United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ANTHONY BOUTELL, BRIAN STOUT SHANE MORN and ROGER ANDERSON, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
CRAFTMASTER PAINTING, LLC, Defendant.
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony Boutell, Brian Stout, Shane Morn and Roger Anderson
filed this lawsuit as a class and collective action against
defendant Craftmaster Painting, LLC, alleging that several of
defendant's wage practices violated the overtime
provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C.
§ 201-219, and Wisconsin's wage law, Wis.Stat.
§ 109.01-109.13. A hearing is scheduled for April 30,
2019, to consider the parties' motion for final approval
of the proposed settlement and plaintiffs' motion for
attorney fees. However, after reviewing the parties'
motions and proposed settlement agreement, I conclude that
the settlement cannot be approved until the parties submit
information addressing the following questions:
Why were Rule 23 class members required to submit claim forms
for prevailing wage claims but not for overtime wage
review of the parties' proposed settlement agreement, it
appears that the parties required the Rule 23 class members
to submit claim forms for their prevailing wage claims but
not for claims of unpaid overtime. It is not clear why the
parties made a distinction between these two types of claims,
and their decision to do so adds complexity and confusion to
the notice forms that were distributed to class members. The
parties should explain why they chose to distinguish between
these claims. They also should explain whether it would be
possible to calculate damages owed for each type of claim for
each class member by using defendant's records.
How many Rule 23 class members will receive an
parties have stated that there are more than 100 class
members in the Rule 23 class. My understanding from the
proposed settlement agreement was that all class members
would receive compensation for unpaid overtime, regardless
whether they submitted a claim form for prevailing wages.
However, the parties have not submitted a spreadsheet showing
damages calculations for more than 100 class members.
Instead, plaintiffs submitted a spreadsheet showing award
amounts for 11 individuals and another showing award amounts
for 18 individuals. Dkt. #87-2, #87-3. Plaintiffs do not
explain clearly who these individuals are or what happened to
the remaining class members.
Did the parties calculate potential damages for each class
member before distributing notices and if so, did they
include damages calculations in the notices?
parties' proposed settlement agreement does not actually
include a settlement amount. Instead, the parties identified
mathematical formulas that would be used to calculate damages
for each class member. Presumably, the parties should have
then been able to calculate the damages that would be owed
for each class member based on defendant's records. But
the parties have not submitted any spreadsheets or other
documents showing whether they actually made these
calculations. Additionally, the notices that were distributed
to class members do not appear to include any calculations of
the amount that the class members would receive by making a
claim. Instead, the notices describe complicated formulas
that will be used to calculate potential damages.
concerned that the parties' failure to calculate
potential damages in advance and include individualized
damage calculations for each class member may have deterred
class members from submitting claim forms. Although the
parties indicated that there are more than 100 individuals in
the Wisconsin class, the parties state that only 11
individuals submitted claim forms. Dkt. #87-2. Because the
claim forms did not include potential damage awards and
instead described lengthy formulas, potential claimants may
have found the notice to be confusing. Therefore, before
final approval can be given to the proposed settlements, the
parties must describe what steps they took to calculate
individual damage awards and whether they included those
awards on their notices. If they did not, it is likely that I
will require plaintiffs to submit new notice and claim forms
to class members.
What is the total amount defendant will pay under the
I will approval the settlement, the parties must submit a new
proposed settlement agreement that specifies the exact amount
that defendant will pay under the agreement. If that number
is unknown, the parties should calculate the total amount of
potential damages that defendant could pay and then explain
what will happen to any amount that is unclaimed by class
What is the total amount plaintiffs are seeking in attorney
motion for attorney fees includes a request for 1/3 of the
total amount recovered by the class, excluding recoveries by
the four named plaintiffs and class member Krystal Cribb. I
cannot determine whether this amount is appropriate because
it is not clear how much defendant will be paying to the
class members. The parties must provide more information
regarding the specific amount plaintiffs are seeking for
Did the parties comply with the notice provision of 28 ...