On August 26, 2020, Judge Joy Flowers Conti of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted final approval to a settlement of the labor antitrust litigation filed by Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel on behalf of railway workers who alleged an illegal scheme by Knorr and Wabtec to improperly avoid hiring each other’s employees to artificially suppress compensation and competition in the related job market. Judge Conti found the settlement merited final approval, and approved the proposed Notice Administrator, the forms of Notice and the Notice Plan, conditionally certified a Settlement Class that satisfied all prerequisites for Rule 23(a) and (b) certification.
The Court also confirmed the appointment of Dean M. Harvey of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Roberta D. Liebenberg of Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C. as Co-Lead Counsel for the Settlement Class, which class it defined as:
All natural persons who worked in job families in which railway industry experience or skills were valuable and were employed in the United States by one or more of the following: (a) from January 1, 2009 through April 3, 2018, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation or its subsidiaries, including Wabtec Railway Electronics, Inc., Railroad Controls, L.P., and Xorail Inc.; (b) from January 1, 2009 through April 3, 2018, Knorr Brake Company LLC or New York Air Brake LLC; or (c) from June 1, 2010 through April 3, 2018, Faiveley Transport, S.A. or Faiveley Transport North America Inc.
Earlier in the Case
In late 2018, Lieff Cabraser was selected as interim Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the consolidated “no-poach” employee antitrust litigation against rail equipment companies Knorr-Bremse and Wabtec, the world’s dominant rail equipment suppliers.
The complaint charged that the companies entered into unlawful agreements with one another not to compete for each other’s employees. Plaintiffs alleged that these agreements spanned several years, were monitored and enforced by Defendants’ senior executives, and achieved their desired goal of suppressing employee compensation and mobility below competitive levels.