When a large class action lawsuit is filed, it is often in the best interests of both parties to settle the lawsuit outside of court. Lawsuits can drag on in the courts for years and the larger the lawsuit, the longer the trial is likely to take. The result can turn out to be extremely expensive for both sides.
Defendants often choose to settle class action lawsuits because that allows them to avoid the hassle and expense of fighting a lengthy legal battle in court. You can never predict with 100% accuracy how a jury will rule, so by settling the dispute before it gets to a jury, defendants can avoid a lose, which could seriously damage their business. Settlement also helps the plaintiffs avoid the risk of a loss and collecting no damages and getting no relief from practices that they believe are illegal.
Plaintiffs can never be sure whom a jury will favor, so it’s often in their best interests to accept a settlement. The plaintiffs might win more if they take the lawsuit to court, but they also have the potential to lose everything if the jury rules against them. Settlements help them hedge their bets. It is often said that no one walks away happy from a good settlement. Our Chicago overtime lawyers work hard to do better than that and to achieve hard fought settlements or to be prepared to go to trial if we can’t achieve a good settlement for our clients.
But it’s not enough for the two parties to agree on a settlement. A court judge must study the settlement and make sure it is fair to both parties. If the judge refuses to approve the settlement, the parties have to return to negotiating or choose to continue the dispute in court.
Schneider National Carriers Inc. is one company that has decided to settle a very large class action wage and hour lawsuit outside of court, rather than take its chances with a jury. The wage and hour lawsuit was filed on behalf of 6,000 truck drivers who worked for Schneider in California. The lawsuit alleges the trucking company violated California labor law by refusing to provide the truck drivers with meal and rest breaks.
Under California labor law, all hourly employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they work. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages and bonuses earned that day.
Schneider and the class of truck drivers have reached an agreement that states Schneider will pay $20.5 million to settle the wage and hour lawsuit claims of the intermodal truck drivers. An additional $7.56 million will be used to compensate a subclass of regional truck drivers. All the parties need now is the court’s approval before Schneider can start sending out checks.
Our Buffalo Grove, Wheaton and Chicago class action and unpaid overtime attorneys and unpaid overtime lawyers and attorneys are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (877) 990-4990 or through our online form.