Court grants motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement with T-Mobile

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 15, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – A former T-Mobile employee who sued the company alleging violations of labor laws has obtained an approval for a settlement in his class action suit.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr., on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued an 11-page ruling on Feb. 8 granting a preliminary approval for a class action settlement of the lawsuit filed by Jesse Black against T-Mobile USA Inc.

"Having weighed the relevant factors, the court preliminarily finds that the settlement agreement is fair, reasonable and adequate," Gilliam wrote in the ruling. He also directed "the parties to include both a joint proposed order and a joint proposed judgment when submitting their motion for final approval."

The settlement agreement, which was entered on Oct. 10, 2018, consisted, per the ruling, of T-Mobile paying "a total settlement amount of $980,000, including settlement payments to all class members totaling an estimated $594,580, administrative costs estimated at $10,000, incentive awards, any attorneys’ fees and costs award, and a payment of $18,750 to the Labor Workforce Development Agency pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)," with individual payments averaging $2,970, an incentive award of no more than $10,000 for the named plaintiff, and attorney's fees

Having worked as a senior field technician, Black sued T-Mobile alleging that the cellphone carrier denied him overtime payment and meal breaks for about seven years.

As stated in the ruling, the plaintiff alleged the "defendant had 'a company-wide' policy of scheduling technicians for rotating 'on-call' weeks in which they 'had to be available 24/7 to respond to service calls' and 'could not use that time freely for their own purpose.'" 

Black alleged that "an on-call week would run from Monday at 5 p.m. through the following Monday at 7:59 a.m.," and that "defendant paid technicians $22.47 per day during these on-call weeks, but 'failed to pay plaintiff and class members for the remainder of the time during which they were not free to use their time for their own purposes.'"

Black also alleged that T-Mobile did not have a policy that allowed employees to take a second 30-minute meal break on days they worked more than 10 hours.

"On the basis of these facts, plaintiff asserts nine causes of action on behalf of himself and the putative class for: unpaid overtime; unpaid minimum wage; failure to provide meal periods; failure to provide rest periods; failure to provide accurate wage statements and maintain payroll records; failure to pay wages upon termination; failure to provide reporting time pay; unlawful business practices; and unfair business practices. On July 21, 2017, defendant removed the state court action to this court," the ruling said.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 4:17-cv-04151-HSG

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