United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JASON SWIGER and JULIO CRUZ, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
UTZ QUALITY FOODS, INC. Defendant.
PRELIMINARY ORDER APPROVING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
AGREEMENT AND NOTICE
Honorable Christopher C. Conner United States District Chief
Class Representatives Julio Cruz, Julia Williams, Tom Holt,
and Nicholas DeRose ("Rule 23 Class
Representatives") and Defendant Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
("Defendant" or "Utz") have moved the
Court to preliminarily approve, as fair and reasonable, a
Class Action Settlement Agreement ("Settlement
Agreement") between Rule 23 Class Representatives and
Defendant pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e).
reviewed the Settlement Agreement, as well as the
Parties' Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class
Action Settlement ("Motion for Preliminary
Approval"), the Declarations of Anthony J. Lazzaro and
Hans A. Nilges appended thereto, and the pleadings and papers
on file in this Action, and for good cause established
therein, the Court enters this Preliminary Order granting
preliminary approval of the Rule 23 Class Action Settlement,
and approving notice to Rule 23 Class Members, as follows:
Unless otherwise defined, all terms used in this Preliminary
Order have the same meanings as defined in the Settlement
September 15, 2015, Brian Jurden ("Mr. Jurden"), an
individual, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, filed this Action as a collective action under the
Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201-219 against Defendant Utz Quality Foods,
Inc. ("Utz") in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 2:15-cv-2833.
September 22, 2015, the Complaint was amended to include
Jason Swiger and Julio Cruz as named Plaintiffs.
October 29, 2015, by stipulation of the Parties, the
Complaint was amended to dismiss Brian Jurden. Jason Swiger
and Julio Cruz remain named Plaintiffs.
November 17, 2015, the action was transferred to the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
and docketed at Case No. 1:15-cv-2196.
Consistent with the terms of the Parties' Settlement
Agreement and by Stipulation, Plaintiffs Third Amended
Complaint to add Rule 23 Class Action claims for relief for
alleged violations of wage and hour laws in Maryland, North
Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and adds as additional
named plaintiffs Julia Williams (as class representative of
the Maryland class), Tom Holt (as class representative of the
North Carolina class), Nicholas DeRose (as class
representative of the New Jersey class), and Julio Cruz as
class representative of the Pennsylvania class was attached
to the Parties Motion as Exhibit 4. The Parties also
attached, as Exhibit 5, Defendant's Answer to Third
Amended Complaint. The Parties moved this Honorable Court to
grant Plaintiffs leave to file Plaintiffs' Third Amended
Between December 2015 and January 2017, the Parties engaged
in informal and formal comprehensive discovery regarding
Plaintiffs' claims and Defendant's defenses to such
claims. This included written discovery, including
interrogatories and exchanging thousands of documents,
multiple depositions, and a complete analysis of each Rule 23
Class Member's overtime damages.
Parties engaged in extensive legal discussion and
correspondence surrounding the Parties' positions,
providing legal authority and arguments on both sides, which
included numerous and lengthy discussions and written
February and March 2017, the Parties engaged in mediation
that began at a formal mediation in New York City on February
7, 2017, with the assistance of Mediator Michael D. Young of
JAMS. The mediation extended several weeks thereafter under
the Mediator's auspices, which led to a proposed
settlement of the Action on the terms set forth in the
attached Settlement Agreement.
Parties reached the proposed settlement in this matter after
extensive research, discovery, legal debates, discussions,