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Allbaugh v. California Field Ironworkers Pension Trust

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 19, 2018

DONALD ALLBAUGH, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CALIFORNIA FIELD IRONWORKERS PENSION TRUST; BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE CALIFORNIA FIELD IRONWORKERS PENSION TRUST, PLAN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CALIFORNIA FIELD IRONWORKERS PENSION TRUST, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT ECF NOS. 232, 234

         THIS MATTER HAVING COME before the Court for hearing on Final Approval of the Settlement pursuant to the Court's Order entered April 13, 2018, (ECF No. 229), now upon application of the parties for approval of the Class Action Settlement (“Settlement”) set forth in the Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), and due and adequate notice having been given to the members of the Classes as required in the Preliminary Approval Order and the Court having considered all papers filed and proceedings had herein, including the Final Approval Hearing held on June 25, 2018 to determine the fairness of the Settlement and Plaintiff's Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs and for a Case Contribution Award, (ECF No. 232), and otherwise being fully informed in the premises and for good cause appearing therefore, the Court finds that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the members of the Classes and further finds that Plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees and costs and for a Case Contribution Award is fair and reasonable.

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED AS FOLLOWS:

         1. This Order and Judgment approving the Agreement incorporates by reference the definitions in the Agreement, and all capitalized terms herein shall have the same meanings as set forth in the Agreement.

         2. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this Action and over all members of the Classes.

         3. After consideration of the evidence, the Court further finds that the mailing of the Class Notice constituted the best notice practicable under the circumstances, and that such individual notice to all members of the Classes constituted valid, due, and sufficient notice to all persons entitled thereto, complying fully with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 and due process.

         4. Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this Court hereby approves the Settlement as set forth in the Agreement, finds that said Settlement is, in all respects, fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interests of the members of the Classes, directs that the Settlement be consummated in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the Agreement, and orders all Parties to take the necessary steps to effectuate the Settlement as set forth in the Agreement.

         5. Defendants have complied with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, PL 109-2 (2005) and 28 U.S.C. § 1715 and its notice obligations by providing appropriate federal and state officials with information about the Settlement. ECF No. 231.

         6. The Court hereby approves the following findings of fact:

A. Class Counsel has vigorously prosecuted this case and conducted extensive investigation of the governing law, relevant facts and relevant documents. During the prosecution of the Action, the Parties have exchanged tens of thousands of pages of documents and electronic data. Throughout the Action, Class Counsel has worked with an actuarial expert to determine damages and has information on which to make an informed decision about the Settlement. The Parties also filed cross motions for summary judgment and were preparing from trial at the time of the Settlement.
B. Class Counsel and Class Counsel's actuary worked diligently and reasonably to create the Plan of Allocation, which was submitted to this Court and served on Defendants on March 30, 2018 as revised on May 24, 2018. The Plan of Allocation is fair, reasonable and equitable.
C. The Settlement provides for a Settlement Fund including Settlement Benefits and Class Counsel's Fee Award and Case Contribution Award, in an aggregate value of $15, 400, 000 together with other valuable relief including revised suspension of benefit procedures. After adjustment for the Fee Award and Case Contribution Award, all of the Settlement Fund will be paid to Class members and their eligible beneficiaries as set forth in the Agreement and Plan of Allocation.
D. The Settlement eliminates the risks inherent in continuing the litigation in this case, including the risk of maintaining class action status and the risks that there could eventually be no monetary recovery for members of the Classes and that any recovery could take a substantial amount of time for the participant Class members, all of whom are past normal retirement age.
E. The Settlement is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the members of the Classes particularly given the complex issues in the Action, the risks to Class members and the further delay that would be entailed in continued litigation, including a forthcoming trial, and the subsequent appeal of any judgment after such trial.
F. Considering the foregoing factual findings and the rulings to date and considering the uncertainty of maintaining class action status for Class 2 and the difficulty of obtaining certification of Class 1, the possibility of trial and appeal and the expected duration of ...

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