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.
CHASTITY L. CHRISTY (0076977), ANTHONY J. LAZZARO (0077962),
HANS A. NILGES (0076017), SHANNON M. DRAHER (0074304) NILGES
P. DOWNEY PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, RICHARD J. REIBSTEIN PEPPER
HAMILTON LLP, CHRISTOPHER J. MORAN LEE E.TANKLE, KALI T.
WELLINGTON-JAMES PAPER HAMILTON LLP
JUDGE CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
ORDER APPROVING FLSA SETTLEMENT
matter is before the Court on the Parties' Joint Motion
for Final Approval of FLSA Settlement ("Joint
Motion") pursuant to § 16(b) of the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
The Joint Motion asks the Court to approve, as fair and
reasonable, the proposed FLSA Settlement reached by the
Parties and memorialized in the Joint Stipulation of FLSA and
Class Action Settlement and Release ("Settlement"
or "Agreement") attached to the Joint Motion as
reviewed the Joint Motion, the Agreement and its Exhibits,
the Declarations of Anthony J. Lazzaro and Hans A. Nilges,
and the pleadings and papers on file in this Action, and for
good cause established therein, the Court enters this
Stipulated Order Approving the FLSA Settlement, the Agreement
as it applies to the FLSA, the proposed FLSA Notice, the
proposed Consent and Release Form, the proposed Service
Awards to the FLSA Class Representatives Jason Swiger and
Julio Cruz, and the proposed attorneys' fees and expense
reimbursements to Class Counsel, as follows:
captioned Action asserts wage-and-hour claims under the FLSA,
29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, on behalf of Route Sales
Professionals (RSPs) of Defendant Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
("Utz") who were not paid overtime compensation at
the rate of one and one-half their regular rate of pay for
all hours they worked over 40 each workweek.
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 and representatives of
those similarly situated to them.
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 Plaintiff 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 FLSA
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