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Judge approves $227M in FedEx driver suit settlements

May 3, 2017

FedEx Corp. will pay more than $227 million to settle some of the long-running lawsuits brought by drivers in Indiana and 18 others states who claim they were undercompensated because the company classified them as independent contractors rather than full-time workers.

A total of 12,627 drivers named as plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits in 19 states will receive payouts ranging from $250 to more than $116,000 under terms of separate settlements in each state. The settlements bring the total FedEx has paid resolve driver compensation claims to at least $454 million.

Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. in the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, granted final approval to 19 state class-action settlements Friday and Monday. Miller’s orders resolve the nearly half of the 40 class-action lawsuits brought by FedEx drivers that remained before him, clearing the FedEx multidistrict litigation docket.

Miller’s orders cleared the way for settlement distributions and resolution of the lawsuits as follows:

  • Indiana: 791 drivers will divide a settlement of $33.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $29,520. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $116,028.
  • Alabama: 375 drivers will share a settlement of $3.2 million. Average recovery per class member will be $5,620. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,100.
  • Arizona: 380 drivers will share a settlement of $4.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $8,699. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,149.
  • Georgia: 867 drivers will share a settlement of $4.94 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,785. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,711.
  • Louisiana: 315 drivers will share a settlement of $5.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $11,061. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,743.
  • Maryland: 533 drivers will share a settlement of $9.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,047. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $29,455.
  • Minnesota: 455 drivers will share a settlement of $8.3 million. The average recovery per class member will be $12,312. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $44,701.
  • New Jersey: 901 drivers will share a settlement of $25.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,301. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $71,194.
  • New York: 1,602 drivers will share a settlement of $42.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $18,421. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $68,880.
  • North Carolina: 707 drivers will share a settlement of $20 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,250. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $53,440.
  • Ohio: 878 drivers will share a settlement of $8.35 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,363. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,611.
  • Pennsylvania: 1,265 drivers will share a settlement of $23 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,442. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $45,647.
  • Rhode Island: 125 drivers will share a settlement of $1.6 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,352. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,332.
  • South Carolina: 274 drivers will share a settlement of $3.1 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,405. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $19,682.
  • Tennessee: 762 drivers will share a settlement of $12.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $10,863. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,838.
  • Texas: 1,515 drivers will share a settlement of $8.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,938. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,880.
  • Utah: 171 drivers will share a settlement of $2.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $9,130. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,886.
  • West Virginia: 107 drivers will share a settlement of $3.75 million. Average recovery per class member will be $22,306. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $76,456.
  • Wisconsin: 604 drivers will share a settlement of $5.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,126. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $21,842.

The orders came after fairness hearings on each proposed settlement in March, most of which were unopposed. Miller rejected objections by class members in all cases where objections were raised. FedEx announced proposed settlements last June.

The settlements reflect rates of payment for each week a driver worked in excess of 35 hours, plus a separate, lower payment rate for each week a driver worked fewer hours. These amounts vary according to compromises reached through mediation based on the laws of each state.

Miller had granted summary judgment in favor of FedEx in a bellwether case involving its drivers in Kansas, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in 2015, instead ordering entry of judgment in favor of the drivers. The 7th Circuit in late March authorized Miller to grant final approval to proposed settlements.

In each order, Miller wrote that a perfect outcome for drivers would be “a long time off, well beyond the eleven years already invested in this litigation,” and that FedEx likewise faced uncertain legal prospects.

Additionally, Miller awarded plaintiffs’ legal fees and costs, at least in part, in each of the suits. Fees awarded in some cases reached 30 percent of the total settlement.

FedEx in June 2015 reached a $227 million settlement with its California drivers in a separate case.
 

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