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Fikara v. Niemann Foods Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

October 20, 2017

LARRY FIKARA, Plaintiff,
v.
NIEMANN FOODS, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TOM SCHANZLE-HASKINS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE:

         On July 28, 2017, this Court conducted a mediation of this action between Plaintiff Larry Fikara and Defendant Niemann Foods, Inc (Niemann) (collectively the Parties). The Parties tentatively agreed to settle this matter and to submit to the Court a proposed settlement agreement. Minute Entry entered July 28, 2017. The Parties then consented to proceed before this Court. Consent to the Exercise of Jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge and Reference Order entered September 20, 2017 (d/e 28). The Parties have now submitted to the Court an agreement entitled “Class Action Settlement Agreement and Release” executed by the Parties and their attorneys (Settlement Agreement), including the following Exhibits to the Settlement Agreement: Exhibit A Class Notice, Exhibit B Claim Form, and Exhibit C General and Comprehensive Release of Claims (collectively the Exhibits). After careful review of the Settlement Agreement, Exhibits, the filings in this proceeding, and the applicable law and rules, the Court enters the following Opinion and Order.

         1. The Court preliminarily approves the Settlement Agreement subject to the provisions of this Opinion and Order. The Court directs the Clerk to file a copy with signatures redacted of the Settlement Agreement and Exhibits; and to file under seal an unredacted copy of the Settlement Agreement and Exhibits.

         2. The Court preliminarily approves certification of this matter to proceed as a class action for purposes of settlement under the Settlement Agreement. The Court conditionally certifies of the following class (Class):

All applicants or employees of Niemann Foods for whom a consumer report or investigative consumer report was procured by Niemann Foods from October 19, 2011 to February 16, 2016.

         3. The Court preliminarily approves of Plaintiff Fikara as the representative for the Class for purposes of this settlement. The Court preliminarily approves Fikara's attorneys CounselOne, P.C.; Eggnatz, Lopatin & Pascucci, LLP; and Nelson & Nelson, P.C. as counsel for the Class (Class Counsel).

         4. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the Court preliminarily finds that:

A. The members of the Class (Class Members) are ascertainable and so numerous as to make it impracticable to join all Class Members;
B. There are common questions of law and fact;
C. Plaintiff believes his claims are typical of the claims of the Class Members;
D. Plaintiff and Class Counsel will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the Class Members;
E. The prosecution of separate actions by Class Members would create the risk of inconsistent adjudications, which would establish incompatible standards of conduct; and
F. Plaintiff believes questions of law and fact common to the Class Members predominate over individual questions and that a class action is superior to other available means for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy

         5. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the Court hereby appoints CPT Group, Inc., to perform the customary duties of a third-party claims administrator (Claims ...


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