United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR FINAL
APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND (2) GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND
CLASS REPRESENTATIVE INCENTIVE AWARD [RE: ECF 63,
LABSON FREEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Sophia Rivas (“Plaintiff”) and Defendants BG
Retail, LLC, dba Naturalizer, and Caleres, Inc.
(“Defendants”) have entered into Class Action
Settlement Agreement (“Settlement Agreement” or
“Settlement”) in this wage and hour class action.
motions are before the Court: (1) Plaintiff's Motion for
Final Approval of Class Action Settlement (“Mot. for
Approval”, ECF 63) and (2) Plaintiff's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees, Costs, Expenses, and Class
Representative Incentive Award (“Mot. for Fees”,
ECF 61). On December 10, 2019, the Court heard oral arguments
on both motions (the “Hearing”). For the reasons
discussed below and those stated on the record at the
Hearing, Plaintiff's Motion for Final Approval of Class
Action Settlement is GRANTED and Plaintiff's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees, Costs, Expenses, and Class
Representative Incentive Award is GRANTED IN PART.
operate a chain of retail footwear stores under the brand
name “Naturalizer.” Complaint
(“Compl.”) ¶ 26, ECF 2, Exh. A. Defendants
operate 15 stores in California. Id. Plaintiff
worked for Defendants as a non-exempt, hourly paid Store
Manager from approximately April 2011 to December 2015 at the
Milpitas, California store location. Id. ¶ 4.
Plaintiff filed this class action on September 29, 2016, in
the Superior Court of the State of California, County of
Santa Clara. See Compl. The Complaint asserts ten
(10) causes of actions under various California labor and
business codes. See generally Compl. On November 4,
2016, Defendants removed the action to this District. ECF 1,
2. On January 30, 2019, the parties appeared before the
Honorable Joseph C. Spero, United States Magistrate Judge,
for a judicial settlement conference. ECF 50. As a result,
the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement. Class Action
Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), ECF 57-1,
THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
principal terms of the Settlement provide for the following:
Settlement Class defined as: All persons who are or were
employed by Defendants in a non-exempt, hourly-paid position
in any of Defendants' California
“Naturalizer” retail locations from September 30,
2012 until July 25, 2019. Agreement ¶ 1.20.
all-inclusive and non-reversionary Gross Settlement Amount of
$175, 000 (including employer payroll taxes). Agreement
¶¶ 1.12, 7.1. The Gross Settlement Amount includes:
(a) a Remaining Distribution Fund which will be allocated to
all Class Members who do not opt out of the Settlement Class
on a pro-rata basis according to the number of weeks each
Class Member worked during the Class Period and without the
need to submit claims for payment (id. ¶¶
1.17, 8.1); (b) attorneys' fees not to exceed $78, 750
and litigation costs and expenses not to exceed $20, 000 to
Plaintiff's Counsel, Capstone Law APC
(“Plaintiff's Counsel” or “Class
Counsel”) (id. ¶¶ 1.11, 7.3); (c)
settlement administration costs of $6, 500, to the
court-appointed settlement administrator, ILYM Group, Inc.
(id. ¶¶ 1.11, 7.4); and (d) a class
representative service award of $2, 500 to Sophia Rivas for
her services on behalf of the Settlement Class (id.
¶¶ 1.7, 7.2). The average estimated payment is
$170.59, the lowest is $0.37, and the highest is $952.26.
Declaration of Farrah Ghaffarirafi (“Ghaffarirafi
Decl.”) ¶ 9, ECF 63-2.
exchange for the Gross Settlement Amount, Class Members who
do not opt out will agree to release the Released Claims,
which are defined as:
Plaintiffs' allegations in the Action and in the Amended
Complaint that Defendants (1) failed to pay overtime; (2)
failed to pay minimum wages; (3) failed to provide meal
periods; (4) failed to provide rest periods; (5) failed to
pay wages due timely upon termination of employment; (6)
failed to provide itemized wage statements to employees; (7)
failed to compensate for split-shifts; (8) failed to
reimburse employees for certain business expenses; (9)
engaged in unfair business practices; and (10) violated
California Labor Code §§ 201, 202, 203, 204, 210,
226, 226.7, 510, 512, 558, 1194, 1194.2, 1197, 1197.1, 1198,
and 2802, California Business and Professions Code
§§ 17200 et seq., as well as claims that could have
been brought in the Complaint.
PRELIMINARY APPROVAL AND NOTICE PLAN
25, 2019, the Court issued an order which (1) granted
preliminary approval of the class action settlement; (2)
preliminarily certified the class; (3) appointed Ms. Rivas as
class representative; (4) appointed Plaintiff's counsel
(Capstone Law APC) as Class Counsel; (5) approved ILYM Group,
Inc. as the Settlement Administrator; and (6) approved the
proposed Class Notice. See Order Granting Motion for
Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement
(“Prelim. Order”), ECF 60. The Court directed
notice by mail and set deadline of October 14, 2019 for
objections and exclusions. Id. ¶ 11.
authorized by the Court, the parties engaged ILYM to provide
settlement administration services. Ghaffarirafi Decl. ¶
2. On July 26, 2019, ILYM received the Class Notice prepared
jointly by Class Counsel and counsel for Defendants and
approved by the Court. Id. ¶ 3. The Class
Notice summarized the Settlement's principal terms,
provided Class Members with an estimate of how much they
would be paid if the Settlement received final approval, and
advised Class Members about how to opt out of the Settlement
and how to object. Id., Exh. A.
counsel for Defendants provided ILYM with a mailing list (the
“Class List”), which included each Class
Member's full name, last known address, Social Security
Number, and information necessary to calculate payments.
Ghaffarirafi Decl. ¶ 3. The mailing addresses contained
in the Class List were processed and updated using the
National Change of Address Database maintained by the U.S.
Postal Service. Id. ¶ 4. On August 14, 2019,
ILYM mailed Class Notices to Class Members via First-Class
U.S. mail. Id. Class Members were given 60 days to
opt out or object to the Settlement. Id., Exh. A.
No. Class Members objected to the Settlement and only one
Class Member opted out of the settlement Class. Id.
MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
The Class Meets the Requirements for Certification under Rule
action is maintainable only if it meets the four requirements
of Rule 23(a):
(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are
typical of the claims or ...