TIMOTHY TANSKI V. AVALONBAY COMMUNITIES, INC.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

DOCKET NO.: 15-CV-06260

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

  2. Why is there a notice?

    You have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.

    The Court in charge of this case is the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and the case is called TIMOTHY TANSKI V. AVALONBAY COMMUNITIES, INC. DOCKET NO. 15-CV-06260. The individual who sued are called the Plaintiff, and the company they sued, Avalonbay Communities, Inc., is called the Defendant.

  3. What is this lawsuit about?

    This lawsuit is about whether the Defendant properly paid employees at AvalonBay communities in accordance with federal and state labor laws. In particular, this Notice relates to claims that the Defendant violated federal and New York State law by failing to pay eligible employees premium overtime pay at a rate 1.5 times employees’ hourly wage rate – for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek, due to the classification of some time as Non-Productive Hours.

    Defendant denies that it violated any laws or did anything wrong. The Court has not issued any decision in this case.

  4. Why is this a class action?

    A class and collective action is a lawsuit where one or more persons (“Class and Collective Representatives”) (in this case Timothy Tanski) sue not only for themselves, but also for other people who have similar claims. These other people are known as Class and Collective Members. In a class and collective action, one court resolves the issues for all Class and Collective Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class and Collective.

  5. Why is there a settlement?

    The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendant. The Plaintiffs think they could have won if they went to trial. The Defendant thinks the Plaintiffs would not have won anything from a trial. But there was no trial. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the costs, delays, and uncertainties associated with a trial, and the people affected will get compensation.

    The Class and Collective Representative and Class and Collective Counsel think the settlement is the best result for all potential Class and Collective Members. Class and Collective Counsel is satisfied that the terms and conditions of the settlement are fair, reasonable and adequate, and that the settlement is in the best interest of the Class and Collective Representative and the Class and Collective Members.

  6. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

    You are automatically a member of the Class if you were employed by AvalonBay as a Maintenance Employee in New York State at any time between October 30, 2009 and March 29, 2019, (the date the Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Approval of the Settlement). You are a member of the Collective if you previously returned an opt-in form in the Timothy Tanski v. AvalonBay Communities, Inc. lawsuit and you were employed as a Maintenance Employee in New York State at any time since April 27, 2013.

    Regardless of whether you previously submitted an opt-in form in this litigation, in order to be eligible to receive a monetary award from the settlement, you must now complete and return a Claim Form. If you return a complete and valid Claim Form by JULY 8, 2019, and you do not opt out of the settlement, you will be a “Qualified Settlement Recipient.” Being a Qualified Settlement Recipient does not automatically entitle you to recover from this settlement.

  7. I’m still not sure if I am included.

    If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, or have any other questions about the Settlement Agreement, you should visit the important documents page on this website.

    If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can call Class and Collective Counsel, Hach Rose Schirripa & Cheverie, LLP at (212) 213-8311 for more information.

  8. THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

  9. What relief does the Settlement provide to the Class Members?

    Defendant has agreed to pay $299,500.00, the “Gross Settlement Fund”. Subject to the Court’s Approval of the settlement and deductions for requested Class and Collective Counsel fees and litigation costs, incentive payment to the Class and Collective Representative, administration costs, and employment taxes will be made and the resulting funds, “The Net Settlement Fund” will be distributed amongst Qualified Settlement Recipients who have alleged claims of unpaid overtime and wage statement violations.

    If you return a valid Claim Form by JULY 8, 2019, and if you are eligible under the settlement to receive a payment, then you are a Qualified Settlement Recipient and your settlement allocation will be calculated as follows:

    The number of weeks you worked as a non-exempt Maintenance Employee, excluding any leave periods, at any AvalonBay property in New York State during the Relevant Time Period, divided by (ii) the number of weeks as a non-exempt Maintenance Employee in New York State during the Relevant Time Period by all class members who submit Claims Forms multiplied by (iii) the Net Settlement Amount.

    The Relevant Time Period is either October 30, 2009 through March 29, 2019, the date the Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Approval of the Settlement or, if you previously submitted an opt-in form, the period from April 27, 2013 through March 29, 2019, whichever is longer.

    We cannot estimate your payment at this time because your payment depends on the number of Qualified Settlement Recipients, and the Court needs to approve the service awards and attorneys’ fees and costs.

  10. HOW TO GET A PAYMENT– SUBMITTING A CLAIM FORM

  11. How do I get a Payment?

    In order to be eligible to receive a payment, you must return a complete, timely and valid Claim Form to:

    Tanski FLSA Settlement
    1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    by JULY 8, 2019. If you choose to exclude yourself, or you fail to return the Claim Form prior to the JULY 8, 2019 deadline, then you will not receive a payment.

  12. When will I get my Payment?

    The Court will hold a hearing on August 8, 2019 at 11 a.m. to decide whether to approve the settlement.

    Payments will be made to Class Members who submit valid and timely Claim Forms after the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement and after all appeals are resolved. If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved and resolving them can take time.

  13. Will my Payment be taxed?

    You will be responsible for paying taxes due on any settlement payment to you. Thirty percent (30%) of your settlement payment is attributable to overtime claims, and will be treated as wages (with payroll taxes withheld and a W-2 Form issued). The remaining seventy percent (70%) will be treated as non-wage income representing payment for alleged liquidated damages and statutory penalties (with no taxes withheld and a 1099 Form issued). Neither Class and Collective Counsel nor Defendant or Defendant’s counsel makes any representations concerning the tax consequences of this settlement, and you are advised to seek your own personal tax advice regarding the tax implications of the settlement.

  14. THE LAWYERS IN THIS CASE AND THE REPRESENTATIVE PLAINTIFFS

  15. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has decided that the law firm of Hach Rose Schirripa & Cheverie LLP, 112 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016, (212) 213-8311, is qualified to represent you and all Class and Collective Members. These lawyers have been designated as “Class and Collective Counsel” in this lawsuit. More information about Hach Rose Schirripa & Cheverie LLP, their practice, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.hrsclaw.com

  16. Will the Representative Plaintiff(s) receive any compensation for their efforts in bringing this Action?

    Class Counsel intends to file a motion seeking a incentive award in the amount of $5,000 for the Representative Plaintiff(s), to be drawn from the Settlement Fund. The Court will determine the amount of service awards.

  17. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Class and Collective Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to 33 1/3 % of the settlement amount to them for attorneys’ fees. The fees would pay Class and Collective Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the settlement. Class and Collective Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payment of up to $4,632.18 for their out-of-pocket costs.

    The Court may award less than these requested amounts to Class and Collective Counsel. Class and Collective Counsel will take their percentage of fees from the total settlement payment before making individual settlement allocations, and before settlement payments are distributed.

  18. DISMISSAL OF ACTION AND RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS

  19. What am I giving up to obtain relief under the Settlement?

    Unless you exclude yourself, you will remain in the Collective or Class. That means that you will release the overtime and wage statement claims discussed in Paragraph 2 of the Notice, regardless of whether you return a Claim Form or receive a settlement payment. Releasing your claims means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be party to any other lawsuit against Defendant about the legal issues in this case and the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Unless you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will release the overtime and wage statement claims discussed in paragraph 2 of the Notice.

    The Notice and Settlement Agreement are available on the important documents page of this website.

  20. HOW TO EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

  21. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must mail a written, signed statement including your name, address, telephone number(s), position(s) held during your employment with AvalonBay, the name(s) of any New York State property or properties at which you worked for AvalonBay, and the start and end dates of your employment with AvalonBay to:

    Class Action Opt-Outs
    ATTN: Tanski FLSA
    PO BOX 58220
    1500 John F Kennedy Blvd. Suite C31
    Philadelphia, PA 19102

    This written statement must also state:

    “I, [NAME], was or am employed by AvalonBay between [START DATE] and [END DATE]. I hereby exercise my right to opt out of the Tanski v. AvalonBay Communities, Inc. Settlement, knowing that by doing so I waive any and all rights I may have to participate in that Settlement and to be paid any portion of the settlement proceeds that I would otherwise be eligible to receive under that Settlement.”

    The written opt-out statement must be postmarked no later than JULY 8, 2019. If you ask to be excluded, you will not receive a settlement payment, and you cannot object to the settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may also be able to sue (or continue to sue) Defendant in the future, but Plaintiffs’ Counsel Hach Rose Schirripa & Cheverie LLP could not represent you. If you wish to exclude yourself in order to file an individual lawsuit against Defendant, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible because your claims are subject to a statute of limitations.

  22. HOW TO OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT

  23. How do I tell the Court that I disagree with the Settlement?

    If you are a Class or Collective Member, you can object to the settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a written statement including your name, address, and telephone number(s) to the Claims Administrator at,

    Class Action Objections
    ATTN: Tanski FLSA
    PO BOX 58220
    1500 John F Kennedy Blvd. Suite C31
    Philadelphia, PA 19102

    including all reasons for the objection. The written objection statement must be postmarked no later than June 10, 2019. Any reasons not included in the statement will not be considered by the Court.

  24. What is the difference between excluding myself and objecting to the Settlement?

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

  25. FAIRNESS HEARING

  26. What is the Fairness Hearing?

    The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement and will hold a hearing on August 8, 2019 at 11 am to decide whether to give final approval to the Settlement.

    At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider how much to pay Class Counsel and the Representatives Plaintiff(s). If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

    Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Court may have, but you may come at your own expense. If you submit an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

  27. When and where is the Fairness Hearing?

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on August 8, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York in Courtroom 910 before the Honorable Kathleen Tomlinson.

    The hearing may be postponed to a different date or time or location without notice. Please check the homepage of this website often for any updates. If the date or time of the Fairness Hearing changes, an update to the Settlement website will be the only way you will be informed of the change.

  28. May I speak at the Fairness Hearing?

    If you file a timely objection to the settlement, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must include the words I intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing” in your written objection, which must be filed according to the procedure described in Paragraph 18 of the Notice and FAQ 15 above. Your testimony at the Fairness Hearing will be limited to those reasons that are included in your written objection. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the settlement.

  29. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  30. How do I get more information?

    You can obtain more information about the settlement or obtain a copy of the settlement agreement by contacting Class and Collective Counsel at 112 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, New York 10016, (212) 213-8311.

  31. What if my address or other information has changed or changes after I submit a Claim Form?

    It is your responsibility to inform the Claims Administrator of your updated information. You may do so by mail at:

    Tanski FLSA Settlement
    1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

DO NOT ADDRESS ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR THE LITIGATION TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT OR THE JUDGE, DEFENDANT, OR DEFENDANT’S COUNSEL.