AUGUST 28, 2019
NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF LAWSUIT
(with attached form to obtain a settlement payment)
TO: All current and former hourly, non-exempt employees of CHS Employment Services, LLC who received nondiscretionary bonus payments, including but not limited to, pick-up shift bonuses, attendance bonuses, sign on bonuses, and/or received a shift differential during any workweek that the employee worked over 40 hours in any workweek between December 12, 2014 and May 4, 2019, whose bonuses and/or shift differential earned were not included in their regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating their overtime compensation, and whose calculated damages were $1.00 or greater. This group shall be referred herein as the “Eligible Settlement Participants.”
This Notice informs you of the settlement of a wage-and-hour lawsuit brought by Donielle Smith, Denise Cavender, Jeanelle Tice and Susan Weaver (“Named Plaintiffs”) on behalf of all other similarly-situated hourly, non-exempt employees of CHS Employment Services, LLC (“CHS”).
1. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
The Settlement announced by this Notice makes overtime compensation available to all current and former hourly, non-exempt employees of CHS who received nondiscretionary bonus payments, including, but not limited to, pickup shift bonuses, attendance bonuses, sign-on bonuses, and/or received a shift differential during any workweek that the employee worked over 40 hours in any workweek between November 12, 2014 and May 4, 2019, whose bonuses and/or shift differential earned were not included in their regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating their overtime compensation, and whose calculated damages were $1.00 or greater. The Settlement is supported by Named Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against CHS, and was negotiated by their attorneys (“Class Counsel”) and CHS’ attorneys.
TO PARTICPIATE IN THE SETTLEMENT, YOU MUST SUBMIT THE CONSENT FORM
2. THE LAWSUIT
On December 12, 2017, a lawsuit seeking payment for overtime compensation was filed against CHS by Donielle Smith, a former employee of CHS. The lawsuit alleges that CHS failed to include bonuses and/or shift differential earned by Ms. Smith and other similarly-situated hourly, non-exempt employees in their regular rate of pay, for purposes of calculating their overtime compensation. The lawsuit asserts claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Ohio state wage-and-hour laws. Ms. Smith amended her complaint on March 7, 2019, to add Denise Cavendar, Jeanelle Tice and Susan Weaver as additional named plaintiffs. CHS denies liability and denies it violated any state or federal wage and hour law.
3. THE SETTLEMENT
To avoid the time, cost, fees and uncertainty of further litigation, the Settlement was reached between the Representative Plaintiffs and CHS and has been approved by the U.S. District Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate. The settlement is not an admission of liability. The Court has not made, and will not make, any determination of the merit of Plaintiffs’ claims. The terms of the Settlement are summarized below.
A. Settlement Payments and Released Claims
The Total Eligible Settlement Payment is $390,000.00. $165,000.00 of the Total Eligible Settlement Amount will be divided into Individual Payments to the group of individuals defined as the Eligible Settlement Participants’ for alleged unpaid overtime damages. The Individual Payments have been calculated proportionally on each Eligible Settlement Participants’ alleged overtime damages during the his or her applicable Calculation Period, which is outlined in the Settlement Agreement. Each Eligible Settlement Participant who participates in the Settlement will receive approximately 153% of their alleged overtime damages, inclusive of alleged statutory damages. They will also receive a payment of $100.00, which represent damages under Ohio’s Prompt Pay Statute.
Named Plaintiffs will receive service payments in a combined total amount of $12,500.00 based on their involvement in the matter and assistance to Class Counsel.
$192,500.00 will be paid to Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in the Action.
In exchange for the Total Eligible Settlement Payment, the lawsuit will be dismissed, and participating Eligible Settlement Participants will release CHS from any and all federal and state wage-and-hour claims that were asserted in the lawsuit for the time periods provided for in the Settlement Agreement. CHS will retain the payments of any Eligible Settlement Participants who does not join the Settlement.
B. Class Counsel’s Recommendation
Class Counsel recommend the Settlement. It offers settlement payments to non-exempt employees paid an hourly rate and bonuses and/or shift differentials, without the delay, uncertainty, and risk of continuing with the lawsuit.
During the applicable Calculation Periods, Class Counsel estimates that the Eligible Settlement Participants were allegedly owed approximately $58,436.47 in overtime wages during the applicable time period. Thus, employees who return the attached form will receive 153% of their alleged overtime damages, inclusive of alleged statutory damages. In addition, they will receive an additional payment of $100.00.
4. HOW TO RECEIVE YOUR SETTLEMENT PAYMENT
To participate in the Settlement, you must complete and return the attached Form entitled “Consent and Release Form” no later than October 28, 2019. You can return the Consent and Release Form by: (a) signing it electronically (eSigning) below; (b) mailing it to Smith v. CHS Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 2006, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2006; (c) faxing the form to (952) 404-5750; (d) scanning the form and emailing it to CHS.Settlement@noticeadministrator.com. If your address has changed or changes before you receive each of your settlement payments, you must provide your name and current mailing address to the Settlement Administrator at the address above.
CHS, itself or through the settlement administrator, will issue the Individual Payment checks payable to the Eligible Settlement Participants who return the Consent and Release Form by October 28, 2019 and mail them via First-Class Mail within twenty-eight (28) days after the close of the Consent Period. A portion of the Individual Payments will be treated as payment for wages, for which participants will receive a W-2 payment, less federal and state tax withholdings, garnishments, child support, and other deductions required by law, and the other portion as payment for statutory damage, for which participants will receive a 1099-Misc.
FORMS MUST BE FAXED, EMAILED OR POSTMARKED BY NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 28, 2019
5. FURTHER INFORMATION
Further information about the settlement may be obtained from Class Counsel whose contact information is below.
Matthew J.P. Coffman
Coffman Legal, LLC
1550 Old Henderson Road
Columbus, OH 43220
Telephone: (614) 949-1181
Facsimile: (614) 386-9964
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT