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Carter v. XPO Logistics, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 18, 2019

RON CARTER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
XPO LOGISTICS, INC, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL AND MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS

          William H. Orrick United States District Judge.

         Plaintiffs Ronnel Carter, Juan Estrada, Jerry Green, Burl Malmgren, Bill McDonald and Joel Morales brought this suit as a class and collective action alleging that XPO Last Mile, Inc. (“XPO LM”) misclassified as independent contractors a class of delivery drivers who entered into Delivery Service Agreements with and personally drove for XPO LM, and as a result failed to reimburse them for work-related expenses and violated various wage and hour provisions of the California Labor Code and the overtime requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Plaintiffs subsequently amended their complaint to add a PAGA penalties claim.

         This Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification of a collective action in October 2016, and 116 individuals filed consents to join the FLSA collective action. Following discovery, the parties reached a settlement in April 2019, and the Court granted preliminary approval to the proposed Settlement Agreement and conditional certification of the Settlement Class on June 27, 2019, while directing that the time provided in the Settlement Agreement for Class Members to deposit checks be expanded to 180 days.

         Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' unopposed motion for final approval of the Settlement Agreement and Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and service awards. No Class Member has requested to opt out of the Settlement Class or objected to the Settlement Agreement. For the reasons discussed below, the Court:

(1) GRANTS final approval of the Settlement Agreement and certification of the Settlement Class; and
(2) GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and service awards.

         A. The Settlement

         The Settlement Class consists of:

All persons who (a) entered into a Delivery Service Agreement either in his or her individual capacity or through a business entity with XPO LM or 3PD, and (b) according to XPO LM's records was a driver who performed delivery services pursuant to that Delivery Service Agreement, and (c) performed some portion of those delivery services within the state of California, (d) at any time during the Class Period [March 12, 2012 through February 21, 2019].

         There are 832 individuals in the Settlement Class.

         The Settlement Agreement provides for a non-reversionary $16.5 million gross settlement fund. Attorneys' fees and costs, class representative service awards, PAGA penalties to the California Labor Workforce Development Agency, and the Settlement Administrator's fees and costs will be deducted from the gross settlement fund before funds are distributed to Class Members. The remaining Net Settlement Fund of $12, 204, 500 will be distributed to Class Members pro rata based on the number of days worked during the settlement class period. $150, 000 of the Net Settlement Fund will be set aside to be distributed pro rata by workdays to those Class Members who previously opted into the FLSA collective action, and $12, 054, 500 will be distributed pro rata by workdays to all Settlement Class Members. The disbursements will be made automatically to Class Members; they do not need to submit claims. Class Members can expect to receive at least $66.77 per workday, with an additional $2.18 per workday to those who opted into the FLSA collective action. The average award will be $14, 775.70 and the largest award will be $142, 894.66.

         B. Notice

         On July 22, 2019, the Settlement Administrator mailed notice of the settlement to 853 individuals who were on the class list provided by XPO LM and email the notice packet to 747 individuals for whom they had email addresses. 130 of the notice packets sent by first-class mail were returned as undeliverable. The Settlement Administrator was able to locate new addresses for 107 of those, and re-mail the notice. The Settlement Administrator also set up a website for Class Members to read the notice, get answers to frequently asked questions, and review and download case documents. Class Counsel's motion for attorneys' fees and Plaintiffs' request for class representative service awards were posted on the website after they were filed with the Court. Finally, the Settlement Administrator set up a toll-free number for telephone support, through which it fielded calls from 115 Class Members. The deadline for Class Members to exclude themselves from the Settlement Class, and to file objections to the Settlement Agreement, was September 5, 2019. No Class Member has opted out or objected.

         Class Members submitted 32 challenges to the Settlement Administrator's estimates based on Defendant's records. 13 of the challenges received were accepted in whole or in part; 2 were rejected; 2 were identified as Installers included on the Class List in error; and 15 were ...


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