Alloways et al v. The Cruise Web, Inc.

District of Maryland, mdd-8:2017-cv-02811

Text of Proposed Order

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THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND AMY ALLOWAYS, et al., Plaintiffs, Case No. 8:17-CV-02811-PJM v. THE CRUISE WEB, INC., Defendant. ORDER APPROVING UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND UNOPPOSED MOTION TO APPROVE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND RELEASE OF WAGE CLAIMS UNDER FEDERAL AND MARYLAND LAW Upon Consideration of Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of the Class Action Settlement and Unopposed Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement and Release of Wage Claims under Federal and Maryland Law, including a Declaration from Plaintiffs' Counsel, any Opposition and Reply, it is hereby ORDERED, the Motions are GRANTED, and the settlement of this class is PRELIMINARILY APPROVED; ORDERED, for the purpose of settlement only, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have satisfied the class action requisites set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(1)-(4) and 23(b), and, therefore, certifies the following class: Every Cruise Consultant who participated in Defendant's training period commission pay plan at any time between September 21, 2014 and February 22, 2018. The Class Members are identified in Exhibit A of the Settlement Agreement. ORDERED, the Court appoints Plaintiffs Amy Alloways, Mischele Higginson, and Christy McGee to serve as class representatives; ORDERED, the Court appoints The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl to serve as Class Counsel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(g); ORDERED, the Court appoints RG/2 to serve as the Claims Administrator ("Administrator") for this settlement; ORDERED, the form of the "Class Action Settlement Notice" ("Notice") attached to the Settlement Agreement as Exhibit B and the notice protocols described in Paragraph 8 of the Agreement are approved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(2)(B) and the Parties are directed to strictly follow the agreed-upon protocols; ORDERED, any Class Member who wishes to the object to the settlement must follow the procedures described in Section 10 of the Notice, and Class Members who wish to exclude themselves from the settlement must follow the procedures described in Section 8 of the Notice; ORDERED, Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e), a hearing addressing the final approval of the settlement, which shall include an assessment of the Class Counsel's requested attorney's fees and expenses, shall be held at the United States District Courthouse at 6500 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, Maryland 20770 in Courtroom ____ at _______ on __________, 201___; ORDERED, at least seven days prior to the final approval hearing, Class Counsel shall file all papers in support of final approval of the settlement and the requested attorneys' fees and expenses; ORDERED, the Court finds that a bona fide dispute exists between Plaintiffs (Amy Alloways, Mischele Higginson, and Christy McGhee), opt-in plaintiffs (Gordon Klaiber, Carl Lucas, Kevin Martin, Gibson Lepper, Derek Cade, Patrice Ndozi, Tiffany Francois, and Reuben Deza), the other proposed class members, and Defendant as to whether Defendant violated the 2 Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. S 201 et seq., and wage-and-hour and wage payment provisions of Maryland Law; ORDERED, that although Plaintiffs, opt-in Plaintiffs, the other proposed class members, and Defendant have not engaged in formal discovery, they have exchanged sufficient information informally, both inside and outside mediation, to allow Plaintiffs' counsel to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Plaintiffs' overtime claims and the range of potential damages for all proposed class members. The Parties have engaged in extensive arms-length negotiations, including participating in a magistrate-supervised settlement conference with United States Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day (D. Md.) on July 12, 2018, and continued negotiation after the mediation; ORDERED, there is no evidence that the Settlement was the product of fraud or collusion between counsel; ORDERED, a cross-check against the actual lodestar (number of hours times reasonable hourly rates) provided by Plaintiffs' counsel reveals that Plaintiffs' attorneys are receiving substantially less than their actual lodestar. Accordingly, the Court finds that the proposed attorneys' fees in the Agreement are reasonable. ORDERED, in summary, upon consideration of the factors set forth in the Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, the Court FINDS that Agreement is "a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute over FLSA provisions." 679 F.2d 1350, 1354 (11th Cir. 1982); and it is ORDERED, all proceedings in this action are hereby stayed pending the hearing on final approval of the Agreement. Date: __________________ _____________________________ United States Magistrate Judge 3