Federal Judge Rejects Proposed Settlement for Technician Class-Action Suit Filed Against Ricoh Americas

scales of justice 2February 5, 2015 – Law360 reports that U.S. District Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox has refused to approve a $325,000 settlement agreement between Ricoh Americas and a proposed class of 400 technicians, stating it was “substantively unfair and that not enough details were provided.”

Judge Fox stated that lead plaintiff Fernando Ramirez failed to provide enough details to back up the agreement. He stated that although the plaintiff, Ramirez, argued that much more discovery would be required prior to trial to establish liability and damages, including depositions of the defendants, class members, and possibly experts, Ramirez failed to identify how much more discovery would be required, how many class members would need to be deposed, and what experts would possibly be required.

Ramirez, who previously worked for Ricoh Americas as a technician, filed the suit in December 2013 for unpaid wages and overtime compensation. Ramirez alleges Ricoh violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York Minimum Wage Act, and overtime provisions of the New York Labor Law. The proposed class-action lawsuit consists of about 400 members, and includes those who are employed, or were previously employed, by Ricoh Americas as a technician or in a comparable position in the state of New York at any time between December 23, 2007, and July 14, 2014.

According to Judge Fox, Ramirez hasn’t, among other matters, indicated how long a trial would run, and failed to identify case law, or correctly explained who the proposed class members might be, stating, “The inconsistency of the proposed class definition in the plaintiff’s notice of motion and the memorandum of law and the absence of a definition of the proposed class from the proposed settlement agreement and notices, makes it unclear to the court — as it will make it to anyone who would receive the plaintiff’s notices — who the putative class members might be. This flaw alone is sufficient to reject the plaintiff’s proposed settlement agreement.”

Judge Fox also said Ramirez failed to show that the existing class members support the settlement, and also didn’t provide payroll documents, time records, and other information.

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