Chavez v. Blue Sky Natural Beverage Co. et al

Filing 147

ORDER directing counsel to review the attached draft class action notices in preparation for the hearing on 9/9/10 at 10 AM. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix, # 2 Appendix)(vrwlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/8/2010)

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Chavez v. Blue Sky Natural Beverage Co. et al Doc. 147 Att. 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF STATE If you are a woman and are or were employed by MNO, a class action lawsuit may affect your rights. A court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer. Female employees have sued MNO, Inc., alleging discrimination against women. The Court has allowed the lawsuit to be a class action on behalf of all women employed by MNO as account executives at any time from June 6, 1996, through July 15, 2003. The Court has not decided whether MNO did anything wrong. There is no money available now, and no guarantee there will be. However, your legal rights are affected, and you have a choice to make now: YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT Stay in this lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights. By doing nothing, you keep the possibility of getting money or benefits that may come from a trial or a settlement. But, you give up any rights to sue MNO separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit. DO NOTHING ASK TO BE EXCLUDED Get out of this lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep rights. If you ask to be excluded and money or benefits are later awarded, you won't share in those. But, you keep any rights to sue MNO separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit. Your options are explained in this notice. To ask to be excluded, you must act before Month 00, 0000. Lawyers must prove the claims against MNO at a trial set to start Month 00, 0000. If money or benefits are obtained from MNO, you will be notified about how to ask for a share. Any questions? Read on and visit www.mnoclassaction.com. Dockets.Justia.com WHAT THIS NOTICE CONTAINS BASIC INFORMATION.............................................. 1. 2. 3. 4. Why did I get this notice? What is this lawsuit about? What is a class action and who is involved? Why is this lawsuit a class action? PAGE 4 PAGE 3 THE CLAIMS IN THE LAWSUIT........................................ 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. What does the lawsuit complain about? How does MNO answer? Has the Court decided who is right? What are the Plaintiffs asking for? Is there any money available now? WHO IS IN THE CLASS.................................................. 10. 11. 12. 13. Am I part of this Class? Which current and former employees are included? Are any women who worked at MNO not included in the Class? I'm still not sure if I am included. PAGE 5 YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS.......................................... 14. What happens if I do nothing at all? 15. Why would I ask to be excluded? 16. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class? PAGE 6 THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU.................................. 17. Do I have a lawyer in this case? 18. Should I get my own lawyer? 19. How will the lawyers be paid? PAGE 7 THE TRIAL................................................................ 20. How and when will the Court decide who is right? 21. Do I have to come to the trial? 22. Will I get money after the trial? PAGE 7 GETTING MORE INFORMATION....................................... 23. Are more details available? PAGE 8 QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -2- BASIC INFORMATION 1. Why did I get this notice? MNO's records show that you currently work, or previously worked, for MNO, Inc. This notice explains that the Court has allowed, or "certified," a class action lawsuit that may affect you. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court holds a trial. The trial is to decide whether the claims being made against MNO, on your behalf, are correct. Judge Jane Jones of the United States District Court for the District of State is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as Johnson, et al., v. MNO, Inc., Civil Action No. CV-00-1234. 2. What is this lawsuit about? This lawsuit is about whether MNO discriminated against female account executives based on their gender, by making it harder for them to advance in their careers. More information about federal laws prohibiting job discrimination can be found at the website of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, www.eeoc.gov. 3. What is a class action and who is involved? In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called "Class Representatives" (in this case Mary Johnson and Louise Smith) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a "Class" or "Class Members." The women who sued--and all the Class Members like them--are called the Plaintiffs. The company they sued (in this case MNO, Inc.) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class--except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class. 4. Why is this lawsuit a class action? The Court decided that this lawsuit can be a class action and move towards a trial because it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts. Specifically, the Court found that: ! There are more than 90,000 women who are or were employed by MNO as account executives; ! There are legal questions and facts that are common to each of them; ! Mary Johnson's and Louise Smith's claims are typical of the claims of the rest of the Class; ! Ms. Johnson, Ms. Smith, and the lawyers representing the Class will fairly and adequately represent the Class' interests; ! The common legal questions and facts are more important than questions that affect only individuals; and ! This class action will be more efficient than having many individual lawsuits. More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to be a class action is in the Court's Order Certifying the Class, which is available at www.mnoclassaction.com. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -3- THE CLAIMS IN THE LAWSUIT 5. What does the lawsuit complain about? In the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs say that MNO discriminated against women account executives. They claim that these women received less pay than men in similar jobs. They also say that MNO made promotions to account supervisor positions more difficult for women because they had to demonstrate greater achievements than men. You can read the Plaintiffs' Class Action Complaint at www.mnoclassaction.com. 6. How does MNO answer? MNO denies that it did anything wrong and says that opportunities for hiring and promotion are equally available to women and men. MNO says that its policies are clear and that they neither allow, nor condone, discrimination against women. MNO says that women advanced as often as men, and that greater achievements are not necessary for women to qualify for a promotion. MNO's Answer to the Complaint is also at the website. 7. Has the Court decided who is right? The Court hasn't decided whether MNO or the Plaintiffs are correct. By establishing the Class and issuing this Notice, the Court is not suggesting that the Plaintiffs will win or lose this case. The Plaintiffs must prove their claims at a trial starting Month 00, 0000. (See "The Trial" below on page 7.) 8. What are the Plaintiffs asking for? The Plaintiffs are asking for changes in MNO's policies to ensure that women are treated fairly and equally in the workplace. They want MNO's policies to say that discrimination based on gender is banned. The Plaintiffs also want lost wages and money for emotional distress for Class Members. 9. Is there any money available now? No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not yet decided whether MNO did anything wrong, and the two sides have not settled the case. There is no guarantee that money or benefits ever will be obtained. If they are, you will be notified about how to ask for a share. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -4- WHO IS IN THE CLASS You need to decide whether you are affected by this lawsuit. 10. Am I part of this Class? Judge Jones decided that all women who were employed by MNO, Inc. as account executives (full time or part time) at any time from June 6, 1996, through July 15, 2003, are Class Members. She also specified that "temp" employees and independent contractors are not part of the class. See question 12 below. 11. Which current and former employees are included? Former employees are in the Class as long as they were employed by MNO any time from June 6, 1996, through July 15, 2003. If you were hired after July 15, 2003--even if you are a current employee--you are not included. In other words, these women are included: ! Women account executives currently employed by MNO who were hired on or before July 15, 2003. ! Women account executives no longer employed by MNO but who were employed by MNO any time from June 6, 1996, through July 15, 2003. 12. Are any women who worked at MNO not included in the Class? If you worked at MNO during the time period in question 10, but you were not directly employed by MNO, you are NOT a Class Member. Think about whether you were paid for your work at MNO by a temporary staffing service or an independent contractor for MNO. If so, you were not employed by MNO. If you were later hired by MNO after a temporary period, you may be part of the Class as long as MNO hired you on or before July 15, 2003. 13. I'm still not sure if I am included. If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help at www.mnoclassaction.com, or by calling or writing to the lawyers in this case, at the phone number or address listed in question 23. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -5- YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS You have to decide whether to stay in the Class or ask to be excluded before the trial, and you have to decide this now. 14. What happens if I do nothing at all? You don't have to do anything now if you want to keep the possibility of getting money or benefits from this lawsuit. By doing nothing you are staying in the Class. If you stay in and the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits, either as a result of the trial or a settlement, you will be notified about how to apply for a share (or how to ask to be excluded from any settlement). Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, regardless of whether the Plaintiffs win or lose the trial, you will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, MNO--as part of any other lawsuit--about the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit. This means that if you do nothing, you may only be able to sue for gender discrimination that occurred before June 6, 1996 or occurs after July 15, 2003 only. You will also be legally bound by all of the Orders the Court issues and judgments the Court makes in this class action. 15. Why would I ask to be excluded? If you already have your own gender discrimination lawsuit against MNO and want to continue with it, you need to ask to be excluded from the Class. If you exclude yourself from the Class--which also means to remove yourself from the Class, and is sometimes called "opting-out" of the Class-- you won't get any money or benefits from this lawsuit even if the Plaintiffs obtain them as a result of the trial or from any settlement (that may or may not be reached) between MNO and the Plaintiffs. However, you may then be able to sue or continue to sue MNO for employment discrimination that occurred or occurs at any time. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court's judgments in this class action. If you start your own lawsuit against MNO after you exclude yourself, you'll have to hire and pay your own lawyer for that lawsuit, and you'll have to prove your claims. If you do exclude yourself so you can start or continue your own lawsuit against MNO, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations. Note that if you exclude yourself from this lawsuit and you are currently employed by MNO, any changes made to MNO's policies about the treatment of women would still apply to you. 16. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class? To ask to be excluded, you must send an "Exclusion Request" in the form of a letter sent by mail, stating that you want to be excluded from Johnson v. MNO. Be sure to include your name and address, and sign the letter. You must mail your Exclusion Request postmarked by Month 00, 0000, to: Johnson v. MNO Exclusions, P.O. Box 0000, City, ST 00000-0000. You may also get an Exclusion Request form at the website, www.mnoclassaction.com. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -6- THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU 17. Do I have a lawyer in this case? The Court decided that the law firms of Lawfirm One, LLP, of City, ST, and Lawfirm Two, P.C., of City, ST, are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. Together the law firms are called "Class Counsel." They are experienced in handling similar cases against other employers. More information about these law firms, their practices, and their lawyers' experience is available at www.lawfirmone.com and www.lawfirmtwo.com. 18. Should I get my own lawyer? You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you will have to pay that lawyer. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you. 19. How will the lawyers be paid? If Class Counsel get money or benefits for the Class, they may ask the Court for fees and expenses. You won't have to pay these fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsels' request, the fees and expenses would be either deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by MNO. THE TRIAL The Court has scheduled a trial to decide who is right in this case. 20. How and when will the Court decide who is right? As long as the case isn't resolved by a settlement or otherwise, Class Counsel will have to prove the Plaintiffs' claims at a trial. The trial is set to start on Tuesday, Month 00, 0000, in the United States District Court for the District of State, 100 Court Street, City, State, in Courtroom 1. During the trial, a Jury or the Judge will hear all of the evidence to help them reach a decision about whether the Plaintiffs or Defendant are right about the claims in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win, or that they will get any money for the Class. 21. Do I have to come to the trial? You do not need to attend the trial. Class Counsel will present the case for the Plaintiffs, and MNO will present the defenses. You or your own lawyer are welcome to come at your own expense. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -7- 22. Will I get money after the trial? If the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits as a result of the trial or a settlement, you will be notified about how to participate. We do not know how long this will take. GETTING MORE INFORMATION 23. Are more details available? Visit the website, www.mnoclassaction.com, where you will find the Court's Order Certifying the Class, the Complaint that the Plaintiffs submitted, the Defendant's Answer to the Complaint, as well as an Exclusion Request form. You may also speak to one of the lawyers by calling 1-000-000-0000, or by writing to: MNO Class Action, P.O. Box 000, City, ST 00000-0000. DATE: MONTH 00, 0000. QUESTIONS? VISIT WWW.MNOCLASSACTION.COM -8-

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