LifeTime Fitness settles ex-trainers' wages, whistleblower class action for $700K; lawyers to get $245K

By DM Herra | Jul 9, 2018

LifeTime Fitness has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a class action brought by a group of former trainers who sued the fitness chain over back wages and claims the company violated whistleblower laws.

By Giesige.27 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

LifeTime Fitness reached a settlement with a group of former trainers who sued the fitness chain over back wages and claims the company violated whistleblower laws.

In the settlement, reached Sept. 8 and finalized July 3, LifeTime and its associated entities agreed to a gross settlement amount of $700,000, including $245,000 in attorneys’ fees and $47,272 in court costs. Under the terms of the settlement, defendants Life Time Fitness Inc., LTF Club Management Company LLC and LTF Club Operations Company Inc. admit to no liability in the claims filed against them.

Plaintiffs Jared Steger and David Ramsey filed a class action suit against the company in 2014 in Cook County Circuit Court. The case was later removed to Chicago federal court. John Chrispens and Mai Henry joined as plaintiffs later that year.

In their suit, the former personal trainers claimed they were fired after refusing to cooperate with alleged schemes to double-bill clients or to bill them after their memberships had ended. They also claimed trainers were required to put in hours off the clock handling tasks like cleaning equipment or meeting with managers and clients, though they were only paid for their on-the-clock hours. Steger and Ramsey claimed they were owed more than $80,000 in unpaid wages and overtime.


Jerusalem Beligan   Bisnar Chase

The company attempted to have the wage claims dismissed because it said the trainers did not report their off-the-clock hours and could not be paid for work they never reported. Steger and Ramsey had claimed that managers altered their time sheets so their hours worked per week never exceeded 40, though they said they often worked more than 70 hours per week. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman denied the motion to dismiss, saying the language of LTF’s Incentive Compensation Program explicitly promised employees would be paid “for every hour worked.”

In November 2017, the court preliminarily approved the settlement, conditionally certified the settlement class and approved the mailing of notice packets. According to the final order approving the settlement, only one member of the class opted out of the settlement.

Under the agreement, each of the named plaintiffs will receive $10,000. A claims administrator will calculate and disburse payments to the individual members of the class based upon their submitted claim forms. Coleman also approved payment of $20,000 from the gross settlement to be paid to the claims administrator.

The class was represented by attorneys Jerusalem Beligan, of Bisnar Chase LLP, of Newport Beach, Calif.; attorney Branigan A. Robertson, of Irvine, Calif.; and attorney Michael L. Fradin, of Skokie.

LifeTime Fitness was represented by Alison Blair Crane, Monica H. Khetarpal, Jody Kahn Mason, Jeffrey L. Rudd, Cynthia J. Emry, Nicky Jatana, Eric R. Magnus and Paul DeCamp, of Jackson Lewis P.C., of Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Reston, Va.

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Organizations in this Story

Bisnar & Chase, LLP Branigan Robertson, Inc. Circuit Court of Cook County Jackson Lewis P.C. Life Time Fitness Inc. Michael Fradin U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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