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US Women’s Soccer Team’s $24 Million Pay Bias Deal Approved (1)

Aug. 12, 2022, 2:17 PMUpdated: Aug. 12, 2022, 3:01 PM

The US women’s soccer team’s $24 million pay discrimination settlement with the sport’s national governing body has received preliminary approval from a federal judge in Los Angeles, court records show.

Under the settlement, announced in February, $22 million will be paid into a class settlement fund, and the remaining $2 million deposited into an interest-bearing fund account. The $2 million is to be used by players to pursue post-career goals and charitable endeavors related to women’s and girls’ soccer. The first of four $5.5 million installments and the $2 million deposit were made by US Soccer on June 1, according to a filing in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and their teammates told the court that the settlement “will greatly improve the day-to-day life” of women’s team members; was the product of “serious, informed, non-collusive negotiations;” and treated all parts of the settlement class fairly, in their motion seeking approval in June. The court granted preliminary approval on Thursday.

Class counsel Winston & Strawn LLP sought $6.6 million in attorneys’ fees, roughly $1.3 million in litigation expenses, and $50,000 in estimated settlement administration costs, to be paid from the $22 million fund, the June motion said. Judge R. Gary Klausner said this was fair because it’s no more than approximately 30% of the common fund, and is still subject to the court’s final approval.

Women who were members of the national soccer team at any time between June 11, 2015, and Nov. 8, 2019, will share in the remainder of the fund, according to the June motion.

“We are pleased that the Court granted preliminary approval for the Historic Equal Pay Resolution and we look forward to celebrating this hard fought victory for women and girls at the final hearing in December,” said the players’ spokesperson Molly Levinson. “Our work has only just begun, because there are too many workplaces in the world where women are valued and paid less than men for doing the same work. We won’t stop fighting for what is fair, right, and equal.”

US Soccer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Latham & Watkins LLP represents US Soccer.

The case is Morgan v. U.S. Soccer Fed’n, Inc., C.D. Cal., No. 2:19-cv-01717, Order granting preliminary approval of settlement 8/11/22.

(Updating story with comment from the players' spokesperson in the sixth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Annelise Gilbert at agilbert1@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com