Casper Workers Settle Wage, Hour Dispute with Wyoming Pizza, Inc.
A group of employees have reached a $91,000 settlement with a distributor of Domino's Pizza in Wyoming and Colorado over a wage and hour class action dispute, according to a settlement order filed in federal court on Wednesday.
"The settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable," U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal wrote in the order.
"The settlement provides Plaintiffs with a substantial recovery early in the proceeding without having to spend the substantial time and resources necessary to see the case through to trial, and without the risk of being awarded nothing," Freudenthal wrote.
Russ Forney sued Wyoming Pizza, Inc., in June 2018 for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Wyoming law, specifically for being under-reimbursed for expenses while using their own vehicles to deliver pizzas, and being paid a tipped wage rate for non-tipped work before 2016, according to their complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
Representatives of Wyoming Pizza denied the allegations, saying Forney and the other drivers were paid and reimbursed properly.
Twenty-one other delivery drivers joined Forney's lawsuit, and he and Wyoming Pizza agreed to negotiate.
Freudenthal wrote in her summary of the case that Forney and the other drivers claimed they should have been reimbursed for their actual expenses or at the IRS standard business mileage rate.
Before June 2016, they also claimed they were paid at a rate a that presumed they would be tipped for their hours worked inside the restaurant. Their unpaid total possible wages, by their own calculations, were slightly more than $50,000.
The $91,643.35 settlement from Wyoming Pizza, Inc., includes those unpaid wages, $30,547.78 in attorneys' fees, a $5,000 incentive award to Forney for pursuing the case, and court and other costs.
Freudenthal cites Forney's reasons for the incentive payment because he, "researched and contacted a law firm on the other side of the country based on their skill and experience in handling the very claims he sought to assert. He then worked with his counsel to provide information throughout the case, including providing his own approximated mileage documentation when Plaintiff's counsel was attempting to cross-reference Defendants' data. He also worked carefully with his counsel to evaluate the settlement offer being presented to the drivers before agreeing to its terms. Without Mr. Forney's efforts, these 22 drivers would not be receiving the payouts they will soon receive under the Settlement Agreement."
Freudenthal dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be brought before the court again. However, the court will retain the jurisdiction to enforce the agreement.