United States District Court, D. Maine
CHRISTOPHER O'CONNOR, et al. Plaintiffs,
OAKHURST DAIRY, et al. Defendants.
ORDER ON FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL AND ATTORNEYS'
FEES AND EXPENSES
Torresen United States Chief District Judge
me are a request for final approval of the settlement of all
claims in this suit, (ECF No. 215), and a motion for
attorneys' fees and costs (ECF No. 214). For the reasons
stated below, I will approve the settlement and grant the
motion for attorneys' fees.
case concerns claims by Oakhurst Dairy
(“Oakhurst”) Route Sales Drivers
who pursued their claims for unpaid wages, other damages,
costs, and attorneys' fees, on their own behalf and on
behalf of other Route Sales Drivers assigned to an Oakhurst
location in Maine between May 5, 2008 and August 29,
2012. In May 2014, the Plaintiffs filed suit
against Oakhurst and Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. Summary
judgment was granted for the Defendants on the
Plaintiffs' state law claims based on the statutory
interpretation of a Maine law exemption to overtime. That
judgment was reversed on appeal, and the parties conducted
substantial discovery including depositions of all five Named
Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs filed a motion for class
certification, and the Defendants filed a motion to decline
supplemental jurisdiction. The parties mediated the
Plaintiffs' claims and separately participated in a
judicial settlement conference, and they agreed to settle
their dispute in advance of trial. In March 2018, I
authorized the Plaintiffs to circulate notices of the
proposed settlement to potential class members. Order
Authorizing Notice to Class and Establishing Schedule for
Further Action (ECF No. 212).
conducting a fairness hearing on June 13, 2018, as Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) requires, I conclude that: (1)
the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; (2) that
the attorney fees and expenses requested by Class Counsel are
reasonable; and (3) the service awards to the five Named
Plaintiffs are warranted and reasonable.
Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) requires the following for
approval of a class action settlement:
(1) The court must direct notice in a reasonable manner to
all class members who would be bound by the proposal.
(2) If the proposal would bind class members, the court may
approve it only after a hearing and on finding that it is
fair, reasonable, and adequate.
(3) The parties seeking approval must file a statement
identifying any agreement made in connection with the
(4) If the class action was previously certified under Rule
23(b)(3), the court may refuse to approve a settlement unless
it affords a new opportunity to request exclusion to
individual class members who had an earlier opportunity to
request exclusion but did not do so.
(5) Any class member may object to the proposal if it
requires court approval under this subdivision (e); the
objection may be withdrawn only with the court's
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e). The following factors are relevant for
determining whether a settlement is “fair, reasonable,
and adequate” under Rule 23(e)(2):
(1) comparison of the proposed settlement with the likely
result of litigation;
(2) stage of the litigation and the amount of discovery
(3) reaction of the class to the settlement;
(4) quality of counsel;
(5) conduct of negotiations;
(6) prospects of the case, including risk, complexity,
expense and duration.
Scovil v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., No.
1:10-cv-515-DBH, 2014 WL 1057079, at *2 (D. Me. Mar. 14,