Hunt v. VEP Healthcare, Inc., No. 3:2016cv04790 - Document 67 (N.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF EMILY HUNT'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS/COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT; CLASS/COLLECTIVE REPRESENTATIVE ENHANCEMENT/GENERAL RELEASE PAYMENT, CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION EXPENSES; AND ENTERING JUDGMENT 59 AS MODIFIED. Signed by Judge Vince Chhabria on 4/3/2018. The Court will issue a separate order governing attorneys' fees and class/collective counsel's remaining duties following final approval. (vclc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/3/2018)
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Hunt v. VEP Healthcare, Inc. Doc. 67 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 EMILY HUNT, on behalf of herself, all others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Plaintiff, v. VEP HEALTHCARE, INC., a corporation; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants. Case No. 3:16-CV-04790-VC SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF EMILY HUNT’S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS/COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT; AWARD OF ATTORNEYS’ FEES, COSTS, CLASS/COLLECTIVE REPRESENTATIVE ENHANCEMENT/GENERAL RELEASE PAYMENT, CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION EXPENSES; AND ENTERING JUDGMENT AS MODIFIED Date: March 15, 2018 Time: 10:00 a.m. Judge: Hon. Vince Chhabria Dept.: 4 19 20 Action Filed: Trial Date: April 6, 2015 None Set 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC –1– Dockets.Justia.com 1 This matter came on for hearing on March 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 4 of the above- 2 captioned Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Final Approval of Class/Collective Action Settlement; 3 Award of Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, Class/Collective Service Award Payment, Claims Administration 4 Expenses; and Entering Judgment (Dkt. No. 59). 5 Having received and considered Plaintiff’s motion and supplemental briefs, the Joint 6 Stipulation and Settlement Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the “Settlement Agreement”), the 7 supporting papers filed by the Parties, and the evidence and argument received by the Court in 8 conjunction with the Motion for Final Approval of Class and Collective Action Settlement, the Court 9 grants final approval of the Settlement and HEREBY ORDERS AND MAKES THE FOLLOWING 10 DETERMINATIONS: 11 1. Pursuant to the Court’s Order as Modified Granting Renewed Motion for Preliminary 12 Approval of Class and Collective Action Settlement (Dkt. No. 55) (hereinafter referred to as the “Order 13 Granting Preliminary Approval”), a Notice of Collective and Class Action Settlement (hereinafter 14 referred to the “Notice”) was mailed to all members of the California Class and FLSA Collective by 15 first-class U.S. Mail on January 3, 2018. A Notice was also emailed to all members of the California 16 Class and FLSA Collective between January 4, 2018, and January 8, 2018. The Court finds that 17 distribution of the Notice in the manner set forth in the Court’s Order Granting Preliminary Approval 18 and the Settlement Agreement constituted the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and 19 constituted valid, due and sufficient notice to all members of the California Class and FLSA 20 Collective. The Court finds that such notice complies fully with the requirements of Rule 23 of the 21 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Constitution of the United States, and any other applicable laws. 22 The Notice set forth herein and in the Settlement Agreement provides a means of notice reasonably 23 calculated to apprise the California Class and FLSA Collective Members of the pendency of the action 24 and the proposed settlement, and thereby meets the requirements of Rule 23(c)(2) of the Federal Rules 25 of Civil Procedure, as well as due process under the United States Constitution and any other 26 applicable law, and shall constitute due and sufficient notice to all California Class and FLSA 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –2– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC 1 Collective Members entitled thereto. The Notice informed the California Class and FLSA Collective 2 of: (1) the terms of the Settlement; (2) their right to submit objections, if any, and to appear in person 3 or by counsel at the final approval hearing and to be heard regarding approval of the Settlement; (3) 4 California Class Members’ right to request exclusion from the Class and the Settlement; (4) FLSA 5 Collective Members’ right to opt-in to the Collective and the Settlement; and (5) the date set for the 6 final approval hearing. Adequate periods of time were provided by each of these procedures. No 7 member of the California Class or FLSA Collective filed a written objection to the proposed 8 Settlement as part of this notice process or stated an intention to appear at the final approval hearing. 9 2. One (1) member of the California Class has requested to be excluded from the Class 10 and the Settlement. This individual is excluded from the Settlement and is not bound by this Judgment 11 or the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The name of this individual is attached hereto as Exhibit A. 12 Plaintiff and all California Class Members other than the individual who requested to be excluded 13 from the settlement are adjudged to be Participating California Class Members and are bound by this 14 Final Judgment and by the Settlement Agreement, including the releases provided for in the Settlement 15 Agreement. 16 3. Two hundred and ten (210) FLSA Collective Members submitted FLSA Claim Forms 17 and thereby opted-in to Collective and the Settlement. All FLSA Collective Members who did not 18 submit FLSA Claim Forms are excluded from the settlement and are not bound by this Judgment or 19 the terms of the Settlement Agreement. These individuals are excluded from the Settlement and are 20 not bound by this Judgment or the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The names of the individuals 21 who submitted FLSA Claim Forms are attached hereto as Exhibit B. Plaintiff and all FLSA Collective 22 Members who submitted FLSA Claim Forms are adjudged to be Participating FLSA Collective 23 Members and are bound by this Final Judgment and by the Settlement Agreement, including the 24 releases provided for in the Settlement Agreement. 25 4. The Court finds and determines that this notice procedure afforded adequate protections 26 to California Class and FLSA Collective Members and provides the basis for the Court to make an 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –3– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC 1 informed decision regarding approval of the Settlement based on the responses of California Class and 2 FLSA Collective Members. The Court finds and determines that the Notice was the best notice 3 practicable, which satisfied the requirements of law and due process. 4 5. Solely for the purpose of settlement, in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, the 5 Court finds that the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other laws 6 and rules applicable to settlement approval of class actions have been satisfied, and the Court hereby 7 certifies a California Class of all individuals employed by VEP Healthcare, Inc. as Physician’s 8 Assistants in the state of California who were eligible to receive productivity pay from April 6, 2011 9 to May 15, 2017. 10 6. Solely for the purpose of settlement in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, the 11 Court finds that the requirements of 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) have been satisfied and other laws and rules 12 applicable to settlement approval of collective actions have been satisfied, and the Court hereby 13 certifies an FLSA Collective of all individuals employed by VEP Healthcare, Inc. as Physician’s 14 Assistants in the state of California who were eligible to receive productivity pay from April 6, 2011 15 to May 15, 2017. 16 7. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, and for settlement purposes only, the Court 17 further finds as to the California Class that: 18 a. The Class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; 19 b. There are questions of law or fact common to the Class which predominate over 20 21 22 the questions affecting only individual members; c. The claims of the Class Representative, Emily Hunt, are typical of the claims of the Class that the Class Representative seeks to certify; 23 d. The Class Representative, Emily Hunt, will fairly and adequately protect the 24 interests of the Class and is, therefore, appointed as the representative of the 25 Class; 26 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –4– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC 1 e. Class Counsel, The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC, will fairly and adequately 2 protect the interests of the Class and are qualified to represent the Class and are, 3 therefore, appointed as attorneys for the Class for purposes of settlement; and 4 f. Certification of the Class is superior to other available methods for fair and 5 6 efficient adjudication of the controversy. 8. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, and for settlement purposes only, the Court 7 further finds as to the FLSA Collective that: 8 a. The Collective Representative, Emily Hunt, is similarly situated to the 9 Collective Members; 10 b. A bona fide dispute exists between the Parties over violations of the FLSA 11 provisions; and 12 c. Collective Counsel, The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC, will fairly and 13 adequately protect the interests of the Collective and are qualified to represent 14 the Collective and are, therefore, appointed as attorneys for the Collective for 15 purposes of settlement. 16 9. The Court finds that the Settlement is fair when compared to the strength of Plaintiff’s 17 case, Defendant’s defenses and financial condition, the risks involved in further litigation and 18 maintaining class and/or collective status throughout the litigation, and the amount offered in 19 settlement. 20 10. The Court finds that the Parties conducted extensive investigation and research, and 21 that their attorneys were able to reasonably evaluate their respective positions. 22 11. The Court finds that Class/Collective Counsel has extensive experience acting as 23 counsel in complex class/collective action cases and their view on the reasonableness of the settlement 24 was therefore given its due weight. 25 12. The Court further finds that the California Class’ and FLSA Collective’s reaction to 26 the settlement – with no objections – weighs in favor of granting Final Approval of the Settlement. 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –5– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC 1 The Court further finds that the California Class’ reaction to the settlement – with one (1) request for 2 exclusion – weighs in favor of granting Final Approval of the Settlement. Further, the FLSA 3 Collective’s reaction – with two hundred and ten (210) FLSA Claim Forms submitted – weighs in 4 favor of granting Final Approval of the Settlement. 5 13. The Settlement Agreement is not an admission by Defendant, nor is this Order a finding 6 of the validity of any allegations or of any wrongdoing by Defendant. Neither this Order, the 7 Settlement, nor any document referred to herein, nor any action taken to carry out the Settlement, shall 8 be construed or deemed an admission of liability, culpability, negligence, or wrongdoing on the part 9 of Defendant. 10 14. The Court finds and determines that the Individual Settlement Payments to be paid to 11 each Participating California Class Member and each Participating FLSA Collective Member as 12 provided for by the Settlement are fair and reasonable. The Court hereby gives final approval to and 13 orders the payment of those amounts be made to the Participating California Class and FLSA 14 Collective Members in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. 15 15. Class/Collective Counsel have conferred a benefit on the California Class and FLSA 16 Collective Members and having expended efforts to secure a benefit to the Class and Collective is 17 entitled to a fee and, accordingly, the Court approves the application of Class/Collective Counsel for 18 $500,000 for their attorneys’ fees and $40,000 for their litigation costs and expenses. The Court does 19 not find that the attorney fee award of $500,000 and costs of $40,000 is a disproportionate distribution 20 of the Settlement under In Re Bluetooth Product Liability Case (“Bluetooth”) 654 F.3d 935 (9th Cir. 21 2011). The Court also finds the attorney fee award here is not unreasonable under Bluetooth, because 22 the Parties did not arrange for fees to revert to Defendant in the event the Court awarded less than The Court will issue a separate order governing attorneys' fees and class/collective 23 requested. counsel's remaining duties following final approval. 24 16. The Class/Collective Representative Enhancement/General Release Payment to 25 Plaintiff, Emily Hunt, in the amount of $10,000 is approved and ordered paid in accordance with the 26 terms of the Settlement Agreement. 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –6– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC 1 17. The Settlement Administration costs in the amount of $34,000 are approved and 2 ordered paid to CPT Group, Inc. in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. 3 18. Defendant shall have no further liability for costs, expenses, interest, attorneys’ fees, 4 or for any other charge, expense, or liability, except as provided for in the Settlement Agreement. 5 19. Without affecting the finality of this Order in any way, the Court retains jurisdiction of 6 all matters relating to the interpretation, administration, implementation, effectuation and enforcement 7 of this order and the Settlement. 8 20. Nothing in this Order shall preclude any action to enforce the Parties’ obligations 9 pursuant to the Settlement Agreement or pursuant to this Order, including the requirement that 10 Defendant makes payments to Participating California Class and FLSA Collective Members in 11 accordance with the Settlement. 12 21. The Court hereby enters final judgment in this case in accordance with the terms of the 13 Settlement Agreement, Order Granting Preliminary Approval, and this Order. 14 22. This Order shall constitute a final judgment. 15 23. The Parties shall bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees except as otherwise provided 16 by the Settlement Agreement and this Order. 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 Date: April 3, 2018 19 ____________________________ Honorable Vince Chhabria United States District Court Judge 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 SECOND REVISED [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT –7– Case No 3:16-CV-04790-VC Exhibit A ID 11 ClaimNo EmployeeName 16 DAY, REBECCA OptOut TRUE Exhibit B ClaimNo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 ID 178 182 189 188 36 105 76 100 123 135 257 264 144 26 153 42 148 133 231 234 211 77 59 84 277 179 175 125 80 184 70 46 242 17 127 88 213 147 161 192 155 16 137 274 205 198 EmployeeName DAVE, DEVAL KIM, DAVID KING, KEVIN GOMORY, STELLA BROWN, STANTON LIEBERG, JON S ZARTMAN, JASON ENGELBERG, STEVEN RUCKELSHAUS, JENNIFER L SUN, HUNG-WEN Pena, Carlos Mock, Tiffany PURSELL, BONNIE DAVIS, PAULA E DURAN, GRETCHEN FRENCH, LUCAS BELABIN, JEFFREY KING, KATIE CRAIG, CHARLES PRIES, PATRICIA FIKES, JASON DUNCAN, ELRI GREENING, JENNIFER FENSKE, GINA Morris, Lindsey FIZZARD, QUILA VENNIK, ANTHONY WONG, MICHELLE ANN CAMPBELL, TERESA WESTBROOK-MAY, NANCY SICAT, MICHAEL MUZZIN, MONICA CARMANY, EMILY SHIBATA, JEANETTE WONG CHANCELLOR, MELISSA HOUSER, MELANIE HENGER, LUCAS AMORDE, CONNIE REED, DANAE MA, PEIJING GRUBERT, AMY SAHATRUNGSINEE, PENSIRI HADFIELD, GREG Lai, Nina WORLEY, CHARLES SCHERR, NATALIE 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 43 66 71 29 162 139 5 267 37 250 108 138 244 151 49 56 201 32 8 200 95 89 60 47 130 120 260 27 186 61 12 219 152 227 64 169 251 158 209 99 206 141 256 7 193 93 204 HOUDE, MARCELLINE FRASHER, SUSANA VERA, JOSHUA ALLAN ELLIOTT DEMARS, HEATHER M RENE, PATERSON KIRK, RICHARD GALICIA, CHRISTIAN Monsen, Melvin CODY, 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CHRISTOPHER ECHEVARRIA, KATHERINE JUSTUS, MATTHEW SIMM, KENDELL MA, STANLEY DOSANJH, KULJINDER SMITH, SHANNON MCCAFFREY, KEVIN HUNTER, LAMONT Hanna, Peter RAY, JOHN Thompson, Katherine HALE, KRISTA SHERARD, KERRI L SAKAGUCHI, GAYLE RAMOS, MARK NORRIS, CASEY MCGHEE, CHRISTY WILLIAMSON, JAMES SONG, GRACE WISE, KELSEY ELIZONDO, ARACELI SPURLOCK, JULIA K Blatt, Marisa SHEPS, MARYANN BILAUCA, FLORIN TILTON, CHRISTOPHER KRISEL, JESSICA Harris, Elizabeth GEVORKIAN, DAVID DOWELL, THOMAS DENNIS, MICHAEL FERRADA-MASIA, CLAUDIA A GOTTUS, MICHAEL CLARK MESKIMEN, HOLLY H M MARX, SYLVIA CALVERT, EMMA E VILLAPUDUA, DINA George, Jason PARKIN, SEAN THOMPSON, BRIAN Le, Lam KENT, WILLIAM STOESZ, KATHERINE Rofael, Mario HUNT, EMILY 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 191 192 193 194 196 197 102 91 90 112 98 170 163 11 187 281 266 276 62 131 236 500 285 263 246 157 245 228 39 202 249 129 268 191 196 203 13 164 217 181 55 115 279 119 134 238 501 252 154 258 67 3 73 HAUSER, KAREN MATA-VARGAS, JORGE MANGROLA, UMANGSINH SCHREINER DUNCAN, TRICIA HERING, FREDERICK GRECHKO, ALEXANDRIA RODOLFF, KELLEY JORDAN, NATANE EVANGELISTA, CINDY Hovelson, Elise Harris, Daniel Schraeder, Auden PATZ, HEATHER HANKS, KIM TRAN, NHANIEN Karle, Francesca Wersan, Rebecca Bender, Amber WHITE, AMBER LACKORE, JEFFREY SOJA, KAILA SHELTON, JAIMIE CONTRERAS TORRES, PEDRO VELASQUEZ-HICKERSON, ANA Jackson, Dina DENGLER, JENNIFER Araujo, John LEE, PORSCHE RAMOS, RICHARD WAITE, JOHN MURRAY, ELIZABETH ANN SIMS, CODY RUGGLES, LINDSEY IM, BRIAN DANG, TRACY FRAZER, JASON Stempel, Alexander REBIERO, KRISTINE A MALLATT, MICHAEL VOLEK, DENNIS Hauser, Estela Kosova, Jennifer FRAZER, JEFFREY Pace, Timothy GOMEZ, MABEL ANTONIO DEVIVO, RYAN DERUM, JAMES 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 206 207 208 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 220 221 222 223 171 28 278 160 190 9 210 197 14 254 109 50 132 75 48 68 79 269 166 124 142 247 30 MCCASKILL, KEHLI EASTER, THOMAS Pachner, Aaron OCONNELL, DENNIS E LE, TIFFANY GREENBERG, DAVID H DYER, HOLLY RODRIGUEZ, JAVIER PETALVER, OLIVER CARINO Park, Yulie MORIN, KELLY ALEXANDRA STEWART, DAVID HEITTER, DAVID O PECOY, ELIZABETH ROHDE-MOE, GUNNAR JUNG, JULIE MARIE BURKETT, CHRIS Der, Jessica BORGHEI, KARIMEH WATKINS, GAIL CARPENTER, ROBYN ZEVETCHIN, STACY IBRAHIMI, ISAAC A