Conde et al v. 2020 Companies LLC et al

Filing 193

ORDER re 189 Joint Letter on Proposed Notice to Expanded Certified Collective. Signed by Judge Kandis A. Westmore on 6/22/2017. (kawlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/22/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 CARLOS CONDE, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 9 v. 10 OPEN DOOR MARKETING, LLC, et al., 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 15-cv-04080-KAW Defendants. ORDER REGARDING PROPOSED NOTICE TO EXPANDED CERTIFIED COLLECTIVE Re: Dkt. No. 189 12 13 On April 27, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs' motion to expand 14 the collective action to include individuals who signed an arbitration agreement, limiting the 15 expansion to individuals in California. (Dkt. No. 178 at 25.) The parties were ordered to meet 16 and confer on an appropriate notice for these individuals. (Id. at 25-26.) On May 19, 2017, the 17 parties stipulated to the form of the notice, but stated that they had disputes regarding the notice 18 process. (Dkt. No. 184 at 3.) The Court directed the parties to submit a joint letter brief on the 19 two remaining disputes. (Dkt. No. 185.) 20 On June 2, 2017, the parties filed their joint letter identifying two disputes. (Dkt. No. 189 21 ("Joint Letter").) First, the parties dispute whether Plaintiffs should be required to hire a third 22 party administrator to administer the notice to the expanded collective action. (Id. at 1.) Second, 23 the parties dispute whether Plaintiffs should be permitted to send a reminder notice. (Id.) 24 With respect to the third party administrator, the Court will allow Plaintiffs to send the 25 notice to the expanded collective action, rather than require Plaintiffs to hire an administrator. 26 Courts in this district have permitted the plaintiffs' counsel to send such notices, recognizing that 27 "[o]rdering a third-party administrator will add to Plaintiffs' financial burden." Stanfield v. First 28 NLC Fin. Servs., LLC, No. C 06-3892 SBA, 2006 WL 3190527, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2006); 1 Ramirez v. Ghilotti Bros., 941 F. Supp. 2d 1197, 1207 (N.D. Cal. 2013) ("Requiring a third-party 2 administrator here would drive up Plaintiffs' costs"). Indeed, the parties in the instant case 3 previously stipulated to having Plaintiffs' counsel issue notice of this action to the original 4 collective action. (See Dkt. No. 107 ΒΆ 2.) In allowing Plaintiffs' counsel to send the notice, the Court acknowledges Defendants' 5 6 concerns based on Plaintiffs' prior sending of the unauthorized reminder notice and the alteration 7 of the Court-authorized notice.1 (Joint Letter at 3-4.) For that reason, the Court cautions 8 Plaintiffs that they may not unilaterally alter the notice to the collective action in any way, unless 9 they have obtained approval from Defendants and/or the Court. Failure to comply may result in 10 the Court requiring future notices to be sent by a third-party administrator. As to the reminder notice, the Court will permit Plaintiffs to send a reminder notice. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Multiple courts in this Circuit have allowed reminder notices to be sent. See Harris v. Vector 13 Mktg. Corp., 716 F. Supp. 2d 835, 847 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (rejecting argument that a reminder 14 would be "harassing," and finding that the sending or a reminder was appropriate "[p]articularly 15 since the FLSA requires an opt-in procedure"); Sanchez v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 11-cv-3396- 16 SBA, 2012 WL 2945753, at *7 (N.D. Ca. July 18, 2012) (rejecting argument that a reminder 17 notice will be interpreted as encouragement by the Court to join the suit, and authorizing a 18 reminder notice); Benedict v. Hewlett-Packard Co., Case No. 13-cv-119-LHK, 2014 WL 587135 19 at *14 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 13, 2014) (recognizing that "courts commonly approve such reminders"). 20 The Court will, however, require that the parties meet and confer and come to an agreement on the 21 form and content of the reminder notice, as well as the timing of when the notice will be sent. IT IS SO ORDERED. 22 23 Dated: June 22, 2017 __________________________________ KANDIS A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge 24 25 26 27 1 28 While the change to the notice to include a link to Docusign was not substantive, Plaintiffs' unilateral action without prior notice to Defendants or the Court is concerning. 2

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