- WHY DID I GET THIS NOTICE?
Golden Corral’s records reflect that you worked as an AM Trainee between March 13, 2013 and March 30, 2017 (the period covered by the lawsuit).
The Court ordered that you be sent the notice because you have a right to know about the settlement of a collective action lawsuit in which you are eligible to participate. This notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, and what benefits are available.
The Honorable Benita Y. Pearson, United States District Judge in the Northern District of Ohio, is overseeing the lawsuit. The lawsuit is known as Schriver v. Golden Corral Corporation, Case No. 17 CV 136. The person who filed the lawsuit is called the “Plaintiff.” Golden Corral is called the “Defendant.”
- WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT AND WHY IS THERE A SETTLEMENT?
The lawsuit is about whether Golden Corral failed to pay AM Trainees overtime premium pay for the time they worked in excess of 40 hours a week, and whether Golden Corral improperly paid AM Trainees a lump sum in lieu of overtime.
Defendant denies that it did anything wrong. However, to avoid the burden, expense, and uncertainty of continuing litigation, the parties have agreed to this settlement. The Court has not made any ruling on the merits of the Plaintiff’s claims, and no party has prevailed in this action.
- WHAT IS A COLLECTIVE ACTION?
In a “collective action,” one or more people called “Named Plaintiffs” sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. However, the other employees who have similar claims do not become part of the collective action until they “opt in” to the lawsuit. You may “opt in” to the lawsuit and participate in the settlement by returning the enclosed Claim Form. If you timely return the enclosed Claim Form, you will receive a settlement check.
If you worked as an AM Trainee in Pennsylvania or Ohio between March 15, 2013, and March 30, 2017, the Court previously certified a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, of which you were a member, and later decertified the Pennsylvania and Ohio classes to facilitate this collective action settlement. As a result of the Court’s decertification order, the statute of limitations for your overtime claims as an AM Trainee under Ohio or Pennsylvania state law, which was paused (or “tolled” from March 11, 2016 through May 31, 2018, will begin to run again as of May 31, 2018. However, because the classes were decertified, you will not release any state law claims or be bound by any judgment entered in this action, unless you participate in this settlement as a Collective Member by returning the enclosed Claim Form.
- WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT?
Golden Corral has agreed to pay $3,900,000.00 into a fund to settle the lawsuit and compensate AM Trainees who are covered by the settlement. The Court has approved the following payments from the fund: (i) attorneys’ fees in the amount of one-third of the settlement fund; (ii) out-of-pocket costs and expenses incurred by Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the amount of $32,727.62; (iii) a service awards to the Named Plaintiff in the amount of $10,000, in recognition of the risks he took and his service to the collective; and (iv) Settlement Claims Administrator’s fees and costs, not to exceed $27,615.00.
- HOW MUCH WILL MY PAYMENT BE AND HOW WAS IT CALCULATED
The approximate amount you will receive is indicated on page 3, section 5 of your Notice.
Half of this payment is subject to deductions for applicable taxes and withholdings like any other paycheck, for which you will receive a W-2, and half of the payment will be reported on a 1099.
The allocation formula takes into account the number of weeks you worked as an AM Trainee during the period covered by the settlement. The Settlement Agreement contains the exact allocation formula. You may obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement by contacting the Settlement Claims Administrator at the address listed below.
Plaintiff’s Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel do not make any representations concerning the tax consequences of this settlement or participation in it, and you are advised to seek your own personal tax advice prior to acting in response to the notice.
- HOW DO I MAKE A CLAIM?
In order to join in the lawsuit and receive a payment under the settlement, you must complete, sign and mail the Claim Form enclosed with your Notice to the Settlement Claims Administrator at the address listed below. You can also download the Claim Form under the "Important Documents" section of this website. Your Claim Form must be postmarked by no later than August 6, 2018.
The Settlement Claims Administrator – to whom all Claim Forms and questions should be directed – is:
Golden Corral AM Trainee Settlement
c/o Settlement Administrator
PO Box 23648
Jacksonville, FL 32241-3648
The Settlement Claims Administrator will issue settlement checks to all AM Trainees who return timely Claim Forms. You will have 120 calendar days after the date your settlement check is issued to negotiate and cash your settlement check.
- WHAT IS THE LEGAL EFFECT OF THE SETTLEMENT?
If you return a properly completed Claim Form, you will become part of the collective action settlement. Once you become part of the settlement, you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be a party in any other lawsuit against Golden Corral and other Releasees about any Released claims, as explained below. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
The “Releasees” are Golden Corral and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, predecessors, successors, members, shareholders, officers, directors, agents, employees, and assigns.
The “Released claims” are any and all state and federal Wage and Hour claims, including without limitation overtime claims, that accrue during their employment as AM Trainees, relating back to the full extent of the state and federal statute of limitations and continuing through the date of the filing of the complaint, including, without limitations, all state and federal claims for unpaid overtime wages, and related claims for penalties, interest, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, arising out of the allegations in this case.
If you do not want to participate in, or be bound by, the settlement, you should not return the Claim Form.
- DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?
The law firms of Outten & Golden LLP, Shavitz Law Group, P.A., and Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC, have been designated as legal counsel to represent you and other AM Trainees who participate in the settlement. You will not be charged separately for these lawyers. Their fees will be paid from the total settlement fund (as explained in FAQ number 4).
- HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
If you have additional questions about this Notice or want more information, you can contact the Settlement Claims Administrator as indicated in FAQ number 6, or Plaintiff’s Counsel at the addresses and/or telephone numbers below.
Melissa L. Stewart
Nina T. Martinez
Michael C. Danna
OUTTEN & GOLDEN LLP
685 Third Avenue, 25th Floor
New York, NY 10017
SHAVITZ LAW GROUP, P.A.
1515 S. Federal Hwy., Suite 404
Boca Raton, FL 33432