Court grants final approval of class settlement in restaurant workers' tip-pool lawsuit against Brigantine

By Charmaine Little | Jan 17, 2019

SAN DIEGO – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently granted final approval of a class settlement in a wage-and-hour lawsuit filed against a San Diego area restaurant company by several employees.

In a Jan. 14 ruling, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curielt approved the the plaintiffs’ motion for final approval of class settlement, which includes the conditionally certified Fair Labor Standards Act “Collective Action” class and the class action claims in their complaint, as well as an inclusive approval of service fees and attorneys’ fees and costs connected to the settlement. 

The plaintiffs, Neal Pataky, Jessica Cleek and Lauren Michelson, started the class action against Brigantine Corporation Inc., which owns several restaurants in the San Diego area, including Brigantine Seafood and Miguel’s Cocina, claiming while they were paid tips, the company issued a required "tip pooling" regulation in all restaurants that makes waiters and waitresses tip out other employees, even those who didn’t work as servers. The plaintiffs alleged this was a violation of both federal and state law.

The court determined the class is properly certified in the four main areas of numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequacy of representation. The court added that the settlement agreement of $550,000 is also fair. 

Brigantine has already paid the $550,000 settlement without refund or reversion for relief and payments to the plaintiffs and the class from the case.

The court also approved $137,500 in attorneys’ fees for the class counsel along with $2,054.85 in costs requested. 

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