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Clifton v. Babb Construction Co.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

October 1, 2014

DOUGLAS M. CLIFTON, CHRISTOPHER A. DRURY, CLIFFORD R. BAKER, and CARL W. SONNTAG, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
BABB CONSTRUCTION CO. dba DELTA CONSTRUCTION CO., an Oregon corporation, and DELTA SAND & GRAVEL CO., an Oregon corporation, Defendants.

FINAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT

MICHEAL J. McSHANE, District Judge.

The above-entitled matter comes before the Court on the parties' Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement ("Motion for Final Approval") (Doc. 75), and on Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Attorneys' Fees, Costs, and Service Payments to Named Plaintiffs ("Motion for Attorneys' Fees") (Doc. 78).

Plaintiffs Douglas M. Clifton, Christopher A. Drury, Clifford R. Baker, and Carl W. Sonntag, commenced this Action on June 14, 2013 as a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), and as a putative class action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Specifically, Plaintiffs asserted violations of the overtime provisions of the FLSA; violations of Oregon Prevailing Wage Law (ORS Chapter 279C and former Chapter 279); and violations of Oregon Wage and Hour Laws (ORS Chapters 652 and 653).

On April 16, 2014, the parties participated in a judicial settlement conference mediated by the Honorable Thomas Coffin, United States Magistrate Judge. At the mediation the parties were better able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their case and, after contested negotiations, the parties were able to reach a settlement.

On May 23, 2014, the parties filed a Stipulated Settlement Agreement (the "Settlement") (Doc. 69) setting forth the terms of the settlement and the procedures for implementation. On June 16, 2014, the Court granted the parties' Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement preliminarily approving the Settlement, and providing for: certification for settlement purposes of the FLSA and Oregon Wage Classes set forth therein; appointing Leiman & Johnson, LLC as Class Counsel; appointing the named Plaintiffs as Class Representatives; and authorizing Court-approved notice to all members of both preliminarily certified classes (Doc. 73). The Court set October 1, 2014 as the date for the final approval hearing. Id.

On July 1, 2014, the Claims Administrator sent the court-approved Notices to members of the FLSA Class and the Oregon Wage Class by first-class mail to each class member. Declaration of Matthew J. McDermott, ¶ 3 (Doc. 77). The Notices informed members of each class of the terms of the Settlement, including: Oregon Wage Class members' right to opt-out of the Oregon Wage Class settlement; Oregon Wage Class members' right to object to the terms of the Settlement; and the right of members of both classes to appear at the final approval hearing. (Doc. 70-1). Both the FLSA Notice and the Oregon Wage Class Notice also informed class members of: Each class members anticipated allocation of the settlement funds; Plaintiffs' request for $20, 000 in service payments to the named Plaintiffs; Plaintiffs' request for an award of attorneys' fees to Class Counsel of $325, 000 equal to 25% of the gross settlement amount; Class Counsels' request for reimbursement of up to $20, 000 in litigation costs from the gross settlement; and Plaintiffs' request for $18, 000 of the gross settlement to pay the Claims Administrator for the costs of administering and implementing the Settlement.

On September 16, 2014, the parties filed their Joint Motion for Final Approval seeking final approval of the Settlement, final certification for settlement purposes of the FLSA Class and the Oregon Wage Class, and final approval of the proposed final settlement procedures set forth in the Settlement. Concurrently with the Motion for Final Approval, Plaintiffs' filed their unopposed Motion for Attorneys' Fees, seeking approval for payment of attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, and for service payments to the named Plaintiffs.

The Court held a fairness hearing on October 1, 2014. No class members objected to the Settlement at the hearing.

Findings.

The Court finds that pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 23(e), the Settlement is procedurally and substantively fair, reasonable and adequate. The Settlement was reached through vigorous, arms-length negotiations mediated by an experienced Judge. Prior to reaching the Settlement, the parties had conducted extensive discovery and Plaintiffs' counsel had evaluated the merits of Plaintiffs' claims. The Court finds that the applicable factors set forth in Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1026 (9th Cir. 1998), favor approval of the Settlement.

The Court further finds that the opt-in FLSA Class members have been adequately represented by the Class Representatives and Class Counsel and the FLSA Class settlement is fair and the FLSA Class Notice and settlement procedures comport with the requirements of the FLSA.

The Court further finds that the Notice to the Oregon Wage Class fairly, accurately, and adequately notified all of the Oregon Wage Class members of the Settlement and their right to object, and that the Court-approved Notice sent to Oregon Wage Class members comp'orts with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 23.

Having considered the Motion for Final Approval, the Motion for Attorneys' Fees, and the supporting Declarations, the oral argument presented at the October 1, 2014 fairness hearing, and the ...


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