United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MAR'BELLA SANDOVAL, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SERCO, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
10, 2019, this Court granted Plaintiff's Opposed Motion
for Conditional Class Certification and Notice to Putative
Class Members in part and conditionally certified a class of:
SERCO HOURLY EMPLOYEES WHO WORKED IN THE FOUR
LOCATIONS THAT PROCESSED AFFORDABLE CARE ACT APPLICATIONS,
SUCH AS THE GENERAL CLERK 2s, GENERAL CLERK 3s, LINGUISTS,
PRODUCTION CONTROL CLERK, AND QUALITY CONTROL CLERK AND THOSE
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE PAID BY THE HOUR AND MUST TURN IN THE
HOURS OVER THE DELTEK SYSTEM.
(Doc. No. 73). The Court ordered the parties to submit a
joint agreed upon notice and consent form no later than July
15, 2019. In the event the parties could not agree,
the Court ordered Plaintiff to submit her proposed class
notice and Defendant to submit its objections thereto for the
Court's consideration. (Id.). The Court is in
receipt of Plaintiff's Proposed Notice and Consent Form
(Doc. Nos. 78, 78-1); Defendant's Objections to
Plaintiff's Proposed Notice (Doc. Nos. 79, 79-1); and
Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Objections (Doc.
general matter, the Court notes that the purpose of the
notice form is to inform potential class members about the
existence of the lawsuit and allow them to evaluate whether
or not they wish to join it. Perrin v. Papa John's
Int'l, Inc., No. 4:09CV01335 AGF, 2011 WL 4815246,
at *3 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 11, 2011) (citing Littlefield v.
Dealer Warranty Servs ., LLC, 679 F.Supp.2d at 1014,
1018 (E.D. Mo. 2010)). “[D]istrict courts have
discretion, in appropriate cases, to implement 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b) ... by facilitating notice to potential
plaintiffs.” Id. (quoting Hoffmann-La
Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 169 (1989)). In
addition, “... trial court involvement in the notice
process is inevitable in cases with numerous plaintiffs where
written consent is required by statute....”
Id. (quoting Hoffmann, 493 U.S. at 171).
However, a court should not alter a plaintiff's proposed
notice “unless certain changes are necessary.”
Id. (quoting Littlefield, 679 F.Supp.2d at
Form of Plaintiff's Proposed Notice
initial matter, the Court notes that both parties have
included the following language on the first page of their
to File Consent Form:___, 2019.
parties identify this date in a footnote as “three
years back from the date the Court enters an order approving
this Notice.” To the extent the parties are addressing
the statute of limitations for the putative class claims,
this has already been addressed in the section of the Notice
concerning eligibility to join this lawsuit (“You are
eligible to join this lawsuit if … You were employed
by Serco in one of the four locations that processed
Affordable Care Act applications at any time from three years
prior to when you join the lawsuit to the present …
“). As such, the footnote is unnecessary and
potentially confusing to recipients of the notice. If,
however, the parties are seeking to highlight the deadline
for joining this lawsuit (as discussed below, the Court has
approved a 60 day notice period to return the consent forms),
the Court will permit it with the following change:
to File Consent Form: October 18, 2019.
date is 60 days after the dissemination date of August 19,
first objects to the case caption used as a heading on the
first page of the notice, arguing that it creates the
impression of judicial endorsement of the case. Plaintiff
responds that use of the official case caption is appropriate
because it advises putative class members of an official
communication from the Court as opposed to a solicitation or
the case caption can appropriately appear in the notice,
courts have found that placing the court name in the heading
is improper because it may be misconstrued as judicial
support for the plaintiffs' litigation. Chapman v.
Hy-Vee, Inc., No. 10-CV-6128-W-HFS, 2012 WL 1067736, at
*3 (W.D. Mo. Mar. 29, 2012) (citing Martinez v. Cargill
Meat Solutions,265 F.R.D. 490, 499 (D. Neb. 2009));
see also Fontenot v. McNeil Indus., Inc., No.
4:17CV3113, 2018 WL 5724863, at *3 (D. Neb. Sept. 19, 2018),
report and recommendation adopted, No. 4:17CV3113,
2018 WL 5724043, at *3 (D. Neb. Nov. 1, 2018). For this
reason, the Court agrees with Serco that the notice should
not include the heading with the Court's name and will
require Plaintiff to remove the heading “United States
District Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern
Division” from her proposed Notice. Plaintiff notes
this Court recently approved ...