Time Warner Agrees to $3.5M Wage-Hour Settlement

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By Lisa Nagele-Piazza

Nov. 3 — Time Warner Cable and a proposed class of about 2,900 field service technicians in California have agreed to a $3.5 million deal to settle state law wage and hour claims, according to an unopposed motion for preliminary approval filed Oct. 30.

Two former technicians alleged in a July 2014 consolidated complaint that TWC Administration LLC and Time Warner NY Cable LLC required hourly technicians to regularly work “off the clock” and thus failed to pay them minimum wage and overtime. They also alleged that Time Warner failed to timely pay wages due at termination.

In their most recent filing, the technicians asked Judge Jesus G. Bernal of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to preliminarily approve the settlement agreement. Class counsel is seeking about $1.15 million in attorneys' fees and up to $90,000 in litigation expenses. The two named plaintiffs, Gregory Hildebrandt and Mark Campbell, are requesting awards of up to $7,500 each for their services as class representatives.

Other large employers in California have faced similar class claims brought by employees. In September, CVS Pharmacy Inc. and more than 4,000 employees received final approval of a $900,000 settlement resolving claims that the employees weren't paid for off-the-clock security screenings and work preparation.

But a federal judge declined to certify a proposed class of Nordstrom Inc. employees in a lawsuit alleging that the retailer failed to pay workers for time spent undergoing bag checks at the beginning and end of their shifts. In that case, the judge said the claimant failed to show that common questions predominated over individual ones, because not every employee carried a bag.

The technicians in the Time Warner case, in a memorandum in support of preliminary approval, said the $3.5 million settlement represents about 25 percent of what the claimants' expert calculated their maximum damages would be if they prevailed in court on their class claims.

Time Warner has denied any wrongdoing but decided to settle the matter to avoid the expense of further legal proceedings, according to the memorandum.

The motion for preliminary approval of the settlement is set for hearing Dec. 21.

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s California Overtime chapter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Nagele-Piazza in Washington at lnagele@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com