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Sanders v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 2, 2019

EUGENE SANDERS, DOUG BUTLER, DARREL FOLEY, GEORGE RENNER, and ROGER SHRADER, individuals, on behalf of themselves, on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
OLD DOMINION FREIGHT LINE, INC., a Corporation; and Does 1 through 50, Inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER: (1) GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT; AND (2) ENTERING FINAL JUDGMENT

          HONORABLE DALE S. FISCHER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On November 18, 2019, a hearing was held on the motion of Plaintiffs Eugene Sanders, Doug Butler, Darrel Foley, George Renner, and Roger Shrader for final approval of their proposed class action settlement (the Settlement) and payments to the Plaintiffs, Class Counsel, the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Settlement Administrator. Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP appeared for Plaintiff; and McGuireWoods LLP appeared for Defendant Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

         The Parties have submitted their Settlement, which this Court preliminarily approved by its June 4, 2019, Order (Docket No. 81) (the Preliminary Approval Order). In accordance with the Preliminary Approval Order, Class Members have been given notice of the terms of the Settlement and the opportunity to comment on or object to it or to exclude themselves from its provisions.

         Having received and considered the Settlement, the supporting papers filed by the Parties, and the evidence and argument received by the Court before entering the Preliminary Approval Order and at the final approval hearing, the Court grants final approval of the Settlement as modified in this Order, enters this Final Approval Order, and ORDERS and DETERMINES as follows:

         1. Except as otherwise specified, the Court for purposes of this Final Approval Order adopts all defined terms set forth in the Stipulation for Settlement and Release of Class Action Claims (Settlement Agreement or Agreement). All initially-capitalized terms used in this Order have the same defined meaning as provided in the Settlement Agreement, unless otherwise defined in this Order.

         2. The Court has jurisdiction over this Action and the Settlement pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sections 1132(a) and 1332(d).

         3. For settlement purposes, the Court confirms the certification of the Class defined as: “all line haul and pick-up and delivery drivers employed by Defendant working in the State of California from September 2, 2012 through December 31, 2018 (the Settlement Class Period), but expressly excluding therefrom any individuals who, as of the date of preliminary approval, have filed their own separate action as a named plaintiff alleging the same or similar claims being released by the settlement and/or who has previously released all claims against Defendant being settled and released by this Agreement.” 4. For settlement purposes only, Plaintiffs shall be and hereby are granted leave to file the Sixth Amended Complaint in the form attached to the Stipulation for Settlement and Release of Class Action Claims as Exhibit A, as their operative pleading in this action. Defendant's currently operative Answer to the Fifth Amended Complaint is deemed to be its Answer to the Sixth Amended Complaint.

         5. Pursuant to this Preliminary Approval Order, the Notice of Class Action Settlement was sent to each class member by first-class mail. The Notice of Class Action Settlement informed Class Members of the terms of the Settlement, their right to receive a Settlement Share, their right to comment on or object to the Settlement and/or the attorneys' fees and costs, their right to elect not to participate in the Settlement and pursue their own remedies, and their right to appear in person or by counsel at the final approval hearing and be heard regarding approval of the Settlement. Adequate periods of time were provided by each of these procedures.

         6. This notice procedure afforded adequate protections to Class Members and provides the basis for the Court to make an informed decision regarding approval of the settlement based on the responses of Class Members. The Court finds and determines that the notice provided in this case was the best notice practicable, which satisfied the requirements of law and due process.

         7. Pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1711 et seq. (CAFA), Defendant mailed notice of the proposed settlement to the Attorney General of the United States and the appropriate state official in each state in which a Class Member reportedly resides according to Defendant's records on May 17, 2019. Accordingly, the requirements under CAFA to provide notice to the appropriate federal and state officials have been satisfied.

         8. No Class Members filed written objections to the proposed settlement as part of this notice process. One Class Member (Jose Luis Cervantes) validly requested exclusion.

         9. For the reasons stated in the Preliminary Approval Order, the terms of the Settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate to the Class and to each Class Member and the Settlement Class Members will be bound by the Settlement, that the Settlement is ordered finally approved, and that all terms and provisions of the Settlement should be and are ordered to be consummated in accordance with this Order.

         10. The Gross Settlement Fund in the amount of $1, 158, 070.08 and the settlement payments to be paid to the Settlement Class Members as provided for by the Settlement are fair and reasonable. The Court grants final approval to and orders the payment of those amounts be distributed to the Settlement Class Members out of the Net Settlement Fund in accordance with the Agreement, with the following upward adjustments of the Net Settlement Fund to be additionally funded by Defendant in ...


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