Antonio Molina, et al. v. Dart International, a Corporation, et al.
Settlement Administrator
BC507473

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Expand/Collapse All
  • A proposed settlement (“Settlement”) has been reached in a class action lawsuit entitled Molina v. Dart International, et al., Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Case Number BC507473 (the “Action”).

    The Action was originally brought against Defendants and Tri-State.  However, in February 2015, Tri-State entered into bankruptcy proceedings and it is no longer a defendant in this action.

    You are receiving the notice because you may have worked as a non-exempt employee at Defendants’ warehouse located at 1430 S. Eastman Avenue, Commerce, California 90023 (hereinafter, the “Eastman Warehouse”), during the period from May 1, 2009 through February 27, 2015 (“Class Period”), and therefore, you may be a Class Member in this Action. The purpose of the Notice of Class Action Settlement (“Notice”) is to describe the Action and the Settlement, and to inform you of your rights and options in connection with the Settlement.

    A hearing will be held to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate (“Final Approval Hearing”). The Final Approval Hearing will be held on April 7, 2021 at 11:00 AM before the Honorable Amy D. Hogue in Department 7 of the Spring Street Courthouse, located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

     
  • The Court has certified the following class (“Class”) for settlement purposes: (1) All current and former non-exempt warehouse employees of Defendants who worked at the warehouse operated by Dart International, a Corporation or Dart Entities, Inc., located at 1430 S. Eastman Avenue, Commerce, California 90023 (the “Eastman Warehouse”) from May 1, 2009 through February 27, 2015 (hereinafter, the “Dart Class Members”); and (2) All former non-exempt warehouse employees of Tri-State Staffing and Tri-State Employer Services (“Tri-State”) placed to work at the Eastman Warehouse during the Class Period (hereinafter, the “Tri-State Class Members”).

    As a result of Tri-State’s bankruptcy, and because Defendants did not maintain complete employment records for the Tri-State Class Members, Plaintiff’s counsel has obtained from a third party what they believe to be a list of Tri-State Class Members (the “Tri-State List”). Defendants are able to investigate and verify that certain employees on the Tri-State List are part of the Class (the “Dart Verified Class Members”). However, Defendants believe that other employees on the Tri-State List did not work at the Eastman Warehouse during the Class Period and/or were not employed by Tri-State (i.e., the “Tri-State (Non-Verified) Class Members”). The Tri-State (Non-Verified) Class Members are required to submit a Verification Form in order to confirm their employment and receive a payment under the Settlement. If 40% or more of the Tri-State (Non-Verified) Class Members submit their Verification Form by the Response Deadline, then all employees on the Tri-State List will be presumed to be Class Members, and will be eligible to receive a payment under the settlement, regardless of whether they have submitted a Verification Form.

    If based on Defendant's records, you are required to to timely complete and submit a Verification Form in order to receive a payment under the Settlement, you must complete and return the verification form to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle, WA 98111.

  • Plaintiff Antonio Molina (“Plaintiff” or “Class Representative”) is a former employee of Tri-State who commenced this Action by filing a complaint against Defendants and Tri-State on May 1, 2013. In the Action, Plaintiff alleged, on behalf of himself and the Class Members, the following claims against Defendants and Tri-State: (1) failure to provide required meal periods; (2) failure to provide required rest periods; (3) failure to pay overtime wages; (4) failure to pay minimum wages; (5) failure to pay all wages due to discharged or quitting employees; (6) failure to maintain required records; (7) failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements; (8) failure to indemnify employees for necessary business expenditures incurred in the discharge of duties; (9) unfair and unlawful business practices; and (10) penalties under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). Plaintiff seeks unpaid wages, statutory penalties, civil penalties under PAGA, restitution, interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

    After this lawsuit was commenced, Tri-State filed for bankruptcy, and was subsequently dismissed from the Action. Defendants deny that they were joint employers of the Tri-State Class Members, and also deny all liability generally in this Action, and are confident that they have strong legal and factual defenses to these claims. However, Defendants also recognize the risks and costs associated with litigation. Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s claims do not have merit and do not meet the requirements for class certification. Defendants have also reserved all rights to seek all appropriate relief against Tri-State, given that their position is that Tri-State was the employer of all individuals it placed on assignment at the Eastman Warehouse.

    The Court has not ruled on the merits of Plaintiff’s claims or Defendants’ defenses. This Settlement is a compromise reached after good faith, arm’s length negotiations between Plaintiff and Defendants (the “Parties”) and is not an admission of liability on the part of Defendants. Both sides agree that, in light of the risks and expenses associated with continued litigation, this Settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable. Plaintiff also believes that this Settlement is in the best interests of all Class Members.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The Class Representative(s) and all of the people whose claims are being pursued in the case are called the “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

  • Subject to approval by the Court, the Settlement provides that Defendants will pay a total amount of $675,000 (the “Gross Settlement Amount”) in order to resolve the claims in the Action. This Gross Settlement Amount includes an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel (not to exceed $225,000), reimbursement of Class Counsel’s litigation costs and expenses (not to exceed $46,000), a service payment to the Class Representative (not to exceed $10,000), settlement administration costs (estimated to not exceed $23,000), payment to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency for its share of the PAGA penalties (in the amount of $15,000, which equals 75% of the total PAGA penalty amount of $20,000), and payments to Class Members (“Individual Settlement Awards”).

    Payments to Participating Class Members: The “Net Settlement Amount” means the Gross Settlement Amount, less the Court-approved amounts for attorneys’ fees and costs, service payment to the Class Representative, settlement administration costs, and the PAGA payment to the LWDA.

    Each Class Member whose employment is verified (either by Defendants’ records, or by timely submission of a Verification Form) and who does not submit a timely and valid Exclusion Form (“Participating Class Member(s)”) will receive a share of the Net Settlement Amount (an “Individual Settlement Award”).

    Because Defendants did not and do not maintain employment records for the purported Tri-State Class Members, and the parties lack sufficient information to determine the dates of employment or total workweeks for each potential Class Member, the parties have agreed that the Individual Settlement Awards will be determined by dividing the Net Settlement Amount by the total number of Participating Class Members. This calculation will yield the amount of each Class Member’s estimated Individual Settlement Award. In other words, the formula will be as follows: Individual Settlement Award = Net Settlement Amount ÷ Total Number of Participating Class Members.

  • For tax purposes, Dart Class Members’ Individual Settlement Award will be allocated as follows: 1/3 as wages (the “wage portion”), 1/3 as penalties, and 1/3 as interest. The wage portion of each Individual Settlement Award will be subject to payroll taxes and withholdings and will be reported on an IRS Form W-2. The employer’s share of payroll taxes and withholdings with respect to the wage portion of the Individual Settlement Award will be paid by Defendants separately from the Gross Settlement Amount. The remaining portion of the Individual Settlement Award will not be subject to payroll taxes or withholdings, and will be reported on an IRS m 1099. With respect to Tri-State Class Members only, because Defendants maintain that Tri-State Class Members were not employed by Defendants, and pursuant to guidance from the Court, 100% of all Individual Settlement Awards will be classified as 1099 payments, and no portion thereof will be classified as wages. It will be your responsibility to report this payment to the IRS.

    If a Participating Class Member fails to cash a check for his or her Individual Settlement Award within 180 calendar days after the check is issued, the check will be voided and, subject to approval by the Court, the funds represented by the uncashed check will be distributed to Safe Place for Youth, a non-profit organization which provides child advocacy programs and civil legal services to the indigent.

    None of the Parties or attorneys make any representations concerning the tax consequences of this Settlement or your participation in it. Class Members should consult with their own tax advisors concerning the tax consequences of the Settlement. Class Counsel is unable to offer advice concerning the state or federal tax consequences of payments to any Class Member.

  • Upon the Effective Date of the Settlement, Plaintiff and Class Members who have not excluded themselves from the Settlement will be deemed to have released and discharged Defendants Dart International, a Corporation and Dart Entities, Inc., and their present or former parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, shareholders, directors, managers, members, principals, employees, partners, shareholders, attorneys, and agents, and any other successors, assigns, or legal representatives (the “Released Parties”) from any and all claims, demands, rights, liabilities, and/or causes of action that were pleaded or could have been pleaded based upon the factual allegations set forth in the operative Complaint in this Action and arising at any time during the Class Period, including claims for (1) failure to provide required meal periods; (2) failure to provide required rest periods; (3) failure to pay overtime and double-time compensation; (4) failure to pay minimum wages; (5) failure to pay all wages due to discharged and quitting employees; (6) failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements; (7) failure to maintain required records; (8) failure to indemnify employees for necessary expenditures incurred in discharge of duties; (9) unfair and unlawful business practices; and (10) civil penalties under the PAGA.

  • The notice packet you were sent should be able to tell you if you are a Dart Class/Dart Verified Class member or a Tri-State Non-Verified Class member. If your notice packet included a verification form, or if your notice states that you must mail in a notification form, you are a Tri-State Non-Verified Class member. Otherwise, you are a Dart Class or Dart Verified Class member. You may also call the toll-free number at 844-975-1785 and ask the associate there to verify which class you are a part of.

  • You have two options under this Settlement. You may: (A) participate in the Settlement and receive a payment; or (B) exclude yourself from (i.e., “opt out” of) the Settlement. If you choose option (A), you may also object to the Settlement, as explained below.

    If you choose option (A), you will be represented at no cost by Class Counsel, and you will be subject to any Judgment entered in the Action, including the release of the Released Claims, as described above.

  • If you wish to be eligible to receive a payment under the Settlement, you do not need to do anything. If you wish to receive a payment under the Settlement, but dispute the estimated Individual Settlement Award listed on the Information Sheet that is enclosed with the Notice, you may submit a written dispute to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle WA 98111. The written dispute must contain your full name, address and telephone number; the case name (Molina v. Dart International); the basis or reasons for the dispute; any documentary evidence which supports your position; and, if you ae represented by Counsel, the name and contact information of your counsel.

  • If you wish to be eligible to receive a payment under the Settlement, you must complete and sign the enclosed Verification Form that is enclosed with the Notice and mail it to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle, WA 98111. Employees who are required to submit a Verification Form but fail to do so may not receive a payment under the Settlement, but will nevertheless be bound by the release of claims if the settlement is approved. If you remain in the Settlement, you will release the Released Claims, as described above. If you wish to receive a payment under the Settlement, but dispute the estimated Individual Settlement Award listed on the Information Sheet that is enclosed with the Notice, you may submit a written dispute to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle WA 98111. The written dispute must contain your full name, address and telephone number; the case name (Molina v. Dart International);  the basis or reasons for the dispute; any documentary evidence which supports your  position; and, if you ae represented by Counsel, the name and contact information of your counsel.

  • If you do not want to be part of the Settlement, you may complete and sign the Exclusion Form that is enclosed with the Notice and mail it to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle WA 98111. If you do not timely submit a completed and signed Exclusion Form, your request will be rejected, you will remain in the Settlement, and you will be bound by the release of the Released Claims and all other Settlement terms. If you timely submit an Exclusion Form, you will have no further role in the Action, and you will not be entitled to any benefit as a result of the Action and Settlement, and will not be entitled to or permitted to assert an objection to the Settlement.

  • If you believe the Settlement is not fair, reasonable or adequate in any way, you may object to it.  To object, you may mail a written statement of objection (“Notice of Objection”) to the Settlement Administrator at the following address, postmarked no later than January 4, 2021: Molina v. Dart International Settlement, P.O. Box 91238, Seattle WA 98111.  You may also hire an attorney at your own expense to represent you in your objection.  To be valid, a written Notice of Objection must contain: (1) your full name, address, and dates of employment; (2) the case name and number (Molina v. Dart International, et al., Case Number BC507473); (3) your signature or the signature of your legal representative; (4) a clear and concise statement of each specific objection and any legal support for the objection; (5) a statement as to whether or not you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing; and (6) if you are represented by counsel, the name and contact information of your counsel. Regardless of whether or not you submit a written objection to the Settlement, you may object in person at the Final Approval Hearing.  You cannot object to the Settlement if you request exclusion from the Settlement. Even if you submit an objection, you will be bound by Settlement, including the Released Claims, unless the Settlement is not finally approved by the Court.

     
  • On October 6, 2020, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement. At that time, the Court also preliminarily approved the law firm of Matern Law Group, PC to serve as counsel for Plaintiff and the Class (“Class Counsel”). Class Counsel’s contact information is as follows:

    MATERN LAW GROUP, PC
    Matthew J. Matern
    Tagore O. Subramaniam
    Julia Z. Wells
    1230 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200
    Manhattan Beach, California 90266
    Telephone: (310) 531-1900 / Facsimile: (310) 531-1901

  • The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing regarding the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the proposed Settlement, the plan of distribution, Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs, the service payment to the Class Representative, the settlement administration costs, and the PAGA penalties on April 7, 2021 at 11:00 AM in Department 7 of the Spring Street Courthouse, located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. The Final Approval Hearing may be continued without further notice to Class Members.  You are not required to attend the Final Approval Hearing, but you may do so at your own expense.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spring Street Courthouse has implemented social distancing procedures for attendance at hearings.  The most current information regarding such procedures is available on the Los Angeles Superior Court’s website (https://www.lacourt.org/) and/or at the Court’s “Here for You, Safe for You” Social Distancing news center website (http://www.lacourt.org/newsmedia/ui/HfySfy.aspx). At present, these procedures include the following:

    • For in-person attendance in the courtroom, safety will be a prime consideration. Under Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile’s General Order 2020-GEN-019-00, issued on July 10, 2020, access to proceedings is limited to the judicial officer presiding, Court personnel, parties to the case, counsel, witnesses, and a number of members of the public who can be accommodated in the designated courtroom while enforcing social distancing. The determination of courtroom capacity shall be made by the Judge or Commissioner presiding in the courtroom.
    • Face masks and/or facial coverings are required and mandatory at all times to enter any courthouse or courtroom and must be worn covering the nose and mouth. The only exceptions to this policy will be for a documented medical condition or excuse, or an ADA accommodation approved by the Court. If an exception is granted, admittance into the courthouse may be restricted to a specific time of the day. If necessary, the time allotted for any granted exception may require the individual to wait until later in the day or schedule an appointment for admittance.

    If you wish to appear at the Final Approval hearing and need additional information, you may contact the Spring Street Courthouse’s call center at the following Telephone Number: (213) 310-7000. The call center is available from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Court holidays. All services – telephonic and in person – will be provided in non-English speaking language.

     
  • The Notice summarizes the Action and the basic terms of the Settlement. More details are contained in the detailed First Amended Stipulation of Class Action Settlement (“Settlement Agreement”) that is on file with the Court. The pleadings and other records in this litigation, including a complete copy of the Settlement Agreement, are also on file with the Records Department of the Clerk of the Spring Street Courthouse, located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spring Street Courthouse has implemented social distancing procedures for the review of Court files. The most current information regarding such procedures is available on the Los Angeles Superior Court’s website (https://www.lacourt.org/) and/or at the Court’s “Here for You, Safe for You” Social Distancing news center website (http://www.lacourt.org/newsmedia/ui/HfySfy.aspx). . At present, these procedures include the following:

    • The Clerk’s Office will be inaccessible to the public unless you have a pre-scheduled appointment. Reservations are required to view electronic court records at the Clerk’s office. To request assistance and/or schedule an appointment to review records, you may contact the Spring Street Courthouse call center at the following Telephone Number: (213) 310-7000. The call center is available from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Court holidays. All services – telephonic and in person – will be provided in non-English speaking language.
    • Face masks and/or facial coverings are required and mandatory at all times to enter any courthouse or courtroom and must be worn covering the nose and mouth. The only exceptions to this policy will be for a documented medical condition or excuse, or an ADA accommodation approved by the Court. If an exception is granted, admittance into the courthouse may be restricted to a specific time of the day. If necessary, the time allotted for any granted exception may require the individual to wait until later in the day or schedule an appointment for admittance.

    More information and Court documents related to this Action are also available on the Settlement Administrator’s website, here. Any questions regarding the Notice should be directed to the Class Counsel, whose contact information is listed on page 2 of the Notice.

  • If you need to update your contact information, please promptly mail the Settlement Administrator at P.O. Box 91238, Seattle WA 98111, with your updated address. This will ensure that you receive further notices about the Settlement and that you receive your Individual Settlement Award if the Settlement is approved by the Court.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Molina v. Dart International Settlement Administrator
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91238
Seattle, WA 98111