Hirsi v. The Hertz Corporation

Filing 49

ORDER granting parties' 47 Stipulated Motion for Certification of Settlement Class and Preliminarily Approving Class Action Settlement. Final Hearing set for 12/5/2018 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 15106. Signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik.(SWT)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 HASSAN HIRSI, an individual, ) ) ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) ) THE HERTZ CORPORATION, a Delaware ) corporation, HERTZ TRANSPORTING, INC, a ) Delaware corporation, FIREFLY RENT A CAR ) ) LLC, a Delaware company and DTG ) OPERATIONS, INC., an Oklahoma ) corporation, ) Defendants. ) 13 16 and for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (the “Stipulated Motion”). Dkt. #47. The Court has considered the motions, together with the supporting declarations and exhibits. This Court has reviewed the Parties’ Conditional Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), 17 18 ORDER GRANTING STIPULATED MOTION FOR CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS AND PRELIMINARILY APPROVING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT Before the Court is the parties’ Stipulated Motion for Certification of Settlement Class 14 15 Case No. 2:16-cv-00333 RSL as well as the files, records, and proceedings to date in this matter.1 Based on this Court’s review of the Agreement and all of the files, records, and 19 20 proceedings herein, the Court concludes, upon preliminary examination, that the Agreement and 21 Settlement appear fair, reasonable, and adequate, and within the range of reasonableness for 22 preliminary settlement approval, and that a hearing should and will be held after notice to the 23 24 25 1 For purposes of this Order, capitalized terms used below shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Stipulated Motion, unless otherwise defined. ORDER - 1 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 Settlement Class (as defined in Paragraph B below) to confirm that the Agreement and 2 Settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to determine whether the Settlement should be 3 approved and final judgment entered in this action based upon the Agreement. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT: A. Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement. The Agreement is preliminarily approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate, and within the range of reasonableness for preliminary settlement approval. The Court finds that: (a) the Agreement resulted from extensive arm’s length negotiations; and (b) the Agreement is sufficient to warrant notice of the Settlement to persons in the Settlement Class and a full hearing on the approval of the Settlement. 12 B. 13 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c), the Court conditionally certifies, for 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Class Certification For Settlement Purposes Only. settlement purposes only, the following Settlement Class: All employees of The Hertz Corporation, Hertz Transporting, Inc., Firefly RentA-Car, LLC, and DTG Operations, Inc. (collectively, “Hertz”) who: (a) at any time during the period from January 1, 2014, to October 31, 2015, reported to (i.e., clocked in and clocked out at) a worksite within the City of SeaTac; (b) can be ascertained from Hertz’s records as having had a base hourly wage rate at any time during this same period that was less than the minimum hourly wage prescribed by the City of SeaTac’s Ordinance Setting Minimum Employment Standards for Hospitality and Transportation Industry Employers, City of SeaTac Municipal Code Chapter 7.45 (the “Ordinance”); and (c) prior to March 1, 2018, did not file a wage complaint against Hertz with L&I pursuant to the 2006 Wage Payment Act, RCW 49.48.082-.087, asserting a claim of underpayment of wages during this same period premised upon an alleged violation of the Ordinance (“L&I Wage Claim”) (provided, however, that any person who filed, but timely withdrew, such an L&I Wage Claim prior to March 1, 2018, is included in the Putative Class). The Court finds that the numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy requirements of Rule 23(a) are satisfied for settlement purposes. The Court also finds that the predominance, 25 ORDER - 2 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 manageability, and superiority requirements of Rule 23(b)(3) are satisfied for settlement 2 purposes. 3 Accordingly, the Court orders as follows: 4 1. Plaintiff is appointed Class Representative; and 5 2. Plaintiff’s Counsel are hereby appointed and designated as “Class Counsel” and 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 are authorized to act on behalf of the members of the Settlement Class. C. Settlement Hearing. A final approval hearing (the “Settlement Hearing”) shall be held before the Honorable Robert S. Lasnik on December 5, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. to determine whether the Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and should be approved. Papers in support of final approval of the Agreement, the incentive award to Plaintiff, and Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses (the “Fee Application”) shall be filed with the Court according to the schedule set forth in Paragraph M below. The Final Settlement Approval Hearing, and all dates provided for herein, may, without further notice to the Class, be continued 14 or adjourned by order of this Court. After the Settlement Hearing, the Court may enter a 15 settlement order and final judgment in accordance with the Agreement that will adjudicate the 16 rights of the Settlement Class Members with respect to the Released Claims being settled. The 17 scope of the Released Claims shall be (as set forth in Section 6.01 of the Agreement): “claims 18 arising under, and/or otherwise dependent upon, the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 19 et seq., the Washington Minimum Wage Act, RCW 49.46 et seq., the Washington Wage Rebate 20 Act, RCW 49.52 et seq., the Washington Industrial Welfare Act, RCW 49.12 et seq., Section 21 7.45 of the City of SeaTac City Code (“the Ordinance”), the law of contract, and the law of 22 equity; and any claim to attorneys’ fees and costs based on the claims released in this paragraph 23 and/or the Action.” 24 25 ORDER - 3 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 D. 2 Class Notice shall be sent within thirty (30) days following entry of this Order. Dahl 3 Class Notice. Administration, LLC, is appointed as Claims Administrator. 4 E. 5 The Claims Administrator will provide mail notice to persons in the Settlement Class for 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Mail Notice. whom the Defendant possesses a mailing address. Mail Notice will be sent via first-class mail to the most recent mailing address as reflected in reasonably available employment records of the Defendant. Skip tracing shall be performed by the Claims Administrator for all returned mail. The Claims Administrator shall also provide email notice to persons in the Settlement Class for whom the Defendant possesses an email address. F. Findings Concerning Class Notice. The Court finds that the foregoing program of Class Notice and the manner of its dissemination is the best practicable notice under the circumstances and is reasonably calculated to apprise the Settlement Class of the pendency of this action and their right to object to or 14 exclude themselves from the Settlement Class. The Court further finds that the Class Notice 15 program is reasonable, that it constitutes due, adequate, and sufficient notice to all persons 16 entitled to receive notice, and that it meets the requirements of due process and Federal Rule of 17 Civil Procedure 23. The Court hereby approves the Notice in substantially the same form as that 18 attached as Exhibit 2 to the Declaration of Duncan C. Turner. Dkt. #48-2. 19 G. Administration. 20 The Court confirms that it is appropriate for the Defendant to provide the information 21 necessary to provide the notice contemplated herein and to administer the settlement, including 22 names, addresses, and personal identifying information. 23 24 25 H. Exclusion from the Settlement Class. Persons in the Settlement Class will possess the right to opt out by sending a written request to a designated address within thirty (60) days after the Notice Mailing Date. All ORDER - 4 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 Settlement Class Members who do not opt out in accordance with the terms set forth herein will 2 be bound by all determinations and judgments in this action. Exclusion requests must contain the 3 person’s name, address, telephone number, and signature, and must include the following 4 statement: “I request to be excluded from the class settlement in Hirsi v. The Hertz Corporation, 5 et al., Case No. 2:16-cv-00333 RSL.” Within 15 days after the exclusion deadline, the Claims 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Administrator will file a declaration that provides copies of all exclusions received. I. Objections and Appearances. Any person in the Settlement Class who has not timely submitted an exclusion request may object to the proposed Settlement and appear at the Final Approval Hearing to argue that the proposed Settlement should not be approved and/or to oppose the application of Class Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and the incentive award to the named Plaintiff. In order to be heard at the hearing, the person must make any objection in writing and mail it to the designated address not later than October 29, 2018. Any objections that are not timely filed and mailed may be forever barred. J. Further Papers In Support Of Settlement And Fee Application. Class counsel shall file their fee request on or before the Notice Mailing Date. The 16 deadline to respond to objections shall be fifteen (15) days following the Exclusion/ Objection 17 deadline. 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 ORDER - 5 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 K. 2 In the event the Agreement is not approved by the Court, or for any reason the Parties fail Effect of Failure to Approve the Agreement. 3 to obtain a Final Judgment as contemplated in the Agreement, or the Agreement is terminated 4 pursuant to its terms for any reason, then the following shall apply: 1. All orders and findings entered in connection with the Agreement shall become 5 null and void and have no further force and effect, shall not be used or referred to 6 for any purposes whatsoever, and shall not be admissible or discoverable in any 7 other proceeding; 8 2. The conditional certification of the Settlement Class pursuant to this Order shall 9 be vacated automatically and void; no doctrine of waiver, estoppel, or preclusion 10 shall be asserted in any litigated certification proceedings in the Action; 11 3. The Agreement and its existence shall be inadmissible to establish any fact or any 12 alleged liability of the Defendant for the matters alleged in this action or for any 13 other purpose; and 14 4. Nothing contained in this Order is, or may be construed as, any admission or 15 16 17 concession by or against the Defendant or Plaintiff on any point of fact or law. L. Stay/Bar Of Other Proceedings. All proceedings in this action are stayed until further order of the Court, except as may be 18 necessary to implement the terms of the Settlement. Pending final determination of whether the 19 Settlement should be approved, Plaintiff, all persons in the Settlement Class, and persons 20 purporting to act on their behalf, are enjoined from commencing or prosecuting (either directly, 21 representatively, or in any other capacity) against the Defendant (or any other entity or person 22 covered by the release in Section 6.01 of the Agreement) any action, arbitration, or proceeding in 23 24 any court, arbitration forum, or tribunal asserting any claims covered by the release set forth in the Agreement. 25 ORDER - 6 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 M. 2 Timeline. ACTION DATE 3 Preliminary Approval Order Entered July 27, 2018 4 Notice Mailing Date August 27, 2018 5 Plaintiff’s Counsel’s Fee Motion Submitted August 27, 2018 6 Exclusion/Objection Deadline 7 Claims Administrator’s Filing of Exclusion November 13, 2018 Requests 8 9 10 11 October 29, 2018 Final Approval Brief and Response to Objections November 19, 2018 Final Approval Hearing / Noting Date December 5, 2018 Final Approval Order Entered At the Court’s Discretion 12 13 14 The Final Hearing is scheduled on December 5, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 15106 at the United States Courthouse, 700 Stewart Street, Seattle, WA 98101. 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED 17 18 DATED this 27th day of July, 2018. 19 A S. LASNIK HONORABLE ROBERT 20 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 ORDER - 7 BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC

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