Turkey Valley Farms Reaches a Settlement

Fernando Tabares, Sports Editor

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A class action lawsuit was brought against Turkey Valley Farms (TVF), a local turkey processing plant. According to court documents, the company agreed on a proposed settlement and the final approval hearing will take place on Feb. 9 in St. Paul.

The named plaintiffs Alma Gonzalez, Sherman Spardley and Ahmed Duale seek to recover damages for themselves and on behalf of certain hourly production employees who worked there from Oct. 9, 2011 to Sept. 25, 2015.

The plaintiffs argued that TVF violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, and common law by allegedly not paying certain employees for all the time spent putting on and removing clothing and equipment.

TVF contests that it paid employees all the compensation that it owed them and that it has complied with all labor laws. They denied any liability or wrongdoing in connection with plaintiffs’ allegations.

Both parties entered into the proposed settlement in June 2015 and at the final hearing, the court will decide whether it is fair, reasonable, and sufficient. If it is approved, TVF will have to pay up to $590,000 in damages of which the court will allow deductions for attorney’s fees and expenses.

The attorneys representing the plaintiffs will request that they be awarded fees of $200,000 and up to $25,000 on top of that for expenses. They will also request that aside from their compensation, the plaintiffs each be awarded an extra $1,000 for serving as representatives for all other employees entitled to compensation from this settlement.

Each employee’s share of the settlement will depend on the number of workweeks that they worked in a qualifying position during the above mentioned timeframe. For each week, they will be paid $5.40 and this amount may vary depending on the amount of attorney’s fees, expenses, the fees of the claims administrators, and the number of class members.

Assuming that an employee was employed there during the entire time, they would receive just over $1,000 from this settlement.       

   

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