Mitchell v. Murray Energy Corporation
Mitchell v. Murray Energy Corporation Administration
3:17-CV-444-NJR

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You previously received notice of the pendency of certain claims against Defendants, and you did not opt to exclude yourself from participation in such claims. A Settlement has now been reached in the Lawsuit. The notice explains the terms of the Settlement and explains your options. If you have received the notice, you are automatically part of the Settlement, unless you choose to opt-out pursuant to the opt-out procedures described in Section 10.

  • On April 28, 2017, Jetson Mitchell (“Mitchell”) filed a lawsuit against TACC and Murray captioned Jetson Mitchell et al. v Murray Energy Corporation et al., Case No. 17-cv-444 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of Mitchell individually and all others similarly situated, alleging violations of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq (the “District Court Action”). On October 17, 2018, Sherman Rider (“Rider”) filed a lawsuit against TACC and Murray captioned Jetson Mitchell et al. v Murray Energy Corporation et al., Case No. 17-cv-444 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of Rider individually and all others similarly situated, alleging violation of the WARN Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq (the “District Court Action”).

    On October 29, 2019, while the District Court Action was proceeding, TACC and Murray filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy relief under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio (the “Bankruptcy Court”), Case No.: 19-56885 (JEH) (the “Chapter 11 Cases”).

    On March 9, 2020, Mitchell, on behalf of himself and 104 other workers, filed Class Action Proofs of Claim against TACC and Murray in the Chapter 11 Cases, alleging that Defendants violated the WARN Act in failing to provide advance written notice of employment separations resulting from Defendants’ alleged 2017 plant closing of the mining complex in Galatia, Illinois. Defendants deny they were required to provide any advance written notice.

    Also On March 9, 2020, Rider, on behalf of himself and 46 other workers, filed Class Action Proofs of Claim (the “Class Claims”) against TACC and Murray (“Defendants”) in the Chapter 11 Cases, alleging that Defendants violated the WARN Act in failing to provide additional notice to affected workers in connection with Defendants’ alleged 2017 plant closing at Galatia. Defendants deny they were required to provide any advance written notice and the Class Claims are pending in the Chapter 11 Cases.

    In the District Court Action and the Class Proofs of Claim, Mitchell alleges that Defendants carried out a “plant closing” at Galatia in 2017 that triggered the WARN Act’s advance notice requirements and that Mitchell and 104 other Galatia employees, including you, experienced employment losses, as defined by the WARN Act, during the period April 22, 2017 to July 21, 2017, as a consequence of Defendants’ alleged plant closing without receiving advanced written notice from Defendants. Mitchell also alleges in the Class Proof of Claims that the claims for back pay and benefits against TACC are entitled to priority status in the Chapter 11 Cases pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 507(a)(4), (5).

    In the Class Claims, Rider alleges that Defendants carried out a “plant closing” at Galatia in 2017 that triggered the WARN Act’s advance notice requirements and that he and 46 other Galatia employees received written notice providing that they would experience employment loss, as defined by the WARN Act, during the 14-day period ending on August 20, 2017. Rider further alleges that Defendants violated the WARN Act by failing to provide timely and adequate additional notice to Rider and the 46 other Galatia employees regarding the postponement of such employment losses, as defined by the WARN Act, to the period August 21, 2017 to October 14, 2017. Rider also alleges that the Class Claims against TACC for back pay and benefits are entitled to priority status in the Chapter 11 Cases pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 507(a)(4), (5).

    Defendants deny these claims and have asserted numerous defenses to the Lawsuit. Specifically, Defendants assert that the WARN Act did not compel it to send any additional notice of layoff beyond what Rider received and that the WARN Act does not allow for recovery of the back pay and benefits sought by Rider in the Class Claims. The Notice is not an admission by Defendants that the claims asserted by Plaintiff in the Lawsuit or the Class Action Proofs of Claim are valid, or that there has been any wrongdoing or violation of law. A more detailed statement of the claims and defenses can be found in the Settlement Agreement and the documents provided here.

  • If the Court certifies a class action, one or more people called class representatives may represent people who have similar claims. All these people are a class or class members. One court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class. United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel is in charge of this class action. The following classes are proposed to be certified for the purposes of the Settlement (the “Settlement Classes"):

    1. Mitchell Class: All employees at the mining complex in Galatia, Illinois (“Galatia”) whose employment ended voluntarily at any time during the period April 22, 2017, to July 21, 2017, as a consequence of the alleged plant closing, and who did not return to work at Galatia within six months of the date their employment ended. The Class does not include (1) any employees who were terminated for cause or who accepted early retirement incentives instead of being laid off; or (2) any employees of David Stanley Consultants, Inc., and Redbird Machinery, LLC

    2. Rider Class: All employees Galatia whose employment ended voluntarily at any time during the period August 21, 2017, to October 14, 2017, as a consequence of the alleged plant closing. The Class does not include (1) any employees who were terminated for cause; or (2)(i) received an offer from TACC or Murray Energy to transfer employment to another site of employment; (ii) accepted the offer with 30 days of receiving the offer; and (iii) did not experience more than a six-month break in employment.

  • The lawsuit was filed in 2017, and the Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiff or the Defendants. The Defendants assert that they have meritorious defenses to the claims in the Lawsuit and in the Chapter 11 Cases. There has not yet been a trial in this matter. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement. The factual and legal issues in the Lawsuit and the Chapter 11 Cases present risks to both the Settlement Class Members and Defendants. By settling, the parties avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial and the people affected will get compensation. Plaintiff and the Class Counsel identified below think the Settlement is a fair and favorable result for the Settlement Class.

  • Additional information about the case, including the Settlement Agreement, orders of the Court, selected pleadings, and important deadlines, may be viewed here.

    All papers publicly filed in this case are available for you to inspect and copy during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, 750 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois.

    Additional information about the Chapter 11 Cases, including orders of the Bankruptcy Court and selected pleadings, may be viewed at the following website:

    https://cases.primeclerk.com/murrayenergy/Home-Index

    Additional information regarding the Bankruptcy Court and access to documents filed in the Chapter 11 Cases is available at the following website:

    https://www.ohsb.uscourts.gov/

  • As part of the Settlement, Defendants have agreed to pay $550,000.00 to the Mitchell Class and $100,000.00 to the Rider Class. The Settlement Amount will be used to make cash payments to the Settlement Class Members, to pay any of Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees approved by the Court, and to pay any Incentive Award to Plaintiff approved by the Court.

  • If the Court approves the Settlement, and you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive a pro-rata share of the portion of the Settlement Amount that remains after any Court-approved payment of attorneys’ fees to Class Counsel and any Court-approved payment of an Incentive Award to Plaintiff. The amount of each Settlement Class Member’s pro-rata share will be based on the wages and benefits the Settlement Class Member was receiving at the time of the termination of his or her employment at Galatia. The amount of each Settlement Class Member’s pro-rata share will be determined as follows:

     

    Individual Settlement Class Member's estimated WARN Act damages, capped at #13,650.00

    ÷

    [Aggregate estimated WARN Act damages of all Settlement Class Members, with individual
    damages capped at $13,650.00 ($1,140,459.37 for Mitchell Class and $596,135.82 for Rider Class)]

    X

    Net Settlement Fund (i.e, the Settlement Amount less the Fee Award and the Incentive Award)

     

     

    Settlement Class Members will receive a form W-2 setting forth any taxes that have been withheld from their Settlement payments.

  • You have the choice of participating in the settlement (by doing nothing), excluding yourself from the settlement, or objecting to the settlement. Each choice has risks and consequences. Please review a list of your options below.

  • If you do nothing, you will participate in the Settlement and you will receive a cash payment via check, as set forth above. By doing nothing, you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement and will release certain claims against Defendants and certain other parties.

  • You may exclude yourself from the Settlement for any reason. If you exclude yourself, you will not release Defendants and will retain the right to attempt to pursue claims against them.

    PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE GENERAL DEADLINE FOR THE FILING OF INDIVIDUAL CLAIMS IN DEFENDANTS’ CHAPTER 11 CASES WAS MARCH 9, 2020. IF YOU DID NOT FILE A PROOF OF CLAIM ON OR BEFORE MARCH 9, 2020, AND YOU EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE CLASS, YOU MAY BE UNABLE TO PURSUE AN INDIVIDUAL CLAIM AGAINST DEFENDANTS AND YOU MAY BE BARRED FROM OBTAINING ANY PAYMENTS WHICH MAY BE DUE TO YOU AS A RESULT OF DEFENDANTS’ ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE WARN ACT.

    If you wish to exclude yourself, you must notify the Settlement Administrator in writing that you want to be excluded (a “Request for Exclusion”). Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. You must submit your Request for Exclusion by mail postmarked on or before April 4, 2022, to:

    Bradley W. Tharpe
    The Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
    7700 Bonhomme Avenue, Suite 650
    St. Louis, MO 63105
    (314) 802-3948

  • If you do not request to be excluded from the Settlement, you may object to the terms of the Settlement, Class Counsel’s requests for Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, and/or the request for the Incentive Award. If you object and the Settlement is approved, and you fail to submit a timely valid request to be excluded, you will not be able to assert your own claims related to the matters released through the Settlement, and you will be bound by the final judgment and release and all Orders entered by the Court. You may, but need not, enter an appearance through counsel of your choice. If you do, you will be responsible for your own attorney’s fees and costs.

    If you wish to object, you must file any such objection with the Court, and provide copies to Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel at the addresses listed in Section 14 and Section 15 on or before April 4 , 2022.

    The objection must include: (i) the objector’s name, address, and telephone number; (ii) the name and case number of the District Court Action; (iii) a statement of each objection; (iv) a written brief detailing the specific basis for each objection, including any legal and factual support the objector wishes to bring to the Court’s attention and any evidence the objector wishes to introduce in support of the objection; (v) a detailed list of any other objections submitted by the Settlement Class Member, or his/her counsel, to any class actions submitted in any court, whether state or otherwise, in the United States in the previous five (5) years, and, if the Settlement Class Member or his/her counsel has not objected to any other class action settlement in any court in the United States in the previous five (5) years, he/she shall affirmatively state so in the written materials provided in connection with the objection; (vi) the dates between the time the objection is filed and the date of the Final Approval Hearing when the objector is available for deposition by counsel for the Parties in the Southern District of Illinois; and (vii) a statement as to whether you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either individually or through counsel. If the objection is made through an attorney, the written objection must also include the identity of the Settlement Class Member represented by objector’s counsel. No objection may be made on behalf of a group of Settlement Class Members.

    Settlement Class Members who do not timely make their objections in this manner will be deemed to have waived all objections and shall not be heard or have the right to appeal approval of the Settlement.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you participate in the Settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.

  • If you participate in the Settlement by doing nothing, a check will be mailed to you following the Court’s Final Approval of the Settlement and the exhaustion of any appeals.

  • The Court has appointed the following lawyers to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

     

    GOLDENBERG HELLER & ANTOGNOLI, P.C.
    Thomas P. Rosenfeld
    Kevin P. Green
    Thomas C. Horscroft
    2227 South State Route 157
    Edwardsville, IL 62025

     

    LUPER, NEIDENTHAL & LOGAN, LPA
    Kenneth M. Richards
    1160 Dublin Road, Suite 400
    Columbus, OH 43215

  • Defendants are represented by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.

    Bradley W. Tharpe.
    The Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
    7700 Bonhomme Avenue, Suite 650
    St. Louis, MO 63105
    (314) 802-3948
    brad.tharpe@ogletree.com

  • Class Counsel has pursued the Lawsuit on behalf of the Plaintiff and the Settlement Class for over four (4) years on a contingent basis and has not received any payment of fees or any reimbursement of their out-of-pocket expenses related to the Lawsuit or the Chapter 11 Cases. Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees, Class Notice expenses advanced by Class Counsel, and other costs incurred in the Lawsuit (the “Fee Award”). The Fee Award must be approved by the Court. Class Counsel intends to seek a Fee Award in the amount of $181,500.00, representing 33% of the Settlement Amount for the Mitchell Class and a Fee Award in the amount $33,000.00, representing 33% of the Settlement Amount for the Rider Class. Class Counsel’s Motion seeking a Fee Award will be posted on this website.

    Class Counsel will also ask the Court to award Plaintiffs $5,000.00 each to compensate Plaintiffs Rider and Mitchell for their time and effort in pursuing the claims asserted in the Lawsuit (the “Incentive Award”).

    The Fee Award and the Incentive Award will be paid from the Settlement Amount. The balance of the Settlement Amount after payment of the Fee Award and Incentive Award will be paid to the Settlement Class Members as set forth in Section 7 above.

  • The Court must approve the Settlement. As part of the approval process, the Court will conduct a Final Approval Hearing on June 2, 2022, at 1:30 p.m, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, to decide whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and should be approved and, if so, to determine the amount of the Fee Award and Incentive Award. The time and date of the Final Approval Hearing may be changed without further notice. Please check the Settlement Website for any date changes.

    If the Court approves the proposed Settlement, it will enter a judgment that will serve as a final judgment of the claims against Defendants raised in the Lawsuit, and which will be binding on all Class Members who do not opt-out. Unless you exclude yourself, you will be bound by the release set forth in the Settlement Agreement. This means you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants and certain other parties about the legal issues related to this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    If the Court does not approve the proposed Settlement, the Lawsuit will proceed as if no settlement has been attempted. In that event, there is no assurance that the Class will not be decertified and/or recover more or less than is provided for in this Settlement or, indeed, anything

  • No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Judge may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you may, but don’t have to, come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not required.

  • The notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details can be found in the Settlement Agreement and other documents that can be found here. If you have questions concerning the notice that are not answered by this website you may also call 1-844-975-1785 toll free or write to the Settlement Administrator at:

    Mitchell v. Murray Energy Corporation
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    PO Box 91308
    Seattle, WA 98111

     

    ***NO INQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT OR TO THE JUDGE***

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail
Mitchell v. Murray Energy Corporation
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91308
Seattle, WA 98111