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Nathan Flowers et al. v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Los Angeles County Superior Court
Case No. BC515136

Important Dates
Deadline to file a claim
Date of Preliminary Approval
Class Period
PAGA Period
Opt-Out Deadline
July 10, 2020
Objection Deadline
July 10, 2020
Dispute Deadline
Final Approval Hearing
September 11, 2020 11:00 AM
Disbursement Date
Expiration of Check Cashing Period
Important Documents & Info

What Is This Case About?

This lawsuit is called Nathan Flowers et al. v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC515136 (“Lawsuit”). The individuals who brought this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and members of the Settlement Class are called “Plaintiffs.” Plaintiffs Nathan Flowers and Donday Orr alleged, on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated individuals, that Defendant fails to properly compensate Operators for time spent performing various tasks, including time spent completing mandatory reports, the differential between scheduled run times and actual run times, and time spent performing various pre-departure tasks, including tasks associated with making relief using a CEA vehicle. Plaintiff alleges that since the beginning of the proposed class period (i.e., since July 15, 2010), Defendant’s compensation scheme has been illegal because it fails to compensate Operators for all straight time hours worked, in violation of Labor Code § 1194 and/or California Industrial Wage Commission Order 9-2001 (“Wage Order No. 9”). Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief on a classwide basis.

Your Legal Rights and Options in this Settlement

Do Nothing
If you do nothing, you will be part of this Settlement and release all claims against LACMTA and any affiliated individuals and entities as described in more detail below. The benefits of the Settlement (specifically, changes in LACMTA’s policies and practices) are described below. If you are part of the Settlement, you will not have the option of bringing your own legal action against LACMTA or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have.

Object
You may write to the Court to say why you do not agree with the proposed Settlement. If you object, you will remain part of the Settlement Class, and if the Court overrules your objection and approves the Settlement, you will not have the option of bringing your own legal action against LACMTA or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have. The deadline for you to object is July 10, 2020.For the objection to be valid, it must include the objector’s full name, signature, address, and telephone number, the basis for the objection, and if the objector intends to appear at the Final Approval hearing, a statement to that effect.Exclude Yourself

From the Settlement Class
Excluding yourself from the Settlement Class will give you the option of initiating or proceeding with your own legal action against LACMTA and/or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have. If you believe that you have a claim or potential claim for monetary damages against LACMTA and/or any affiliated individuals and entities, then you should exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, and you should not delay in initiating legal proceedings, because the statute of limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may initiate legal proceedings) may severely limit the time remaining for you to do so. If you exercise this option, you would be well advised to seek a lawyer’s professional opinion as to whether you should pursue your claims through the collective bargaining process, in small claims court, in an administrative (Berman) hearing before the California Labor Commissioner, in California Superior Court, in federal court, or in another forum. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, then you may not object to the Settlement. The deadline for you to exclude yourself is July 10, 2020.

For the request for exclusion to be valid, it must: (a) set forth the name, address, telephone number and last four digits of the Social Security number of the Settlement Class member requesting exclusion; (b) be signed by the Settlement Class member; (c) be returned by mail to LACMTA Settlement Administrator, c/o CPT Group, Inc., 50 Corporate Park, Irvine, CA 92606, or by facsimile to 949-419-3446; (d) clearly state that the Settlement Class member does not wish to be included in the Settlement; and (e) be faxed or postmarked on or before the Response Deadline.

Attend The Hearing
A hearing will be held on September 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 10 of the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is This Case About?

This lawsuit is called Nathan Flowers et al. v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC515136 (“Lawsuit”). The individuals who brought this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and members of the Settlement Class are called “Plaintiffs.” Plaintiffs Nathan Flowers and Donday Orr alleged, on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated individuals, that Defendant fails to properly compensate Operators for time spent performing vari-ous tasks, including time spent completing mandatory reports, the differential between scheduled run times and actual run times, and time spent performing various pre-departure tasks, including tasks associated with making relief using a CEA vehicle. Plaintiff alleges that since the beginning of the proposed class period (i.e., since July 15, 2010), Defendant’s compensation scheme has been illegal because it fails to compensate Operators for all straight time hours worked, in violation of Labor Code § 1194 and/or California Industrial Wage Commission Order 9-2001 (“Wage Order No. 9”). Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief on a classwide basis.LACMTA denies all of the allegations made against it in the Lawsuit. LACMTA expressly denies that it failed to compensate Operators for all straight time hours worked.

The Court has made no ruling as to the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims or LACMTA’s defenses.

2. Your Legal Rights and Options in This Settlement

• Do Nothing. If you do nothing, you will be part of this Settlement and release all claims against LACMTA and any affiliated individuals and entities as described in more detail below. The benefits of the Settlement (specifically, changes in LACMTA’s policies and practices) are described below. If you are part of the Settlement, you will not have the option of bringing your own legal action against LACMTA or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have.• Object. You may write to the Court to say why you do not agree with the proposed Settlement. If you object, you will remain part of the Settlement Class, and if the Court overrules your objection and approves the Settlement, you will not have the option of bringing your own legal action against LACMTA or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have. The deadline for you to object is July 10, 2020.

• Exclude Yourself from the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself from the Settlement Class will give you the option of initiating or proceeding with your own legal action against LACMTA and/or any affiliated individuals and entities based on the same challenged practice, or any other claim that you might have. If you believe that you have a claim or potential claim for monetary damages against LACMTA and/or any affiliated individuals and entities, then you should exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, and you should not delay in initiating legal proceedings, because the statute of limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may initiate legal proceedings) may severely limit the time remaining for you to do so. If you exercise this option, you would be well advised to seek a lawyer’s professional opinion as to whether you should pursue your claims through the collective bargaining process, in small claims court, in an administrative (Berman) hearing before the California Labor Commissioner, in California Superior Court, in federal court, or in another forum. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, then you may not object to the Settlement. The deadline for you to exclude yourself is July 10, 2020.

3. Who are Members of the Settlement Class?

Members of the Settlement Class include: All current and former Bus and Train Operators employed by Defendant at any time from July 15, 2010 through March 13, 2020.

4. What Are the Benefits of The Proposed Settlement?

Under the proposed Settlement, which the Court preliminarily approved on March 13, 2020, LACMTA will make certain changes to its policies and practic-es in exchange for the Settlement Class releasing claims against LACMTA. Specifically, Defendant has agreed to take the following affirmative steps:

• LACMTA shall in writing clarify that an Operator Schedule Deviation Form (also known as an Overtime Slip) must be submitted for any work performed outside of an Operator’s scheduled shift; and,

• LACMTA shall in writing clarify that travel time includes all preparatory time to perform tasks completed by an Operator prior to departure.

5. How Could the Settlement Affect Your Legal Rights?

      If the Court approves the proposed settlement, members of the Settlement Class will release all legal claims against LACMTA and any affiliated individuals and entities as defined by the Settlement Agreement (“Released Parties”) that accrued at any time between July 15, 2010 and March 13, 2020 that were asserted in the lawsuit and/or based upon the same facts and allegations raised by Plaintiffs in the Lawsuit. Specifically, the Settlement Agreement provides:

In consideration of the mutual promises and covenants set forth or referred to in this Agreement, the Named Plaintiff, and each and every Class Member that did not file a timely Request for Exclusion, upon the Effective Date, shall be deemed to have fully, finally and forever released, settled, compromised, relinquished and discharged any and all of the Released Parties of and from any and all of the Released Claims that have arisen or might have arisen at any time up to and including the Effective Date.

. . .

“Released Claims” shall mean the claims released by Named Plaintiff and each Class Member who does not timely opt out of the Settlement, on behalf of themselves, their heirs, spouses, executors, administrators, attorneys, agents, and assigns, which are all applicable wage and hour claims, rights, demands, liabilities, penalties, fines, debts and causes of action of every nature and description arising from or related to the claims asserted in the Action or that could have been asserted in the Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amended Complaint based on the facts and circumstances alleged therein, including claims based on California Labor Code sections 1194, 1194.2, 1197, 1197.1, 1198, or any related damages, penalties, restitution, disgorgement, interest or attorneys’ fees.

Moreover, pursuant to a stipulation and order signed by the Court on March 13, 2020: (1) there shall be no waiver of rights and benefits under California Civil Code § 1542; (2) there shall be no release of unknown claims; (3) there shall be no release of claims under the Private Attorneys’ General Act, Labor Code § 2698, et seq. (“PAGA”), be-cause there are no such claims to release given that they have been dismissed with prejudice; and (4) former Operators are a subclass and shall not release any damages claims.

6. What Enhancement Payment Is The Class Representative Seeking for The Work He Performed for the Class?

The Court has appointed Plaintiff Donday Orr as the class representative. Plaintiff Donday Orr is filing a motion asking the Court to award him a service award of no more than $15,000 in exchange for his services in representing the Settlement Class. The Court will decide whether such a service award is fair and reasonable. You can see the complete motion for the service award at www.cptgroup.com/FlowersvMetroSettlement.

7. What Attorneys’ Fees and What Reimbursement of Out of Pocket Costs Are Class Counsel Seeking?

Class Counsel is applying to the Court to be paid attorneys’ fees and costs in the aggregate amount of no more than $485,000. The Court will decide whether the fees and costs Class Counsel seeks are fair and reasonable. You can see Class Counsel’s complete application for attorneys’ fees and costs at www.cptgroup.com/FlowersvMetroSettlement.

8. When and Where Will the Final Approval Hearing Take Place?

On March 13, 2020, the Court granted preliminary approval of the proposed settlement. After considering the comments and/or objections from Class Members, the Court will next decide whether to: (1) grant final approval of the settlement; (2) grant Class Counsel’s application for fees and costs; and (3) award a service award to the Class Representative. A hearing will be held on September 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 10 of the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

You may, but are not required to, attend the final approval hearing.

9. Who Can I Contact for More Information?

For obtaining copies of key documents or help with accessing the website:

LACMTA Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

Toll-free number: 1-888-416-1710

www.cptgroup.com/FlowersvMetroSettlement

For questions pertaining to the Lawsuit and your legal rights and options pertaining to the Lawsuit:

The Tidrick Law Firm LLP -- Attorneys for the Class (“Class Counsel”)
Steven G. Tidrick, Esq.
Joel B. Young, Esq.
1300 Clay Street, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 788-5100

The files below are PDF downloads that are relevant to this specific case. Please review them and if you have any questions, or would like additional information, visit the FAQs page.

The important dates below reflect deadlines in connection with this class action. Be sure to review these dates and please take any appropriate steps necessary before they pass.

Fourth Amended Class Action Complaint

Notice of Settlement

Stipulation and Order Regarding Settlement

Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement

Plaintiff’s Notice of Motion and Motion for Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs and Service Award; Memorandum of Points and Authorities

Declaration of Steven G. Tidrick, Esq. in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs and Service Award

Declaration of Donday Orr

Questions?

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Questions?

Please Call Toll-Free
1-(888) 416-1710ClassMemberQuestions@cptgroup.com
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