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BCH’s $14.5M Settlement For Unpaid Dog Handlers Profiled by Law360

Aug 22, 2019

A case recently handled by our legal team has been profiled in a feature article on Law360.

As the article notes, BCH – which served as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs – helped secure a $14.5M recovery for hundreds of security dog handlers who alleged they were not paid for time they spent training their K-9s.

While you can access the full article here, the details of the case (Case No. 1:17-cv-05468, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York) concerned 17 named plaintiffs who brought a series of lawsuits against security company Michael Stapleton Associates Ltd., a business which trained dogs for security purposes and operated as MSA Security.

Lawsuits brought by the plaintiffs claimed MSA Security violated state and federal wage laws by failing to pay workers overtime pay for the hours they spent training program dogs at their homes. Two workers additionally claimed they were victims of retaliation for joining the litigation.

The cases were combined in April of 2018, and a settlement deal was negotiated and drafted in March 2019. The presiding judge approved the deal on Friday, August 9, 2019, a day after he stated the settlement provided a reasonable resolution to “difficult and unsettled issues involving wage-and-hour-laws” at a fairness hearing.

The Judge’s approval allows for the $14.5M million total payout for plaintiffs to be dispersed as follows:

  • Equating to roughly $10,000 for each of the 17 named plaintiffs;
  • An additional $25K and $10K for the two victims of alleged retaliation;
  • A portion of funds to cover settlement administrator and attorneys’ fees; and
  • Remaining funds to be split among over 600 dog handlers based on weeks’ worked.

During the final hearing, the Judge agreed that the settlement was reasonable, and that attorneys representing the plaintiffs – which includes Robert Cowan and our team at BCH – "vigorously prosecuted this case and conducted extensive investigation."

We congratulate Rob and our firm’s legal team on their latest victory. BCH has an active practice representing workers across Texas and the U.S. in matters involving employment law and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including overtime claims, wage and hour disputes, sexual harassment, and more. Call (888) 367-7160 or contact us to speak with an attorney.

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