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United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division
November 20, 2019, Filed
Civil Action 2:19-cv-2328
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Derek Rotondo's ("Plaintiff" or "Mr. Rotondo") Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement (ECF No. 22). Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of similarly situated individuals, seeks final approval of the proposed class action settlement described in the parties' Settlement Agreement (ECF No. 24-5) (the "Settlement"). Notice was given to members of the Settlement Class, and a Fairness Hearing [*2] was held before the undersigned on November 6, 2019. Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Approval of Attorneys' Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Service Payment (ECF No. 24). Having considered the Settlement and the arguments in support of final approval, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Motions (ECF Nos. 22 and 24) be GRANTED.
A. Procedural History
This action arises out of Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.'s ("Defendant" or "Chase") parental leave policy. Under its policy effective in 2016 (the "2016 Policy"), Chase employees who were primary caregivers could receive up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave upon the birth of a child, while employees who were not primary caregivers (non-primary caregivers) could receive only up to 2 weeks of paid parental leave. Named Plaintiff Rotondo was told by Chase human resources personnel that, under the 2016 Policy, birth mothers were presumptively treated as primary caregivers, while birth fathers were presumptively treated as non-primary caregivers. To qualify as primary caregivers, birth fathers would have to show that: (1) the father's spouse had returned to work; or (2) the spouse was medically incapable [*3] of caring for the child. Mr. Rotondo intended to be the primary caregiver for his son born in 2017, but could not satisfy the 2016 Policy's primary caregiver requirements because his wife had not yet returned to work and was capable of caring for their child.
Mr. Rotondo timely filed a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") challenging Chase's alleged policy and practice of denying primary caregiver leave to fathers, on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated male employees. From July 2017 through April 2019, the parties engaged in settlement discussions and informal discovery about Chase's policies and their impact on putative class members, including in-person negotiations on July 25 and October 3, 2017, and two days of mediation with an independent mediator on April 16 and May 14, 2018. While the settlement talks were ongoing, Chase changed its parental leave policy in December 2017 to remove gender-specific language and clarify that fathers are eligible to be designated as primary caregivers on the same basis as mothers. The parties executed the Settlement on May 28, 2019, and Mr. Rotondo filed this putative class action [*4] on May 30, 2019. (ECF No. 1.)
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201616 *; 104 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P46,419; 2019 WL 6167086
DEREK ROTONDO, Plaintiff, v. JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Defendant.
Subsequent History: Adopted by, Motion granted by, Costs and fees proceeding at Rotondo v. Jpmorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208191 (S.D. Ohio, Dec. 2, 2019)
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