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Situated v. Vna Homecare, Inc.

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

November 26, 2013

APRIL BECK, individually, and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
VNA HOMECARE, INC., d/b/a VNA TIP HOMECARE, Defendant. GAYLE HATFIELD, individually, and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
VNA HOMECARE, INC., d/b/a VNA TIP HOMECARE, Defendant. MICHELE MARLOW AND TONYA SMITH, individually, and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
VNA HOMECARE, INC., d/b/a VNA TIP HOMECARE, Defendant. MICHELLE WHITE, individually, and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
VNA HOMECARE, INC., d/b/a VNA TIP HOMECARE, Defendant.

ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT AND AWARDING ATTORNEYS' FEES

DAVID R. HERNDON, District Judge.

This matter having come before the Court on the Class Counsels' and VNA's motion for approval of the settlement set forth in the Stipulation of Settlement dated July 21, 2013, and the exhibits attached thereto (the "Settlement Agreement"), relating to the above-captioned class and collective action (the "Litigation"), the Court having considered the submissions by the parties, its own review of the pleadings in this matter, and the Fairness Hearing held on November 25, 2013, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

1. For purposes of this Order, the Court adopts and incorporates herein the Settlement Agreement recently filed with the Court, including the definitions set forth therein.

2. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Litigation, and over all parties to the Litigation, including all Class Members who did not timely exclude themselves from the Litigation.

3. The Court, having considered among other things the settlement amount, the releases, and dismissal of the Litigation as to Class Members' claims against VNA provided for in the Settlement Agreement, hereby approves the settlement set forth in the Settlement Agreement, and finds that the settlement is, in all respects, fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class Members in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, and directs implementation of its terms and provisions.

4. The Court finds that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class Members based upon, among other things, its familiarity with the Litigation, and upon the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

(a) The Litigation between the Class and VNA was at all times litigated in a competent, vigorous, and contested manner. Class Counsel provided vigorous and skillful representation to the Class Members, and was experienced and knowledgeable. VNA was also represented by experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable counsel.
(b) The Settlement Agreement was negotiated at arms' length. The parties mediated their claims on May 1, 2013 and that led to extended negotiations before a final agreement was reached in July, 2013.
(c) The Class Members faced a risk that they would not prevail in the Litigation and that one or more of the defenses asserted by Defendant would be sustained.
(d) Prior to entering into the Settlement Agreement, the parties exchanged substantial formal and informal discovery. Thus, the parties were well-positioned to evaluate the settlement value of the Litigation, as well as the risks of continued litigation.
(e) If the settlement had not been reached, the parties faced the expense, risk and uncertainty of continued litigation before this Court and on appeal. The Court takes no position on the merits of either party's case. The Court has considered the parties' positions on the merits and the risks of the Class Members' position in support of the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the settlement.
(f) The amount of the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and it is appropriate in light of claimed maximum damages of the Class Members. The settlement amount is within the range of reasonable settlements that would have been appropriate in this case. The Court observed nothing to indicate a better settlement could or would have been obtained through continued litigation or other action.
(g) At all times, Class Plaintiffs and Class Counsel have acted independently.

5. The Court specifically finds that all Class Members who did not timely exclude themselves from the Litigation are bound by the Settlement Agreement, this Order, and the ...


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