A New York federal judge on Sept. 18 granted preliminary approval to a nearly $ 14.3 million settlement by Roto-Rooter Services Co. to end a class complaint by technicians alleging various wage violations (Anthony Morangelli, et al v. Roto-Rooter Services Company, No. 10-876, E.D. N.Y.).
Anthony Morangelli and Frank Ercole filed a class complaint in February 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Chemed Corp. and Roto-Rooter. Morangelli and Ercole were technicians employed the defendants. They alleged that they and all other technicians were paid on a commission basis but that the defendants failed to pay wages free and clear, made unlawful deductions and required the technicians to bear business expenses that should have been paid by the defendants.
On Sept. 13, 2013, Morangelli moved for preliminary approval of a settlement agreement with Roto-Rooter.
The agreement creates a settlement fund of $ 14,274,585. The fund will cover class members’ settlement awards, service payments, attorney fees and costs and administration fees and costs.
Judge Brian M. Cogan granted preliminary approval and agreed to the expansion of the previously certified federal class. “The Settlement Agreement provides relief for all members of the currently certified federal classes and expands the membership of those classes by including individuals who were hired in the certified States after the date that class notice was issued and before the date on which Defendants implemented new pay practices that impact the practices challenged by plaintiffs in this litigation. The Court has already ruled on the merits of Rule 23 class certification and decertification with respect to the Federal Class Members (see Morangelli v. Chemed Corp., 275 F.R.D. 99 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) and Morangelli v. Chemed Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14873 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2013)). The expansion of the classes to include individuals hired by Defendants after class noticed issued but subject to the same practices is consistent with the Court’s prior certification decisions and the additional class members will receive notice, the opportunity to opt-out of the class and the opportunity to object to the settlement as part of the settlement. Accordingly, the addition of these class members in the settlement class is approved,” the judge wrote.
Class members are given until Nov. 21 to opt out of the settlement and/or object to the settlement. A fairness hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.
Brent E. Pelton of Pelton & Associates in New York and Lesley A. Tse and Michael J.D. Sweeney of Getman & Sweeney in New Paltz, N.Y., represent the class.
Jared I. Heller, Kerri A. Law and Robert N. Holtzman of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel in New York represent Chemed and Roto-Rooter.