Ninth Circuit Affirms $95 Million Settlement of California Meal Break Claims Against Wells Fargo

Rejects Objectors’ Challenge in Expedited Appellate Proceedings

Oct. 12, 2022 – The Ninth Circuit today affirmed the district court’s approval of a groundbreaking $95 million settlement in Ibarra v. Wells Fargo, which involved the claims of nearly 5,000 Wells Fargo home mortgage consultants who alleged that the Bank had used an unlawful formula for calculating legally mandated premium pay for missed rest breaks, basing those payments exclusively on the plaintiffs’ base hourly rates and ignoring the commissions that were the principal basis for their compensation.

Altshuler Berzon LLP was lead counsel on appeal and assisted trial counsel Joshua Hafner and Paul Stevens throughout much of the litigation, including by participating as amicus in a related case before the California Court of Appeal and later, before the California Supreme Court, Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 489 P.3d 1166 (Cal. 2021), which established the underlying principle that all categories of compensation must be included in calculating rest break violation penalties under California Labor Code §226.7.

After overcoming the objector’s challenges to the class action settlement in Ibarra (and two related cases), plaintiffs succeeded again in the Ninth Circuit, first by obtaining an expedited briefing schedule (to avoid further delay in distributing the substantial payments available to class members under the settlement) and then by winning the appeal based on the briefs, in an unpublished decision issued without the need for oral argument. The affected Wells Fargo employees will be receiving their settlement checks before the end of 2022.