Jama et al v. Golden Gate America LLC

Filing 84

ORDER granting parties' 81 Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement; Settlement Hearing set for 7/31/2018 at 10:30 AM, signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (SWT)

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The Honorable Robert S. Lasnik 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 11 ABDIKHADAR JAMA an individual, JEES JEES, an individual, and MOHAMED MOHAMED, an individual, Plaintiff, 12 13 14 15 16 17 vs. No. 2:16-cv-00611 RSL ORDER GRANTING STIPULATED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT GOLDEN GATE AMERICA LLC, a foreign limited liability company and EAN HOLDINGS LLC, ENTERPRISE HOLDINGS, INC., a foreign corporation, and VANGUARD AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, a foreign business entity d/b/a NATIONAL CAR RENTAL, ALAMO RENT A CAR, and ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR, 18 Defendants. 19 ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT 20 21 22 The Parties have filed a motion for an Order Preliminarily Approving Class Action 23 Settlement (“Motion”). Having reviewed the Motion and supporting materials, the Court 24 determines and orders as follows: 25 26 A. Counsel have advised the Court that the Parties have agreed, subject to final approval by this Court following notice to the Class and a hearing, to settle this Action on the 27 ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 1 1 terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims (the 2 “Agreement”). 3 B. The Court has reviewed the Agreement, as well as the files, records, and 4 proceedings to date in this matter. The terms of the Agreement are hereby incorporated as 5 though fully set forth in this Order. Capitalized terms shall have the meanings attributed to 6 them in the Agreement. 7 C. Based upon preliminary examination, it appears to the Court that the Agreement 8 is sufficiently fair, reasonable, and adequate to warrant notice to the Class and that the Court 9 should hold a hearing after notice to the Class to determine whether to enter a Settlement Order 10 and Final Judgment in this action, based upon that Agreement. 11 Based upon the foregoing, the Court finds and concludes as follows: 12 1. Class Definition. The Court amends the class definition set forth in its Order 13 Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification entered on June 27, 2017. See Dkt. No 74. 14 Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3), the Court certifies the following Class: 15 17 All individuals who performed office work, service agent work, lead work, driver work, off-site car shuttling work, and any other types of work covered by Proposition 1 for Golden Gate America, LLC from January 1, 2014 to August 22, 2015. 18 2. 16 Settlement Administrator. The Court appoints Analytics, LLC as the Settlement 19 Administrator, which shall fulfill the Settlement Administration functions, duties, and 20 responsibilities of the Settlement Administrator as set forth in the Agreement and this Order. 21 3. Settlement Hearing. A final approval hearing (the “Settlement Hearing”) shall 22 be held before this Court on July 31, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., as set forth in the Class Notice 23 (described in Paragraph 3 below), to determine whether the Agreement is fair, reasonable, and 24 adequate and should be given final approval. Papers in support of final approval of the 25 Agreement and Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, and for 26 Service Awards to the Plaintiffs (the “Fee and Cost Application”) shall be filed with the Court 27 according to the schedule set forth in Paragraph 9, below. The Court may postpone, adjourn, or ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 2 1 continue the Settlement Hearing without further notice to the Class. After the Settlement 2 Hearing, the Court may enter a Settlement Order and Final Judgment in accordance with the 3 Agreement (the “Final Judgment”), which will adjudicate the rights of the Settlement Class 4 with respect to the claims being settled. 5 4. Class Notice. The Court approves the form and content of the notices 6 substantially in the forms attached as Exhibit B to the Agreement, with changes necessary to 7 conform to this Order. The Settlement Administrator shall comply with the notice 8 requirements of Paragraph 3.03 of the Agreement. In compliance with that Paragraph, 9 beginning no later than thirty (30) days after entry of this Order, the Settlement Administrator 10 shall cause notice to be delivered in the manner set forth in the Agreement to all Class 11 Members. Class Notices sent by email and U.S. Mail whenever possible and shall be 12 substantially in the form attached as Exhibit B to the Agreement. 13 5. Filing of CAFA Notice. Before the Settlement Hearing, EAN Holdings, LLC 14 (“EAN”) shall file with the Court proof of compliance with the notice provisions of the Class 15 Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1715. 16 6. Findings Concerning Class Notice. The Court finds that the Class Notice, with 17 changes necessary to conform to this Order, and the manner of its dissemination described in 18 Paragraph 3 above and Paragraph 3.03 of the Agreement constitutes the best practicable notice 19 under the circumstances and is reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise 20 Class Members of the pendency of this action, the terms of the Agreement, and their right to 21 object to or exclude themselves from the Class. The Court finds that the notice is reasonable, 22 that it constitutes due, adequate and sufficient notice to all persons entitled to receive notice, 23 and that it meets the requirements of due process, Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil 24 Procedure, and any other applicable laws. 25 7. Exclusion from Class. Each Class Member who wishes to exclude himself or 26 herself from the Class and follows the procedures set forth in this Paragraph shall be excluded. 27 Any member of the Class may mail a written request for exclusion, in the form specified in the ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 3 1 Class Notice, to the Settlement Administrator at the address set forth in the Class Notice. To be 2 valid, all such written requests must be postmarked or received by the Settlement Administrator 3 by forty-five (45) days after the Settlement Administrator’s initial mailing of the Class Notices. 4 All persons who properly request exclusion from the Class shall not be Settlement Class 5 Members and shall have no rights with respect to, nor be bound by, the Agreement, should it be 6 finally approved. The names of all such excluded individuals shall be attached as an exhibit to 7 the motion for final approval and any Final Judgment. 8 9 10 11 8. Costs of Class Notice and Claims Processing. EAN shall bear all costs of notice to the Class of the pendency and settlement of the Action. 9. Objections and Appearances. (a) Written Objections. Any Class Member who has not timely submitted a 12 written request for exclusion from the Class, and thus is a Settlement Class Member, may object 13 to the fairness, reasonableness, or adequacy of the Agreement, or the Fee and Cost Application. 14 Any Settlement Class Member who wishes to object to the Settlement, must submit his or her 15 objection in writing to Class Counsel, Attn: Duncan C. Turner, postmarked or received by Class 16 Counsel no later than forty-five (45) days after the Settlement Administrator’s initial mailing of 17 the Class Notices. Class Counsel will file copies with the Court via ECF. Objecting Settlement 18 Class Members must include their name and address, the name and number of the case, and a 19 statement of the reasons why they (i) believe the Court should find that the proposed settlement 20 is not in the best interests of the Class; or (ii) object to the Fee and Cost Application. Any 21 objection not timely made in this manner shall be waived and forever barred. 22 (b) Appearance at Settlement Hearing. Any objecting Settlement Class 23 Member who wishes to address the Court at the Settlement Hearing must indicate his or her 24 intent to do so in writing to Class Counsel at the same time that the Settlement Class Member 25 submits the objection and must identify any witnesses and documents that he or she intends to 26 use or submit at the Settlement Hearing. Class Counsel will inform the Court and EAN’s 27 counsel accordingly. Any Settlement Class Member who does not have postmarked or deliver ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 4 1 to Class Counsel his or her written objection and notice of intention to appear by forty-five (45) 2 days after the Settlement Administrator’s initial mailing of the Class Notice, in accordance with 3 the requirements of this Order, may not be permitted to object or appear at the Settlement 4 Hearing, except for good cause shown, and shall be bound by all proceedings, orders and 5 judgments of the Court. (c) 6 Fees and Cost Application. Class Counsel shall file their Fee and Cost 7 Application, together with all supporting documentation, by no later than thirty (30) days from 8 entry of this Order, sufficiently in advance of the expiration of the objection period that any 9 Settlement Class Member will have sufficient information to decide whether to object and, if 10 applicable, to make an informed objection. (d) 11 Motion for Final Approval and Responses to Objections. Plaintiffs shall 12 file with the Court their motion for final approval of the Settlement and the Parties’ responses to 13 objections to the Agreement or the Fee and Cost Application, together with all supporting 14 documentation, such that the motion is timely noted for July 27, 2018. 15 10. (a) 16 17 The Settlement Administrator shall send the Class Notice to Class Members on or before April 23, 2018; (b) 18 19 Dates of Performance. In summary, the dates of performance are as follows: Class Counsel’s Fee and Cost Application, and all supporting materials, shall be filed no later than April 23, 2018; (c) 20 Class Members who desire to be excluded shall mail requests for 21 exclusion postmarked, or deliver such requests to the Settlement Administrator, within forty-five 22 (45) days from the date of the Settlement Administrator’s initial mailing of the Class Notices. (d) 23 24 supporting materials, shall be filed and served by June 29, 2018; and (e) 25 26 27 Plaintiffs’ final approval motion, responses to objections, and all 11. The Settlement Hearing shall be held on July 31, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. Effect of Failure to Approve the Agreement. If the Court does not finally approve the Agreement, or for any reason the Parties fail to obtain Final Approval as ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 5 1 contemplated in the Agreement, or the Agreement is terminated pursuant to its terms for any 2 reason, then the following shall apply: (a) 3 All orders and findings entered in connection with the Agreement shall 4 become null and void and have no further force and effect, shall not be used or referred to for 5 any purposes whatsoever, and shall not be admissible or discoverable in any other proceeding; (b) 6 Nothing contained in this Order is, or may be construed as, any 7 admission or concession by or against EAN, Plaintiffs, or the Class on any point of fact or law; 8 and (c) 9 Nothing in this Order or pertaining to the Agreement shall be used as 10 evidence in any further proceeding in this case, including, but not limited to, motions or 11 proceedings pertaining to treatment of this case as a class action. 12 12. Discretion of Counsel. Counsel are hereby authorized to take all reasonable 13 steps in connection with approval and administration of the Settlement not materially 14 inconsistent with this Order or the Agreement, including, without further approval of the Court, 15 making minor changes to the content of the Class Notice that they jointly deem reasonable or 16 necessary. 17 13. Stay of Proceedings Pending Approval of the Settlement. All proceedings 18 before the Court are stayed pending final approval of the settlement, except as may be 19 necessary to implement the settlement or comply with the terms of the Agreement. 20 14. Injunction Against Asserting Released Claims Pending Settlement Approval. 21 Pending final determination of whether the settlement should be approved, Plaintiffs, all Class 22 Members, and any person or entity allegedly acting on behalf of Class Members, either 23 directly, representatively or in any other capacity, are preliminarily enjoined from commencing 24 or prosecuting against the parties to be released in the Releases in Paragraphs 5.01 and 5.02 of 25 the Agreement any action or proceeding in any court or tribunal asserting any of the claims to 26 be released in that paragraph, provided, however, that this injunction shall not apply to 27 individual claims of any Class Members who timely exclude themselves in a manner that ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 6 1 complies with this Order. This injunction is necessary to protect and effectuate the settlement, 2 this Order, and the Court’s flexibility and authority to effectuate this settlement and to enter 3 judgment when appropriate, and is ordered in aid of the Court’s jurisdiction and to protect its 4 judgments pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a). 5 15. Reservation of Rights and Retention of Jurisdiction. The Court reserves the 6 right to adjourn or continue the date of the Settlement Hearing without further notice to Class 7 Members, and retains jurisdiction to consider all further applications arising out of or connected 8 with the settlement. The Court may approve or modify the settlement without further notice to 9 the Class Members. 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated this 23rd day of March, 2018. 12 13 A ROBERT S. LASNIK 14 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Presented by: BADGLEY MULLINS TURNER PLLC /s/Duncan C. Turner Duncan C. Turner, WSBA # 20597 19929 Ballinger Way NE, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98155 Telephone: (206) 621-6566 Facsimile: (206) 621-9686 Email: dturner@badgleymullins.com Attorneys for Plaintiff and the Class LAW OFFICE OF DANIEL R. WHITMORE /s/Daniel R. Whitmore Daniel R. Whitmore, WSBA No. 24012 2626 15th Avenue West, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98119 Telephone: (206) 329-8400 Facsimile: (206) 329-84001 Email: dan@whitmorelawfirm.com Attorneys for Plaintiff and the Class DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE, L.L.P. 23 /s/Ryan Hess Ryan Hess, WSBA No. 50738 1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200 Seattle, WA 98101 Telephone: (206) 622-3150 Facsimile: (206) 757-7700 Email: ryanhess@dwt.com Attorney for Defendant EAN 24 25 26 27 ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - 7

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