HOUSTON — A multidistrict lawsuit, which combines six separate lawsuits in Texas federal court, has hit snag in its recent settlement efforts. Last week, parties in two of the six lawsuits, Richardson and Chaplin, submitted a settlement proposal for $15 million to the court for approval. However, two lead plaintiffs in one of the remaining four lawsuits, Chan and Luu, asked the court to reject the “overboard” settlement. Wells Fargo responded to Chan and Luu’s request, stating that the settlement does not involve either plaintiff so they do have a say in the matter. The Texas judge agreed with Wells Fargo. The settlement relates to an overtime lawsuit brought by home mortgage consultants under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and various states’ wage laws against Wells Fargo.
Members in class actions are allowed and encouraged to voice their concerns about settlement offers. This is particularly true if the settlement appears unfair or overboard, like Chan and Luu claim. Chan and Luu claim the settlement’s language is so broad it would terminate other non-FLSA claims for those in the other lawsuits, even though the settlement only applies to the members and wage claims in the Richardson and Chaplin cases. The two plaintiffs worry about the additional wage claims under Washington State law relating to unlawful fee deductions from their paychecks that members in the other lawsuits would not consider when evaluating the current settlement.
But, Wells Fargo’s claim that neither plaintiff has a right to object to the settlement, since the settlement only related to Richardson and Chaplin’s lawsuits, was valid because the four remaining lawsuits will likely be returned to and continue in the courts where they started. The fact that none of the members in the Richardson and Chaplin lawsuits opposed the settlement went in Wells Fargo’s favor. Even though Wells Fargo denies the lawsuit claims, it decided to settle the matter with the two groups.
The two groups in the settlement, Richardson and Chaplin, cover nearly 4,500 members. The opt-in members in the Richardson lawsuit are home mortgage consultants who originated residential mortgage loans for Wells Fargo. And the opt-in members in the Chaplin lawsuit are former Wachovia officers working for the bank before the 2008 merger. The two groups will share in the settlement and their wage claims on this particular issue will be extinguished.
Simply because a settlement is proposed and sent to the court for approval does not prevent those involved from voicing objections. If you believe you have been denied proper overtime wages or have questions about an opt-in notice you received, contact our knowledgeable team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation and learn your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page and our top-rated legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.