When our client, a nationwide operator of educational facilities, was served with a class-action lawsuit alleging Fair Labor Standards Act overtime violations at its 35 locations, our employment law attorneys were asked to defend the company. The class had potentially 135 individuals with a liability exposure of at least $1 million. Through the efforts of the Lindabury employment law team, partners John Schmidt and Kathleen Connelly and associate Sergio Simoes, the potential class was whittled down to 12 employees at a single facility.
The client was concerned that employee morale would suffer from a perception that lengthy legal proceedings were necessary to secure payments rightfully due from the client. Lindabury attorneys thus counseled the client to make voluntary payment in advance of the class certification to the employees who were owed overtime and were potential members of the class. Employees in this group were assured that they were still free to participate in the class action where they might recover additional compensation. When the notice to opt-in to the litigation was issued by the court to all potential class members, only one former employee opted in to the litigation.
Our team was also successful in rebuffing class counsel’s bid to get attorney fees for representation of all of the potential claimants. Ultimately, he received payment for the single claimant and the matter settled for $65,000, inclusive of attorney fees. We further helped the client bring its overtime practices into compliance with current FLSA requirements to avoid future litigation in this fertile area.