Tolliver, et al. v. Avvo, Inc.
Tolliver v. Avvo Settlement Administration
Case No. 16-2-05904-0 SEA

FAQs

 

 

 

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  • The Court has authorized a Notice to be sent to individuals who worked as an Account Executive or Senior Account Executive in Washington at some point between March 15, 2013 and November 30, 2016.  The Notice is to inform Settlement Class Members about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about their options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.  The Court approved the Settlement on September 15, 2017.  After any appeals are resolved, payments will be made to eligible Settlement Class Members who have not opted out of the Settlement.

    The Notice explains the Case, the Class Action Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

  • The Plaintiffs claim that Avvo violated Washington State wage and hour laws by failing to pay Account Executives and Senior Account Executives overtime wages in violation of RCW 49.46.130 and by willfully failing to pay wages owed in violation of RCW 49.52.070. Avvo denies the allegations and denies any wrongdoing.

    The King County Superior Court is overseeing this Class Action. The lawsuit is known as Tolliver, et al. v. Avvo, Inc., Case No. 16-2-05904-0 SEA (the “Case”).

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case Cody Tolliver, Jamal Barnett, and Kyle Clementz) sue on behalf of other people whom they believe have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The employees who sued, and who represent the Class, are called the Plaintiffs.

    The entity the Plaintiffs sue is called the Defendant. In this case, the Defendant is Avvo, Inc. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class—except for those people who chose to exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Avvo. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. This allows the parties to avoid the risk and cost of a trial, and the people affected will be entitled to compensation. The Class Representatives and the Plaintiffs’ attorneys think the Settlement is best for everyone in the Class.

  • As part of the Settlement of the Case, the King County Superior Court has decided that everyone who fits the following description is a Settlement Class Member:

    All persons who, at any time between March 15, 2013 and November 30, 2016, worked for Avvo in Washington as Account Executives or Senior Account Executives.

    The Settlement will cover all Settlement Class Members who did not exclude themselves from the Case (“Qualified Class Members”). If you are a Settlement Class Member, you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement, and the Settlement Administrator has your correct address, you will receive money pursuant to the Settlement.

  • The Settlement will resolve all of the claims Settlement Class Members could have brought against Avvo regarding Avvo’s alleged misclassification of Account Executives and Senior Account Executives, alleged failure to pay overtime wages in violation of RCW 49.46.130, and alleged failure to pay wages owed in violation of RCW 49.52.070. These claims include actual damages, exemplary damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

  • 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:

    $1,750,000 Settlement Amount
    $437,500 Attorneys’ fees
    $11,500 Litigation costs
    $11,000 Settlement Administration Expenses
    - $15,000 Service Awards
    $1,275,000 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.

  • To get a payment, you must not have submitted a request for exclusion. If the address provided with your mailed Notice is correct and you did not request exclusion, you will receive a payment mailed to this address.

    If you need to update your address, please visit the Contact Us page, where you will be asked to update your address in writing.

  • The Court granted Final Approval of the Settlement on September 15, 2017. The parties will have to wait to see whether there is an appeal. This will take at least 30 days and, if there is an appeal, can take up to a year or more to resolve. In the event of an appeal, information regarding the appeal’s progress will be available to you by calling 1-888-551-9698. If there is no appeal, we expect payments will go out approximately 60 days after the Court’s final approval of the Settlement. Please be patient.

  • The Court has decided that lawyers from the law firms of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC and Reed Longyear Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC of Seattle, Washington, are qualified to represent you and all Settlement Class Members. These lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • As indicated in Question 7, Class Counsel will seek payment of their attorneys’ fees in the amount of $437,500, which represents 25 percent of the total settlement payment and which must be approved by the Court as part of the final approval of this Settlement. Class Counsel have been working on this case since January 2016 and have not received any fees or reimbursements for the costs of the lawsuit.

  • If you fit the definition of a Settlement Class Member and wished to exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must have requested exclusion in writing by August 21, 2017. This deadline has expired.

    If you excluded yourself from the Settlement (i.e., opt out), you will not receive any payment from the Settlement. You will also not be entitled to object to the Settlement. If you excluded yourself, you will not be bound by the terms of the Settlement, including the Release described in Question 7, above. This means you will retain the right, at your own expense, to pursue any claims you may have against Avvo.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member who did not exclude yourself from the Settlement, and you do not like the Settlement or the fee request, you were able to object. The deadline to object to the Settlement was August 21, 2017. This deadline has passed.

  • The Court held a Fairness Hearing at 11:00 a.m. on September 15, 2017, at the King County Superior Court, 516 Third Avenue, Courtroom W-813, Seattle, WA 98104-1500. The Court decided to grant final approval of the Settlement, including Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, costs, Settlement Administration Expenses, and Service Awards for the named Plaintiffs. A copy of the Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement is available on the Important Documents page of this website. If no appeals are filed within 30 days after Final Approval, the Settlement will become effective. Payments will be made approximately 30 days after the Settlement becomes effective. If any appeals are filed, payments will be made after those appeals are resolved. Please be patient.

  • The hearing has passed.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member who did not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you were able to ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must have sent a letter saying it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Tolliver, et al. v. Avvo, Inc., Case No. 16-2-05904-0 SEA,” by August 21, 2017. This deadline has passed.

  • If you are a Class Member and do nothing – that is, if you did not mail or deliver a timely exclusion request – you will be entitled to a share of the Settlement. The Settlement Administrator will mail you a check. If you need to update your address, please visit the Contact Us page to send your address update in writing.

  • This website summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents page. Additionally, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Final Approval of the Settlement Agreement, including Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, costs, Settlement Administration Expenses, and Service Awards for the named Plaintiffs is available on the Important Documents page. To request a copy of these documents, you may write to the Settlement Administrator at Tolliver v. Avvo Settlement Administration, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 7118, Broomfield, CO 80021, or call 1-888-551-9698. All other documents filed in the case are available in the King County Superior Court file for Tolliver, et al. v. Avvo, Inc., Case No. 16-2-05904-0 SEA.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Tolliver v. Avvo Settlement Administration
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 7118
Broomfield, CO 80021