Motion for Approval of Class Settlement (Judge Lon Hurwitz)

RULING: The hearing on this motion is continued to April 14, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. in Department CX103 so that Plaintiffs may address the issues identified below.

It is not necessary for Plaintiffs to resubmit briefing which has already been filed with the court. Supplemental declarations or other supplemental materials shall be filed at least nine (9) court days prior to the hearing. If a revised settlement, declaration(s), and/or proposed Notice are submitted, a redlined version showing all changes, deletions, and additions must also be submitted electronically to the Court.

  1. Please provide the initial PAGA claim letter(s). Without the letter(s), the Court is unable to discern whether the claims in the SAC and the claims in the settlement track the PAGA letter.
  2. The class definition in the Settlement Agreement does not match the class definition in the SAC. The SAC limits the class to non-exempt employees “whose job duties did not consist of over 50% administrative, executive, or professional duties.” Why is this phrase missing from the settlement agreement?
  3. Please provide figures for high and low individual recoveries. (See Procedural Guideline No. 3.) A statement that counsel is unable to calculate these figures is not acceptable. If the Settlement Administrator is unable to calculate a high and low figure prior to the continued hearing, Plaintiffs must provide a declaration explaining why and a projected date for calculating these figures.
  4. The estimated reasonable exposure on claims is not fully developed or supported, and no calculations were provided tosupport the drop from a maximum recovery of over $33,000,000 to $1,750,000, which is less than 6% of the maximum recovery. (The court notes the sum of the maximum figures provided by counsel appears to be well under $20,000,000.) The reasonable value is of particular importance for the court to compare the calculated net settlement value with the reasonable settlement value and determine if an average recovery of less than $1,000 is fair and appropriate. (See Procedural Guideline No. 3.)
  5. The court intends to grant an enhancement of $5,000 rather than the $7,500 requested, particularly since Mr. Lopez was not the class representative throughout the entirety of the litigation.
  6. Based on a class size of 1207 members, the individual average recovery is approximately $892.01 each, or barely more than 0.0025% of the maximum settlement value of $33,000,000 as calculated by the moving party. Why is this figure reasonable, particularly in light of counsel’s requested fee award of 33.33% of the total settlement?
  7. Why will the payroll taxes be taken out of the GSA, given the low settlement value per class member?
  8. The release in both the Settlement Agreement and the notice is overbroad pursuant to Amaro v. Anaheim Arena Management LLC (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 521, 537-538, and should be revised accordingly.
  9. Why is the claim for failure to pay all timely wages not included in the release?
  10. The Memorandum of Points and Authorities, Hawkins Declaration, and Settlement Agreement do not discuss whether the Notice to the class members should or should not be distributed in a language or languages other than English. Why or why not?
  11. Please provide proof of service of the settlement agreement on the LDWA.
  12. The Fairness and Approval Hearing should reflect the correct department and the correct physical address of the Civil Complex Center.

The hearing has been continued to the first available date. There are no earlier dates available.

The court does not require any physical or remote appearance at the hearing scheduled for January 6, 2023.