A Houston federal court approved a $15 million settlement for a nationwide class of mortgage consultants pursuing overtime compensation from Wells Fargo and Wachovia banks under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some 4500 class members residing in all fifty states will share in the settlement proceeds. Yetter Coleman is co-lead counsel for the class.
Plaintiffs contended in the litigation that the banks’ mortgage consultants, who originate home mortgages, are entitled to overtime compensation for time worked in excess of forty hours per week. According to the plaintiffs, the banks regularly required their mortgage consultants to market and promote their employers to realtors and builders, as well as to cross-market other bank products to customers, without overtime compensation. After the litigation was filed, the banks abandoned their prior compensation policy and began paying overtime.
In 2013, Yetter Coleman successfully defended the Court’s order certifying the nationwide class, in a closely-watched proceeding before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In their appeal, the banks argued that a new more stringent standard should be adopted for certification of FLSA classes in place of the long-standing approach traditionally applied by courts. A broad range of governmental, business, and interest groups weighed into this important policy issue through the submission of amicus briefs. The appellate court summarily denied the appeal in March 2013.
The litigation arose in 2010 from suits filed in Texas, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington and was consolidated in Houston federal court by order of the Multi-District Litigation Panel in 2011 and assigned to the Hon. Gray H. Miller as presiding judge. Thereafter, the court appointed Yetter Coleman as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs, along with the Wills Law Firm, which specializes in FLSA cases, as co-lead counsel.
The plaintiffs were represented by Paul Yetter, Reagan Simpson, Autry Ross, and Chris Ward of Yetter Coleman; Rhonda Wills of the Wills Law Firm PPLC; Diana Marshall and Ronald Lewis of Marshall & Lewis LLP; and John Padilla of Padilla Rodriguez & De La Garza LLP.
The case is In re Wells Fargo Wage and Hour Employment Practices Litigation, Case no. 11-md-2266, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.