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Chase Bank agrees to settle wage class action

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 23, 2014

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - JPMorgan Chase Bank has agreed to settle a wage and hour class action lawsuit for up to $12 million to employees in 12 states who allegedly worked off-the-clock.

There are approximately 145,000 current and former Chase employees that are eligible for the settlement, according to a settlement document filed Oct. 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

"The proposed settlement class is comprised of 'all persons employed by defendant as a ‘Personal Banker,’ ‘Teller,’ ‘SSA,’ or ‘ABM Trainee’ in one of defendant’s branches in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin during the covered periods," the settlement document states.

Covered periods are defined different by some states. In California, it is since Sept. 25, 2008; in New York, it is since July 20, 2005; and in Arizona, Illinois, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, it is since Feb. 17, 2008.

"For each covered position in each state, the settlement administrator will multiply the total number of workweeks in that state worked by class members and/or FLSA collective members in the covered position by the average weekly pay rate for the covered position in that state and by any applicable state multiplier," the settlement document states.

The settlement administrator will then divide that number by the sum of this calculation for all covered positions in all states.

The resulting percentage will be the percent of the net settlement amount that will be allocated to all class members and/or FLSA collective members in the covered position in that state.

The lawsuit was originally filed on March 2, 2011.

The plaintiffs claimed Chase was not paying its bank tellers proper wages or overtime because of not counting some hours worked, not giving duty-free meal or rest breaks and not paying for employee uniforms, among other claims.

The plaintiffs claimed Chase used an accounting system that converted worked minutes into fractions of an hour, and then converted that fraction into decimals, which translated to employees not being paid for all the time they worked.

Chase's policy of converting the number of minutes worked into a decimal system also cut down their wages because fractions such as one-third cannot accurately be converted to decimals, they claimed.

In addition to Fair Labor and Standard Act violations, the wage and hour class action lawsuit alleged Chase violated state labor laws in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

The lead plaintiffs shall receive $10,000 each for their efforts and service, while additional named plaintiffs will receive $7,500 each.

Class members who provided depositions shall receive $1,000 each and class members who provided declarations in support of certification shall receive $500 for their efforts and service.

A total of $25,000 is allocated to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for PAGA penalties, 75 percent of which will be paid to California, as required by PAGA.

Attorneys will receive $3.6 million for attorneys fees and $200,000 for litigation costs, pending court approval.

The plaintiffs are represented by Marcus J. Bradley, Kiley Lynn Grombacher, Louis M. Marlin and Stanley D. Saltzman of Marlin & Saltzman LLP; Melissa Grant, Rebecca Labat, Raul Perez and Matthew Thomas Theriault of Capstone Law APC; Solomon E. Gresen and Steven R. Rheuban of the Law Offices of Rheuban & Gresen; David Harrison of Harrisson Harrison & Associates Ltd.; Daniel Maimon Kirschenbaum and Denise Andrea Schulman of Joseph Herzfeld Hester & Kirschenbaum; Suzy E. Lee of Arias Ozzello & Gignac LLP; Michael Malk of Michael Malk Law Offices; Gene Arthur Meneses of Initiative Legal Group APC;  Jonathan Shub of Seeger Weiss LLP;  William Bransfield Sullivan of Sullivan & Christiani; and Erik K. Yaeckel of Sullivan Law Group LLP.

Chase was represented by Carrie A. Gonell, John D. Hayashi and Samuel S. Shaulson of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

The case is assigned to District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number:  2:11-cv-01802

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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