Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality LLC
19-2-14813-6 SEA

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • Rainier’s records show that you worked for Rainier at its Seattle Center Holiday Inn operation in the position of night audit and/or guest service representative sometime from December 14, 2015, through and including December 31, 2018. The Court has allowed the Notice to be sent to you to inform you about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to finally approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and after any appeals are resolved, payments will be made to Settlement Class Members who do not affirmatively request to be excluded from 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 Plaintiff, former employee Rosalyn Vasquez, claims that Rainier violated Washington State wage and hour laws by failing to provide meal periods and rest breaks in conformity with the requirements of Washington law. Rainier has denied the Plaintiff’s claims.

    The Honorable Marshall Ferguson of the Superior Court for the State of Washington in and for King County is overseeing this Class Action. The lawsuit is known as Rosalyn Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality LLC, King County Superior Court Civil Case No. 19-2-14813-6 SEA (the “Case”).

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called a "Class Representative" sues on behalf of other people whom they believe have similar claims. The people together are a "Class" or "Class Members." The employee who sued and who represents the Class iis called the Plaintiff.

    The entity the Plaintiff sued (in this case Rainier Hospitality LLC) is called the Defendant. In a class action, one court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class-except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiff or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. This allows the parties to avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will be entitled to compensation. The Class Representative and her attorney 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 Class Member:

    All current and former hourly-paid, non-exempt employees who worked for the Defendant at its Holiday Inn operation in the City of Seattle in the position of night audit and/or guest service representative sometime from December 14, 2015, through and including December 31, 2018.

    If it is approved, the Settlement will cover all Settlement Class Members who have not timely and affirmatively excluded themselves from the Case. To be a part of and receive any money pursuant to the Settlement, Settlement Class Members need do nothing (other than refrain from affirmatively opting out of the Settlement).

  • The Settlement will resolve all of the claims Settlement Class Members could have brought against the Defendant regarding Rainier’s alleged failure to provide the meal periods and rest breaks required by Washington law, including any claim for wages attributable to Rainier’s alleged failure to provide the meal periods and rest breaks required by Washington law, as well as any claim for attendant overtime, penalties, interest, fees, costs, attorney fees, and all other forms of relief that were sought or could have been sought based on the facts alleged in the Complaint relating to missed, interrupted, or non-compliant meal periods and rest breaks.

  • Subject to Court approval, the essential terms of the Settlement are as follows:

    Rainier will pay a total of $57,103.56 as part of the Settlement, apportioned as follows:

    • Class Fund: Rainier will pay $30,303.06, which will be available for the payment of Settlement Awards to Settlement Class Members who do not timely opt out of this Settlement.
    • Service Award: Rainier will pay $5,000.00 to Plaintiff and Class Representative Rosalyn Vasquez for serving as proposed class representative in this Case.
    • Settlement Administration Expenses Award: Rainier will pay $5,500.00 to the Settlement Administrator for the processing of the Settlement, including the expenses of providing notice of the Settlement to Settlement Class Members, handling the claims administration process, processing payments to Settlement Class Members, and handling tax reporting requirements.
    • Attorney Fees and Costs Award: Rainier will pay $16,300.50 to Plaintiff’s attorney for the attorney fees and litigation costs they have incurred and will incur through final judgment in representing Plaintiff and the Settlement Class.

     

    Monetary Relief: The amount available to the Settlement Class is intended to compensate Settlement Class Members for the disputed wages and other compensation they allegedly lost and damages they are allegedly owed as a result of the practices alleged in the Case. As noted above, Rainier strongly denies the allegations in this matter, and the Court has not made any determinations in this case regarding liability.

    Distribution of Settlement Fund: Each Settlement Class Member who does not submit a valid and timely request for exclusion will automatically receive a settlement payment. Your settlement payment will be calculated based on an analysis of your time records at Rainier, which includes your hours worked, department and job codes, and rates of pay. The calculation of the settlement award for each individual Settlement Class Member will be based on the percentage relationship between the dollar value of all potential meal periods and rest breaks the employee was entitled to at Rainier from December 14, 2015, through and including December 31, 2018 (the “Claim Period”) and the aggregate dollar value of all potential meal periods and rest breaks that all Settlement Class Members were potentially entitled to at Rainier during the Claim Period. Checks will be mailed to Settlement Class Members by the Settlement Administrator. If any checks have not been deposited within one hundred twenty (120) days after distribution, the funds from those checks will be considered Residual Funds. These Residual Funds will be distributed by the Settlement Administrator to the Legal Foundation of Washington. Rainier will not receive funds from any uncashed checks.

    Tax Treatment of Settlement Awards: Fifty Percent (50%) of each Settlement Class Member’s settlement award will be treated as wages and subject to normal tax withholding and shall be reported to the taxing authorities and the Settlement Class Member on an IRS Form W-2. Fifty Percent (50%) of each Settlement Class Member’s settlement award will be treated as non-wages (penalties, enhancements, and prejudgment interest) 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 Settlement Class Member. In addition to the monies it is contributing to the Settlement Fund described above, Rainier is also paying all required employer paid taxes incurred as part of the Settlement. Rainier’s payment of these employer paid taxes will not decrease the funds available to Settlement Class Members.

    Release of Claims: Upon final approval by the Court, the Settlement Class and each Settlement Class Member who has not submitted a valid and timely written request to be excluded from the Settlement will irrevocably release all claims against Rainier that were brought or that could have been brought based on any facts alleged in the Complaint in this Case relating to the time period from December 14, 2015, through and including December 31, 2018. This Release specifically includes any claims for wages, overtime, penalties, interest, fees, costs, attorney fees and all other forms of relief that were sought or that could have been sought based on the facts alleged in the Complaint relating to missed, interrupted or non compliant meal periods and rest breaks.

    Dismissal of Action: Upon final approval, the Court will enter a judgment of dismissal of the Case with prejudice, but shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement.

  • To get a payment, you need do nothing. As long as you do not submit a written request to be excluded from the Settlement, you will be a Settlement Class Member and will be entitled to payment.

  • The Court will hold a hearing on October 11, 2019 to decide whether to finally approve the settlement. If the King County Superior Court approves the settlement, the parties will then have to wait to see whether there is an appeal. This will take at least thirty (30) days and, if there is an appeal, can take up to a year of more to resolve. In the event of an appeal, information regarding the appeal’s progress will be made available at VasquezRainierSettlement.com. If there is no appeal, we expect payments will go out within approximately sixty (60) days of the Court’s final approval of the Settlement. Please be patient.

  • The Court has decided that the lawyer from the law firm of Entente Law PLLC is qualified to represent you and all Settlement Class Members. This lawyer is called “Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for this lawyer. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • As indicated above, Class Counsel will seek payment of his attorney fees and costs in the amount of $16,300.50, 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 November 2018, 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 want to exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must request exclusion in writing by September 12, 2019. You may be excluded as a member of the class by submitting a written request stating, “I request that I be excluded from the Class in the case of Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality LLC.” The request must include your name, your address, and your signature. You must mail a copy of the letter to the Settlement Administrator at the following address postmarked no later than September 12, 2019:

    Vasquez v. Rainier HospitalitySettlement Administrator
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91205
    Seattle, WA 98111

    If you exclude 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 exclude yourself, you will not be bound by the terms of the Settlement, including the Release described above. This means you will retain the right at your own expense, to pursue any claims you may have against Rainier.

  • If you are a Settlement Class Member, have not excluded yourself from the Settlement, and do not like the Settlement or the fee request, you can object. You must do so in writing and you must state the reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. If you object, be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number, the name of the Case (Rosalyn Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality LLC, King County Superior Court Civil Case No. 19-2-14813-6 SEA), the reasons you object to the Settlement, and a signature. You must mail a copy of the objection to the following address postmarked no later than September 12, 2019:

    Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality Settlement Administrator
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91205
    Seattle, WA 98111

  • The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 10:00am on October 11, 2019, at the King County Superior Court, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, before Judge John R. Ruhl, Department 8, Courtroom Number E-847. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Ruhl will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing (see below). After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to finally approve the Settlement, including Class Counsel’s request for attorney fees, costs, Settlement Administration Expenses, and Service Award for the named Plaintiff. We do not know how long that decision will take.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer any questions Judge Ruhl may have, but you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but that is not necessary.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying it is your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Rosalyn Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality LLC, King County Superior Court Civil Case No. 19-2-14813-6 SEA.” Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than September 12, 2019, and be sent to the Court, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel at the three addresses set forth below:

    COURT
    Hon. John R. Ruhl
    King County Superior Court
    516 3rd Ave, Room C-203
    Seattle, WA 98104
     

    CLASS COUNSEL
    James B. Pizl
    Entente Law PLLC
    315 Thirty-Ninth Ave SW,
    Suite 14
    Puyallup, WA 98373
     

    DEFENSE COUNSEL
    Peter Nohle
    Jackson Lewis P.C.
    520 Pike Street,
    Suite 2300
    Seattle, WA 98101
     

  • If you do nothing—that is, if you do not mail or deliver a timely written request to exclude yourself from the Settlement—you will be part of the Settlement Class and will be entitled to a share of the Settlement. You will also be bound by the terms of the Settlement, including the Release described above.

  • The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to the Settlement Administrator, JND Legal Administration, or by visiting the website VasquezRainierSettlement.com, which has a copy of the Settlement Agreement posted. Plaintiff’s motion for final approval of the settlement agreement, including Class Counsel’s request for attorney fees, costs, Settlement Administration Expenses, and a Service Award for the named Plaintiff will be available for you to review on October 14, 2019 at VasquezRainierSettlement.com.

For More Information

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

Mail

Vasquez v. Rainier Hospitality Settlement Administrator
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91205
Seattle, WA 98111