United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JANE DOE 1, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
DEJA VU SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING THE PARTIES' JOINT
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Court Judge
a January 30, 2017 hearing, the parties appeared before the
Court, presented an oral motion for preliminary approval of
Class Action Settlement, described the claims and defenses,
reviewed the class certification elements under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 23, and advised the Court as to the
settlement efforts that led to the parties' settlement
term sheet. Following the hearing, the parties filed a joint
motion seeking preliminary approval of the proposed
settlement. Mot., ECF No. 29.
court approval of a class-action settlement involves a
three-step process: (1) preliminary approval of the proposed
settlement at an informal hearing; (2) dissemination of
mailed and/or published notice of the settlement to all
affected class members; and (3) a formal fairness hearing or
final approval hearing, at which class members may be heard
regarding the settlement, and at which evidence and argument
concerning the fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness of the
settlement is presented. See Fussell v. Wilkinson,
No. 1:03-CV-704, 2005 WL 3132321, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 22,
2005) (citing Williams v. Vukovich, 720 F.2d 909
(6th Cir. 1983)); see also Manual on Complex Litigation,
Fourth, § 21.63. This procedure, commonly employed
by federal courts and endorsed by a leading class action
commentator, see 2 Newberg on Class
Actions, § 11.25 et seq., serves the dual
function of safeguarding class members' procedural due
process rights, and enabling the Court to fulfill its role as
the guardian of the interests of the class.
the Court must ascertain whether there is any reason to
notify the class members of the proposed settlement and to
proceed with a fairness hearing. Id. In this regard,
the settlement agreement should be preliminarily approved if
it (1) "does not disclose grounds to doubt its fairness
or other obvious deficiencies, such as unduly preferential
treatment to class representatives or of segments of the
class, or excessive compensation for attorneys, " and
(2) "appears to fall within the range of possible
approval." Sheick v. Auto. Component Carrier,
LLC, No. 09-14429, 2010 WL 3070130, at *11 (E.D. Mich.
Aug. 2, 2010) (quotations omitted).
the parties have jointly moved for preliminary approval of a
class action settlement pursuant to Rule 23 and 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Mot., ECF No.
29. The attorneys representing the parties have presented the
Court with a comprehensive description of the claims and
defenses, a description of the settlement goals and efforts
made to achieve those goals by the parties, and a detailed
outline of the final settlement terms. See
Settlement Agreement, ECF No. 29-2. Also, the Court draws
upon its experience and familiarity with a prior case
involving the same issues and some of the same Defendants,
Doe v Cin-Lan, Inc., et al., Case No.
08-cv-12719, in which the Court presided over a class action
settlement and retained ancillary jurisdiction.
Court finds that the elements of Rule 23(a) are met,
including that (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of
all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law
or fact common to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of
the representative parties are typical of the claims or
defenses of the class; and (4) the representative parties
will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the
class. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)
pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), the Court finds that the questions
of law or fact common to class members predominate over any
questions affecting only individual members, and that a class
action is superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy. Id. The
Court has considered (a) the class members' interests in
individually controlling the prosecution or defense of
separate actions; (b) the extent and nature of any litigation
concerning the controversy already begun by or against class
members; (c) the desirability or undesirability of
concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular
forum; and (d) the likely difficulties in managing a class
on the parties' motion and the Court being otherwise
fully advised on the premises, the Court finds that the
proposed settlement is a fair, reasonable, and adequate
resolution of a bona fide dispute between Defendants and
Plaintiffs Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 and all other class
members. Specifically, the Court finds that this Class meets
the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a), Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(b)(3), and 29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
it is hereby ORDERED that:
parties' motion for preliminary approval of class action
settlement  is GRANTED and the Settlement Class defined
below is preliminarily certified for settlement purposes
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 and 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). The
Settlement Class is defined as follows:
All current and former entertainers who worked for Defendants
at any time during the Class Period and today's date at
any of the "Déjà Vu affiliated clubs"
listed on Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement.
The Class Period as agreed by the parties shall cover three
time periods, as follows:
"Class Period" means the period commencing (a) for
Entertainers who Performed at Deja Vu Saginaw or at any of
the Clubs located in the State of Michigan, March 10, 2013,
(b) for Entertainers who performed at Clubs located outside
of the State of Michigan and who are not a putative class
member in any of the Pending Proceedings, the date upon which
the statutes of limitations period under their applicable
state labor laws began to run prior to March 10, 2016, or (c)
for any Entertainers who are a putative class member on any
of the Pending Proceedings, the earliest date of ...