- From LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Daily Legal News.
A New York federal judge on April 30 granted preliminary approval of a $ 15,625,000 overtime settlement for HSBC Bank USA N.A., HSBC USA Inc. and HSBC North America Holdings Inc. (together, HSBC) personal bankers, branch relationship bankers, premier relationship managers, small business specialists and business banking specialists (Sharon Yuzary, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 12-3693, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3693).
Billy Mui filed a class complaint against HSBC in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in February 2012, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. On May 9, 2012, Sharon Yuzary filed a class and collective action overtime lawsuit against HSBC in the same District Court.
On June 8, 2012, Daniel Hauer filed a collective action overtime suit against HSBC in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. On June 20, Yuzary filed an amended complaint and added plaintiffs Jon Racow, Henry Hu, Mina Dimetry and Teron Haughton and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 class claims under New Jersey and Connecticut law.
In June 2012, the plaintiffs in the three complaints agreed to consolidate their claims to pool their resources and preserve judicial resources. The parties then participated in mediation and ultimately reached a settlement agreement. They moved for preliminary approval of the agreement on Nov. 26.
Preliminary Approval Granted
Granting preliminary approval, Judge Paul G. Gardephe opined that “[t]he Court concludes that the proposed Settlement Agreement is within the range of possible final settlement approval, such that notice to the class is appropriate.”
Under the terms of the settlement, a common fund of $ 15,625,000 will be created to cover class members’ awards, service payments, attorney fees and costs and the settlement administrator’s fees. HSBC also agreed to pay employer payroll taxes. Two groups of HSBC employees will comprise the class. The first, “Rule 23 Classes” consists of four subclasses: a New York subclass, a California subclass, a Connecticut subclass and a New Jersey subclass. The second class, “FLSA Class Members,” consists of individuals employed in covered positions by HSBC from May 9, 2009, through Nov. 15, 2012.
The plaintiffs’ counsel may apply for attorney fees totaling up to one-third of the settlement fund. Under the terms of the settlement, they are also entitled to seek reimbursement of their litigation costs and expenses in an amount not to exceed $ 50,000.
Amber C. Trzinski, Jennifer L. Liu and Justin M. Swartz of Outten & Golden in New York; Brian S. Schaffer, Eric J. Gitig, Frank J. Mazzaferro and Joseph A. Fitapelli of Fitapelli & Schaffer in New York; C.K. Lee of Lee Litigation Group in New York; and Gregg I. Shavitz and Susan H. Stern of Shavitz Law Group in Boca Raton, Fla., represent the plaintiffs.
Allan S. Bloom, Stephen P. Sonnenberg and Emily R. Pidot of Paul Hastings in New York represent HSBC.