Fuyao agrees to pay $1.3M in lawsuit settlement

Fuyao Glass American in Moraine. FILE
Fuyao Glass American in Moraine. FILE

Fuyao Glass America has agreed to pay $1.3 million to a group of current and former workers — and their attorneys — who sued the company over the auto glass manufacturer’s scheduling and work conditions.

A federal magistrate denied the Fuyao’s request to keep settlement terms sealed.

“Defendant agrees to pay a total settlement amount of one million three hundred thousand dollars and no cents ($1,300,000.00) (‘gross settlement amount’). The gross settlement amount includes all amounts to be paid by defendant under this agreement,” states a new filing in the class-action lawsuit against Fuyao, dated Monday.

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Bob DeRose, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined comment Monday afternoon. A message seeking comment was sent to Cleveland lawyer Timothy Anderson, Fuyao’s lead attorney in the case.

According to settlement terms outlined in the new filing, Fuyao agrees not to oppose a request by plaintiffs’ attorneys for “reasonable attorneys’fees and litigation costs,” not to exceed $500,000. That is to be paid “solely from the gross settlement amount,” the filing indicates.

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The settlement is to be allocated among plaintiffs on a pro rata basis based on the number of weeks each plaintiff worked during a “settlement class period,” from June 2, 2014 to Sept. 27, 2019.

Within 35 days of the court’s approval of the settlement, Fuyao will be expected to deposit the settlement into an account designated by the settlement administrator.

Moraine manufacturer Fuyao had sought to keep private how much the company was willing to pay to settle this suit. That motion had been unopposed by the Columbus law firm that represents more than 600 former and current Fuyao workers in the case.

U.S. Magistrate Michael Newman said the case was a “Fair Labor Standards Act” collective action settlement. As such, the burden was on Fuyao to show why settlement terms should be kept sealed, Newman wrote.

“A party maintaining that records should be sealed from public view bears a heavy burden of setting forth specific reasons why the interests in ‘nondisclosure are compelling,’ … he wrote.

The case goes back to the original plaintiff, former Fuyao worker Julia Staggs, who filed the suit in June 2017 in Dayton’s federal court.

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

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

By August 2018, 636 current and former workers had joined the suit.

Fuyao has more than 2,300 workers total. The plant off West Stroop Road is the world’s largest dedicated to making auto safety glass for OEM manufacturers and the glass after-market.