The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (the “Court”) has preliminarily approved the Settlement of this case, and has scheduled a hearing (the “Fairness Hearing”) to evaluate the fairness and adequacy of the Settlement at which the Court will consider (i) whether to approve the Settlement as fair and adequate; (ii) whether to enter the Bar Order (see Question 4 below); (iii) whether to approve the Plan of Allocation (see Question 5 below); and (iv) whether to award attorneys’ fees and expenses to Plaintiffs’ Counsel and incentive awards to Plaintiffs (see Question 8 below). The Fairness Hearing, before the Hon. Ralph R. Beistline, has been scheduled for March 5, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento, California.
The terms of the Settlement are contained in a Settlement Agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”), a copy of which is available here under Document Links or by contacting Plaintiffs’ Counsel identified below. Capitalized and italicized terms used in this Notice and not defined herein have the meanings assigned to them in the Settlement Agreement.
In the Action, Plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the Defendants CRC, DRJ and REE were fiduciaries of the Plans and directors of TEOHC and violated fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and under applicable state law by permitting certain payments to CRC. Plaintiffs sought to recover from the losses to the Plans allegedly caused by the fiduciary breaches.
Defendants deny that they have any liability whatsoever or that they breached any fiduciary duties. If the litigation were to continue, Defendants would raise numerous defenses to liability, including the following:
- They were not fiduciaries as alleged by Plaintiffs, or, if they were fiduciaries, their fiduciary duties did not extend to the matters at issue in the Action;
- To the extent they were fiduciaries as to the matters at issue in the Action, they fully discharged all fiduciary duties in a manner wholly consistent with applicable law;
- The relief sought by the Plaintiffs in the Action is not permitted under applicable law; and
- Plaintiffs were not damaged.
The Parties have engaged in extensive discovery and motion practice, including multiple motions by Defendants to dismiss the Action. Plaintiffs successfully sought and obtained injunctions with respect to the payment of substantial amounts sought by Defendants from TEOHC pursuant to alleged indemnity rights, and the expenditure or transfer by CRC of certain assets; the injunction was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was affirmed on appeal.
This Settlement is the product of intense, arm’s-length negotiations between Plaintiffs’ Counsel, the DOL, and Defendants and their counsel, including a two-day mediation facilitated by the Hon. Kimberly Mueller, United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to which the terms of the Settlement were established.
Any questions regarding the Settlement should be directed to Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Gary Gotto or Gary Greenwald, Keller Rohrback P.L.C., 3101 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1400, Phoenix, Arizona 85012, tel: 602-248-0088 (counsel for Plaintiffs Johnson, Stanton, Morrell and Rangell), Terence Devine, Devine, Markovits & Snyder, LLP, 52 Corporate Circle, Albany, New York 12203, tel: 518-464-0640 or Stanley H. Shayne, Shayne Nichols LLC, Two Miranova Place, Suite 220, Columbus, Ohio 43215 tel: 614-221-2220(counsel for Plaintiff Rodwell). Plaintiffs’ Counsel have established a toll-free phone number, (800) 236-8134, if you have questions or comments. Plaintiffs’ Counsel may also be contacted via email (). Please do not contact the Court, as Court personnel will not be able to answer your questions.
- Preliminary Approval Order
- Notice of Proposed Settlement
- Withdrawn Plan of Allocation – 2:12:2010
- Amended Plan of Allocation
- Second Amended Plan of Allocation
- Stanton Complaint
- DOL Complaint
- Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs
- Settlement Agreement
- Johnson v. Couturier 2006 WL 2943160 (10.13.06)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2007 WL 3151802 (10.26.07)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2007 WL 3151883 (10.26.07)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2008 WL 4443085 (9.26.08)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2008 WL 5273514 (12.18.08)
- Chao v. Couturier 2009 WL 1404730 (2.10.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 559705 (3.4.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 649791 (3.10.09)
- Solis v. Couturier 2009 WL 1748724 (6.19.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 1911069 (6.30.09)
- Solis v. Couturier 2009 WL 2022343 (7.8.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 572 F.3d 1067 (7.27.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 2216805 (7.27.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 261 FRD 188 (8.21.09)
- Solis v. Couturier 2009 WL 3055207 (9.17.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 3112040 (9.23.09)
- Johnson v. Couturier 2009 WL 3169965 (9.28.09)