Monday, April 23, 2018

$1.7 million settlement for C.R. England California drivers approved


Tuesday, December 20, 2016
by JACK WHITSETT

SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. District Judge Dee Benson approved December 12 the settlement of a class-action wage and hour action brought by present and former drivers of refrigerated carrier C.R. England against the company for failure to adhere to California wage and labor laws. The settlement provides for $1.7 million to be paid to 6,336 drivers, or approximately $273 per driver. The class includes drivers employed by C.R. England in California from March 12, 2014 through the preliminary approval date of November 29, 2016.

Benson, in approving the settlement, noted that “the value of immediate recovery here is substantial, and the possibility of future recovery for the class is tenuous,” due to the fact that the drivers “face serious hurdles in prosecuting their claims against [the company],” adding that “the risks for Plaintiffs here are substantial” should they attempt a trial action against England.

“The outcome of protracted litigation is far from certain, and both parties face substantial risks,” Benson wrote in the order. “Experienced counsel for both Plaintiffs and Defendant have affirmed that, given the  substantial risk and uncertainty of the outcome of the case on liability … the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable.”

California’s labor laws frequently are more stringent than those of other states and of the federal government. The drivers charged the company with, among other things, failure to pay minimum wages, regular wages, straight time wages and overtime wages under the California Labor Code.  In addition, the drivers said England failed to provide accurate, itemized wage statements, failed to reimburse business-related expenses, failed to provide meal periods and failed to “timely pay wages.”

Neither representatives of C.R. England nor lead drivers’ attorney Lauren I. Scholnick, both located in Salt Lake City, responded to calls for comment.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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