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Labor Ready Construction Workers

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims that the settlement originally reached in 2013 and amended in 2016 was flawed, ruling that the presiding Judge did not abuse his discretion in finding the settlement fair.

Law360 (May 18, 2018, 8:09 PM EDT) — The Ninth Circuit affirmed a $4.5 million settlement resolving wage and meal break claims between Labor Ready Southwest Inc. and a class with more than 200,000 members after rejecting the parties’ earlier agreement, finding Friday that the district court adequately examined the deal’s fairness the second time around.

The three-judge panel said that although signs of the problems the appellate court found when it reversed the approval of a 2013 agreement between Labor Ready Southwest, now known as People Ready Inc., and its workers remained, the district court this time demonstrated that it carefully considered whether the settlement was fair. The Ninth Circuit had remanded the original deal involving the temporary staffing agency to the district court for a second look in 2015.

“It is true that the 2016 settlement agreement contains the same three ‘subtle signs’ of collusion as the 2013 settlement agreement,” the panel wrote in its opinion. “But this time, the district court’s final approval order — and the transcripts of the four approval hearings the court held before granting final approval — ‘provide adequate assurance’ that the district court verified the fairness of the settlement agreement notwithstanding those three red flags.”

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