EVANS, et al. v JOHNSON CONTROLS, INC.

Case No: 1:14-CV-01095-JJM

United States District Court for the Western District of New York

 

If you were employed by Johnson Controls, Inc. in any of the positions listed below and worked on public works projects in New York between December 30, 2008 and [date of preliminary approval], you could get a payment from a class action settlement.

 

Evans, et al. v. Johnson Controls, Inc., No. 14 Civ. 1095 (WMS) (JJM)

 

A Federal court authorized this notice.  This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Legal Rights And Options in this Lawsuit

PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT

The only way to get a payment.  In order to participate in the settlement, you do not need to do anything at this time. You will receive a payment from this settlement if you do not exclude yourself.

EXCLUDE YOURSELF BY OPTING OUT

If you wish to exclude yourself (“opt-out”) from the settlement, you must follow the directions outlined in Paragraph 11 below.  If you exclude yourself, you will receive no payment and you cannot object to the settlement.

Your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than [date 60 days after mailing of Notice].

OBJECT

If you believe that the settlement is not fair or reasonable, you can write to the Court to express your views.  You must object in writing in order to appear at the Fairness Hearing to speak to the Court about the fairness of the settlement.

If the Court rejects your objection, you will still be bound by the terms of the settlement for claims under New York law.

Your objection must be postmarked no later than [date 60 days after mailing of Notice].

 

 

  1. Why did I receive this notice?

    1. You have received this notice because JCI’s records show that you were employed by JCI as a non-union HVAC technician, fire and security technician, systems technician, electrical installer, controls technician, service technician, fire systems representative, systems representative, lead systems specialist or other employee, including a temporary employee, performing similar commissioning, programming, testing, inspection and troubleshooting work on public works projects in the State of New York and were not paid applicable prevailing wages for such work pursuant to New York Labor Law § 220 between December 30, 2008 and [date of preliminary approval]. The Court ordered that you be sent this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement and all your options before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

       

      The lawsuit is known as Evans, et al. v. Johnson Controls, Inc., W.D.N.Y. Case No. 14 Civ. 1095 (JJM), and is pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.

  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    1. The Plaintiffs allege that JCI failed to pay them and other Class Members prevailing wages for all hours worked on public works projects in New York and failed to provide wage notices pursuant to the NYLL.

       

      JCI denies that it violated any laws or did anything wrong. The Court has not issued any decision in this case regarding the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims and JCI’s defenses.

  3. What is a class action?

    1. A class action is a lawsuit where one or more persons (the “Class Representative”) (in this case Shawn Evans, Antonio Ruiz, Dale Herlan, Gaston Custer and Jillian Steinman) sue not only for themselves, but also for other people who have similar claims. These other people are known as Class Members.In a class action, one court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  4. Why is there a settlement?

    1. The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or JCI. The Plaintiffs think they could have won if they went to trial. JCI thinks the Plaintiffs would not have won anything from a trial. But there was no trial. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the costs, delays, attorneys’ fees and uncertainties associated with a trial, and the people affected will get compensation. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel think the settlement is the best result for all potential Class Members. Class Counsel is satisfied that the terms and conditions of the settlement are fair, reasonable and adequate and that the settlement is in the best interest of the Class Representatives and the Class Members.

  5. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

    1. You are automatically a member of the Class if you were employed by JCI as a non-union HVAC technician, fire and security technician, systems technician, electrical installer, controls technician, service technician, fire systems representative, systems representative, lead systems specialist or other employee, including a temporary employee, performing similar commissioning, programming, testing, inspection and troubleshooting work on public works projects in the State of New York and were not paid applicable prevailing wages for such work pursuant to New York Labor Law § 220 between December 30, 2008 and [date of preliminary approval] and if you do not opt out of the class settlement. If you do not opt out of the litigation or the settlement, you will be a “Participating Class Member” and will receive a payment from this settlement.

  6. I'm still not sure if I am involved?

    1. If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can call Class Counsel, Pelton Graham LLC at (212) 385-9700 for more information.

  7. What does the settlement provide?

    1. JCI has agreed to pay $2,300,000 to be divided among the Participating Class Members, Class Counsel for their attorneys’ fees and costs and American Legal Claim Services LLC (“ALCS” or the “Claims Administrator”), the firm that both sides have agreed will administer the settlement.

       

      Subject to the Court’s approval of deductions for a service award for the Named Plaintiffs, requested attorneys’ fees and costs, and the Claims Administrator’s costs, the remainder of the settlement amount (the “Net Settlement Amount”) will be divided among the Participating Class Members based on each individual’s total hours worked on New York State public works projects between December 30, 2008 and [insert date of settlement agreement], subject to reduction to account for certain prior payments, alleged releases of claims, and other defenses, as applicable. For more information regarding the formula utilized to determine each Class Member’s allocation, please go to FAQ 22.

       

      If you would like to obtain information used by counsel for the parties to calculate your individual settlement allocation, you can contact Class Counsel at (212) 385-9700.

  8. How can I get my payment?

    1. You are eligible to receive the payment identified in Paragraph 7 if you worked as a as a non-union HVAC technician, fire and security technician, systems technician, electrical installer, controls technician, service technician, fire systems representative, systems representative, lead systems specialist or other employee, including a temporary employee, performing similar commissioning, programming, testing, inspection and troubleshooting work on public works projects in the State of New York and were not paid applicable prevailing wages for such work pursuant to New York Labor Law § 220 between December 30, 2008 and [date of preliminary approval]. If you choose to exclude yourself (as explained in Paragraph 11 below), then you will not receive a payment.

  9. When will I receive my payment?

    1. The Court will hold a hearing on [date of fairness hearing] to decide whether to approve the settlement.If the Court approves the settlement and there are no appeals, settlement checks will be mailed shortly after JCI makes the required payment to the Claims Administrator.

       

      More information about the expected date for mailing of settlement checks will be available from the Claims Administrator after, and if, the Court issues a Final Approval Order after the Fairness Hearing is held.

      If you receive a settlement check, you must deposit or cash your settlement check within one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days after it is mailed to you and you may request a re-issued check within that period.

  10. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?

    1. Unless you exclude yourself (as explained in FAQ 11 below), you will remain in the Class. That means that you can’t sue or be part of any other lawsuit against JCI about the legal issues in this case. It also means that the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

       

      Specifically, unless you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will fully release JCI and JCI’s present and former subsidiaries, parents, related or affiliated entities, and its respective shareholders, officers, directors, employees, members, partners, managers, fiduciaries, trustees, agents, attorneys, insurers, successors, heirs and assigns, and all persons or entities acting by, through, under or in concert with any of them, and any individual or entity which could be jointly liable with any of them, from all claims that were or could have been brought arising out of your employment with JCI and relating to any conduct that was alleged in the Complaint or was, or could have been, asserted in the Litigation, that accrued on any date up through and including the date of the Court’s final approval of the settlement, including but not limited to all Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) claims, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, interest and any and all attorneys’ fees, costs, incentive payments, expenses and administration costs associated with the settlement.

  11. How do I opt out of the settlement?

    1. To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must mail a written, signed statement including your name, address, and telephone number(s), indicating your intention to opt-out via a statement such as: “I opt out of the Johnson Controls wage and hour settlement.” The written opt-out statement must be mailed to the Claims Administrator at: American Legal Claims Services LLC, [insert mailing address] and must be postmarked no later than [date 60 days after mailing of notice].

       

      If you ask to be excluded, you will not receive a settlement payment, and you cannot object to the settlement.You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.You may also be able to sue JCI in the future, but Plaintiffs’ Counsel Pelton Graham LLC could not represent you. If you wish to exclude yourself in order to file an individual lawsuit against JCI, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible because your claims are subject to a statute of limitations.

       

      Pursuant to §2.12(E) of the Amended Settlement Agreement and Release, JCI has the right to void the settlement if more than 15% of all Class Members opt out of the settlement.

  12. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue JCI for the same thing later?

    1. No. Unless you exclude yourself by mailing an “opt-out statement” as explained above, you give up any rights to sue JCI for the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law claims asserted, or that could have been asserted in this lawsuit.

  13. If I exclude myself, can I get money from this settlement?

    1. No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money from this settlement. However, you may sue or be part of a different lawsuit against JCI regarding the same claims.

  14. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    1. The Court has decided that the law firm of Pelton Graham LLC, 111 Broadway, Suite 1503, New York, NY 10006, (212) 385-9700 is qualified to represent you and all Class Members.These lawyers have been designated as “Class Counsel” in this lawsuit. More information about Pelton Graham LLC, their practice, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.peltongraham.com.

  15. How will the lawyers be paid?

    1. Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to one-third (33.33%) of the settlement amount to them for attorneys’ fees. The fees would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the settlement. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payment for their out of pocket costs. The Court may award less than these requested amounts to Class Counsel. Class Counsel will take their percentage of fees from the total settlement payment before making individual settlement allocations and before settlement payments are distributed.

  16. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the settlement?

    1. If you are a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you don’t like any part of it.You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views.To object, you must send a written statement including your name, address, and telephone number(s) to the Claims Administrator at American Legal Claim Services, [insert mailing address] including all reasons for the objection.The written objection statement must be postmarked no later than [date 60 days after mailing of notice].Any reasons not included in the statement will not be considered by the Court.

  17. What's the difference between objecting to the settlement and excluding myself?

    1. Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  18. When is the Court's Fairness Hearing?

    1. The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on [date of fairness hearing] at the United States District Court for the Western District of New York at the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York 14202. You may attend and you may ask to speak if you file a timely objection, but you don’t have to.

       

      At this hearing the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long the Court’s decision will take.

  19. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    1. No.  Class Counsel will represent you at the hearing.  You are welcome to come at your own expense.  If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court.  As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it.  You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

  20. May I speak at the hearing?

    1. If you file a timely objection to the settlement, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must include the words “I intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing” in your written objection, which must be filed according to the procedure described in FAQ 16, above.Your testimony at the Fairness Hearing will be limited to those reasons that are included in your written objection. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the settlement.

  21. Are more details available?

    1. You can obtain more information about the settlement or obtain a copy of the settlement agreement here or by contacting Class Counsel, Pelton Graham LLC at 111 Broadway, Suite 1503, New York, NY 10006, (212) 385-9700.

  22. How are participating class members' payments calculated?

    1. Each Participating Class Member's individual allocation of the Net Settlement Fund shall be calculated based on the number of hours worked on New York State public works projects during the Relevant Time Period ("PW Hours"), subject to reduction to account for certain prior payments, alleged releases of claims, and other defenses, as applicable. Specifically, Class Counsel will calculate each Participating Class Member's allocation utilizing the following formula:

       

      a.     Take the total number of PW Hours for each Patiicipating Class Member, according to Defendant's records;

      b.     Subtract out the number of hours, if any, for which the Participating Class Member received a restitution payment from JCI pursuant to a DOL-directed self-audit;

      c.     Subtract out the number of hours, if any, for which the Participating Class Member received a back-wage payment from Defendant;

      d.     If the Participating Class Member signed a document titled "Acknowledgement" in connection with a back-wage payment from Defendant, apply a 25% discount to all PW Hours worked in the time period covered by the Acknowledgement but not specifically recited therein;

      e.     If the Participating Class Member signed a document titled "Release" in connection with a back-wage payment from Defendant for travel time, apply a 75% discount to all PW Hours worked prior to the date of the Release;

      f.      If the Participating Class Member signed a document titled "Separation Agreement and Release of All Claims" apply a 75% discount to all PW Hours worked prior to the date of the Separation Agreement

      g.    If the Participating Class Member signed an employment agreement limiting her/his statute of limitations to bring claims arising out of his/her employment with JCI to 6 months, apply a 50% discount to all PW Hours worked outside of the contractual statute of limitations period;

      h.      Multiply the total PW Hours for each Participating Class Member by the prevailing wage differential for that Participating Class Member, as calculated by Class Counsel and based on Defendant's payroll records, to obtain the Participating Class Member's individual damages;

      i.      Divide the Participating Class Member's individual damages by the total damages for all Participating Class Members as calculated by Class Counsel to obtain the Participating Class Member's percentage of the total; and

      j.      Multiply the Participating Class Member's percentage of the total by the Net Settlement Fund to obtain the Participating Class Member's gross individual allocation from the Net Settlement Fund.