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Larson v. Allina Health System

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 21, 2019

Judy Larson, Janelle Mausolf, and Karen Reese, individually and on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Allina Health System; the Allina Health System Board of Directors; the Allina Health System Retirement Committee; the Allina Health System Chief Administrative Officer; the Allina Health System Chief Human Resources Officer; Clay Ahrens; John I. Allen; Jennifer Alstad; Gary Bhojwani; Barbara Butts-Williams; John R. Church; Laura Gillund; Joseph Goswitz; Greg Heinemann; David Kuplic; Hugh T. Nierengarten; Sahra Noor; Brian Rosenberg; Debbra L. Schoneman; Thomas S. Schreier, Jr.; Abir Sen, Sally J. Smith; Darrell Tukua; Penny Wheeler; Duncan Gallagher; Christine Webster Moore; Kristyn Mullin; Steve Wallner; John T. Knight; and John Does 1- 20, Defendants.

          MARK GYANDOH, CAPOZZI ADLER, P.C., FOR PLAINTIFFS

          NICHOLAS J. BULLARD, DORSEY & WHITNEY, LLP, FOR DEFENDANTS

         ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, PRELIMINARILY CERTIFYING A CLASS FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES, APPROVING FORM AND MANNER OF CLASS NOTICE, PRELIMINARILY APPROVING PLAN OF ALLOCATION AND SCHEDULING A DATE FOR A FAIRNESS HEARING

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This Action involves claims for alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. (“ERISA”), with respect to the Allina Health System (“Allina”) 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan and the Allina 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan (collectively, the “Plans” or “Plan”).[1] The terms of the Settlement are set out in the Settlement Agreement, fully executed as of October 14, 2019, by counsel on behalf of the Named Plaintiffs and Defendants, respectively.

         Pursuant to the Named Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, Preliminary Certification of a Class for Settlement Purposes, Approving Form and Manner of Class Notice, Preliminarily Approving Plan of Allocation, and Scheduling a Date for a Fairness Hearing [Doc. No. 94], the Court preliminarily considered the Settlement to determine, among other things, whether the Settlement is sufficient to warrant the issuance of notice to members of the proposed Settlement Class. Upon reviewing the Settlement Agreement and the matter having come before the Court at the Preliminary Approval hearing on November 21, 2019, due notice having been given and the Court having been fully advised in the premises, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED as follows:

         1. Preliminary Certification of the Settlement Class. In accordance with the Settlement Agreement, and pursuant to Rules 23(a) and (b) 1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this Court hereby conditionally certifies the following class (“Settlement Class”):

All current and former participants and beneficiaries (excluding Defendants and their Immediate Family Members) of the Allina Health System (“Allina”) 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan and the Allina 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan at any time between August 18, 2011 and the date of this Order.

         2. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, and for settlement purposes only, the Court preliminarily finds that:

(a) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1), the Settlement Class is ascertainable from records kept with respect to the Plans and from other objective criteria, and the Settlement Class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.
(b) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(2), there are one or more questions of law and/or fact common to the Settlement Class.
(c) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(3), the claims of the Named Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Settlement Class that the Named Plaintiffs seek to certify.
(d) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(4), that the Named Plaintiffs will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the Settlement Class in that: (i) the interests of the Named Plaintiffs and the nature of the alleged claims are consistent with those of the Settlement Class members; and (ii) there appear to be no conflicts between or among the Named Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class.
(e) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(1), the prosecution of separate actions by individual members of the Settlement Class would create a risk of: (i) inconsistent or varying adjudications as to individual Settlement Class members that would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the parties opposing the claims asserted in this Action; or (ii) adjudications as to individual Settlement Class members that, as a practical matter, would be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the individual adjudications, or substantially impair or impede the ability of such persons to protect their interests.
(f) as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(g), Class Counsel are capable of fairly and adequately representing the interests of the Settlement Class, and Class Counsel: (i) have done appropriate work identifying or investigating potential claims in the Action; (ii) are experienced in handling class actions; and (iii) ...

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