Current Status (Updated 7/29/20):
The final settlement approval hearing was held on May 6, 2020 and the settlement was approved on May 12, 2020. The final deadline for submitting a claim was June 30, 2020. The claim period is now closed. A residual distribution is being issued in mid-August to claimants that filed a claim form prior to the June 30, 2020 deadline.
NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS
Re: Dupuis v. Chambers, et al., Middlesex Superior Court, Case No. 1681CV03665
Cerulo v. Chambers, et al., Middlesex Superior Court, Case No. 1681CV03749
Rogier v. Chambers, et al., Suffolk Superior Court, Case No. 1584CV02876
Kent v. Chambers, et al., SuffolkSuperior Court, Case No. 1684CV00849
Adem v. Chambers, et al., Suffolk Superior Court, Case No. 1784CV02639
We are writing to tell you that you may be eligible to receive a share of a proposed settlement in related class action lawsuits.
Who Is Affected By This Settlement?
The settlement covers two groups: (1) all Salespeople who worked at a Massachusetts automobile dealership owned by Herbert G. Chambers at any time during the period of 9/23/2012 to 5/8/2019, and who during that period (a) clocked more than 40 hours in one or more weeks or (b) worked on any Sunday or holiday requiring premium pay, and (2) all Client Care Specialists employed in sales Business Development Centers who worked at a Massachusetts automobile dealership owned by Herbert G. Chambers at any time during the period of 3/15/13 to 5/8/2019, and who during that period (a) clocked more than 40 hours in one or more weeks during that period or (b) worked on any Sunday or holiday requiring premium pay. This settlement does not cover other jobs or positions. The covered employees are referred to as the “Class.”
What Are The Claims In These Cases?
The above-referenced cases were filed beginning in 2015. They were filed by various individuals (called “named plaintiffs”) for themselves and others similarly situated. The lawsuits generally claim that the Defendants did not pay overtime or Sunday and holiday premium pay as required by Massachusetts law. The Defendants vigorously deny that any of their compensation practices or policies violated any laws. The settlement was reached after two full-day sessions with a professional mediator, followed by additional negotiations. The parties want to resolve the case to avoid the cost, uncertainty, and risks of continued litigation.
What Are The Terms Of The Settlement?
If approved by the court, the settlement will make money available to members of the Class who return claim forms (included with this notice). The total amount of the proposed settlement funds is $21,000,000. The settlement proposes that one-third of the settlement funds will be used to pay for attorneys’ fees for bringing and prosecuting the lawsuit, which required years of extensive and costly litigation. Up to $100,000 will be allocated to litigation and settlement administration costs. The named plaintiffs in these and related cases, who brought the case, and who assisted counsel in their prosecution of the claims, will receive (in addition to their regular shares of the settlement as class members) up to $25,000 each as an incentive payment to compensate them for the risk they took by filing the cases and the burden they faced by serving as named parties. Up to $50,000 will be allocated to a dispute fund to address unanticipated issues that may arise.
The remaining settlement funds, in an amount of at least $13,550,000, will be paid out to members of the Class who submit claim forms, based on their length of employment. We estimate that the average gross amount to each member of the Class will be at least $4,416.56, before taxes, but the actual amount to each class member will vary depending on their individual circumstances. The proposed settlement calls for the first settlement amounts to be paid out to members of the Class in or around the middle of 2020 following the claims and court approval process, but we do not know the exact date right now. Following the first claims process, a reminder notice will be sent out to members of the Class who have not claimed, and any undistributed funds remaining after that second claims period will be distributed to members of the Class who have submitted claims. As a result, if you file a claim now, you will end up getting two distributions, including your original share plus some portion of any unclaimed funds.
If you have any questions about the proposed settlement agreement please contact Class Counsel, whose name and contact information appears below. You can also see a copy of the settlement agreement here.
Based on an analysis of the risks of litigation and the potential damages that could be obtained in this case, we believe that this is a fair settlement based on the totality of the circumstances. If the case proceeds without a settlement, there is no guarantee that a class would be certified, that any judgment would be in the Class’s favor, or that any payments ultimately will be made. Litigation always poses a risk of unexpected outcomes. In addition, there has been an effort to enact legislation that would substantially or entirely eliminate any potential recovery in these cases, so this settlement ensures that money will be recovered regardless of what happens with any future changes in the law.
What Do I Need To Do?
MPORTANT: In order to claim your share of the settlement, you must have completed and signed the online claim form by March 30, 2020.
There will be a court hearing at 2:00PM on May 6, 2020 at the Middlesex Superior Court, 370 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA 01852. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement. Under Massachusetts law, you have the right to object to the settlement, but you may not opt out of this case. If the Court grants approval of the settlement, you will be bound by it if you are a member of the Class. Pursuant to the settlement, all members of the Class will forever release and discharge certain claims, as described in the claim form. If the settlement is not approved by the Court, the litigation will continue until it reaches an ultimate disposition, which might also bind you. If you object to the proposed settlement, you must send a written objection to Optime Administration, LLC by March 30, 2020, and it will be provided to the Court and all counsel. You also have the right to attend the hearing on May 6, 2020, but you do not need to attend (if you plan to attend the hearing, please contact the settlement administrator beforehand to confirm the location).
If you have any questions about filing a claim, please contact the settlement administrator:
Optime Administration, LLC
PO Box 3206
Brockton, MA 02304
Phone: (844) 625-7313
Fax: (781) 287-0381
If you have any legal questions about the case, please contact Class Counsel: