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Hoover v. Mom365, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 13, 2019

KELLY HOOVER, Plaintiff,
v.
MOM365, INC., a Missouri Corporation; and DOES 1 to 100, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES, COSTS, AND SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR COSTS

          Troy L. Nunley S United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff's unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement (ECF No. 27) and unopposed Motion for Attorney's Fees, Costs, and Settlement Administrator Costs (ECF No. 26) in the above referenced case came before this Court, on November 14, 2019, in Courtroom 2 on the 15th floor before the Honorable Troy L. Nunley, presiding. At the hearing, the Court GRANTED the Motion for Final Approval, thereby (1) approving and certifying the class for purposes of settlement; (2) approving and appointing Kelly Hoover (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) as class representative; (3) approving and appointing Shimoda Law Corp. as class counsel; (4) approving the proposed class and Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) settlement; (5) approving Simpluris, Inc. as class action settlement administrator; (6) approving the notification procedures and the form and content of the Class Notice; (7) approving the means of paying out any residue from checks not timely cashed by class members; and (8) approving and adopting the proposed implementation schedule. The Court additionally GRANTED to Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs, thereby awarding requested attorney's fees and litigation costs to class counsel, and awarding settlement administrator costs to the class action settlement administrator. The Court indicated that a written order would issue, and that written order now follows.

         Plaintiff filed this putative class action on May 19, 2017 in the Superior Court of California, for the County of Sacramento. (See ECF No. 1.) Defendant Mom365, Inc. (“Defendant”) removed the action to this Court on June 29, 2017. (ECF No. 1.) The First Amended Complaint against Defendant alleges class and PAGA claims for failure to provide legally compliant rest periods; failure to pay wages for all hours worked, including minimum and overtime wages; failure to provide Paid Time Off benefits in violation of California Labor Code section 227.3; failure to provide Paid Time Off benefits that complied with the California Healthy Workplace Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Cal. Lab. Code sections 245, et seq.); failure to pay all wages due or owed at termination; and failure to provide legally complaint wage statements. Plaintiff also alleged unfair competition claims based on these allegations. Plaintiff exhausted administrative remedies on the PAGA claims as detailed in the Motion. Defendant denied all of Plaintiff's claims and denied that this case was appropriate for class treatment.

         The parties have agreed to a PAGA and class settlement. Defendant will provide monetary consideration in exchange for a judgment consistent with the terms of the proposed settlement as set forth in the Joint Stipulation Regarding Class Action Settlement and Release (“Settlement Agreement”). The Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement on May 10, 2019, therein provisionally certifying the class for settlement purposes. (ECF No. 25, Order electronically filed May 14, 2019.) Court-approved notices have been issued to class members in accordance with the Court's Order. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) and California Labor Code § 2699(1), the Court has considered Plaintiff's unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement, the unopposed Motion for Attorney's Fees, Costs, and Administrator Costs, the declarations filed in support thereof, the Settlement Agreement, the proposed Class Notice, the proposed Distribution Form, and other evidence, and HEREBY FINDS AND ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:

         1. CERTIFYING A SETTLEMENT CLASS

         The Court finds that certification of the following class for settlement purposes only is appropriate under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and related case law:

All of Defendant's California employees who were paid under Defendant's commission, piece rate, and/or incentive-based compensation system, including but not limited to, employees working under the photographer job title from May 17, 2013 to May 14, 2019.

         The Court finds that the settlement class meets the requirements of Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(3). The approximately 1, 430 individuals who fall within the class are sufficiently numerous and would make joinder impractical. The commonality and predominance requirements are met since there are questions of law and fact common to the class and that predominate over individualized issues, which include the following alleged policies and practices: the failure of Defendant's commission, piece rate, and/or incentive based compensation system to pay for all hours worked; the failure to provide paid rest periods; the failure to provide rest periods for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof; the failure to provide a legally compliant PTO policy; and the failure to provide legally compliant wage statements. Additionally, settlement class members seek the same remedies under state law. The typicality requirement for settlement purposes is also satisfied since the claims of the named class representative (Plaintiff) in this case arise from the same factual bases and are based on the same legal theory as those applicable to the class members. Furthermore, the Court finds that a class action is superior to other forms of adjudication.

         The Court also finds that certification of the settlement class is required to avoid the impracticality of each class member litigating similar claims individually. This settlement will achieve economies of scale for class members with relatively small individual claims and conserve the resources of the judicial system.

         The settlement class shall not include Aurora Ruvalcaba Correa, Ynhi Phan, and Faith E. Velasquez, who all submitted timely, valid requests to opt out of the Settlement Agreement. Accordingly, these individuals will not be subject to the waivers within the Settlement Agreement and shall not be entitled to any benefit under the Settlement Agreement.

         2. APPOINTMENT OF CLASS REPRESENTATIVE; APPOINTMENT OF CLASS COUNSEL

         The Court finds that Plaintiff Kelly Hoover and her Counsel, Galen T. Shimoda and Justin P. Rodriguez of the Shimoda Law Corp., are adequate representatives of the settlement class. The Court approves them as class representative and class counsel, respectively. Neither Plaintiff nor counsel appear to have any conflicts with the class members, and they have vigorously prosecuted this action.

         3. APPROVING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR

         The Court has reviewed the Settlement Agreement, which has been filed with Plaintiff's Motion. The Court finds that the Settlement Agreement is in all respects fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court makes this finding based on a consideration of the strength of Plaintiffs' claims and Defendant's defenses, as well as the risk, expense, complexity, and duration of further litigation. The Court also finds there is no evidence of collusion between the parties and the Settlement Agreement appears to have been entered into only after arms-length negotiations and substantial investigation that enabled the parties to make a reasoned and informed decision regarding settlement. The Settlement Agreement does not give any improper preferential treatment to Plaintiff, their counsel, or a particular segment of the settlement class. The Court also acknowledges that class members had the opportunity to object to the settlement at the fairness hearing held before this Court, or to opt-out of being bound by the preliminarily approved class ...


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