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California Paper Carriers Reach $3.2M Employment Class Action Settlement

This is a settlement for the Donning-Doffing lawsuit.

Los Angeles, CA: Paper carriers who worked for the now bankrupt North County News in San Diego, have reached a $3.2 settlement potentially ending claims against Lee Publications Inc, that they were misclassified and undercompensated as independent contractors, and unfairly dinged for missed or wet papers.

The employment lawsuit was filed in 2008 by plaintiffs seeking to represent roughly 800 home-delivery carriers who alleged the publisher treated them like employees but paid them like contractors. The lawsuit further claimed Lee personnel supervised, trained and otherwise treated them like employees but, in violation of California labor laws, denied them overtime, meal and rest breaks, and other employee benefits, according to their complaint.

According to the complaint, the company also docked its carriers up to $5 for each customer complaint about damaged, wet or "allegedly undelivered"papers, which, the plaintiffs argued was an attempt by Lee to make the plaintiffs unlawful insurers of the company' merchandise. Allegedly, the carriers were given more papers than they had customers on their delivery route, and then Lee would deduct from their compensation the cost for each extra paper.

In the settlement, the class members will be eligible to receive shares in the $3.2 million fund, minus plaintiffs attorneys' fees and costs, and $36,000 total for eight lead plaintiffs.

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Published on Oct-29-14


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