On June 4, 2018, the Kansas district court preliminarily approved a $3,650,000.00 settlement reached on behalf of a class of 3,919 Sprint business channel employees who worked as transactional sales representatives and/or hunters, and those who managed them, from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2009.
Plaintiffs initiated the long running action in May 2008, alleging that after Sprint’s merger with Nextel, the telecommunications company failed to pay accurate commissions owed under the commission agreements. They alleged the company’s systems were unable to accurately track and calculate their commissions and pay data for several years. Consistent with a choice of venue provision in their commission agreement stating all claims had to be pursued in Kansas, the workers brought claims in the Kansas district court for unpaid wages under the Kansas Wage Payment Act, and for breach of contract. Sprint has denied and continues to deny the allegations, asserting that Plaintiffs were at all times paid commissions in accordance with the operative commission contracts and no class member was underpaid any commissions he or she was due as a result of a systematic computer problem with Sprint’s commissions systems.
The parties engaged in significant motion practice, and the case required expansive discovery and analysis of Sprint’s commissions-related data. Plaintiffs’ case relied heavily on their wireless industry commissions reconciliation experts Nile Nickel and Barry Ezell of Balance Engines LLC, and software engineer and data mining expert Dr. Margaret Dunham.
Plaintiffs are represented by class counsel, Paul Lukas, Michele Fisher, and Alex Baggio of Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and George Hanson of Stueve Siegel Hanson, LLP. Ms. Fisher discussed the settlement, stating, “this was a long and hard fought case with extremely complex data and issues. We are fortunate to have had such dedicated and talented experts, and class representatives who never gave up. We believe the result is a fair and reasonable resolution to this litigation.” Class counsel also represents 34,909 retail channel employees in a related case, Sibley v. Sprint Nextel Corp., Civ. No. 08-2063-KHV (D. Kan.).
Plaintiffs now begin the settlement notice process, and will subsequently seek final approval of the settlement so payments can be distributed. Class members are encouraged to promptly update their contact information at www.sprintbusinesssettlement.com or www.nka.com/case/sprintbusinesssettlement/.The case is entitled Harlow et al. v. Sprint Nextel Corporation et al., Civ. No. 08-2222-KHV (D. Kan.)