Judge: William D. Claster, Case: 21-01207546, Date: 2022-07-28 Tentative Ruling

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement

Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement is CONTINUED to September 16, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. in Department CX104 to permit the parties to respond to the following items of concern.  Any supplemental briefing shall be filed on or before September 7, 2022.  If a revised settlement agreement and/or class notice is submitted, a redline showing all changes, deletions and additions must be submitted as well.  In addition, Plaintiffs must provide proof of service of any revised settlement agreement and supporting papers on the LWDA.


As to the Settlement:


1.            Are there any other actions, whether individual, class, or PAGA (pending or in the pre-filing LWDA stage) that may be affected by this settlement?



2.            The FAC pleads a class extending four years before filing (i.e., 2017) based on the inclusion of a UCL claim.  The class period defined in the agreement begins in March 2020.  Why has the class period been shortened?  How is this settlement fair to class members whose exclusion means the statute of limitations has run on their claims, even though Plaintiffs and class counsel have purported to represent them all along?



3.            Will individual PAGA payments be treated as 100% penalties for tax purposes with 1099s issued?  The Court assumes so, but the agreement does not appear to say.



4.            Defendant turned over “data on class members.”  What data?  How big a sample?



5.            Defendant also turned over “an exemplar of both time and pay records.”  Does this mean Defendant turned over only a single example of time and pay records?



6.            Did counsel interview any class members other than Plaintiffs to investigate the non-record claims?



7.            Counsel retained an expert to value the claims.  Please identify him or her and provide a CV.



8.            Please provide a bid from the administrator.



9.            At final approval, please submit contemporaneously made billing records for attorney’s fees and costs.  The Court will not be inclined to award an amount of fees and costs greater than the amount stated in the notice.



10.         At final approval, please submit billing records for administrative costs.  The Court will not be inclined to award administrative costs in an amount greater than the amount stated in the notice.



11.         At final approval, Plaintiff is to provide declarations addressing the enhancement factors set forth in Golba v. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 1251 and Clark v. Am. Residential Servs. LLC (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 785, including the amount of time and effort spent on the litigation. 



12.         At final approval, the administrator is to provide a high, low, and average for individual settlement payments, along with plaintiff’s individual payout.



As to the Notice:


1.            Please provide opt-out and dispute forms with the notice.



2.            Please include remote appearance instructions for the final approval hearing.


3.            Does notice need to be given in any languages other than English and Spanish?



4.            If any changes are made to the settlement agreement, please make corresponding changes to the notice.



The font size in the actual notice may not be smaller than the font size in the proposed notice provided to the Court.