United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, at Charleston
HAROLD DEWHURST, and DAVID BRYAN, on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly Situated, and UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO/CLC, Plaintiffs,
CENTURY ALUMINUM COMPANY, and CENTURY ALUMINUM OF WEST VIRGINIA, INC., AND CENTURY ALUMINUM MASTER WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN, and DOES 1 THROUGH 20 Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
T. Copenhaver, Jr. United States District Judge.
is the joint motion for preliminary approval of class action
Settlement Agreement; approval of proposed class action
notice; preliminary approval of enhancement awards; and an
order setting the dates for objections to the proposed
settlement and the fairness hearing.
Summary of Proposed Settlement
court has reviewed the proposed Settlement Agreement and
exhibits thereto, as well as the submissions of the parties.
The proposed Settlement Agreement provides that Century
Aluminum of West Virginia, Inc. (“CAWV”), will
contribute $23 million to the VEBA Trust to be used for some
of class members' health care expenses. Within fifteen
days of the effective date of the Agreement, CAWV will make a
$5 million payment to the VEBA Trust, and CAWV will
thereafter make a $2 million payment to the VEBA Trust
annually, for nine years. See Proposed Settlement Agreement
at 4.2. The payments made into the VEBA Trust will be used to
reimburse some pre-settlement medical expenses and will
additionally provide annual contributions to Healthcare
Reimbursement Accounts that will be established in each class
member's name to be used for future medical costs. See
Proposed Notice to Class at 5.B.
class, as modified in the court's memorandum opinion and
order dated May 23, 2017, is defined as:
all current or former employees (including laid off
employees) of CAWV's Ravenswood facility
(“Ravenswood Plant”) and their spouses,
dependents, and surviving spouses who either (1) retired
(other than with a deferred vested pension) from RAC or CAWV
after February 6, 1989 and prior to November 1, 2012 and who
are not currently receiving medical benefits from CAWV, (2)
retired or retire (other than with a deferred vested pension)
from CAWV on or after November 1, 2012 and who may be
currently receiving medical benefits from CAWV, or (3)
retired or will retire from CAWV after the layoff at the
Ravenswood Plant in February 2009 after losing their active
medical coverage while on layoff and as to whom CAWV has
denied or asserted that it will deny retiree medical coverage
due to their not being enrolled in the active medical plan at
the time of their retirement. Employees who break service
after November 1, 2012 without immediate pension eligibility
are not Class Members.
Opinion & Order May 23, 2017 (ECF Doc. No. 212) at 12-13.
order to maximize recovery for class members, class counsel
is not asking the court to award any attorneys' fees or
expenses. See Proposed Settlement at 14.2. Each party will
bear its own fees and costs. Id.
are seeking enhancement awards totaling $31, 000 for the
surviving class representative, David Bryan, and the members
of the Retiree Committee. Id. Karen Gorrell will
receive $5, 000; Mr. Bryan, Ronald Dixon, Luther Gibson, John
Morris, Lesley Shockey and James Weltner will each receive
$4, 000; and Clarence Lawrence will receive $2, 000. See
Memo. in Supp. of Joint Mot. for Preliminary Approval of
Settlement at 18-19.
preliminary approval stage, the court “should make a
preliminary determination that the proposed class satisfies
the criteria set out in Rule 23(a) and at least one of the
subsections of Rule 23(b). . . . The judge must make a
preliminary determination on the fairness, reasonableness,
and adequacy of the settlement terms and must direct the
preparation of notice of the certification, proposed
settlement, and date of the final fairness hearing.”
Manual For Complex Litigation, 2004 WL 258821, § 21.632
noted in the court's memorandum opinion and order
amending the class definition, dated May 23, 2017, the
requirements of 23(a) continue to be satisfied in this case.
Moreover, the class meets the ...