On the heels of a sexual harassment jury verdict in July, Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP continued their successful streak with several large announcements in August, affecting plaintiffs in several states.
On Aug. 8, the firm announced the preliminary approval for a $2.4 million settlement in the wage and hour class action against Overland Solutions, Inc. (OSI) in Alameda County, California.
Sanford partner Michael D. Palmer, and associate and Danielle Fuschetti, along, and Xinying Valerian, of Valerian Law, comprised the legal team for plaintiff Martin Fletscher and the class.
The class action complaint was originally filed in March 2017 on behalf of Fletscher and other California insurance inspectors who were classified by OSI as independent contractors.
Fletscher alleged that he and the other class members were misclassified, and that they were, in fact, employees and had been denied wages. Amongst other allegations, the lawsuit claimed that the insurance inspectors were not paid minimum wages for all hours worked and not reimbursed for business expenses.
OSI denied the allegations, and it was only after extensive negotiations that the parties reached the agreement to settle the claims on behalf of the 250-person class.
“We are thrilled to have reached this resolution for Mr. Fletscher and the class,” said Palmer. “It is an excellent settlement which is in the best interests of all the parties.”
On Aug. 27, the firm filed for preliminary approval of a $14.25 million class action settlement for a case that affected a religious leader and many of his congregants.
Pending in D.C. Superior Court, Jane Doe 2 v. Georgetown Synagogue – Kesher Israel Congregation et al., stemmed from a betrayal of trust by disgraced Rabbi Bernard Freundel, a once prominent rabbi who for years illicitly filmed women as they undressed in a Jewish ritual bath facility he oversaw, called the National Capital Mikvah.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office ultimately confirmed that he filmed over 150 women, and Freundel was convicted of numerous counts of voyeurism. Women victimized by Freundel filed a class action lawsuit against him and four religious institutions that he was affiliated with – The Georgetown Synagogue-Kesher Israel Congregation, the National Capital Mikvah, Inc., The Rabbinical Council of America, Inc., and the Beth Din of the United States of America. These organizations are the settling defendants in the class action settlement.
The settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and was reached only after nearly two years of negotiations with the settling defendants. The settling defendants did not admit any liability as part of the settlement and specifically denied any wrongdoing. The $14.25 million payment will be made by the liability insurer for several of the settling defendants.
“This settlement will help the many women traumatized by Freundel avoid the ordeal of protracted litigation – including its burdens, risks, costs, and uncertainties,” said David Sanford, founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Lead Interim Class Counsel for the proposed class.