I love this one. For the title of the worker classification involved. It appears that a class of drilling fluid specialists, commonly referred to as “mud men,” has reached a $7 million settlement in its wage and hour suit against M-I LLC. The case is entitled Syed et al. v. M-I LLC and was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of California.
The employees worked in drilling operations in Bakersfield, Calif. They claimed they were compelled to work either twelve (12) hour shifts daily for two weeks before leaving their work sites, or work full-days (i.e. 24 hours) in which they were always on-call. They claimed that they were not paid overtime when they worked more than forty hours per week. (They also claimed no overtime pay when their work days exceeded eight hours, which is California law).
The settlement monies will be paid to 115 members of the national FLSA class as well as 353 members of the California class; the $7 million settlement includes up to $2.37 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, service awards of $15,000 to plaintiff Balfour and $20,000 to named plaintiff Syed, $11,500 in claims administration expenses and a $75,000 Private Attorneys General Act payment.
That leaves more than four million dollars to be paid out to class members, based on the number of weeks worked during the class period. Some class members will receive $55 for every week, while the California class members will receive $165 for each week worked. The proposed settlement document stated that “for purposes of this proposed settlement, at a mediation … the parties operated under the premise that Rule 23 proposed class members were in a better position under California law for claims than FLSA collective action members, where in some individual cases, the covered positions have generally been deemed ‘exempt’ under federal law. This is crucial to understand in order to realize the structure of the proposed settlement.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney posited that “there are many of these types of cases pending against many major players in the industry.” If this is an industry wide pattern and practice, that would be a problem. The only thing to do in that instance is get into compliance and hope no one sues for two years…