs, the
enhancement award to Plaintiff, the payment to the LWDA, and
the costs of administering the settlement, there will be a
net settlement amount of at least $3, 167, 166.70.
Proposed Class consists of, “[a]ll current and former
non-exempt employees of Tyco employed in the State of
California between October 1, 2010, through and including May
15, 2017, who had a half hour deducted for a meal period from
their recorded hours as part of an auto-deduct policy.”
Settlement Agreement ¶ 6.
was appointed by the Court as Settlement Administrator to
administer the Settlement in accordance with the terms of the
Settlement Agreement. Salinas Decl., ECF No. 147-3 ¶ 9.
The Class Notice advised Class Members of their right to opt
out from the Settlement, object to the Settlement, or do
nothing, and the implications of each such action.
See Class Notices, ECF Nos. 147-4, 147-5. The Class
Notice advised Class Members of applicable deadlines and
other events, including the Final Approval Hearing, and how
Class Members could obtain additional information.
Id. The Class Notice was pre-printed with the name
and address of the Class Member, work weeks used to calculate
his/her estimated Settlement share, and instructions for
challenging the work weeks. Id. On January 30, 2019,
Notice Packets were mailed via First Class Mail to 1, 278
Class Members contained in the Class List. Salinas Decl.
¶ 7. For Notice Packets returned by the USPS as
undeliverable and without a forwarding address, Simpluris
performed an advanced address search (i.e., skip
trace) by using a reputable research tool called Accurint and
promptly mailed Notice Packets to updated addresses. Salinas
Decl. ¶ 5. On March 28, 2019, counsel for Defendants
provided Simpluris with 22 additional Class Members. Supp.
Salinas Decl., ECF No. 150-1 ¶ 7. Ultimately, nine
Notices were undeliverable because Simpluris was unable to
locate a current address. Id. at ¶ 4.
also established and is maintaining a settlement website
(www.TycoSettlement.com) to provide information to the Class
Members. Salinas Decl. ¶ 9. The website was operational
on January 30, 2019, and is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week. Id.
June 14, 2019, Simpluris (1) had received no requests for
exclusion from the Settlement; (2) had accepted 6 valid
disputes with none others pending; and (3) had not received
Preliminary Approval and ...