Gaston County, North Carolina
*****NOTICE OF CONCLUDED SETTLEMENT*****
This case is a class and collective action brought by 7 Emergency Medical Technicians employed by the County’s EMS Division for themselves and on behalf of all other EMTs employed by the County. The employees claim that the defendant County failed to pay all EMT’s overtime at the rate of time and one half. This case is brought in conjunction with co-counsel Robert J. Willis. The parties in the case have reached a settlement. Judge Mullen of the Western District of North Carolina ordered the plaintiffs to send a NOTICE to all EMTs who worked in Gaston County from April 17, 2004 through December 31, 2005 advising them of the settlement and the amount that they will be entitled to, if they choose to accept the proposed settlement. EMTs who wished to participate in the settlement filed a claim form with the attorneys, postmarked no later than August 21, 2007. The settlement was approved by the Court and all claims have now been paid.
Posted on Wednesday, September 5 2007 at 3:50pm
The Court has changed the date of the final “fairness” hearing for September 24 at 10:00 a.m.
Posted on Friday, June 22 2007 at 3:51pm
The parties have tentatively settled this case! Judge Mullen has preliminarily approved the settlement and directed that a Notice be mailed to each EMT who is eligible to join the case. The settlement is not yet final however, and final approval will only occur following the Court’s fairness hearing which is set for September 10, 2007 at 2 pm in Judge Mullen’s Courtroom. If the Court approves the settlement, a potential payout of roughly 38,000 to the non-named class members is available. The class representatives will also receive additional money for their role in bringing this case and in service to the class. Additionally, the lawyers on the case will ask the Court to direct Gaston County to pay the attorneys separately for their time in bringing this case to conclusion. The amount awarded to the lawyers will NOT diminish the amount that is due to each EMT under the settlement. The lawyers are NOT taking any share of the amount being paid to the EMTs. For each EMT to receive her or his share of the settlement, the EMT must submit the claim form that is attached to the Notice that is being mailed, within the time frame specified. The settlement will only affect EMTs who affirmatively join this case by filing their claim form.
Individuals who have questions about the case, or wish to discuss whether to join the settlement can contact Janice Pickering at Getman Law Office.
Posted on Monday, May 21 2007 at 10:32am
The parties have submitted a proposed settlement to the Court for a preliminary fairness determination and to allow a Notice to be mailed to each class member about their rights under the settlement, if the settlement is ultimately approved.
Posted on Thursday, July 6 2006 at 5:26pm
The document which commences a lawsuit and identifies in summary fashion the issues to be litigated is called a “Complaint.”
Posted on Thursday, July 6 2006 at 5:12pm
Seven EMTs brought this class and collective action on behalf of all EMTs employed by Gaston County for overtime pay and back wages. Almost immediately after filing the case, Gaston County mailed all EMTs a letter offering to pay them limited back pay, liquidated damages and interest, if they call the County’s “Benefits Analyst.” The letter does not indicate whether individuals will be required to execute a “release” of claims in exchange for the money. While the letter appears to be the result of the lawsuit, it does not reflect a settlement negotiated by the plaintiffs. It does not propose to pay the full value of the legal claims for all members of the class. While this letter demonstrates that the County recognizes it owes substantial wages to the plaintiff class, the letter is not legally binding and poses various risks to individuals who respond by calling the County Benefits Analyst without an attorney. The risks include the making of inadvertent admissions which may be evidence (without proper preparation), the lack of a transcript of what is said, the lack of review of relevant documents, the lack of clarity in what formula the County is using in calculating back pay, etc. The letter also proposes to pay back pay only for a two year period predating the filing of the complaint. The plaintiffs claims in this action include a claim for three years preceding the filing of the complaint, however.