Gagner v. Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

The firm, along with co-counsel HammondLaw, PC, has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of broad market Sales Representatives employed by Southern Wine & Spirits of America. Southern Wine distributes wine, beer, and spirits under the brand names Southern Wine & Spirits, Pacific Wine & Spirits, and American Wine & Spirits. Plaintiffs Gene Jovich, Johnny Tran and Leonard Greilich represent the class in Jovich v. Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on August 17, 2010, but removed by Southern to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, where it is pending. Plaintiffs allege that Southern Wine failed to reimburse them and other Sales Representatives for expenses they incurred on the job, in violation of California law. Although Sales Representatives spend most of their time travelling to various locations to meet with current and prospective customers, Sales Representatives are not fully reimbursed for the substantial expenses they incur in using their own personal vehicles, cellular phones, and home offices to conduct this business.

On July 6, 2012, the parties signed a $3.5 million settlement agreement that will provide for payments to a class of approximately 850 Sales Representatives of Southern Wine & Spirits, amounting to an average payment estimated at $2,300 per class member. On July 27, 2012, the Court preliminarily approved the settlement and ordered that notice of the settlement be sent to the entire class.

On August 16, 2012, the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Fairness Hearing was mailed out to all Sales Representatives who were employed by Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. during the period of August 17, 2006 to May 31, 2012. This notice contains information and instructions about the options and potential recovery available to class members for participating in this settlement. For further information about the settlement as well as answers to frequently asked questions, please visit the case settlement website which is maintained by Kurtzman Carson Consultants, the Court appointed Settlement Administrator. You may also contact our offices at (510) 763-9800 if you have any questions about the settlement – please mention that you are calling about the Southern Wine & Spirits of America case.

On December 11, 2012, the Court granted final approval to the settlement, including the requested payments to class members and fees and costs to class counsel, and ordered those payments to class members to be made as soon as practicable after a waiting period of 30 additional days. We expect the payment checks to be mailed in the second half of January 2013. Any class members whose address has recently changed should provide updated address information to the settlement administrator or to our firm.

Case Documents