West v. PSS World Medical, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (read order for details) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties' joint motion for settlement approval [# 64 ] and the plaintiff's unopposed motion for attorney fees [# 66 ] are granted. The Joint Stipulation is approv ed and hereby incorporated by reference as part of this order. This action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE in its entirety. The parties will bear costs and fees in accordance with the terms of the Joint Stipulation. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 04/24/2014. (CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JIMMY WEST, individually and on
behalf of a class of persons similarly
PSS WORLD MEDICAL, INC.,
Case No. 4:13 CV 574 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
The parties have entered into an agreement to settle the above-captioned
action, subject to the court’s approval, according to the terms and conditions set
forth in the Joint Stipulation of Settlement (“Joint Stipulation”) and related
exhibits, filed under seal on March 17, 2014. At the request of the parties, this
matter is now before the court for final approval of the Joint Stipulation and
dismissal of this action with prejudice, as well as the plaintiff’s unopposed motion
for attorneys’ fees and costs. For the reasons stated below, I will grant both
This action, filed on March 27, 2013, has been pending for approximately
one year, during which the parties have engaged in extensive discovery and motion
practice to muster evidence, narrow the issues, and determine the scope of alleged
liability. The parties’ settlement agreement was reached following an arm’s-length
mediation conference, with an experienced class action mediator, at which the
parties were represented by competent counsel.
The Joint Stipulation represents a fair, reasonable and adequate resolution of
bona fide disputes between the parties, as to liability and damages, under the Fair
Labor Standards Act and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law. The plaintiff’s
counsel has certified that the Joint Stipulation is in the best interests of the named
plaintiff and the similarly situated individuals he purports to represent.
The proposed notice and claims process set forth in the Joint Stipulation are
a reasonable and appropriate means by which potential opt-in plaintiffs may elect
to participate in and receive money from the settlement if they so choose.
The parties should use their best efforts to resolve any disputes arising out of
or relating to the Joint Stipulation before seeking court intervention, including
submitting any disputes to the mediator who facilitated the settlement (as set forth
in the Joint Stipulation). This court shall, however, have continuing jurisdiction to
construe, interpret and enforce the provisions of this Joint Stipulation, and to hear
and adjudicate any dispute or litigation arising from the Joint Stipulation.
Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
With respect to attorney’s fees, the Eighth Circuit has held that in common
fund cases such as this one, where attorney fees and class members’ benefits are
distributed from one fund, a percentage-of-the-benefit method may be preferable to
the lodestar method for determining reasonable fees. See Johnston v. Comerica
Mortg. Co., 83 F.3d 241, 244–46 (8th Cir. 1996) (involving a class action of
residential mortgagors against mortgagees); In re United States Bancorp Litig., 291
F.3d 1035, 1038 (8th Cir. 2002) (affirming district court’s award of 36 percent of
settlement fund as attorney’s fees).
In this case, the court believes that 33 percent is a reasonable percentage for
attorney’s fees. It is appropriate to apply a reasonable percentage to the gross
settlement fund. Ramsey v. Sprint Commc’ns Co., No. 4:11-CV-3211, 2012 WL
6018154, at *4 & n.1 (D. Neb. Dec. 3, 2012) (approving a fee of 26 percent of
gross fund because “[t]he available settlement funds are an appropriate measure of
the benefit accrued by the class members, regardless of whether the full measure of
that sum is actually claimed”). Upon review of the record, including affidavits
from the plaintiff’s attorneys, the relief provided under the Joint Stipulation, and
the nature of the release of claims in this case, the court confirms that the fee
request is fair and reasonable. In addition, the amount requested for costs, which
included expenditures related to mediation, travel, expert fees, and depositions, is
reasonable. See Keslar v. Bartu, 201 F.3d 1016, 1017 (8th Cir. 2000) (affirming
costs awarded by district court).
Based on the foregoing,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties’ joint motion for settlement
approval [#64] and the plaintiff’s unopposed motion for attorney fees [#66] are
granted. The Joint Stipulation is approved and hereby incorporated by reference as
part of this order. This action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE in its entirety.
The parties will bear costs and fees in accordance with the terms of the Joint
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 24th day of April, 2014.
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