Yesterday, December 19, 2019, PPOA received the information below from the Law Offices of Rains, Lucia, Stern, St. Phalle & Silver, PC. As the law firm representing a number of PPOA members in the FLSA overtime lawsuit against Los Angeles County, they are pleased to report a settlement has received preliminary approval from United States District Court Judge Dale Fischer.
If you participated in the lawsuit, you should be receiving correspondence with instructions and details on the procedures for receiving funds under the settlement.
What Is The Lawsuit About?
The lawsuit arose of the County’s non-compliance with the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Flores v. City of San Gabriel, where the court held that cash in lieu of health insurance benefits had to be included in the calculation of the FLSA’s overtime rate. In July 2018, in an attempt to head off the lawsuit, the County recalculated overtime including the cash-in-lieu and paid employees what should have been paid in the first place, but only back to January 2018. Since the FLSA has a three-year statute of limitations, the County’s payments were clearly inadequate and the lawsuit was filed.
In August 2018, after the lawsuit was filed, the County recalculated overtime again and made a second payment, this time going back to August 2015. However, the County’s payments did not include double or “liquidated” damages, usually required by the FLSA. And so, the lawsuit continued.
What Does The Settlement Provide?
The County has now agreed to pay liquidated or double damages in an amount equal to the two 2018 payments it made to employees. This means that all Plaintiffs will have received everything they were due under the FLSA, including three full years of damages plus liquidated damages.
How Do I Receive My Share Of The Settlement?
To receive the settlement, a Plaintiff needs to sign the release form that received preliminary approval from Judge Fischer. Correspondence from the law firm above will describe the easiest way to sign the release electronically. You can also print it out, sign it and return it to Jacob Kalinski at 16130 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 600, Encino, CA 91436.
What Happens Next?
Judge Fischer set a 45-day period expiring on January 27, 2020 for Plaintiffs to raise any objections they have to the settlement. Per Judge Fischer’s instructions, all objections should be sent to Plaintiffs’ lawyers, who will collect them and send them to Judge Fischer and the County. After the 45-day period, Judge Fischer will hold a hearing on final approval of the settlement. In deciding whether to approve the settlement, Judge Fischer will decide whether the settlement is fair and reasonable considering the legal issues involved and any objections to the settlement.
If The Settlement Is Approved, When Will I Be Paid And How Much Will I Receive?
The County will pay all settlement amounts no later than sixty (60) days following Judge Fischer’s approval of the settlement.
How Do The Attorneys Feel About The Settlement?
All of the attorneys representing the Plaintiffs strongly support the settlement and believe it reaches a result at least equivalent if not better than what could be achieved in court.
Will I Be Paying Any Attorney Fees?
No. The settlement requires the County to pay the attorney fees and litigation costs for the Plaintiffs’ lawyers. Employees who joined the lawsuit will pay no attorney fees or litigation costs.
Where Can I Find Out More Information About the Settlement?
On the lawsuit’s website you will find links to the Complaint filed in the case, the County’s Answer, and the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. https://www.laovertimelawsuit.com/. The Motion, which was granted by Judge Fischer, contains a history of the case, the specific details of the settlement, and why the lawyers are supporting the settlement.
How Can I Ask Questions About The Settlement Or File Objections?
All questions about the settlement as well as any objections should be directed to Jacob Kalinski, Attorney at Law, 16130 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 600, Encino, CA 91436, (747) 221.7100.