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Industrial Contractor Settles Wage Class Action for $2.5 Million

July 30, 2021, 3:16 PM

Cherne Contracting Corp.'s agreement to pay $2.5 million to settle a class action brought on behalf of California workers was preliminarily approved by a federal court.

Plaintiffs Beatrice Parker and Jeffrey Gurule Sr. worked for Cherne at Tesoro and Chevron refineries. They allege Cherne failed to pay employees for time spent badging in, traveling from a refinery gate to the work site, and donning required safety gear.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California previously dismissed some of the plaintiffs’ claims, finding that a collective bargaining agreement precluded claims relating to unpaid overtime and missed meal periods. The court also partially denied class action certification, but granted it with respect to claims for failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements.

The two sides engaged in mediation, and reached a settlement agreement under which Cherne will pay $2.5 million. From this total class counsel will receive attorneys’ fees and costs of up to $790,000, and up to $16,000 will go to settlement administration costs.

The 1,840 individual class members are expected to receive an average settlement payment of about $623. They and about 370 other aggrieved workers will also receive an average of about $56 under California’s Private Attorneys General Act.

Parker and Gurule will receive class representative awards of up to $7,500, as well as $20,000 each to settle their individual wage and hour claims.

Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granted preliminary approval to the settlement Thursday, saying the deal appears fair, reasonable, and adequate.

Keller Grover LLP represents the plaintiffs. Perkins Coie LLP represents Cherne.

The case is Parker v. Cherne Contracting Corp., N.D. Cal., No. 4:18-cv-01912, preliminary settlement approval 7/29/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Flood in Washington at bflood@bloomberglaw.com

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

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