On October 8, 2014, attorneys for a class of plaintiffs from twelve states filed a notice of motion requesting court approval of a $12 settlement in the case Evan Hightower et al v. Washington Mutual Bank et al. (Defendant was later terminated and replaced by J.P. Morgan Chase, N.A.) The lawsuit is a fairly straightforward Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action brought against the financial giant by non-exempt employees from the company’s retail branch offices– Chase tellers, bankers, assistant branch manager trainees and sales specialists–who allege that they “(1) performed work ‘off-the-clock’ and, accordingly, were not properly paid all the wages owed for hours worked (including overtime hours worked); (20 were not provided duty-free meal periods and rest breaks; (3) were not provided accurate itemized wages statements; (4) were not reimbursed for all expenses incurred in the performance of their duties; and (5) were not paid all wages due upon cessation of employment.”
This class action, filed in 2011 in the Central District of California, consilidates thirteen separate lawsuits filed against J.P. Morgan Chase Bank (“Chase”) in the last two years, each involving similar allegations under the applicable state laws as well as the FLSA. Noting that Plaintiffs and their expert had reviewed over three million payroll records, over 7 million time-clock records, and over 204 million transactions records, the court approved distribution of $3,600,000 million for attorney’s fees and $200,000 for plaintiffs’ costs, as well as $25,000 for regulatory penalties and $222,500 for incentive and service awards for named plaintiffs.
The remaining $7,952,500 is to be distributed to the approximately 145,000 members of the settlement class according to a formula: the number of hours worked, multiplied by the average pay for their position at their location. The resulting total is then multiplied by the applicable State Modifier, in order to cover additional state law claims.
The original lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs in this case was against Washington Mutual Bank, et al., which then collapsed in the largest bank failure in U.S. history before before being being seized by the government and sold to Chase. In the end Chase surpassed Bank of America as the largest bank in the United States, with $2,520,336,000 in assets.
If you believe your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act have been violated, please contact The Harman Firm, LLP.