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ConAgra Workers Finalize $18 Million Deal in Wage, Breaks Suit

Feb. 8, 2022, 4:38 PM

An $18 million settlement between ConAgra Brands Inc. and nearly 8,200 food-processing workers in California received final approval, after a federal judge cut the requested attorneys’ fees by about $600,000.

Class counsel will receive about 30% of the total, or $5.4 million, in attorneys’ fees plus about $572,000 for expenses.

The fee award is still relatively high for this jurisdiction, but is more reasonable than the $6 million initially sought, Judge Fernando M. Olguin said Monday.

Class counsel litigated the case for eight years on a contingency basis, and negotiated a settlement that is “on the higher end for wage and hour class action[s],” the court noted.

The class members will split about $11.5 million, with each expected to receive about $1,332. Only 16 individuals opted out of the settlement, and none filed any objections to its terms.

The deal also provides $120,000 total in service awards to 13 class representatives, up to $75,000 in administrative costs, and $270,000 in penalties under California’s Private Attorneys General Act.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Moises Negrete under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law. The parties reached a settlement in June 2020.

The approval order was entered Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Matern Law Group PC and Setareh Law Group represent the workers. Husch Blackwell LLP represents ConAgra.

The case is Negrete v. Conagra Foods, Inc., 2022 BL 41186, C.D. Cal., No. 16-cv-0631, 2/7/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Dailey at kdailey@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com