FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?
The lawsuit claims that Defendant: (1) failed to pay overtime wages; (2) failed to pay minimum wages; (3) failed to provide rest and meal breaks; (4) failed to provide complete and accurate wage statements to its employees; (5) failed to all wages due upon resignation or termination; (6) failed to provide accurate or compliant wage statements; (7) and (9) violated the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) and (8) violated the Business & Professions Code section 17200, et seq.
Defendant denies any liability or wrongdoing of any kind in connection with Plaintiff’s claims. In order to avoid the time and expense of proceeding with the lawsuit through a trial, appeals, and final judgment, the Named Plaintiff and Defendant agreed to enter into a settlement of this case (“Settlement”).
Both Defendant and Class Counsel encourage you to consider this to be a fair settlement.
WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION AND WHO IS INVOLVED?
In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case Roamelya Fisher), file a lawsuit on behalf of people who they believe have similar claims (“Class Members”). The individual or company who is being sued is known as Defendant. The Court will resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
Any current and former employees who fits the following description is considered a Class Member:
All non-exempt, hourly employees for Behavioral Health Services, Inc. at any time from March 9, 2012 through February 24, 2020, in the State of California.
WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
Defendant has agreed to create a fund of $850,000.00 to be divided among all Class Members who participate. Defendant will pay the $850,000 as follows: $250,000 within ten (10) days of February 24, 2020 and $150,000 per year for four (4) years thereafter. This fund will also pay for Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs, enhancements to the Class Representative, and other payments made pursuant to this Settlement.
HOW MUCH WILL MY PAYMENT BE?
Your share of the Settlement will depend on: a) how many weeks you worked for BHS in California from March 9, 2012 through February 24, 2020; b) whether you have previously received a settlement payment for wages from BHS; c) the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs, enhancement payments, and PAGA payments approved by the Court; and c ) how many Class Members, if any, opt out of the Settlement.
Standard payroll taxes will be taken from approximately one third (34%) of the settlement amount you receive, to be considered wages. The other two thirds (66%) will be paid to you with IRS form 1099s, to be considered interest damages and non-wage damages. You alone are responsible for paying any appropriate taxes on the latter amount.
WHEN WOULD I GET MY PAYMENT?
The Court will hold a hearing on June 16, 2020 at 9:00 am, subject to change by the Court, to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. Resolving any appeals can take time, perhaps more than a year. Please be patient. However, if the Court approves the Settlement at the hearing and there are no appeals, payments will be made to you as follows: your portion of the first payment of $250,000 will be mailed to you within ten (10) days after the Court grants final approval of the settlement and your portion of each subsequent annual installment payment will be mailed to you within ten (10) days after the Defendant makes each annual installment payment until your portion of the settlement has been paid in full.
WHO IS CLASS COUNSEL?
Jacob George, Esq. and Sang Park, Esq. of Mathew & George and Christian Petronelli, Esq. and Dayna Carter of Petronelli Law Group, PC represents Class Members, and is called the Class Counsel. Class Counsel will be paid from the settlement amount, so you will not be charged personally for the firm’s work on this case and in negotiating this settlement. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
HOW DO I REQUEST TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from Roamelya Fisher, et al. v. Behavioral Health Services, Inc., Case No. BC613297. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address, telephone number, and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than June 8, 2020 to: Behavioral Health Services Settlement, C/O Atticus Administration, PO Box 64053, St. Paul, MN 55164. If you ask to be excluded, you will not receive any settlement payments and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You will be able to sue or continue to sue Defendant in the future. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You may need to exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.
HOW WILL CLASS COUNSEL BE PAID?
Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve the payment of $283,305.00 for attorneys’ fees (1/3 of the total) and up to $25,000 for costs and expenses associated with investigating the facts, litigating the case, attending mediation, and negotiating the settlement. A total payment of up to $15,000 will be made to the Class Representative, Roamelya Fisher for her work in bringing this lawsuit. A payment will also be made for the costs of the Claims Administrator administering the Settlement in the anticipated amount of $30,000. Defendant has agreed not to oppose Class Counsel’s request for fees and expenses.
A payment of $10,000 of the settlement will be allocated to claims for alleged Labor Code violations pursuant to the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”’). Seventy-five percent (75%) of that $10,000 will be paid to the State of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency and twenty five percent 25% ($2,500) will be distributed to Class Members in accordance with the question “How Much Will My Payment Be” above. The Court may award less than these amounts.
WHAT IF I THINK MY WORK WEEKS ARE WRONG?
If you want to challenge the information about how many weeks you worked, then you must submit a written, signed challenge along with supporting documents, if any exist, to the Settlement Administrator before June 8, 2020.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE AND DATE TO REMEMBER
The Final Approval Hearing will take place on June 16, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. at the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, 312 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, before the Honorable Elihu M. Berle in Department 6. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.