Felix v. WM. Bolthouse Farms, Inc.
1:19-cv-00312-AWI-JLT

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • According to Bolthouse’s records, you are a member of the class of persons covered by this Settlement (“Class Member”). On January 7, 2020, the District Court for the Eastern District of California (the “Court”) ordered that a Notice be provided to Class Members to inform them of the Settlement and their rights with respect to the Settlement. The Notice explains the Actions, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

  • In a class action, one or more people called “Plaintiff(s)” (in this case, Eric Felix) sue on behalf of people who have similar alleged claims. All of these people are a “class” or “class members.” The Court will resolve the issues alleged in Litigation for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class by timely submitting an Opt Out Statement. On January 7, 2020, Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston issued an order conditionally certifying the Settlement Class for purposes of Settlement only. On May 4, 2020, Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston issued an order certifying the Settlement Class for the purposes of benefit distribution.

  • “Settlement Class Members” or “Settlement Class” means all individuals who filled out Bolthouse’s form entitled “Consent to Request Consumer Report & Investigative Consumer Report Information” permitting Sterling Infosystems Inc. to obtain and use consumer report information for employment purposes during the time period of March 7, 2017 to July 31, 2018.

  • No. The Court has made no decision regarding the merits of Plaintiff’s allegations or Bolthouse’s defenses.

  • The Parties reached a Settlement in order to avoid the risk and expense of further litigation. Plaintiff and her attorneys believe the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interest of the class members to whom it applies given the outcome of their investigation, the sharply contested issues involved, the expense and time necessary to pursue the litigation through trial and any appeals, the risk of an adverse outcome, the uncertainties of complex litigation, and the substantial benefits to be received by the members of the Settlement Class pursuant to this Settlement. The Settlement does not mean that any laws were broken. Bolthouse vigorously disputes Plaintiff’s claims and asserts that it has complied with all of its legal obligations. However, Bolthouse has also concluded that further litigation would be protracted and expensive and would divert resources and management and employee time.

  • Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement as approved by the Court, Bolthouse will pay $118,275 (“Settlement Amount”) in exchange for a release of the Settlement Class Members’ Released Claims (defined below) who do not exclude themselves from the Settlement. Portions of the Settlement Amount will be used to pay Class Counsel’s Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Named Plaintiff’s Enhancement Award, and the Administrative Costs of Settlement. The remainder of the Settlement Amount (the “Net Settlement Fund”) will be distributed to Settlement Class Members, who do not exclude themselves from the Class, pro rata. The Settlement Amount will be allocated as follows.

    1. Class Counsel’s Attorney’s Fees and Costs. Kingsley & Kingsley, APC and Davtyan Professional Law Corporation (“Class Counsel”) represent the Settlement Class. Class Counsel will be compensate for the work performed for the benefit of the Class in the amount of $29,568.75. They will also receive expenses in the amount of $931.11.
    2. Named Plaintiff’s Enhancement Award. The Named Plaintiff will receive an enhancement award of $1,500 in his role as Named Plaintiff.
    3. Administrative Costs. The Settlement Administrator, JND Legal, will be reimbursed for the costs incurred in administering the proposed Settlement (“Settlement Administrative Costs”). The Settlement Administrative Costs are estimated to be no more than $18,500.
    4. Payments to Class Members. The amounts described in Subparts a)-c), above, will be subtracted from the Settlement Amount, and the amount remaining will constitute the Net Settlement Amount. The Net Settlement Amount will then be allocated for distribution under the procedure described below to Class Members who do not exclude themselves from the Settlement.

     

    Only Class Members who do not submit an Opt Out Statement (“Participating Class Members”) will receive a share of the Net Settlement Amount (the “Individual Settlement Payment”). Each Participating Class Member will receive his/her pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount. The estimated Individual Settlement Payment is $37.23.

    The Individual Settlement Payment may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors. The exact amount cannot be finally calculated at this time because we do not yet know the number of class members who will participate in the Settlement and the Court has not yet approved the amounts that will be deducted from the Settlement fund, which include Plaintiff’s Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees and expenses and Service Awards to the Plaintiffs who brought this lawsuit.

     
  • The Parties agree that the Individual Settlement Payments are for penalties. The Individual Settlement Payments will be reported as penalties for which an IRS Form 1099 shall be issued. The Parties are neither providing tax nor legal advice, nor making representations regarding tax obligations or consequences, if any, related to any Settlement amounts to be paid to the Participating Class Members. Each Participating Class Member will assume any tax obligations or consequences that may arise from any Settlement amount paid to him or her and should consult with a tax expert if he or she has any questions.

  • After the deduction of the Court-approved fees from the Settlement Amount, the remaining sum (the “Net Settlement Amount”) is estimated to be $67,775. Each Participating Class Member will receive his/her pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount.

  • In exchange for receiving payments under the Settlement, Plaintiff and each Class Member who did not submit a valid Opt Out Statement (which would include you), for the period from March 7, 2017 to July 31, 2018, will fully and finally release Bolthouse and Bolthouse’s respective past, present, and future companies, divisions, parents, subsidiaries, joint ventures, affiliates, and insurers; Bolthouse’s past, present, and future shareholders, directors, owners, officers, members, managers, agents, employees, attorneys, insurers, predecessors, representatives, successors, and assigns of any of the foregoing; from any and all claims of any kind whatsoever, whether known or unknown, whether based on common law, regulations, statute, or a constitutional provision, under state, federal or local law, arising out of the allegations made in the Litigation and that reasonably arise, or could have arisen, out of the facts alleged in the Litigation as to the Class Members, including, but not limited to, claims arising from the procurement of a consumer report on them by any of the Released Parties, and any other claims for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §1681b, et seq., whether willful, or otherwise, for declaratory relief, statutory damages, punitive damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

  • An independent Settlement Administrator, JND Legal, has been hired to administer the Settlement process and calculate and distribute the Settlement payments. Reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the Settlement Administrator will be deducted from the maximum payment in the amount of $18,500. The contact information for the Settlement Administrator is as follows:

    Bolthouse Farms Background Checks Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91231
    Seattle, WA 98111

  • Class members who did not opt out of the Settlement will automatically receive an Individual Settlement Payment and will be bound by all terms of the Settlement and any Final Order and Judgment entered in the Actions and will give up your rights to be part of any other lawsuit against Bolthouse involving the same or similar legal claims as the ones alleged in the Litigation arising during the Class Period. Participating class members will be mailed a Settlement check at the address where the notice was mailed (unless class members timely provide a forwarding address to the Settlement Administrator).

  • The Settlement Administrator will mail payments directly to participating class members by and according to the Order of the Court.

    Please also be advised that participating class members will only have 180 days from the date that the check is issued to cash it. After one-hundred eighty (180) calendar days from the date of mailing, the checks shall become null and void, and any monies remaining in the distribution account shall be distributed by the Settlement Administrator to the California Legal Aid Fund.

  • If you did not wish to participate in the Settlement (i.e., “opt out”), you must have opted out of the Settlement by April 5, 2020.  This deadline has now passed. Class Members who failed to submit a valid and timely Opt Out Statement on or before April 5, 2020, are bound by all terms of the Settlement and any Final Judgment entered in the Actions.

  • No. If you excluded yourself you will not get anything from the Settlement. If you asked to be excluded, you will not get a Settlement payment and you will not be bound by the Settlement, including the release of claims.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up the right to sue Bolthouse for the Released Claims arising during the Class Period. You must have excluded yourself from the Settlement Class to start or continue your own lawsuit.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was April 5, 2020. This deadline has now passed.

    If you did not object in the manner described above, you are deemed to have waived any objections to the proposed Settlement, including its fairness or adequacy, the payment of attorney’s fees or litigation costs to Class Counsel, the Service Award to the Plaintiffs, and any and all other aspects of the Settlement.

  • You cannot both exclude yourself and object. You can do one or the other, or neither. Objecting is simply telling the Court you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you remain a Class Member. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case and Settlement no longer affects you.

  • If you do nothing and you are a class member, you will automatically receive an Individual Settlement Payment if the Settlement is finally approved as described above and you will be bound by the release described in the Notice.

  • Yes. The Court has decided that the following lawyers are qualified to represent you and all Class Members for purposes of this Settlement. This means they have been appointed to serve as Class Counsel and represent the Class Members. You do not have to pay anything for Class Counsel’s representation for purposes of this Settlement. However, if you want your own lawyer, you are free to hire one at your own expense. Class Counsel’s contact information is as follows:

     

    Class Counsel:
    KINGSLEY & KINGSLEY, APC
    Kelsey M. Szamet, Esq.
    16133 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1200
    Encino, CA 91436
    Telephone: (818) 990-8300
    Fax: (818) 990-2903

  • You will not be charged for these lawyers as they will be paid their fees and reimbursed for their advancement of litigation expenses, as awarded by the Court, out of the Settlement Amount. The Court has approved compensation for the attorneys, the Administrator, and the Named Plaintiff out of the Settlement Amount.

  • The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on May 4, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, located at 510 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301. At this hearing, the Court decided that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court granted Class Counsel's request for attorneys' fees in the amount of $29,568.75; additional attorneys' costs of $931.11; fees for the Settlement Administrator in the amount of $18,500.00, and a class representative incentive award in the amount of $1,500.00.  

    The Court's Final Judgment dismissed with prejudice the Released Claims against the Released Parties as defined in the FAQ above, What rights am I giving up in exchange for Settlement benefits?.

  • The Notice contains only a summary of the Litigation and the proposed Settlement, including the terms describing the release and how Settlement payments will be calculated. As explained above, for the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, you may review the Settlement Agreement or the Court’s docket in this case, for a fee, through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.caed.uscourts.gov. The Settlement agreement is attached to the Declaration of Kelsey Szamet filed in Support of Plaintiffs’ Application for Preliminary Approval of the Settlement. You may also contact the Settlement Administrator, contact Class Counsel, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 510 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

     

    Bolthouse Farms Background Checks Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91231
    Seattle, WA 98111

     

    Any inquiries concerning this Notice should be addressed to the Settlement Administrator at 844-975-1784 or Class Counsel at (818) 990-8300.

     

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS

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Mail

Bolthouse Farms Background Checks Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91231
Seattle, WA 98111