A recent Law.com story by Nate Robson, “3 Firms Seek $10M in Fees in McDonald’s Labor Class Settlement,” reports that three plaintiffs firms could get up to $10.1 million in legal fees and expenses as part of a proposed $26 million settlement that would resolve allegations McDonald’s underpaid California workers. A third of the settlement would go to legal fees, and up to another $1.5 million would cover litigation expenses, according to the proposal filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The plaintiffs are represented by Michael Rubin, Barbara Chisholm and Amanda Lynch of Altshuler Berzon; Joseph Sellers of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll; and Matthew Matern and Launa Adolph of the Matern Law Group. Cohen Milstein is regularly involved in some of the nation’s largest class-action litigation and is among the firms vying for $77.5 million in fees in the Equifax data privacy class action in Atlanta.
The McDonald’s lawsuit was initially filed in January 2013 and has gone through discovery and appeals since then. A memorandum of understanding was reached in September after “years of fruitless stop-and-go settlement negotiations” as the plaintiffs were preparing for an appeal in the case, according to a declaration supporting the proposed settlement. That declaration said the negotiations were assisted by mediator Mark Rudy of Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe.
A hearing on the proposed California settlement is scheduled for Dec. 3 before Judge Ann Jones. If approved, the settlement will resolve claims that McDonald’s failed to pay regular and overtime wages, failed to pay employees their full pay when they left the company, and failed to provide time for meals and breaks.
The settlement also includes injunctive relief for the class. Within 60 days of the settlement being approved, McDonald’s must create a mechanism to pay an hour of premium time to employees who are not allowed to take a full and timely break, and meal time under California law, according to the proposal. McDonald’s must also allow employees to leave the restaurant on their break, track their break time, and provide new uniforms to employees when their old uniforms become worn or damaged.