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Allen v. Bedolla

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 2, 2015

JEFFREY LEE ALLEN, on behalf of himself, all others similarly situated, the general public and as an " aggrieved employee" under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, Plaintiff-Appellee, and LABOR READY SOUTHWEST, INC., a Washington corporation doing business in the State of California, Defendant-Appellee,
v.
MARGIE BEDOLLA; ANTHONY A. ALLEN; MICHAEL ALVAREZ; TYLER FARMER, Movants-Appellants. JEFFREY LEE ALLEN, on behalf of himself, all others similarly situated, the general public and as an " aggrieved employee" under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, Plaintiff-Appellee, and LABOR READY SOUTHWEST, INC., a Washington corporation doing business in the State of California, Defendant-Appellee,
v.
MARGIE BEDOLLA; ANTHONY A. ALLEN; MICHAEL ALVAREZ; TYLER FARMER, Objectors-Appellants

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena California February 4, 2015.

Page 1219

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:09-cv-04266-DDP-AGR. D.C. No. 2:09-cv-04266-DDP-AGR. Dean D. Pregerson, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Class Action

The panel affirmed the district court's order denying Objectors' motion to intervene, and vacated the district court's order granting final approval to a class action settlement between day laborers and Labor Ready Southwest, a temporary staffing agency, in a putative class action brought by plaintiff Jeffrey Lee Allen against Labor Ready Southwest, alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California wage and hour and unfair competition laws.

Plaintiff alleged that Labor Ready illegally failed to pay employees for their wait and travel times, and had taken unlawful paycheck deductions by providing cash disbursement machines and charging for their use. The Objectors to the settlement are plaintiffs in other uncertified class actions against Labor Ready pending in California state courts raising employment-related claims.

The panel held that the Objectors' motion to intervene was untimely because the motion was filed after four years of ongoing litigation, on the eve of settlement, and threatened to prejudice settling parties by potentially derailing settlement talks.

The panel held that the district court did not satisfy the procedural standard, outlined in In re Bluetooth Headset Products Liab. Litig., 654 F.3d 935 (9th Cir. 2011), in determining the settlement's substantive fairness. The panel took no position on the substantive fairness of the agreement, vacated the final settlement approval, and remanded so that the district court could conduct a more searching inquiry.

Because the panel vacated and remanded final approval of the settlement, the panel also vacated the attorneys' fee award to class counsel. Upon remand, the panel directed the district court to provide the entire class -- and not just the Objectors -- the opportunity to review class counsel's completed fee motion and to submit objections if they so choose.

Melissa Grant and Glenn A. Danas (argued), Capstone Law APC, Los Angeles, California, for Objectors-Appellants.

Mark R. Thierman and Joshua D. Buck, Thierman Law Firm, P.C., Reno, Nevada; Joseph Cho and Ronald H. Bae, Aequitas Law Group, APLC, Los Angeles California; Chaim Shaun Setareh (argued), Law Office of Shaun Setareh, APC, Beverly Hills, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

David R. Ongaro (argued), Thompson & Knight LLP, San Francisco, California, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges, and J. Frederick Motz, Senior ...


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