Fuyao’s lawyers want lawsuit settlement kept private

Fuyao Glass America in Moraine. FILE

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Fuyao Glass America in Moraine. FILE

In a new legal filing, Moraine manufacturer Fuyao Glass America is seeking to keep private how much the company is willing to pay to settle a workers’ class-action lawsuit.

The motion is unopposed by the Columbus law firm that represents more than 600 former and current Fuyao workers in a legal action that took aim at the way Fuyao allegedly scheduled and paid workers.

The case goes back nearly two and one-half years to the original plaintiff, Julia Staggs, who filed the suit in June 2017 in Dayton’s federal court.

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The core contention of the suit is that Fuyao automatically deducted from workers’ payroll for lunch breaks — whether or not employees actually took the breaks.

Staggs worked at Fuyao from September to December 2016. Staggs alleged that she worked overtime at Fuyao without being paid a time-and-a-half wages for that overtime work. She also claimed that she and others were not completely relieved of duties during what were supposed to be breaks from work.

A recent docket entry in the case revealed that the parties had arrived at a settlement during mediation. Plaintiffs’ attorney Bob DeRose recently declined to comment on that settlement.

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In a filing late last week, Fuyao’s attorneys wrote that the parties have agreed to seek to place settlement documents under seal.

“The parties agreed to this term to protect not only Fuyao, but the individuals who are identified by name and amount of certain payments in the agreement, in light of the media attention currently surrounding the company and its operations,” wrote Cleveland attorney Timothy Anderson, who is a member of Fuyao’s legal team.

The filing says Fuyao denies any wrongdoing and adds: “Fuyao has a substantial interest in excluding the motion and agreement from the public record to avoid negative publicity from those who would undoubtedly misconstrue the terms of the agreement, including the payments to the plaintiffs, as an admission of guilt.”

The settlement agreement names plaintiffs and specific payments they will receive, the filing says.

However, the filing also says that “pertinent documents” beyond the “motion, (settlement) agreement and related documents” will remain a part of the public record.

“The public can view and assess the claims and defenses asserted in the case,” the filing says.

Founded by a Chinese industrialist and billionaire, Fuyao has more than 2,300 workers in Moraine, making automotive glass.

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