Yesterday, the Massachusetts Superior Court for Middlesex County issued a final approval order in one of our wage and hour class actions. This was a small class action under the Massachusetts Overtime Law involving just 33 individuals. The key allegation in the case was that a group of cabinet makers were improperly classified as exempt from overtime, had worked overtime, but had not been paid time and a half for that overtime work.
We were able to reach a negotiated settlement agreement with the defendant. Class actions often result in a settlement if both defense and plaintiffs’ counsel are well-versed in the substantive law and are able to handicap a range of possible results for their clients. It is important for defense counsel to do this for their clients because their clients are often inexperienced in wage and hour class action litigation and an early compromise agreement allows a defendant to continue doing business without the distraction and stress of ongoing litigation, to reduce their exposure to a sum certain, and to avoid the possible ruinous consequences of paying treble damages, plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, and their own defense costs incurred through trial. The defendants in this case were well-represented by experienced counsel, allowing the parties to engage in rational negotiations that resulted in a settlement of $215,000 fairly early in the litigation, more than two times the single damages calculated in the case.
Attorney Raven Moeslinger ably handled the plaintiffs’ case for our firm.