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Bryant v. United Furniture Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

June 2, 2015

RACHEL BROWN HEFFERNAN BRYANT, et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED FURNITURE INDUSTRIES, INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER

SHARION AYCOCK, District Judge.

Plaintiffs initiated this suit on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, seeking to recover unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). On March 30, 2015, this Court entered an Order [107] conditionally certifying the pending collective action as follows:

All persons employed by Defendants from January 1, 2010 until December 30, 2013 as furniture manufacturers in the operation of Defendants' furniture manufacturing plants in the state of Mississippi who worked off the clock and were not paid for overtime wages under the FLSA, with the exception of those persons who previously "opted in" to the lawsuit Carothers v. United Furniture Industries Inc., No. 1:13-CV-00203-DAS and reached a settlement of their claims in its course.

By the same order, the Court instructed Plaintiffs to file a motion for Court approval of the notice and consent to join forms to be provided to putative class members. Plaintiffs have filed their Motion [109], seeking Court approval of said forms attached as Exhibits 1 and 2 to this order. Defendants have lodged several objections to the Plaintiffs' proposed forms.

Upon consideration of the proposals, objections in response, and reply, Plaintiffs' Motion [109] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Consistent with modifications made herein, the Court hereby approves the notice and consent forms in the formats attached as Exhibits 3 and 4 to this order.

Dates of Employment

Defendants' first objection is based on an argument previously addressed by the Court. Defendants filed a Motion to Amend/Correct [110], seeking to have the Court amend the parameters of the conditionally certified class. Defendants argued, among other things, that the class time period should begin no later than January 1, 2011, a date three years prior to the commencement of this lawsuit. Otherwise, Defendants argued, the class could include potential litigants whose claims are time barred. See 29 U.S.C. ยง 255(a) (providing a three year statute of limitations for FLSA claims based on willful violations). In denying Defendants' Motion to Amend/Correct, the Court explained that although the conditional class may include some timebarred claims, reaching such a merits-based decision at this preliminary notice stage would be premature.

In their response to the pending motion, filed prior to the Court's denial of their Motion to Amend/Correct, Defendants likewise urge that the proposed class time period, as listed on the Plaintiffs' proposed form of notice, should be amended to reflect a beginning date of January 1, 2011. Thus, for the same reasons set forth in the Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Amend/Correct [122], Defendants' present objection to Plaintiffs' proposed form of notice is denied.

Merits-Based Language

Defendants raise two objections relating to language in the proposed forms concerning the merits of Plaintiffs' claims. As submitted, the first sentence of Paragraph 1 of the form of notice, entitled "Purpose of Notice" currently reads:

The purpose of this notice is to inform you of your right to join a lawsuit filed against United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al. seeking recovery of unpaid overtime wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out and other monetary damages.

Defendants request that the word "alleged" be interlineated immediately prior to the words "unpaid overtime wages for work...."

Similarly, the final sentence of the first paragraph in Plaintiffs' proposed consent to join form reads: "Said employees worked in excess of forty (40) hours and were not paid overtime wages." Plaintiffs request that the words "claim to have" be inserted between "employees" and "worked in excess...."

The United States Supreme Court has explained that lower courts possess broad discretion in facilitating notice to potential class members of a Section 16(b) collective action, but that courts "must be scrupulous to respect judicial neutrality" by avoiding "even the appearance of judicial endorsement of the merits of the action." Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 174, 110 S.Ct. 482, 107 L.Ed.2d 480 (1989). Plaintiffs argue that the risk of judicial endorsement is adequately assuaged by a statement appearing at the bottom of Plaintiffs' proposed form of notice emphasizing that the Court takes no position regarding the case's merits, and that Defendants' proposed changes are duplicative. Plaintiffs have not, however, articulated any harm that may accrue by inserting the words "alleged" and "claim to have." Thus, to err on the side of scrupulous respect of judicial neutrality, Defendants' requests in this regard are hereby granted.[1]

Consent Deadline

The following paragraph appears at the top of page three of the form of notice:

If your signed Consent Form is not postmarked by _______ [120 DAYS FROM MAILING], you will not receive any of the potential money damages recovered against United Furniture Industries, Inc., in this lawsuit. If you have any questions about filling out or sending the Consent Form, please contact Plaintiffs' counsel listed on page 1 of this notice.

Defendants' argue this paragraph is duplicative and ask that it be deleted in its entirety. As Plaintiffs note, however, the consequences of a failure to postmark a consent form within the notice period do not appear elsewhere in either form. Accordingly, the Court finds that the paragraph at issue is not unnecessarily duplicative. Defendants' request to have it stricken is therefore denied.

Additionally, although not raised by the parties, the Court notes that Plaintiffs' proposed notice form states that an employee's consent must be postmarked within 120 days from Plaintiffs' mailing. Yet, the Court's order conditionally certifying the present class sets the notice period to run for 120 days beginning "on the day after the Court approves the form of notice and the consent to join form." Thus, in the form amended by this Order, the Court has inserted the appropriate deadline by which an employee's consent form is required to be postmarked.

Anti-Retaliation Language

Paragraph 5 of the proposed form of notice, appearing on page three, reads:

It is a violation of federal law for United Furniture Industries, Inc. to fire you, or in any manner retaliate against you, for taking part in this case. If you believe United Furniture Industries, Inc. has retaliated against you then you should contact Plaintiffs' counsel immediately.

Defendants argue there is no basis to infer that they may retaliate against any prospective class members and accordingly request the paragraph be stricken in its entirety. Plaintiffs have, however, attached an affidavit of a paralegal for Plaintiffs' counsel, stating that she received a phone call from John Mixon, who has already filed a written consent with the Court and who wished to cease participation in the current suit because he "felt that remaining in the litigation would prevent any chances of future employment with United Furniture Industries."

Moreover, another district court within the Fifth Circuit has approved a similar antiretaliation provision on the grounds that it is an accurate statement of federal law. See In re Wells Fargo Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litigation (No. III), 2013 WL 2180014, at *8 (S.D. Tex. May 17, 2013). For these reasons, Defendants' request to strike the anti-retaliation language is denied.

Defendant's Dispute of Liability

Defendants also request that a new paragraph be added immediately prior to the current paragraph three on page two, which would have the heading "Position of United Furniture Industries" and would read:

United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies all claims asserted by the plaintiffs in this action and denies that it required its employees to work off the clock and failed to pay them overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act as claimed by the plaintiffs in this action, or otherwise violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Plaintiffs argue that such a paragraph is inconsistent with the purpose of the form, i.e., to provide notice to potential class members, and that it duplicates the final sentence of paragraph two, entitled "Description of the Lawsuit, " which states that "United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies that it has violated any law and contends that it has paid its employees properly."

Consistent with another district court opinion from within the Fifth Circuit, the Court recognizes that the notice should contain a statement of Defendants' basis for disputing liability. Yaklin v. W-H Energy Servs., Inc., 2008 WL 1989795, at *4 (S.D. Tex. May 2, 2008). However, Plaintiffs are correct that, to some extent, Defendants' proposed language is duplicative. To accommodate both parties and strike an appropriate balance, the Court orders the language appearing in block quotes above to replace the aforementioned final sentence of paragraph two. The heading "Position of United Furniture Industries" is not, however, to be included. Therefore, instead of paragraph two ending with the sentence, "United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies that it has violated any law and contends that it has paid its employees properly[, ]" it will now end with the following narrative:

United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies all claims asserted by the plaintiffs in this action and denies that it required its employees to work off the clock and failed to pay them overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act as claimed by the plaintiffs in this action, or otherwise violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Conclusion

For the above reasons, the Plaintiffs' Motion for Court Approval of Forms for Notice and

Consent to Join [109] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. As previously instructed in the Court's order granting conditional certification, Plaintiffs shall prepare and mail the approved notice and consent to join forms, attached as Exhibits 3 and 4 to this order, to the individuals appearing on the employee list provided by Defendants, other than the opt-in plaintiffs in Carothers. The first day of the notice period is tomorrow, June 3, 2015. For successful inclusion into the opt-in class, employees must provide their consent forms, postmarked no later than September 30, 2015, which Plaintiffs' counsel shall subsequently file with the Clerk of Court no later than October 14, 2015.

SO ORDERED.

NOTICE OF OVERTIME WAGES LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas, et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al.; In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division; Cause No. 1:13-cv-00246-SA-DAS

TO: All persons employed by Defendants from January 1, 2010 until December 30, 2013 as furniture manufacturers in the operation of Defendants' furniture manufacturing plants in the state of Mississippi who worked off the clock and were not paid for overtime wages under the FLSA, with the exception of those persons who previously "opted in" to the lawsuit Carothers v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., No.: 1:13-CV-00203-DAS and reached a settlement of their claims in its course.

RE: Right to Join Lawsuit Seeking Unpaid Overtime Wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out.

DATE: _______________________________, 2015

1. PURPOSE OF NOTICE

The purpose of this notice is to inform you of your right to join a lawsuit filed against United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al. seeking recovery of unpaid overtime wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out and other money damages. This notice will also advise you of how your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") may be affected by this lawsuit and instruct you on the procedure for participating in this suit if you decide to do so.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas have sued United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al. in the United State District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division. The case has been assigned Civil Action No.: 1:13-CV-00246-SA-DAS and is pending on the docket of United States District Judge Sharion Aycock. Plaintiffs claim that United Furniture Industries, Inc. violated federal law by failing to pay proper overtime compensation for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out. United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies that it has violated any law and contends that it has paid its employees properly.

The Plaintiffs' attorney in this case is:

W. Howard Gunn Attorney at Law P.O. Box 157 Aberdeen, MS 39730 phone number: (662)-369-8533 Toll-Free Telephone Number: (877)-516-9549 fax number: (662)-369-9844 email address: whgunn@bellsouth.net

3. DEFINITION OF THE CLASS

The Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a class of other employees with whom they believe they are similarly situated. The class is defined as: All persons employed by Defendants from January 1, 2010 until December 30, 2013 as furniture manufacturers in the operation of Defendants' furniture manufacturing plaints in the state of Mississippi who worked off the clock and were not paid for overtime wages under the FLSA, with the exception of those persons who previously "opted in" to the lawsuit Carothers v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., No.: 1:13-CV-00203-DAS and reached a settlement of their claims in its course.

This notice is only for the purpose of determining the identity of those persons who wish to be involved in this case and has no other purpose. Your right to participate in this suit may depend upon a later decision by the United States District Court that you and Plaintiffs are actually "similarly situated".

4. HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS LAWSUIT

Enclosed you will find a form entitled, "Consent to Join Overtime Wages Lawsuit" ("Consent Form"). If you choose to join this lawsuit, and thus to participate in any recovery that may result from this lawsuit, it is extremely important that you read, sign, and return the Consent Form. A self-addressed, postage-paid envelope is enclosed for your convenience. Should the enclosed envelope be lost or misplaced, the Consent Form should be sent to:

W. Howard Gunn Attorney at Law P.O. Box 157 Aberdeen, MS 39730 fax number: (662)-369-9844 email address: whgunn@bellsouth.net

The signed Consent Form must be postmarked ___________ [120 DAYS FROM MAILING].

If your signed Consent Form is not postmarked by _________ [120 DAYS FROM MAILING], you will not receive any of the potential money damages recovered against United Furniture Industries, Inc. in this lawsuit. If you have any questions about filling out or sending the Consent Form, please contact Plaintiffs' counsel listed on page 1 of this notice.

5. NO RETALIATION PERMITTED

It is a violation of federal law for United Furniture Industries, Inc. to fire you, or in any manner retaliate against you, for taking part in this case. If you believe United Furniture Industries, Inc has retaliated against you then you should contact Plaintiffs' counsel immediately.

6. EFFECT OF JOINING THIS LAWSUIT

If you choose to join this lawsuit, you will be bound by the judgment. You will also be bound by, and will share in, any settlement that may be reached on behalf of the class. By joining this lawsuit, you designate Plaintiffs as your agents to make decisions on your behalf concerning the litigation, the method and manner of conducting the litigation, the entering of an agreement with Plaintiffs' counsel concerning attorney's fees and costs, and all other matters pertaining to the lawsuit. Theses decisions and agreements made and entered into by the Plaintiffs will be binding on you if you join this lawsuit. Plaintiffs' have entered into a contingency fee agreement with their counsel, which means that, if there is no recovery, there will be no attorney's fees or cost charged to you. If there is a recovery, Plaintiffs' counsel will receive a part of any settlement obtained or money judgment entered in favor of all members of the class. You may request a copy of the contingency fee agreement that Plaintiffs signed in this matter from their counsel at the address or telephone number that appears on page 2 of this notice.

7. NO LEGAL EFFECT IN NOT JOINING THIS LAWSUIT

If you choose not to join this lawsuit, you will not be affected by any judgment or settlement rendered in this case, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class. You will not be entitled to share any amounts recovered by the class. You will be free to file your own lawsuit, subject to any defenses that might be asserted. The pendency of this suit will not stop the running of the statute of limitations as to any claims you might have until you opt into this lawsuit.

8. FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information about this notice or the lawsuit may be obtained from Plaintiffs' counsel at the address or telephone listed on page 2 of this notice.

THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT HAS AUTHORIZED THE PARTIES IN THIS CAUSE TO ISSUE THIS NOTICE BUT TAKES NO POSITION REGARDING THE MERITS OF THE PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS OR OF THE DEFENDANTS' DEFENSES.

CONSENT TO JOIN OVERTIME WAGES LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al., In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division; Cause No. 1:13-CV-00246-SA-DAS

I understand that I may be a potential plaintiff who is "similarly situated" to Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas (Plaintiffs) in this case and may join the lawsuit shown above, which has been filed by such former employees of United Furniture Industries, Inc. ("United Furniture"), to recover unpaid overtime wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out and other money damages. Said employees worked in excess of forty (40) hours and were not paid overtime wages.

By signing and returning this Consent for filing with the Court, I understand that I designate Plaintiffs as my agents to make decisions on my behalf concerning Fair Labor Standards Act Litigation against United Furniture Industries, Inc., including the method and manner of conducting this litigation, entering into settlement agreements, entering into agreements with Plaintiffs' counsel concerning attorney's fees and cost, and all other matters pertaining to Fair Labor Standards Act Litigation against United Furniture Industries, Inc. These decisions and agreements, made and entered into by Plaintiffs will be binding on me if I sign and return this consent.

I understand that Plaintiffs have entered into a joint Contingency Fee Agreement with W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law, which applies to all plaintiffs who sign and return this consent. If I sign and return this Consent, I agree to be bound by such Contingency Fee Agreement. I understand that under the terms of the Contingency Fee Agreement, the Law Firm's attorney's fees and costs shall only be paid out of a recovery, by judgment, settlement or otherwise, of claims against United Furniture Industries, Inc. and that if no such recovery is obtained, I will not be held responsible for such attorneys fees or costs. I further understand that I may obtain a copy of the Contingency Fee Agreement upon requesting it from W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law.

I agree and understand that the Law Firm and/or Plaintiffs may in the future appoint other individuals to be representative plaintiffs in this litigation. I consent to such appointment and agree to be bound by the decisions of such new representative plaintiff(s) for all purposes related to this litigation.

By choosing to file this consent, I understand that I will be bound by the judgment of the Court. I will also be bound by, and will share in, as the Court may approve, any settlement that may be negotiated on behalf of all Plaintiffs.

I acknowledge and understand that if I do not file this consent, I will not be affected by any judgment or settlement rendered or reached in this lawsuit, and I will not be entitled to share in any amounts recovered by Plaintiffs whether by judgment, settlement or otherwise.

I agree to notify W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law, immediately if my telephone number(s) or address should change.

I consent to join in this lawsuit.

PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

This information will not be made part of any public record and is necessary for your attorney's files for litigation and possible settlement purposes. It is critical that you keep us informed of any changes in your contact information.

Name: ____________________________________________

Any other Name(s) used or known by:

____________________________________________

Street Address: _____________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ______________________________________________________________

City, State, & Zip Code: _________________________________________

Social Security No.:_____________________________________________

Daytime Telephone:____________________________________________

Evening Telephone: _____________________________________

Cellular Telephone: __________________________________

E-Mail Address: _______________________________________

Return this form to:

NOTICE OF OVERTIME WAGES LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas, et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al.; In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division; Cause No. 1:13-cv-00246-SA-DAS

TO: All persons employed by Defendants from January 1, 2010 until December 30, 2013 as furniture manufacturers in the operation of Defendants' furniture manufacturing plants in the state of Mississippi who worked off the clock and were not paid for overtime wages under the FLSA, with the exception of those persons who previously "opted in" to the lawsuit Carothers v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., No.: 1:13-CV-00203-DAS and reached a settlement of their claims in its course.

RE: Right to Join Lawsuit Seeking Unpaid Overtime Wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out.

DATE: _______________________________, 2015

1. PURPOSE OF NOTICE

The purpose of this notice is to inform you of your right to join a lawsuit filed against United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al. seeking recovery of alleged unpaid overtime wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out and other money damages. This notice will also advise you of how your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") may be affected by this lawsuit and instruct you on the procedure for participating in this suit if you decide to do so.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas have sued United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al. in the United State District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division. The case has been assigned Civil Action No.: 1:13-CV-00246-SA-DAS and is pending on the docket of United States District Judge Sharion Aycock. Plaintiffs claim that United Furniture Industries, Inc. violated federal law by failing to pay proper overtime compensation for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out.

United Furniture Industries, Inc. denies all claims asserted by the plaintiffs in this action and denies that it required its employees to work off the clock and failed to pay them overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act as claimed by the plaintiffs in this action, or otherwise violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Plaintiffs' attorney in this case is:

W. Howard Gunn Attorney at Law P.O. Box 157 Aberdeen, MS 39730 phone number: (662)-369-8533 Toll-Free Telephone Number: (877)-516-9549 fax number: (662)-369-9844 email address: whgunn@bellsouth.net

3. DEFINITION OF THE CLASS

The Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a class of other employees with whom they believe they are similarly situated. The class is defined as: All persons employed by Defendants from January 1, 2010 until December 30, 2013 as furniture manufacturers in the operation of Defendants' furniture manufacturing plaints in the state of Mississippi who worked off the clock and were not paid for overtime wages under the FLSA, with the exception of those persons who previously "opted in" to the lawsuit Carothers v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., No.: 1:13-CV-00203-DAS and reached a settlement of their claims in its course.

This notice is only for the purpose of determining the identity of those persons who wish to be involved in this case and has no other purpose. Your right to participate in this suit may depend upon a later decision by the United States District Court that you and Plaintiffs are actually "similarly situated".

4. HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS LAWSUIT

Enclosed you will find a form entitled, "Consent to Join Overtime Wages Lawsuit" ("Consent Form"). If you choose to join this lawsuit, and thus to participate in any recovery that may result from this lawsuit, it is extremely important that you read, sign, and return the Consent Form. A self-addressed, postage-paid envelope is enclosed for your convenience. Should the enclosed envelope be lost or misplaced, the Consent Form should be sent to:

W. Howard Gunn Attorney at Law P.O. Box 157 Aberdeen, MS 39730 fax number: (662)-369-9844 email address: whgunn@bellsouth.net

The signed Consent Form must be postmarked September 30, 2015.

If your signed Consent Form is not postmarked by September 30, 2015, you will not receive any of the potential money damages recovered against United Furniture Industries, Inc. in this lawsuit. If you have any questions about filling out or sending the Consent Form, please contact Plaintiffs' counsel listed on page 1 of this notice.

5. NO RETALIATION PERMITTED

It is a violation of federal law for United Furniture Industries, Inc. to fire you, or in any manner retaliate against you, for taking part in this case. If you believe United Furniture Industries, Inc has retaliated against you then you should contact Plaintiffs' counsel immediately.

6. EFFECT OF JOINING THIS LAWSUIT

If you choose to join this lawsuit, you will be bound by the judgment. You will also be bound by, and will share in, any settlement that may be reached on behalf of the class. By joining this lawsuit, you designate Plaintiffs as your agents to make decisions on your behalf concerning the litigation, the method and manner of conducting the litigation, the entering of an agreement with Plaintiffs' counsel concerning attorney's fees and costs, and all other matters pertaining to the lawsuit. Theses decisions and agreements made and entered into by the Plaintiffs will be binding on you if you join this lawsuit. Plaintiffs' have entered into a contingency fee agreement with their counsel, which means that, if there is no recovery, there will be no attorney's fees or cost charged to you. If there is a recovery, Plaintiffs' counsel will receive a part of any settlement obtained or money judgment entered in favor of all members of the class. You may request a copy of the contingency fee agreement that Plaintiffs signed in this matter from their counsel at the address or telephone number that appears on page 2 of this notice.

7. NO LEGAL EFFECT IN NOT JOINING THIS LAWSUIT

If you choose not to join this lawsuit, you will not be affected by any judgment or settlement rendered in this case, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class. You will not be entitled to share any amounts recovered by the class. You will be free to file your own lawsuit, subject to any defenses that might be asserted. The pendency of this suit will not stop the running of the statute of limitations as to any claims you might have until you opt into this lawsuit.

8. FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information about this notice or the lawsuit may be obtained from Plaintiffs' counsel at the address or telephone listed on page 2 of this notice.

THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT HAS AUTHORIZED THE PARTIES IN THIS CAUSE TO ISSUE THIS NOTICE BUT TAKES NO POSITION REGARDING THE MERITS OF THE PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS OR OF THE DEFENDANTS' DEFENSES.

CONSENT TO JOIN OVERTIME WAGES LAWSUIT

Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated v. United Furniture Industries, Inc., et al., In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division; Cause No. 1:13-CV-00246-SA-DAS

I understand that I may be a potential plaintiff who is "similarly situated" to Rachel Brown Heffernan Bryant, Kenny Bryant, Anthony Brown, Cleveland Woodrow Oliver, Jr., David L. Franks, Allie Everett and Eric Thomas (Plaintiffs) in this case and may join the lawsuit shown above, which has been filed by such former employees of United Furniture Industries, Inc. ("United Furniture"), to recover unpaid overtime wages for work performed off the clock before clocking in and after clocking out and other money damages. Said employees claim to have worked in excess of forty (40) hours and were not paid overtime wages.

By signing and returning this Consent for filing with the Court, I understand that I designate Plaintiffs as my agents to make decisions on my behalf concerning Fair Labor Standards Act Litigation against United Furniture Industries, Inc., including the method and manner of conducting this litigation, entering into settlement agreements, entering into agreements with Plaintiffs' counsel concerning attorney's fees and cost, and all other matters pertaining to Fair Labor Standards Act Litigation against United Furniture Industries, Inc. These decisions and agreements, made and entered into by Plaintiffs will be binding on me if I sign and return this consent.

I understand that Plaintiffs have entered into a joint Contingency Fee Agreement with W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law, which applies to all plaintiffs who sign and return this consent. If I sign and return this Consent, I agree to be bound by such Contingency Fee Agreement. I understand that under the terms of the Contingency Fee Agreement, the Law Firm's attorney's fees and costs shall only be paid out of a recovery, by judgment, settlement or otherwise, of claims against United Furniture Industries, Inc. and that if no such recovery is obtained, I will not be held responsible for such attorneys fees or costs. I further understand that I may obtain a copy of the Contingency Fee Agreement upon requesting it from W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law.

I agree and understand that the Law Firm and/or Plaintiffs may in the future appoint other individuals to be representative plaintiffs in this litigation. I consent to such appointment and agree to be bound by the decisions of such new representative plaintiff(s) for all purposes related to this litigation.

By choosing to file this consent, I understand that I will be bound by the judgment of the Court. I will also be bound by, and will share in, as the Court may approve, any settlement that may be negotiated on behalf of all Plaintiffs.

I acknowledge and understand that if I do not file this consent, I will not be affected by any judgment or settlement rendered or reached in this lawsuit, and I will not be entitled to share in any amounts recovered by Plaintiffs whether by judgment, settlement or otherwise.

I agree to notify W. Howard Gunn, Attorney at Law, immediately if my telephone number(s) or address should change.

I consent to join in this lawsuit.

PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

This information will not be made part of any public record and is necessary for your attorney's files for litigation and possible settlement purposes. It is critical that you keep us informed of any changes in your contact information.

Name: ____________________________________________

Any other Name(s) used or known by:

____________________________________________

Street Address: _____________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ______________________________________________________________

City, State, & Zip Code: _________________________________________

Social Security No.:_____________________________________________

Daytime Telephone:____________________________________________

Evening Telephone: _____________________________________

Cellular Telephone: __________________________________

E-Mail Address: _______________________________________

Return this form to:


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