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Frequently Asked Questions

Why you received the Notice?

You received this Notice because based on Pret A Manger’s records, you may be a Class Member who is entitled to participate in the proposed $910,000 settlement. The Notice explains the nature of the Lawsuit, the terms of the settlement and informs you of your rights and obligations. This Notice should not be understood as an expression of any opinion by the Court as to the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by the parties. The Court has ordered you be notified about the existence of this matter and that your rights may be affected. If you wish to participate you could be eligible to receive a distribution from the settlement fund.

 

What the Lawsuit is about?

The Plaintiff in this lawsuit was employed by Pret as a non-exempt hourly team member. He alleges that Defendants in the case violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law by failing to pay non-exempt hourly employees for all the hours they worked, including applicable overtime pay for hours over forty in a workweek, by improperly pooling tips, by failing to provide accurate wage statements and wage notices, and by failing to provide spread of hours, certain uniform-related costs, and call-in pay, among other claims. Plaintiff, for himself and others he claims are similarly situated, sought to recover unpaid wages and other back pay, liquidated damages and penalties, injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees and costs. A number of other current or former non-exempt hourly employees have opted to join Plaintiff in this litigation.

Defendants have denied and continue to deny any wrongdoing and deny any and all liability and damages with respect to the alleged facts or causes of action asserted in the Lawsuit. To avoid the burden, expense, inconvenience, and uncertainty of continued litigation, however, Defendants have concluded that it is in their best interests to resolve and settle the Lawsuit by entering into a settlement agreement.

The Lawsuit is presently before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Engelmayer has not made any decisions on the merits of the case. On March 28, 2014., Judge Engelmayer conditionally certified this matter as a class action and granted preliminary approval of the Settlement, subject to a fairness hearing which will take place on September 5, 2014 at 11:00 a.m..

 

What a class action is?

A class action is a lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. One or more representative plaintiffs, also known as “Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives,” file a lawsuit asserting claims on behalf of the entire group, called a “Class.” Members of the Class are called “Class Members.”

 

Who is included in the lawsuit?

You are a Class Member if you meet all of the following criteria:

You were employed by Pret as a team member, team member star, barista, team member trainer, kitchen team leader, shop team leader, team leader, or any other non-exempt non-management store position in New York at any time from August 9, 2006 until March 28, 2014.

 

Who is Class Counsel?

The Court has approved and appointed lawyers to represent all members of the Class. Class Counsel is C.K. Lee, Esq. of the Lee Litigation Group, PLLC. Class Counsel can be reached at (212) 465-1180.

 

What are the benefits of the Proposed Settlement?

The settlement agreement will not become effective unless and until it receives final court approval, and any appeals are exhausted.

Class Members who do not opt out, will be eligible to receive a specified share of the $910,000 settlement fund, less certain deductions described below, based on a formula approved by the Court.

The following adjustments will be made to the $910,000 amount prior to distribution of the settlement funds to Class Members:

 

· The first adjustment – Settlement Administration Fees: A reserve will be set aside for reasonable costs associated with administering the Settlement estimated to be $35,000. The reserve will be used to pay a claims administration company for mailings, processing claims, providing information and assistance to Class Members, and preparing information reported to the Court.

 

· The second adjustment – Attorneys’ Fees and Costs: Class Counsel will seek, and Defendants will not oppose, an award covering fees not to exceed 33% of the $910,000 settlement fund described above, plus reasonable costs and out-of-pocket expenses. All fee awards, costs and expenses paid to Class Counsel will be paid from the settlement fund. Class Counsel have expended considerable time and effort in the prosecution of this litigation on a contingent basis, and they have advanced the expenses of this litigation in the expectation that if they were successful in obtaining a recovery in the matter, they would be paid from that recovery. In this type of litigation, it is customary for counsel to be awarded a percentage of the recovery to cover attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.

 

 

· The third and final adjustment – Service Payments: If the Court approves such payments, certain individuals will receive payments because they provided service to the Class by helping Class Counsel to formulate claims. Specifically, Plaintiff will seek $7,500 each on behalf of himself and each Opt-In Plaintiff who has provided testimony in this case. The payments are separate from and in addition to the share of the settlement fund that Plaintiff and the Opt-In Plaintiffs receiving service payments may otherwise be eligible to receive.

 

What is the legal effect of participating in the settlement?

If the Court grants final approval of the Settlement, in exchange for the $910,000 settlement described above, this action will be dismissed with prejudice and Class Members who do not opt out will fully release and discharge Defendants from certain claims. When claims are “released,” that means that a person covered by the release cannot sue Defendants for any of the claims that are covered by the release.

 

What are the terms of the release in the settlement agreement?

By operation of the entry of the Judgment and Final Approval, and except as to such rights or claims as may be created by this Agreement, Plaintiff, Opt-In Plaintiffs and each Class Member who does not timely opt out, forever and fully release Defendants, their owners, stockholders, predecessors, successors, assigns, agents, directors, officers, employees, representatives, attorneys, parent companies, divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, benefit plans, plan fiduciaries and/or administrators, and all persons acting by, through, under or in concert with any of them, including any party that was or could have been named as a Defendant in the Litigation from any and all past and present matters, claims, demands, causes of action, and appeals of any kind, whatsoever, whether at common law, pursuant to statute, ordinance, or regulation, in equity or otherwise, and whether arising under federal, state, local, or other applicable law, which any such individual has or might have, known or unknown, asserted or unasserted, of any kind whatsoever, that are based upon federal, state or local laws governing overtime pay, wage requirements, failure to pay for all hours worked, or otherwise arise out of or relate to the facts, acts, transactions, occurrences, events or omissions alleged in the Litigation, and that arose during any time that such individual was employed by Pret in a Covered Position up until the date of the entry of the order granting Final Approval. The Released Claims include without limitation claims asserted in the Litigation, including but not limited to in the Complaint, Amended Complaint, discovery, and briefing on Plaintiff’s Motion for Conditional Certification, and any other claims based on state or federal law governing overtime pay, payment of wages, hours worked, denial of meal periods and rest breaks, denial of spread of hours pay, failure to pay call-in pay, failure to pay wages upon termination, failure to provide itemized wage statements or wage notices, improper tip pooling, denial of tips, improper calculation of overtime pay, failure to pay uniform costs or maintenance pay, failure to pay for orientation or training time, unfair competition, failure to provide benefits or benefit credits, failure to keep records of hours worked or compensation due, and penalties for any of the foregoing, including without limitation claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York Minimum Wage Act, New York Labor Law, New York Wage Payment Act, New York Labor Laws, the New York State Department of Labor Regulations, and all other statutes and regulations relating to the foregoing matter.

 

How you can participate?

If you wish to receive a distribution from the settlement fund, you do not need to take any action. If the Court provides final approval, you will receive a settlement check as long as you do not opt out.

By signing or negotiating your settlement check, you affirm your agreement with the following statement:

By signing, endorsing, depositing, cashing or negotiating this check, I hereby opt into the collective action under Case No. 12-cv-6094 pursuant to Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and give my consent to become a party. I further understand and agree to the release of claims set forth in the Notice I was provided.

You should keep in mind that even if you don’t sign, negotiate, endorse, deposit or cash your settlement check, you will still be bound by the release described in Section 6(b) of the Notice you received, if you do not opt out.

 

How your share of the settlement fund will be calculated?

Each Class Member will receive a share of the settlement funds that remain after deductions are made for claims administration costs, service payments, and attorneys’ fees and expenses.

There is a small percentage of Class Members who were employed by Pret for only one week or less. If you are one of these individuals, your share of the Net Settlement Amount will be $5.

The share to be allocated to each Class Member that were employed by Pret for more than one week will be based upon the number of weeks that you were employed by Pret as an non-exempt hourly employee during the relevant time period. Specifically, your share will be calculated determining;

First, an “Individual Numerator” will be calculated for you. The Individual Numerator shall equal the number of weeks that you worked for Pret as a non-exempt hourly employee between August 9, 2006 and March 28, 2014.

Second, a “Total Denominator” will be calculated. The Total Denominator will equal the Individual Numerator of each Class Member added together.

Third, your “Share Percentage” will be calculated. Your Share Percentage equals your Individual Numerator divided by the Total Denominator.

Fourth, your share of the Net Settlement Fund will be determined. Your share equals your Share Percentage times the amount of the Net Settlement Amount less the sum of the Alternate Payments received by those that were employed by Pret for one week or less.

 

When the Final Fairness Hearing will be held to approve the Settlement?

A hearing will be held to determine whether final approval of the Settlement will be granted, and also to determine the amount of attorneys’ fees, costs and service payments to be awarded. At the hearing, the Court will hear objections, if any, and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, the request for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and the request for service payments. The hearing will take place before Judge Engelmayer on September 5, 2014 at 11:00 a.m., or as soon thereafter as practicable, at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY 10007.

 

How you can object to the Settlement?

If you want to present objections at the Fairness Hearing, you must submit a written statement of the objection to the Claims Administrator. Your objection will not be heard unless it is mailed to the Claims Administrator via First Class United States Mail, postage prepaid. To be effective any objections must be postmarked no later than June 9, 2014 and received by the Claims Administrator no later than June 16, 2014. You do not need to be represented by counsel to object. If you wish to present your objection at the fairness hearing, you must state your intention to do so in your written objection. You may hire a lawyer to assist you with your objection or to represent you at the Fairness Hearing. The Claims Administrator’s address is;

Trinidad v. PRET A MANGER (USA) LIMITED, et al.
c/o American Legal Claim Services, LLC
PO BOX 23650
Jacksonville, FL 32241

How to Opt Out of the Settlement?

You have the right to exclude yourself, and yourself only, from this Lawsuit and Settlement. If you choose to exclude yourself, you will not be barred from seeking relief with respect to any legal claims and will be free to pursue an individual claim, if any, against Defendant, but you will not be eligible to receive the benefits of this Settlement.

If you intend to exclude yourself, you must complete the Opt-Out form included with the Notice you received and mail it to the Claims Administrator. The Opt-Out Statement must be mailed to the Claims Administrator via First Class United States Mail, postage prepaid, and postmarked no later than June 9, 2014.

Trinidad v. PRET A MANGER (USA) LIMITED, et al.
c/o American Legal Claim Services, LLC
PO BOX 23650
Jacksonville, FL 32241

How to request further information or assistance?

You may email the case team at [email protected]

 

How you can provide updated contact information to the Settlement Administrator?

Address Changes must be submitted to the Claims Administrator in writing. Please include your previous address and your new address along with your email and or telephone so that you can be reached if the Claims Administrator should have a question about your request.

Changes can be submitted either via electronic mail at the following address:

[email protected]

Or via US mail at the following address:

Trinidad v. PRET A MANGER (USA) LIMITED, et al.
c/o American Legal Claim Services, LLC
PO BOX 23650
Jacksonville, FL 32241

If you need specific assistance with completing your Opt-Out Statement?

You have the right to exclude yourself, and yourself only, from this Lawsuit and Settlement. If you choose to exclude yourself, you will not be barred from seeking relief with respect to any legal claims and will be free to pursue an individual claim, if any, against Defendant, but you will not be eligible to receive the benefits of this Settlement.

If you intend to exclude yourself, you must complete an Opt-Out Statement and mail it to the Claims Administrator…

Trinidad v. PRET A MANGER (USA) LIMITED, et al.
c/o American Legal Claim Services, LLC
PO BOX 23650
Jacksonville, FL 32241

The Opt-Out Statement must be mailed to the Claims Administrator via First Class United States Mail, postage prepaid, and postmarked no later than June 9, 2014.

Note that by completing the Opt-Out Statement you will not be included in the cash distribution associated with the Manuel A. Trinidad v. Pret A Manger settlement.

If you need further assistance with completing the opt-out form please call 1-800-937-5703.