Muse v. Huntleigh USA Corporation

Filing 46

ORDER granting parties' 44 Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement; Final Hearing set for 2/22/2018 at 08:30 AM in Courtroom 15106, signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik.(SWT)

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1 The Honorable Robert S. Lasnik 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 9 10 ALIN MUSE, an individual, Case No. 2:16-cv-00357-RSL 11 Plaintiff, v. 12 13 14 HUNTLEIGH USA CORPORATION, a foreign corporation; RICHARD SPORN, an individual; DIANE GALFORD, an individual, ORDER GRANTING STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT Defendants. 15 Before the Court is the Parties’ Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Approval of the Class 16 17 Action Settlement (the “Stipulated Motion”). The Court has considered the Stipulated Motion 18 and attachments thereto. This Court has also reviewed the Parties’ Settlement Agreement 19 (“Agreement”), as well as the files, records and proceedings to date in this matter. 1 20 21 Based on this Court’s review of the Agreement and all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, the Court concludes, upon preliminary examination, that the Agreement and 22 23 24 25 26 Settlement appear fair, reasonable, and adequate, and within the range of reasonableness for preliminary settlement approval, and that a hearing should and will be held after notice to the 1 For purposes of this Order, capitalized terms used below shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Stipulated Motion, unless otherwise defined. STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 1 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 Settlement Class (as described in Paragraph C 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 the Action based upon the Agreement. 4 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT: 5 A. 6 7 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 8 Agreement resulted from extensive arm’s length negotiations; and (b) the Agreement is 9 10 11 12 13 14 sufficient to warrant notice of the Settlement to persons in the Settlement Class and a full hearing on the approval of the Settlement. B. Class Certification For Settlement Purposes Only. Pursuant to Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c), the Court conditionally certifies, for settlement purposes only, the following Settlement Class: 15 All employees of the Defendants who are alleged to have been either Hospitality Workers or Transportation Workers and who worked one or more hours within the City of SeaTac at any time during the time period from January 1, 2014, to February 14, 2016, and who were paid less than the prevailing minimum wage prescribed by City of SeaTac Ordinance 7.45.050, i.e., a base rate of $15.00 per hour in 2014 and $15.24 in 2015 and 2016. 16 17 18 19 C. 20 A final approval hearing (the “Settlement Hearing”) shall be held before the Honorable Settlement Hearing. 21 Robert Lasnik on February 22, 2018, as set forth in the Notice to the Settlement Class, to 22 determine whether the Agreement is fair, reasonable and adequate and should be approved. 23 Papers in support of final approval of the Agreement, the incentive awards to Plaintiff, and 24 Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses (the “Fee 25 Application”) shall be filed with the Court according to the schedule set forth in the chart on 26 STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 2 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 page 6 below. If the Settlement Hearing is postponed, adjourned, or continued by order of the 2 Court, the Parties shall notify the Settlement Class by posting the change on the Settlement 3 Website. After the Settlement Hearing, the Court may enter a settlement order and final 4 judgment in accordance with the Agreement that will adjudicate the rights of the Settlement 5 Class Members with respect to the Released Claims being settled. The scope of the Released 6 Claims shall be a full and complete release of any and all claims, known or unknown, asserted 7 or unasserted, arising under any provisions of Proposition 1 and Chapter 7.45 et seq. of the City 8 of SeaTac Municipal Code, the Washington Minimum Wage Act, and the Fair Labor Standards 9 Act. 10 D. 11 Class Notice shall be sent within twenty-one (21) days following entry of this Order. 12 E. 13 The Claims Administrators will provide mail notice to persons in the Settlement Class 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Class Notice. Mail Notice. for whom the Defendant possesses a mailing address. Mail Notice will be sent via direct 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. 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 exclude themselves from the Settlement Class. The Court further finds that the Class Notice program is reasonable, that it constitutes due, adequate and sufficient notice to all persons entitled to receive notice and that it meets the requirements of due process and CR 23. The Court hereby approves the Notice in substantially the same form as that attached to the 25 Declaration of Duncan C. Turner. 26 STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 3 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 G. Administration. 2 The Claim Form and the claims submission process described in the Agreement and 3 Stipulated Motion are hereby approved. In addition, the Court confirms that it is appropriate 4 for the Defendant to provide the information necessary to provide the notice contemplated 5 herein and to administer the settlement, including names, addresses and account information. 6 H. Exclusion from the Settlement Class. 7 Persons in the Settlement Class will possess the right to opt out by sending a written 8 request to a designated address within thirty (30) days after the Notice Deadline. All 9 Settlement Class Members who do not opt out in accordance with the terms set forth herein 10 will be bound by all determinations and judgments in the Action. Exclusion requests must be 11 signed and include the following statement: “I/we request to be excluded from the class 12 settlement in Muse v. Huntleigh USA Corp., et al., Case No. 2:16-cv-00357-RSL.” The Claims 13 Administrators will retain a copy of all requests for exclusion. Not later than 15 days from the 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 exclusion deadline, the Claims Administrators shall file with the Court all objections received. I. Objections and Appearances. Any person in the Settlement Class who has not timely submitted a valid request for exclusion from the Settlement Class, and thus is a Settlement Class Member, may 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 awards to the named Plaintiff. 1. In order to be heard at the hearing, the person must make any objection in writing and file it with the Court not later than thirty (30) days after the Notice Deadline. Any objections that are not timely filed and mailed shall be forever barred. 2. In order to be heard at the hearing, the person also must file with the Court 25 and serve on all Parties a Notice of Intention to Appear with the Court. 26 STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 4 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 J. 2 The deadline to respond to objections shall be fifteen (15) days following the 3 Further Papers In Support Of Settlement And Fee Application. Objection/Exclusion deadline. 4 K. Effect of Failure to Approve the Agreement. 5 In the event the Agreement is not approved by the Court, or for any reason the Parties 6 fail to obtain a Final Judgment as contemplated in the Agreement, or the Agreement is 7 terminated pursuant to its terms for any reason, then the following shall apply: 1. All orders and findings entered in connection with the Agreement shall 8 become null and void and have no further force and effect, shall not be used 9 10 or referred to for any purposes whatsoever, and shall not be admissible or 11 discoverable in any other proceeding; 12 2. The conditional certification of the Settlement Class pursuant to this Order 13 shall be vacated automatically and void; no doctrine of waiver, estoppel or preclusion shall be asserted in any litigated certification proceedings in the 14 Action; and the Agreement and its existence shall be inadmissible to establish 15 any fact relevant to class certification or any alleged liability of the 16 Defendant for the matters alleged in the Action or for any other purpose; 17 3. Nothing contained in this Order is, or may be construed as, any admission or 18 concession by or against the Defendant or Plaintiff on any point of fact or 19 law. 20 21 22 23 24 L. Stay/Bar Of Other Proceedings. All proceedings in this Action are stayed until further order of the Court, except as may be necessary to implement the terms of the settlement. Pending final determination of whether the settlement should be approved, Plaintiff, all persons in the Settlement Class and persons purporting to act on their behalf are enjoined from commencing or prosecuting 25 (either directly, representatively or in any other capacity) against any of the Released Parties 26 STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 5 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC 1 any action, arbitration or proceeding in any court, arbitration forum or tribunal asserting any 2 of the Released Claims. 3 4 ACTION 5 Preliminary Approval Order Entered October 26, 2017 Initial Notice Mailing Date Within 21 days following entry of the Preliminary Approval Order Notice Deadline Within 45 days following entry of the Preliminary Approval Order Deadline to Submit Claims 30 days after Notice Deadline Exclusion/Objection Deadline 30 days after Notice Deadline Class Counsel’s Fee Motion Submitted 45 days after Notice Deadline Final Approval Brief and Response to Objections 45 days after Notice Deadline Final Approval Hearing / Noting Date Between 100-140 days of entry of the Preliminary Approval Order. Final Approval Order Entered At the Court’s discretion. 6 7 8 DATE 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 M. Timeline. The Final Hearing, is scheduled on February 22, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 15106 20 at the United States Courthouse, 700 Stewart Street, Seattle, WA 98101. 21 22 Dated this 26th day of October, 2017. 23 A Robert S. Lasnik 24 25 U.S. District Court Judge 26 STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT - 6 2:16-cv-00357-RSL BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER 1992 9 Balling er Wa y NE, Su it e 2 00 S eat t le, WA 9 8 1 5 5 TEL 206.621.6566 FAX 206.621.9686 PLLC

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