United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
GRETCHEN B. CARREL, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MEDPRO GROUP, INC., Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for
Final Approval of Class-Wide Settlement of Family and Medical
Leave Act Claim [ECF No. 87] and Motion for Attorney Fees and
Costs on FMLA Claim [ECF No. 75]. The Plaintiff moves for a
final order approving the Settlement Agreement and Full and
Final Release [ECF No. 70-1], entered into between the Named
Plaintiff Gretchen B. Carrel, on behalf of herself and the
Settlement Class, and the Defendant MedPro Group, Inc. For
the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the
Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.
Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and others similarly
situated, filed suit against her former employer, Defendant
MedPro Group, Inc., alleging that the Defendant engaged in a
policy that violated the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993
(FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, by reducing employees'
Paid Time Off (PTO) when an employee took FMLA leave.
October 12, 2016, the Plaintiff Gretchen B. Carrel sought
class certification on her FMLA claim at issue in this matter
[ECF No. 35]. On April 26, 2017, the Court granted the motion
and certified the FMLA claim for the following class:
All current or former MedPro Group, Inc. employees who took
FMLA leave after or through March 30, 2013, and whose annual
allotment of PTO was adversely affected by taking such leave.
[ECF No. 57]. After the Court granted the Plaintiff's
Motion for Class Certification, the parties reached a
proposed settlement that would resolve all claims in this
case. On August 11, 2017, the Plaintiff filed a Motion for
Preliminary Approval [ECF No. 70] of the class-wide
settlement of the FMLA claim, as well as the Settlement
Agreement and Full and Final Release [ECF No. 70-1]. The
Settlement requires the Defendant to pay $2, 000 to the
Plaintiff as an incentive award, $72, 330.78 in
attorney's fees and litigation expenses, and the amounts
included in Exhibit A of the Settlement, which were
calculated as follows:
Members were divided into two groups: (1) Class Members who
used all of their PTO in the same year that their PTO was
reduced as a result of taking FMLA (Settlement Class I); and
(2) Class Members who did not use all their PTO in the same
year that their PTO was reduced as a result of taking FMLA
(Settlement Class II). The anticipated recovery for the
members of Settlement Class I is 1.75 multiplied by their
hourly rate of pay and the number of hours their PTO was
reduced. The anticipated recovery for members of the
Settlement Class II is 1.5 multiplied by their hourly rate of
pay and the number of hours their PTO was reduced.
Court granted preliminary approval [ECF No. 73] on November
6, 2017, and in connection with the preliminary approval, the
Court ordered that class members be sent a notice of the
proposed settlement, which included a sixty-day cut-off date
to opt out of the class or to object to the proposed
settlement. The Court also confirmed Matthew C. Elliott as
Class Counsel for the Class Representative and the Class.
Court conducted a Fairness Hearing on March 21, 2018 [ECF No.
85], to consider: (i) the fairness, reasonableness, and
adequacy of the settlement; (ii) the contents of the Final
Order of Approval of Settlement; and (iii) the application of
Class Counsel for attorney's fees and costs.
to Rule 23, the Court will evaluate the notice provided to
the class members, the adequacy of the settlement agreement,
and the propriety of the attorney's fees and the
additional payment to the Named Plaintiff.
requires that the Class Members receive “the best
notice that is practicable under the circumstances, including
individual notice to all members who can be identified
through reasonable effort.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(c)(2)(B).
Reasonable notice is required to all ...