United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division
MICHAEL RAY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MECHEL BLUESTONE, INC. and DOUBLE-BONUS COAL COMPANY, Defendant.
B. PETSONK (WVSB # 12418), Bren Pomponio (WVSB # 7774)
Mountain State Justice, Inc. Class Counsel
HUSSELL (WVSB # 6610), Andrew Ellis (WVSB # 10618) John D.
(Jody) Wooton, Jr. (WVSB # WOOTON, DAVIS, HUSSELL &
ELLIS, PLLC Counsel for Defendants
ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT, ATTORNEY FEES, AND
C. BERGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Approve Notice
of Final Settlement, Approve Attorney Fees, and Enter
Administrative Termination Order. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court APPROVES the final settlement, in
accordance with the terms stated in this Order, and ORDERS
that the attorney fees and costs are fair and reasonable and
that the Plaintiff should be directed to issue notice to the
class members of their rights under this Order.
3, 2016, this Court certified this matter as a class action
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). The
parties mediated the case twice with the assistance of the
Honorable Omar Aboulhosn, achieving success when they entered
a Mediation Agreement on January 20, 2017. (ECF 88). The
Parties have agreed to final terms of a Settlement Agreement
parties have agreed to settle this matter pursuant to the
following agreed-upon terms:
Defendants agree to pay to Plaintiffs the sum of $300, 000
inclusive of attorney fees, costs, class administration fee,
and class representative fee. The settlement sum will be
divided as set forth below.
Call-Back List. Within 60
days after notice of this settlement agreement
issues, class members may notify the class counsel whether
they wish to be placed on a Call-Back List from which they
shall be returned to employment on the basis of their
seniority at the Double Bonus Mine, as outlined in this
a. Seniority. The List Members shall be ranked in
accordance with the seniority that they had earned at the
Double Bonus Mine prior to their final layoff at that mine.
b. Covered Mines. List Members shall be considered
for every full-time job at the next three underground coal
mines, inclusive of preparation and refuse facilities serving
those mines, at which no collective bargaining agreement is
in place at the time of hiring List Members, that the
Bluestone Entities control or operate, in McDowell, Wyoming,
Mercer, or Raleigh Counties, W.Va. (the “Covered
i. The hourly wage rate of such jobs must be equal to or
greater than Twenty-Eight Dollars ($28.00) per hour for the
first year of a List Member's employment there.
ii. If a Covered Mine ceases operation within a year of
hiring a List Member, such mine ceases to be a Covered Mine
and the Defendants must honor the call-back obligations under
this Agreement at one additional Covered Mine that is next
opened by the Bluestone Entities.
iii. Mechel Bluestone, Inc., Bluestone Resources, Inc.,
Bluestone Industries, Inc., Dynamic Energy, Inc., Gilbert
Mine, Inc., JCI Coal Group, LLC, and coal-producing divisions
thereof, and wholly owned and controlled coal producing
subsidiaries and wholly owned and controlled coal producing
affiliates, or other subsidiaries and affiliates wholly owned
and controlled by principals of Defendants, shall be treated
as one and the same Bluestone Entities for purposes of the
Covered Mines and this Agreement.
iv. If a training opportunity is available at a Covered Mine,
the Defendants must inform eligible List Members of such
opportunity in sufficient time for such List Members to
participate in the training.
c. Recall Rights. When a job opportunity exists at
the Covered Mines, the Defendants will review the List and
shall recall to employment, in the order of their seniority,
List Members with the ability to perform the work of such
i. Defendants shall inform List Members of call-back
opportunities by means of both certified mail and telephone
message delivered to the addresses and numbers provided by
class counsel or the class members themselves.
ii. A List Member who does not return to work after receiving
offers at each of the Covered Mines shall sacrifice his
seniority on the list and shall have his name removed from
iii. Any person on the list who secures other employment
during the period when no work is available for him at the
Covered Mines shall in no way jeopardize his seniority while
engaged in such other employment. Upon receipt of notice of a
call-back opportunity, List Members will have five business
days to accept or reject each such opportunity.
d. Settlement of Disputes Regarding Recall Rights.
i. Disputes arising regarding a List Member's recall
rights shall be resolved as follows.
ii. An earnest effort shall be made to settle differences at
the earliest practicable time.
iii. At all steps of the dispute process, the party
initiating the dispute shall disclose to the List Member and
to Class Counsel a full statement of the facts relied upon by
iv. If no settlement is reached within 7 days of the
nondisputing party receiving notice of the dispute, the
parties shall reach mutual agreement on an arbitrator within
the following 7 days. At the earliest possible time, but no
later than 15 after referral to him, the arbitrator shall
conduct a hearing in order to hear testimony, receive
evidence and consider arguments.
v. The costs of arbitration shall be borne by the disputing
vi. No Class Member may be excluded from the List except for