NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, SETTLEMENT FAIRNESS HEARING, AND MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND REIMBURSEMENT OF ATTORNEY EXPENSES
This notice advises you of the Settlement of Gotta v. Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 2:20-cv-01865 (D. Ariz.) (the “Action”), a class action lawsuit brought by Samantha Gotta and Michael De Sena (“Plaintiffs”) on behalf of themselves, the Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. 401(k) Plan (the “Plan”), and the Members of the Settlement Class described below, against Defendants Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.; the Board of Directors of Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.; and the Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Fiduciary Investment Committee (“Defendants” or “Stantec”) (collectively with Plaintiffs, the “Parties”). The Action was brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, (“ERISA”). The Settlement would release Defendants and related parties from any claims filed against them in the Action. The terms and conditions of the Settlement are set forth in a Stipulation of Settlement (the “Stipulation”). Capitalized terms used in this notice but not defined in this notice have the meanings assigned to them in the Stipulation. The Stipulation and additional information with respect to the Action and the Settlement are available at www.StantecERISASettlement.com or by contacting Class Counsel described below.
The Parties have agreed to settle this case for $2,000,000 (the “Settlement Amount”). The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement, which provides for allocation of Settlement funds to Members of the Settlement Class.
The Court has scheduled a hearing concerning Final Approval of the Settlement and Class Counsel’s motion for attorney’s fees and expenses and for incentive awards to the Plaintiffs. That hearing, before the Honorable G. Murray Snow, is scheduled on March 8th, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3 at the U.S. District Court, Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse, 401 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003. If Final Approval is granted, the Settlement will bind you as a Member of the Settlement Class. You may appear at this hearing and/or object to the Settlement. Any objections to the Settlement, the motion for attorney’s fees and expenses, and/or the request for Plaintiff incentive awards must be served in writing on the Court and the Parties’ counsel. More information about the hearing and how to object is explained below.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS WILL BE AFFECTED WHETHER OR NOT YOU TAKE ANY ACTION. READ THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT DEFENDANTS OR THE COURT. THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.
|YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT
|You can do nothing. (No action is necessary to receive an allocated payment.)
|If the Settlement is approved by the Court and you are a Member of the Settlement Class entitled to a payment under the Plan of Allocation, you do not need to do anything to receive a payment.
You can submit an objection. (It must be postmarked by February 23, 2024.)
|If you submit a written objection to the Settlement before the Court-Approved Deadline, you may (but do not have to) speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement.
- These rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in this notice.
- Information concerning your individual share of the Net Settlement Fund, if any, will not be available for a number of months after the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement and any appeals are resolved. Thank you for your patience.
SUMMARY OF CASE
As described in more detail below and in Plaintiffs’ Complaint, this Action alleges that Defendants breached fiduciary duties owed to participants in and beneficiaries of the Plan during the Class Period. Defendants vigorously deny the allegations. Copies of the Stipulation related to the Settlement are available at www.StantecERISASettlement.com.
SUMMARY OF SETTLEMENT
The Stipulation provides that Defendants will pay or cause its fiduciary insurance carrier to pay $2,000,000 in cash, which will be deposited into an account called the Settlement Fund. After payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses, costs of notice, and any expenses and excess fees related to administration of the Settlement, the amount remaining in the account shall constitute the Net Settlement Fund and be allocated among Members of the Settlement Class according to a Plan of Allocation to be approved by the Court.
STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL OUTCOME OF THE ACTION
Class Counsel believe that the claims against Defendants are well-grounded in law and fact and that breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA occurred in this case. However, as with any litigated case, Members of the Settlement Class would face an uncertain outcome if the Action were to continue against Defendant. Continued litigation of the Action could result in a range of possible recoveries, including a judgment or verdict greater or less than the recovery under the Stipulation, or no recovery at all. Class Counsel also has taken into account the availability of insurance.
Class Counsel believe that this Settlement reflects a reasonable compromise in light of the range of possible outcomes. Class Counsel believe that the Settlement is preferable to continued litigation and is in the best interest of the Members of the Settlement Class. because the Settlement provides certainty with respect to the amount of recovery and results in a prompt recovery.
Throughout this litigation, Defendants have denied and continue to deny the claims and contentions alleged by Plaintiffs. Nevertheless, Defendants have concluded that it is desirable for the Action to be fully and finally settled as to them and the other Releasees on the terms and conditions set forth in the Stipulation.
The Court has not ruled in favor of either side. Both sides agreed to the Settlement to ensure a resolution and avoid the cost and risk of further litigation.
STATEMENT OF FEES AND EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE INDEPENDENT FIDUCIARY AND THE SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR
An Independent Fiduciary is evaluating the Settlement and will be asked to authorize the Settlement on behalf of the Plan. Defendants have paid or will pay the fees and expenses incurred by the Independent Fiduciary (including fees and expenses incurred by consultants, attorneys, and other professionals retained or employed by the Independent Fiduciary) in the course of evaluating and authorizing the Settlement on behalf of the Plan, up to $30,000, and this expense will not be deducted from the Settlement Fund. However, any costs of the Independent Fiduciary in excess of the initial $30,000 paid by Defendants will be borne by and paid from the Settlement Fund.
A Settlement Administrator has been engaged to mail the notice to the Members of the Settlement Class, administer the Settlement and allocate the Net Settlement Fund among Members of the Settlement Class. The fees and expenses for the Settlement Administrator will be paid from the Settlement Fund.
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY’S FEES AND EXPENSES AND PLAINTIFF INCENTIVE AWARDS SOUGHT IN THE ACTION
Class Counsel will submit a fee petition to the Court in which they will ask the Court to award them attorneys’ fees in an amount not to exceed 1/3 of the Settlement Fund, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses. In addition, Class Counsel will request that the Court make a case contribution award to each of the two Plaintiffs in the amount of $10,000.