Bates, Donna et al v. Kerry, Inc.
ORDER re 134 Joint Stipulation for Class and Conditional Certification. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 10/17/2013. (voc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
DONNA BATES, CATHERINE A.
STEFFA, and CAREN CHRISTENSEN,
The court is in receipt of the parties’ joint stipulation for class certification under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and conditional certification of a collective action
under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (dkt. #134), and plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for
preliminary approval of settlement agreement (dkt. #135.) All appears very much in
order, but before the court grants these motions, the parties must correct the release
language in the settlement agreement itself so that it is consistent with the description of
the putative class members’ legal rights and options described in the proposed notice.
(See Declaration of Summer H. Murshid, Ex. 1 (dkt. #138-1) pp. 20-21 (releasing “all
federal and Wisconsin state wage and hour claims” for “all other members of the Final
Settlement Class”; id. at p.47 (limiting the release of claims for those class members who
do not opt into the FLSA collective action and who do not opt out of the class action to
“Wisconsin state wage or hour claims” in the proposed notice).)
In other words, for those employees who do not opt into the FLSA collective
action but also do not opt out of the class action, the release -- consistent with the
proposed notice -- should be limited to the Wisconsin state law claims. The reason the
court requires this change has been extensively explained in other, similar FLSA collective
action and Rule 23 class action settlements. See, e.g., Sherburn v. Duluth Trading Co., LLC,
No. 11-cv-438 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 16, 2012) (dkt. #38); Turner v. Superior Satellite Servs.,
Inc., No. 11-cv-92 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 6, 2012) (dkt. #111).1
Once the court is in receipt of an amendment to the settlement agreement, the
court will promptly issue an order preliminarily approving the settlement and certifying a
class action and a collective action for settlement purposes.
Entered this 17th day of October, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
WILLIAM M. CONLEY
The court notes that proposed class counsel Hawks Quindel, S.C. in this case was also
class counsel in Sherburn and Turner and suspects the proposed notice was changed to
address this concern, but somehow the language in the settlement release itself was
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