A class action suit filed against Kmart on behalf of current and former employees has been cleared to move towards settlement, however, federal judge overseeing the case, Judge William Alsup, has concerns over the percentage of the payment going to class members.
Kmart agreed to settle the case, regarding the lack of “suitable seating” that Kmart should be providing to its cashiers, for $280,000. $31,700 of that has been earmarked for the class members, and the state will receive $95,000, leaving $153,200 for the three lead plaintiffs and their attorneys. Alsup describes the proposed settlement, which would end up paying between $25-$200 to each class member, as “little more than reimbursement of class counsel’s expenses in exchange for a class-wide release.” He stated that the class members would be receiving only “token sums” while the three former cashiers who filed the case were receiving “bonanzas.”
Alsup insisted that class members should receive their portion of the payment unless they opted out, saying “this is such a small, tiny settlement it’s got to be easy for the people to collect the money.” Although it is not unusual for judges to make changes to a settlement or take issue with its terms, the strength of Alsup’s statements is what makes this case out of the ordinary.