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Sibley v. Sprint Nextel Corporation

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 5, 2018

ROXIE SIBLEY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

          KATHRYN H. VRATIL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On March 2, 2018, plaintiffs filed Plaintiffs' Motion For Preliminary Approval Of Settlement (Doc. #814). On March 8, 2018, the Court held a preliminary settlement approval hearing. At the hearing, the Court voiced concerns about certain aspects of the proposed settlement agreement. On March 16, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Memorandum In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion For Preliminary Approval Of Settlement (Doc. #821). Plaintiffs' supplemental memorandum provided additional information concerning (1) revisions to the class definition; (2) revisions to the settlement process; (3) the reasonableness of the settlement amount; (4) the parties' efforts to ensure the most practicable notice of settlement; and (5) the new cy pres recipient. See generally id. The Court has reviewed plaintiffs' supplemental submissions and orders as follows.

         I. Class Counsel Fee Agreement

         Class counsel shall submit a copy of all written fee arrangement agreements between class counsel and plaintiffs. The Court expects that such agreements will, among other things, specify whether any contingency fee is based on gross recovery or gross recovery less litigation costs and expenses.

         II. Prevailing Market Rates

         Class counsel shall submit affidavits establishing prevailing market rates for attorneys of similar qualifications and experience in the Minneapolis area. Class counsel shall also submit, for in camera review, a list of all clients who have been billed and have paid the rates stated in the Declaration Of Michele R. Fisher In Support Of Preliminary Approval Of Settlement (Doc. #815-1) filed March 2, 2018 at 2. The list shall include copies of all bills to such clients and affidavits of payment by counsel. Defendants' counsel shall also submit, for in camera review, information concerning the hourly rates which they have charged during this suit.

         III. Class Member Settlement Allocations

         The parties shall submit analysis of the proposed class member settlement allocations. This analysis should include, but is not limited to, the following: (1) the distribution of the allocation amounts; (2) a bell chart which summarizes the range of allocation amounts and number of allocations at each level; (3) the average class member allocation, assuming various settlement participation rates; and (4) the number and percentage of class members who would receive the minimum allocation ($25).

         IV. Settlement Process And Notice

         A. The Court orders the parties to show cause why, before sending the proposed Notice Of Settlement, (Doc. #821-4) filed March 16, 2018 at 32, they should not be required to mail notice cards to class member addresses which are currently on file. The notice cards would place class members on notice of the settlement; the forthcoming settlement checks; their ability to opt out; the need to update and confirm contact information (name, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number) on http://www.nka.com/case/sprint-nextel-retail-employees-unpaid-overtime; and their duty to update contact information if it changes. Thirty days after the parties send the notice cards, they would provide the Court a report which outlines the number of class members who updated their contact information, the number of notice cards which were returned undeliverable or mailed to the wrong address and other relevant data to confirm the adequacy of the current address data. The parties' responses shall include a joint proposal on incorporating any notice card information into the proposed settlement process.

         B. Certain parties are previously stipulated to be outside the class, and they received notice to this effect in early 2014. See Joint Stipulation Specifying Class Membership And Class Period (Doc. #503) filed January 15, 2014; see Order (Doc. #504) filed January 27, 2014. The Court orders the parties to show cause, as to those class members, why the proposed Notice of Ineligibility (Doc. #821-5) filed March 16, 2018, is not superfluous and unnecessary.

         V. Class Member Contact Information

         A. After reviewing the Supplemental Memorandum In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion (Doc. #821), the Court cannot determine the adequacy of class counsel's data concerning contact information for class members. Class counsel shall submit the results of their third-party National Change of Address system contractor's most recent report. The submissions should identify how many addresses of class members are verified, partially verified or unable to be verified, and when each address was last verified. Further, the parties' submission shall include the number of class member telephone numbers and e-mail addresses that are verified; when they were most recently verified; and the extent to which verified addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses pertain to the same individuals.

         B. The Court orders the parties to show cause why it should not appoint an expert, at plaintiffs' expense, to study the demographics of the class (particularly class members' individual ages and patterns of mobility); suggest alternative notice plans which are conducive to the demographics of the class (such as the use of e-mail); review the quality of class counsel's data concerning contact information for class members; provide an unbiased estimate of what percentage of the class will receive notice under the parties' proposed notice process; verify the qualification of the Claims Administrator; opine on whether the parties' proposed notice process provides class members with sufficient time and ...


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