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Tank Installer Overtime Settlement Rejected

JOPLIN, Miss. — A federal judge in Missouri rejected a recently proposed settlement between USA Tank Sales and Erection Co. Inc. and its tank installers. The $1.7 million proposed settlement was for a class action lawsuit alleging USA Tank violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Missouri’s Minimum Wage and Maximum Hour Law (MMWMHL). Judge Greg Kays could not find enough information to determine if there actually was a wage violation. And he refused to approve the proposed settlement because it contained a troubling collection of provisions. While USA Tank denies the overtime violation claims, the company and its tank installers will continue to discuss the issue. 

Tank installers construct and install large storage tank systems for towns and businesses. Tanks could contain anything from dry goods, like grains, to liquids, like oil and gas and drinking water. Installing these giant storage tanks requires training, precision, and testing to safely assemble and secure the tanks in place. The lawsuit claims that USA Tank’s tank installers were denied overtime for at least three years.

According to the Judge Kays, the terms of the proposed settlement appeared unfair to the roughly 260 tank installer class members. There are two separate alleged violations, so the proposed settlement would have paid class members separately for FLSA violation and MMWMHL violation. The settlement clearly stated the amount to be paid, a maximum total of $1.7 million. But, aside from setting assigning $1.13 million for the FLSA portion, it did not clearly explain how to determine how much each class member would receive under either claim.

Another troubling provision of the settlement was a confusing opt-in and opt-out option. Class members could either opt-in or opt-out of both claims. They also had a third option to opt-in the state claim only. However, there was no option to file a separate FLSA claim without joining the state class action claim. The judge feared this could discourage others from filing their own FLSA claims. Without information that members are entitled to bring their FLSA claim even without the state claim or information on how much members are entitled to, it would be hard for the class members or the court to determine the fairness of the settlement.

It is important for class members to know their rights and proposed settlement amounts regarding their overtime pay claims. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied overtime pay, call our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation and your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page and our experienced legal team will evaluate your case. We will determine if it is in your best interest to file individually or join a class action. 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.

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