Staci Chester et al v. The TJX Companies, Inc. et al

Filing 113

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS 112 by Judge Otis D. Wright, II: The Court GRANTS Plaintiffs Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and conditionally certifies the Settlement Class. The hearing on the Motion is VACATED. A hearing on the final approval of the class action certification and settlement, as well as Class Counsels motion for fees and costs, shall be held on May 14, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at the United States Courthouse, 350 West First Street, Courtroom 5D, Los Angeles, CA 90012. (lc), Modified on 12/6/2017. (lc).

Download PDF
O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 United States District Court Central District of California 8 9 10 Case № 5:15-cv-01437-ODW (DTB) 11 STACI CHESTER; DANIEL 12 FRIEDMAN; ROBIN BERKOFF; and 13 THERESA METOYER, individually and ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ 14 o/b/o those similarly situated, MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY 15 Plaintiffs, 16 v. APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND 17 THE TJX COMPANIES, INC.; TJ MAXX CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION 18 OF CA, LLC; MARSHALLS OF CA, 19 LLC; HOMEGOODS, INC; and DOES 1– 20 100, inclusive, 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Defendants. OF SETTLEMENT CLASS [112] 1 I. INTRODUCTION 2 Before the Court is Plaintiffs Staci Chester, Daniel Friedman, Robin Berkoff 3 and Theresa Metoyer’s Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action 4 Settlement and Certification of Settlement Class. (Mot., ECF No. 112.) Defendants 5 The TJX Companies, Inc., T.J. Maxx of CA, LLC, Marshalls of CA, LLC, and 6 HomeGoods, Inc. (collectively, “TJX” or “Defendants”) do not oppose Plaintiffs’ 7 Motion. 8 accompanying declarations, and settlement agreement, the Court GRANTS 9 preliminary approval of the class action settlement and conditionally certifies the 10 settlement class.1 11 12 Having considered Plaintiffs’ arguments in their moving papers, the II. A. BACKGROUND Factual and Procedural Background 13 In the operative Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint (“CAC”), filed 14 on September 3, 2015, Plaintiffs allege that from July 17, 2011 to the present (the 15 “Class Period”), Defendants have engaged in a deceptive scheme advertising “sale” 16 prices that were substantially lower than the advertised “Compare At” prices for the 17 products sold in Defendants’ stores. (CAC, ECF No. 28.) Plaintiffs further allege that 18 the higher Compare At prices were deceptive because they were not based on actual 19 prices that identical items sold for either in Defendants’ stores or other retailers, and 20 that Defendants failed to adequately disclose to consumers what its Compare At 21 reference prices were intended to represent. 22 California Business & Professions Code § 17200, et seq. (“Unfair Competition Law,” 23 “UCL”), § 17500, et seq. (“False Advertising Law,” “FAL”), and California Civil 24 Code § 1750, et seq. (“California Consumer Legal Remedies Act,” “CLRA”). (Id. 25 ¶ 2.) (Id.) Plaintiffs raise claims under 26 27 28 1 After considering the papers filed in connection with the Motion, the Court deemed the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15. 2 Plaintiffs moved to certify the class on March 1, 2017. 1 (ECF No. 82.) 2 Defendants moved for summary judgment on April 21, 2017. (ECF No. 93.) Before 3 the Court ruled on either motion, the parties notified the Court that they reached a 4 settlement, and the pending motions were dismissed as moot. (ECF Nos. 106, 107.) 5 On September 18, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their first motion for preliminary approval. 6 (ECF No. 109.) 7 deficiency in the proposed class notice. (ECF No. 111.) On November 13, 2017, 8 Plaintiffs filed their Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement 9 and Certification of Settlement Class. (Mot.) 10 B. The Court denied preliminary approval at that time, citing a Settlement Negotiations 11 Throughout early 2017, the parties engaged in extensive negotiations 12 concerning the possible structure of a class-wide settlement. (Decl. of Christopher J. 13 Morosoff (“Morosoff Decl.”) ¶ 13, ECF No. 112-2.) 14 extensive written discovery, depositions, motions to compel, law and motion practice 15 (including resolution of a motion to dismiss, and briefing on a motion for class 16 certification and motion for summary judgment), and protracted settlement 17 negotiations. (Id. ¶ 24.) The attorneys negotiated the settlement with the assistance of 18 an experienced mediator, Hon. Margaret Nagle. 19 resulting Settlement Agreement and the accompanying exhibits with the Court, which 20 are incorporated by reference in this Order. (See generally Settlement Agreement 21 (“SA”), ECF No. 112-3.) 22 C. The parties settled after (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs filed the Proposed Terms of Class Action Settlement 23 1. 24 The parties seek to certify a class for settlement purposes only, defined as the 25 26 27 28 Class Definition following: All persons who in the State of California, and between July 17, 2011 and the present (“the Settlement Class Period”), purchased from a T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods store in California one or more items with a TJX price tag that included a Compare At price, and who have not 3 3 received a refund or credit for all of their purchase(s). Excluded from the Settlement Class are the Settling Defendants as well as their past and present officers, directors, employees, agents or affiliates, and any judge who presides over this Litigation. 4 (SA ¶ 1.27.) The parties estimate that there are approximately 8,000,000 members of 5 the proposed class (“Class Members”). (Mot. 11.) 1 2 6 2. Monetary Component 7 The parties’ Settlement Agreement provides that TJX will contribute 8 $8,500,000 (the “Monetary Component”), in return for a release of claims against 9 TJX. (SA ¶ 3.1.) The Monetary Component will be used to pay: (1) the actual costs 10 incurred in providing notice of the settlement to the Class Members and the 11 administration thereof, but not to exceed $1,000,000; (2) the award of reasonable 12 attorneys’ fees for the class counsel, not to exceed 25% of the Monetary Component, 13 plus costs, not to exceed $50,000; and (3) an incentive award to each class 14 representative in the amount of $7,500. (Id. ¶¶ 3.1–3.2.) After these payments are 15 made, the Monetary Component will be distributed on a pro-rata basis in the form of 16 TJX merchandise credits to members of the Settlement Class who submit a valid 17 claim. (Id. ¶ 3.1.) The value of the merchandise credit shall be determined by 18 dividing the remaining value of the Monetary Component by the number of Class 19 Members who submit a valid claim. (Id.) The merchandise credits will have no 20 expiration date and need not be used in full at any time. (Id. ¶ 1.14.) They will 21 maintain a running balance that will be depleted based only on use until the claimant’s 22 balance is zero. 23 Additionally, each merchandise credit will be fully transferrable, stackable, and may 24 be used in connection with any promotional discounts that are otherwise available. 25 (Id.) Claimants will also have the option of redeeming an unused merchandise credit 26 for cash in an amount equal to 75% of the merchandise credit at the time of its 27 issuance by returning the merchandise credit to the Claims Administrator within one 28 year after issuance. (Id.) (Id.) No minimum purchase is required to use them. 4 (Id.) 1 3. 2 The Settlement Agreement provides that JND Legal Administration will serve 3 as Claims Administrator. (Id. ¶ 1.6.) JND estimates that all costs of notice and 4 administration will not exceed $500,000, and the parties have agreed to cap such costs 5 at $1,000,000. (Supp. Decl. of Jennifer Keough (“Keough Supp. Decl.”), ECF No. 6 112-5; SA ¶ 3.1.2.) TJX will provide JND with a list of customers, and their email or 7 physical mailing addresses, to the extent available. (SA ¶ 4.2.) Upon receipt of the 8 data, JND will promptly load it into a database established for this case and prepare 9 the notice for mailing. (Decl. of Jennifer Keough (“Keough Decl.”) ¶ 13, ECF No. Claim Administration 10 112-4.) Additionally, JND will create a dedicated case website to enable Class 11 Members to get more information about this litigation. (Id. ¶ 12(e).) 12 4. 13 The Claims Administrator will provide notice to the Class Members as follows: 14 Email Notice: Where email addresses are available, the Claims Administrator 15 will email notice to Class Members within thirty days of the Court’s preliminary 16 approval of the settlement. The form of the email notice to be sent to Class Members 17 is attached as Exhibit 3 to the Settlement Agreement. (SA Ex. 3.) Class Notice 18 Postcard Notice: Where only a physical address is available for a member of 19 the class, within fifty days of the Court’s preliminary approval, the Claims 20 Administrator will mail a postcard with a notice in the form attached as Exhibit 4 to 21 the Settlement Agreement. (SA Ex. 4.) 22 Publication Notice: Within sixty days of the Court’s preliminary approval, the 23 Claims Administrator will publish a notice in the form attached as Exhibit 5 to the 24 Settlement Agreement in the following publications: Parade Magazine (California 25 edition); USA Today; Los Angeles Times; San Francisco Chronicle; San Diego 26 Union-Tribune; Sacramento Bee; Orange County Register; and San Jose Mercury 27 News. (Keough Decl. ¶ 24; SA ¶ 4.1.2.) 28 5 1 In-Store Notice: Within fifty days of the Court’s preliminary approval, TJX 2 will post near the exit in each of Defendants’ California stores, a copy of the In-Store 3 Notice, attached as Exhibit 7 to the Settlement Agreement, with tear-away instructions 4 on how to request a claim form and how to submit it. (SA ¶ 4.1.3.) 5 Each form of notice shall advise Class Members of the deadline for submitting 6 claim forms, their right to opt out of, or object to, the Settlement Agreement, the 7 process by which such opt-outs or objections must be made, and the date set by the 8 Court for a hearing on final approval of the Settlement Agreement. (SA ¶ 4.1.) 9 5. Injunctive Relief 10 In addition to the Monetary Component, the Settlement Agreement provides 11 that TJX will change the disclosure/definition of its Compare At pricing on 12 Defendants’ websites and California in-store signage. The amended disclosure will 13 include language indicating that: (a) TJX’s comparison prices are references to 14 identical items or similar items; (b) where TJX’s comparison price refers to an 15 identical item, TJX is reasonably certain that the comparison price does not 16 appreciably exceed the price at which substantial sales of the item are being made in 17 the area; and (c) where the Compare At price refers to a similar item, that item is of 18 essentially similar quality and the comparison price does not appreciably exceed the 19 price at which substantial sales of the similar item are being made in the area. (SA 20 ¶ 3.4.) TJX also agrees that its comparison pricing practices in California as of the 21 date of the Settlement Agreement, and continuing forward, will not violate Federal or 22 California law, including California’s specific price-comparison advertising statutes 23 and FTC regulations. (Id. ¶ 3.5.) 24 6. 25 The Settlement Agreement provides that Class Members who do not opt out 26 will be deemed to have released Defendants from claims related to this litigation. (Id. 27 ¶ 10.) Release of Claims 28 6 1 2 III. A. LEGAL STANDARD Class Certification 3 Class certification is appropriate only if “each of the four requirements of Rule 4 23(a) and at least one of the requirements of Rule 23(b)” are met. Zinser v. Accufix 5 Research Inst., Inc., 253 F.3d 1180, 1186 (9th Cir. 2001). Under Rule 23(a), the 6 plaintiff must show that: “(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is 7 impracticable; (2) there are questions of law and fact common to the class; (3) the 8 claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of 9 the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the 10 interests of the class.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). These requirements are generally 11 referred to as numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy. See Mazza v. Am. 12 Honda Motor Co., 666 F.3d 581, 588 (9th Cir. 2012). 13 Next, the proposed class must meet the requirements of at least one of the three 14 types of class actions listed in Rule 23(b). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 15 338, 345 (2011). Those three types are class actions where: (1) individual class 16 members’ actions would create a risk of inconsistent adjudications or adjudications 17 that would unfairly bind other class members; (2) the defendant’s actions have made 18 final injunctive relief appropriate for the class as a whole; and/or (3) questions of law 19 or fact predominate over questions affecting only individual class members, and a 20 class action is superior to other methods of adjudication. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b). 21 Where class certification is sought for settlement purposes only, the 22 certification inquiry still “demand[s] undiluted, even heightened, attention.” Amchem 23 Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 620 (1997); Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 24 F.3d 1011, 1022 (9th Cir. 1998) (“Settlement benefits cannot form part of a Rule 25 23(b)(3) analysis; rather the examination must rest on ‘legal or factual questions that 26 qualify each class member’s case as a genuine controversy, questions that preexist any 27 settlement.’” (quoting Amchem Prods., 521 U.S. at 620)). 28 7 1 B. Preliminary Approval of Settlement 2 “Courts have long recognized that ‘settlement class actions present unique due 3 process concerns for absent class members.’” In re Bluetooth Headset Prods. Liab. 4 Litig., 654 F.3d 935, 946 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 5 1011, 1026 (9th Cir. 1998)). In settlement classes, the class’s motivations may not 6 perfectly square with those of its attorneys. See id. An attorney representing a 7 settlement class may be tempted to accept an inferior settlement in return for a higher 8 fee. Knisley v. Network Assocs., Inc., 312 F.3d 1123, 1125 (9th Cir. 2002). Likewise, 9 defense counsel may be happy to pay his counterpart a bit more if the overall deal is 10 better for his client. See id.; see also In re Gen. Motors Corp. Pick-up Truck Fuel 11 Tank Prods. Liab. Litig., 55 F.3d 768, 778 (3d Cir. 1995) (noting criticism that the 12 settlement class “is a vehicle for collusive settlements that primarily serve the interests 13 of defendants—by granting expansive protection from lawsuits—and of plaintiffs’ 14 counsel—by generating large fees gladly paid by defendants as a quid pro quo for 15 finally disposing of many troublesome claims”). 16 agreement is negotiated before the class is certified, as it was in this case, the potential 17 for an attorney’s breach of fiduciary duty looms larger still. Radcliffe v. Experian 18 Info. Solutions Inc., 715 F.3d 1157, 1168 (9th Cir. 2013). In addition, if the settlement 19 To protect absent class members’ due process rights, Federal Rule of Civil 20 Procedure 23(e) permits a class action to be settled “only with the court’s approval” 21 “after a hearing and on finding” that the agreement is “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” 22 The “purpose of Rule 23(e) is to protect the unnamed members of the class from 23 unjust or unfair settlements affecting their rights.” In re Syncor ERISA Litig., 516 24 F.3d 1095, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008). Accordingly, “[t]o determine whether a settlement 25 agreement meets these standards, a district court must consider a number of factors, 26 including: the strength of plaintiffs’ case; the risk, expense, complexity, and likely 27 duration of further litigation; the risk of maintaining class action status throughout the 28 trial; the amount offered in settlement; the extent of discovery completed, and the 8 1 stage of the proceedings; the experience and views of counsel; the presence of a 2 governmental participant; and the reaction of the class members to the proposed 3 settlement.” Staton v. Boeing Co., 327 F.3d 938, 959 (9th Cir. 2003). “The relative 4 degree of importance to be attached to any particular factor will depend upon and be 5 dictated by the nature of the claim(s) advanced, the type(s) of relief sought, and the 6 unique facts and circumstances presented by each individual case.” Officers for 7 Justice v. Civil Serv. Comm’n of City and Cnty. of San Francisco, 688 F.2d 615, 625 8 (9th Cir. 1982). 9 At this preliminary stage and because Class Members will receive an 10 opportunity to be heard on the settlement, “a full fairness analysis is unnecessary . . .” 11 Alberto v. GMRI, Inc., 252 F.R.D. 652, 665 (E.D. Cal. 2008). Instead, preliminary 12 approval and notice of the settlement terms to the proposed class are appropriate 13 where “(1) the proposed settlement appears to be the product of serious, informed, 14 non-collusive negotiations, (2) has no obvious deficiencies, (3) does not improperly 15 grant preferential treatment to class representatives or segments of the class, and (4) 16 falls within the range of possible approval . . . .” In re Tableware Antitrust Litig., 484 17 F. Supp. 2d 1078, 1079 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (internal quotation marks and citation 18 omitted). 19 20 21 22 IV. A. DISCUSSION Certification of Settlement Class For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that all of the requirements for class certification are met. 23 1. 24 The approximately 8,000,000 potential class members represent a sufficiently 25 numerous class. While no “exact numerical cut-off is required” for the numerosity 26 requirement, “numerosity is presumed where the plaintiff class contains forty or more 27 members.” In re Cooper Cos. Inc. Sec. Litig., 254 F.R.D. 628, 634 (C.D. Cal. 2009). 28 The proposed class easily meets this requirement. Numerosity 9 1 2. 2 Next, the claims of the potential class members here demonstrate common 3 questions of fact and law. All that is required is a “single significant question of law 4 or fact.” Mazza, 666 F.3d at 589. Here, there is a common question of whether 5 Defendants’ price comparison advertising resulted in deceptive price comparisons that 6 were likely to deceive a reasonable consumer. Therefore, this element is satisfied for 7 purposes of the settlement class. Commonality 8 3. 9 The named Plaintiffs in this action also meet the typicality requirement. 10 Typicality in this context means that the representative claims are “reasonably co- 11 extensive with those of absent class members; they need not be substantially 12 identical.” Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 1020. Here, Plaintiffs argue that their claims are 13 based on the same facts and same legal and remedial theories as the claims of the rest 14 of the Class Members. (Mot. 13.) Further, they contend that Plaintiffs and each Class 15 Member they seek to represent have all been exposed to Defendants’ allegedly 16 deceptive comparative price advertising. (Id.) The Court agrees. Plaintiffs satisfy the 17 typicality requirement. Typicality 18 4. 19 Finally, named Plaintiffs and their counsel appear to satisfy the adequacy 20 requirement for representing absent class members. This requirement is met where 21 the named plaintiffs and their counsel do not have conflicts of interest with other class 22 members and will vigorously prosecute the interests of the class. Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 23 1020. Plaintiffs contend that they have no interests antagonistic to the interests of 24 other Class Members and that is no conflict of interest. (Mot. 13.) The Court agrees 25 and finds that this factor has been met. Adequacy 26 5. 27 The Court also concludes that at least one of the three Rule 23(b)(3) categories, 28 Rule 23(b)(3) Requirements predominance/superiority, is present in this case. 10 1 The predominance/superiority category means that the proposed class is 2 sufficiently cohesive to warrant adjudication by representation. A class is sufficiently 3 cohesive where “common questions present a significant aspect of the case and . . . 4 can be resolved for all members of the class in a single adjudication.” Hanlon, 150 5 F.3d at 1022. 6 comparison scheme generated false advertisements that deceived consumers— 7 predominates under the UCL, CLRA, and § 17500 of the FAL. See Spann v. J.C. 8 Penney Corp., 307 F.R.D. 508, 514 (C.D. Cal. 2015). Thus, the Court conditionally certifies the Settlement Class. 9 10 11 12 The basic common question here—whether Defendants’ price B. Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement The Court determines that the settlement negotiations appear fair and adequate and observes that the proposed settlement has no obvious deficiencies. 13 1. 14 The Court is satisfied that the settlement here was the product of “serious, 15 informed, non-collusive negotiations.” See Spann, 314 F.R.D. at 319. The parties 16 negotiated the Settlement Agreement with the assistance of an experienced mediator. 17 Further, Plaintiffs’ counsel declares that the Settlement Agreement is the product of 18 non-collusive, arms-length negotiations. (Morosoff Decl. ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs’ counsel 19 also explained that the parties did not discuss or negotiate proposed class counsel’s 20 attorneys’ fees and costs, or Plaintiffs’ proposed class representative payments, until 21 after agreeing on all other material terms of the Settlement Agreement. (Id.) Under 22 these circumstances, the Court is convinced that the settlement negotiations were 23 adequate. Adequacy of Negotiations 24 2. 25 After reviewing the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Court determines 26 that there are no obvious deficiencies, the Settlement Agreement does not unfairly 27 give preferential treatment to named Plaintiffs, and it falls within the range of possible 28 approval. Settlement Terms 11 1 “Ultimately, the district court’s determination is nothing more than an amalgam 2 of delicate balancing, gross approximations, and rough justice.” 3 Telecomms. Coop. v. DIRECTV, Inc., 221 F.R.D. 523, 525–26 (C.D. Cal. 2004) 4 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). 5 approve or reject a settlement proposal is committed to the sound discretion of the trial 6 judge.” Id. Nat’l Rural Thus, “[t]he initial decision to 7 Here, as with most class actions, there was risk to both sides in continuing 8 towards trial. The settlement avoids uncertainty for all parties involved. It is through 9 this lens of avoided risk that the Court now considers the fairness of the terms of the 10 settlement. 11 Incentive Awards 12 In the Ninth Circuit, there is no per se rule against incentive awards for class 13 representatives. However, “district courts [should] scrutinize carefully the awards so 14 that they do not undermine the adequacy of the class representatives.” Radcliffe, 715 15 at 1163. 16 addition to their share of the recovery, they may be tempted to accept suboptimal 17 settlements at the expense of the class members whose interests they are appointed to 18 guard.” Id. In evaluating incentive awards, the Court should look to “the number of 19 named plaintiffs receiving incentive payments, the proportion of the payments relative 20 to the settlement amount, and the size of each payment.” In re Online DVD-Rental 21 Antitrust Litig., 779 F.3d 934, 947 (9th Cir. 2015). “If class representatives expect routinely to receive special awards in 22 The Court concludes that the incentive awards here fall within these guidelines. 23 The four named Plaintiffs will each receive $7,500, for a total incentive award of 24 $30,000, which is a small fraction of the total Monetary Component. Nothing about 25 the incentive awards suggests that Plaintiffs might have been induced to accept a 26 subpar settlement. Cf. Staton v. Boeing Co., 327 F.3d 938, 977 (9th Cir. 2003) 27 (disapproving incentive awards where the number of class representatives and award 28 amounts were too high; awards averaged $30,000 each for 29 representatives). 12 1 Attorneys’ Fees 2 Class counsel intends to seek attorneys’ fees in an amount not to exceed 25% of 3 the Monetary Component. “While attorneys’ fees and costs may be awarded in a 4 certified class action where so authorized by law or the parties’ agreement, courts 5 have an independent obligation to ensure that the award, like the settlement itself, is 6 reasonable, even if the parties have already agreed to an amount.” In re Bluetooth 7 Headset Prod. Liab. Litig., 654 F.3d at 941. “Where a settlement produces a common 8 fund for the benefit of the entire class, courts have discretion to employ either the 9 lodestar method or the percentage-of-recovery method.” Id. at 942. “[T]he lodestar 10 method produces an award that roughly approximates the fee that the prevailing 11 attorney would have received if he or she had been representing a paying client who 12 was billed by the hour in a comparable case.” Perdue v. Kenny A. ex rel. Winn, 559 13 U.S. 542, 551 (2010). 14 The Court will consider the specific amount requested at the time Plaintiffs 15 move for attorneys’ fees, but at this stage, it notes no impropriety with reserving a 16 portion of the settlement amount for attorneys’ fees. 17 Release of Claims 18 “Beyond the value of the settlement, potential recovery at trial, and inherent 19 risks in continued litigation, courts also consider whether a class action settlement 20 contains an overly broad release of liability.” Spann, 314 F.R.D. at 317. Here, Class 21 Members who do not opt out of the settlement will release “any and all claims . . . 22 arising out of or in connection with all of the claims or causes of action that were 23 made or could have been made in this Litigation . . . including assertions that TJX has 24 used false or misleading Compare At price advertising on TJX price tags on items 25 sold at TJX stores in California during the Class Period.” (SA ¶ 10.1.1.) On the 26 understanding that this release of claims relates only to claims that have been or could 27 have been asserted in this litigation, the Court concludes that the release “adequately 28 balances fairness to absent class members and recovery for plaintiffs with defendants’ 13 1 business interest in ending this litigation with finality.” See Spann, 314 F.R.D. at 2 327–28. 3 Notice of Class Settlement 4 For class action settlements, “[t]he court must direct notice in a reasonable 5 manner to all class members who would be bound by the proposal.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 23(e)(1). “Notice is satisfactory if it ‘generally describes the terms of the settlement 7 in sufficient detail to alert those with adverse viewpoints to investigate and to come 8 forward and be heard.’” Churchill Vill., L.L.C. v. Gen. Elec., 361 F.3d 566, 575 (9th 9 Cir. 2004) (quoting Mendoza v. Tucson Sch. Dist. No. 1, 623 F.2d 1338, 1352 (9th 10 Cir. 1980)). The notice “does not require detailed analysis of the statutes or causes of 11 action forming the basis of the plaintiff class’s claims, and it does not require an 12 estimate of the potential value of those claims.” Lane v. Facebook, Inc., 696 F.3d 13 811, 826 (9th Cir. 2012). Here, the parties have agreed that the Claims Administrator will distribute 14 15 notice to Class Members. (SA ¶¶ 4.1–4.4.) TJX will provide the Claims 16 Administrator email and physical mailing addresses for Class Members where 17 available, which the Claims Administrator will use to send out email and postcard 18 notices. Additionally, the Claims Administrator will publish notices in a variety of 19 magazines aimed to reach the California-based class. TJX will also post notices in 20 Defendants’ stores. In addition, the Claims Administrator will set up an informational 21 website. 22 After reviewing this procedure, as well as a proposed copy of the notices that 23 will be sent to Class Members, and published in magazines and in Defendants’ stores, 24 the Court is satisfied that the proposed notice here is the best practicable under the 25 circumstances. 26 // 27 // 28 // 14 1 V. CONCLUSION 2 For the reasons discussed above, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion for 3 Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and conditionally certifies the Settlement 4 Class. (ECF No. 112.) The hearing on the Motion is VACATED. A hearing on the 5 final approval of the class action certification and settlement, as well as Class 6 Counsel’s motion for fees and costs, shall be held on May 14, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at the 7 United States Courthouse, 350 West First Street, Courtroom 5D, Los Angeles, CA 8 90012. 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 11 December 5, 2017 12 13 ____________________________________ 14 HON. OTIS D. WRIGHT, II 15 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 15

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?