As reported by Law360 (Subscription), U.S District Judge Joy Flowers Conti has indicated she is close to granting preliminary approval to a $48.95 million settlement of the antitrust lawsuit in which employee plaintiffs alleged Knorr-Bermse AG and Wabtec Corp. improperly agreed not to hire each other’s employees resulting in suppressed and lost wages. The settlement proceeds will be distributed to workers of both companies.
Judge Conti sought clarification on how each class member’s share was to be calculated. Lieff Cabraser partner Dean M. Harvey detailed for the Court that each class member’s settlement share would be based on their job title and salary at the time they worked for Wabtec or Knorr. “We put together a list of job titles available to the class — that’s how someone would know whether they’re in the class or not,” Harvey noted. The class will be split into two groups: those who provided their job title and salary information in the notice, who will get their settlement check automatically, and those who did not, who will have to contact a settlement administrator and confirm their information.
All class members will rely on common proof that pay structures were suppressed. Class members will have 90 days after the judge grants preliminary approval to the settlement to either file objections or opt out. The Court was also informed that despite current irregularities and interruptions in scheduling, the settlement administrator is not expected to face delays in sending out notices to class members.
The lawsuit against Knor and Wabtec alleged that the companies agreed to under-the-table and illegal deals to not-hire each other’s employees in order to keep wages and job competition low. Learn more about the Knorr-Wabtec employee antitrust lawsuit.