California Courts Affirm Additional Settlements Over Vigorous Objections


In two opinions published on July 7, 2010, the Second and Fourth Districts of the California Court of Appeal refused to allow two objectors to derail two different class action settlements. In these two wage and hour class actions, the objectors challenged the proposed settlements on fairness grounds, and the courts once again affirmed the deferential review standard while rejecting the objectors arguments.

In Nordstrom Commission Cases, __ Cal. App. 4th __, (2010); 2010 DJDAR 10557 (ordered published on July 7, 2010) (“Nordstrom”) the plaintiffs challenged a settlement reached in a 1997 federal class action whereby the defendant entered into contracts with its sales employees regarding the calculation of their commissions. Nordstrom, 2010 DJDAR at 10558. These contracts included commission reductions when customers returned the merchandise used to calculate the commission. The plaintiffs in Nordstrom claimed that the 1997 settlement violated California Labor Code sections 203 and 221, and, therefore, the class was entitled to additional compensation and penalties for the defendant?s willful failure to pay wages that were owed. Id.....

...In Munoz v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company, __ Cal. App. 4th __ (2010); 2010 DJDAR 10445 (ordered published on July 7, 2010) (“Coca-Cola”), the plaintiffs filed a wage and hour class action on behalf of production and merchandising supervisors who they claimed were incorrectly classified as “exempt” employees. Importantly, the Coca-Cola action followed on the heels of another class action, Costanza v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company (“Costanza”) involving the same counsel....

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