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PwC Settling California Wage & Hour Lawsuit for $5 Million

We've been following Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers for a long time so it's kinda sad to see it come to a whimpering end.

Earlier today a tipster let us know that he received his notification about the settlement in the case and he wasn't happy about it. "PwC just keeps sticking it to us," he wrote. We looked over his settlement documents but also found the version in Google Scholar. The settlement is still subject to approval by the court but for now, here's a quick rundown of the particulars

  • PwC will pay a "Gross Settlement Payment" of $5 million to settle the suit.
  • Attorneys for the plaintiffs are asking to be awarded $2 million, 40% of the settlement, in fees.
  • Attorneys are also requesting reimbursements of costs and expenses that will not exceed $925,000.
  • The attorneys spent over 8 years and 11,500 hours working the case. They have had no out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed to-date.
  • Jason Campbell and Sarah Sobek, the two named plaintiffs, will receive $15,000 "to compensate them for initiating the Campbell action, undertaking the risks, and for the work they performed in representing the Class over the past eight years."
  • PwC opposes the payouts to Mr. Campbell and Ms. Sobek, calling them "unreasonable." 
  • PwC doesn't oppose the attorneys' fees and costs.

In paragraph 10, the breakdown of each individual class member payment is explained:

A distribution plan, which is intended to fairly and equitably allocate to each Campbell Settlement Class Member his or her pro rata share of the Gross Settlement Payment has been proposed to and preliminarily approved by the Court. In short, each Settlement Class Member's share will be based on two criteria: (1) the number of hours in excess of 8 hours per workday worked by each Settlement Class Member during the Class Period (from October 27, 2002 through December 31, 2014) and while meeting the requirements of class membership, and (2) the number of weeks in which he or she was employed by Defendant, excluding leaves of absence, during the Class Period (from October 27, 2002 through December 31, 2014) and while meeting the requirements of class membership. If based on these criteria your share of the Settlement is calculated to be less than $100, you will receive a minimum payment of $100 derived from any attorneys' fees awarded by the Court.
Your Hours Over Standard and Work Weeks used to determine this amount, are [Hours and [workweeks]: Work Weeks.
If the Campbell Settlement is approved, the amount of your approximate payment will be [dollar amount]:. The payment amount is an approximate because it relies on certain assumptions, which if not accurate, would alter the award, as set forth more fully in the Settlement Agreement and Release.
In order to keep our tipster anonymous, we won't divulge his share of the settlement except to say that it wasn't much, less than $2,000. If you've been following our wage and hour lawsuit coverage for awhile, you won't be surprised by that paltry sum. 
What's probably most important about this settlement is the notice for anyone included in both the Campbell class action and the Le/Kress class action. In the filing these individuals are referred to as "Campbell-Le/Kress Overlap Plaintiffs." If you are a member of the class action and accept the settlement in Campbell, you will NOT be eligible to participate in the Le/Kress case. 
[T]o the extent that Campbell-Le/Kress Overlap Plaintiffs have claims in the Le/Kress Action that cover the same work in the same position over the same time period as the claims being settled in the Campbell Action, those Campbell-Le/Kress Overlap Plaintiffs who participate in the Campbell Settlement will release PwC from their overlapping claims asserted in the Le/Kress Action. Thus, Plaintiffs who participate in the Campbell Settlement will not be permitted to further pursue such overlapping claims in the Le/Kress Action nor will they be eligible to participate in any settlement or verdict regarding such overlapping claims.
There's an entire section of the filing that explains what the Campbell settlement means for the plaintiffs' rights in Le/Kress but the gist is that you can't "recover overtime damages for the same work in both cases."
We'll keep watching for final developments in this case and other wage & hour lawsuits, but this pretty much wraps up Campbell. Let us know what you think of the settlement and if you're one of the overlap plaintiffs, what do you plan to do?