Kyla Asbury Jun. 27, 2014, 3:26pm

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Johnson Controls has agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a class action lawsuit involving employees who alleged it withheld vacation pay and committed multiple labor violations.

The settlement, which was filed June 23 and has a final approval hearing on July 29, is substantially less than the plaintiffs originally sought. In their 2013 complaint, they were seeking at least $10 million.

The settlement fund will be approximately $2.04 million, with $5,000 going to Linda Dela Torre, the named plaintiff; $700,000 for attorneys' fees and $15,000 for reimbursement of litigation costs; and claims administration costs in an amount not to exceed $30,000, according to the settlement document.

The 1,441 former non-union Johnson Controls employees that worked in California claimed Johnson Controls owed them compensation for vacation, final wages and inaccurate itemized wage statements from April 15, 2009, to the present.

Johnson Controls denied the claims. However, both parties agreed to work through a mediator to reach a settlement.

Dela Torre filed the class action complaint against Johnson on April 15, 2013. She subsequently filed a first amended complaint on May 20, 2013.

On July 11, 2013, the defendant removed the case based on the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Dela Torre claimed Johnson engaged in a series of wage and hour violations and sought recovery on her behalf and on behalf of all other current and former employees of defendants working in California.

The plaintiff further sought injunctive relief based on Johnson's alleged violations of multiple labor codes.

"Defendants strongly deny Plaintiff's and class members' claims, and in settling this action, defendant maintains this position," the settlement document states.

The parties agreed to participate in mediation and attended a mediation session on Feb. 13, with the mediator Mark Rudy in an attempt to reach an early resolution on this case.

At mediation, the parties were able to reach an agreement to settle the class action.

The class members were represented by Graham Stephen Paul Hollis and Diane Elizabeth Richard of GrahamHollis APC.

Johnson was represented by Lynne C. Hermle and Jessica R. Perry of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The case is assigned to District Judge Paul Singh Grewal.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 5:13-cv-03214

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