The Court approved the Settlement on September 15, 2017. The essential terms of the Settlement are as follows:
Settlement Fund: Avvo will pay a total of $1,750,000 to resolve all claims alleged in this lawsuit. Following the Court-approved deductions set forth below, the remaining amount or “Net Settlement Fund” will be used to make settlement payments to Qualified Class Members. The Net Settlement Fund is estimated to be no less than $1,275,000, calculated as follows:
||Settlement Administration Expenses
||Net Settlement Fund
As noted above, (a) no more than $15,000 will be used to compensate the named Plaintiffs who brought the Case for their service and assistance in prosecuting the lawsuit (“Service Awards”); (b) no more than $437,500 (25 percent of the Settlement Amount) will be used to compensate the law firms of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC and Reed Longyear Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC for the attorneys’ fees they have incurred and will incur through the end of the case in representing the Settlement Class; (c) no more than $11,500 will be used to reimburse the law firms of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC and Reed Longyear Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC for litigation costs; and (d) no more than $11,000 will be used to pay for the expenses of providing notice of the Settlement to Settlement Class Members and handling the settlement administration process (“Settlement Administration Expenses”).
Net Settlement Fund: The Net Settlement Fund is the amount used to compensate Qualified Class Members for Avvo’s alleged misclassification of Account Executives and Senior Account Executives as exempt, alleged failure to pay overtime wages in violation of RCW 49.46.130, and alleged willful failure to pay wages in violation of RCW 49.52.070.
Distribution of Net Settlement Fund: Each Settlement Class Member who did not submit a valid and timely request for exclusion will automatically become a Qualified Class Member and will be eligible to receive a settlement payment.
Checks will be mailed to the last known address of all Settlement Class Members who did not submit a valid and timely request for exclusion.
Avvo will receive no reversion from the settlement funds under any circumstances. This means that if you opt out of the Settlement, the money that would have been paid to you will not be returned to Avvo. Instead, it will be paid to the other Qualified Class Members. Likewise, Avvo will not receive funds from any uncashed checks. If any Settlement Award checks remain uncashed one hundred eighty (180) calendar days following the issuance of checks, the Qualified Class Members to whom those checks were addressed shall no longer be entitled to the proceeds. Instead, the Settlement Administrator will distribute the proceeds, including any employee-side taxes and withholdings associated with the uncashed checks, to the Legal Foundation of Washington.
Tax Treatment of Settlement Awards: Fifty percent (50%) of each Qualified Class Member’s settlement award will be allocated as wages subject to normal employee-side payroll taxes and withholdings, and the final wage amounts shall be reported to the taxing authorities and the Qualified Class Member on an IRS Form W-2. The remaining fifty percent (50%) of each Qualified Class Member’s settlement award will be treated as non-wages (prejudgment interest and statutory damages) on which there will be no tax withholding and for which an IRS Form 1099 (marked “Other Income”) shall be issued to the taxing authorities and the Qualified Class Member.
Release of Claims: The Settlement Class and each Settlement Class Member who did not submit a valid and timely written request to be excluded from the Settlement will irrevocably release all claims or causes of action that were or could have been asserted by or on behalf of Qualified Class Members against Defendant based on the facts alleged in the complaint in this Case, including but not limited to any claims for improper classification under the Washington Minimum Wage Act, failure to pay overtime wages in violation of RCW 49.46.130, willful failure to pay wages owed in violation of RCW 49.52.070, actual damages, exemplary damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs. For purposes of the Release, “Defendant” means Avvo, Inc. and its respective past and present parents, subsidiaries, owners, shareholders, officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, attorneys, insurers, successors, and assigns.
Dismissal of Action: The Court entered a judgment of dismissal of the Case without prejudice.