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Nichols Kaster: Court Preliminarily Approves Settlement for Sprint Retail Employees in Commissions Lawsuit

On June 27, 2018, the Kansas district court preliminarily approved a $30,500,000.00 settlement reached on behalf of a class of 34,909 Sprint retail store employees who worked from August 12, 2005 through September 30, 2009. These employees held positions such as Retail Store District Manager, Retail Store Manager, Assistant Retail Store Manager, Lead Retail Consultant, Retail Consultant, Retail Sales Representative, and worked in other retail positions.

Plaintiffs initiated the case in February 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 denied and continues to deny the allegations, asserting that Plaintiffs were paid commissions in accordance with the operative commission contracts and no class member was underpaid commissions he or she was due as a result of a systematic computer problem with Sprint’s commissions systems.

The parties engaged in extensive 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 stated, “the settlement is the result of over a decade of zealous litigation involving complex legal issues, a massive data and document production, and an extremely difficult and expensive commissions reconciliation process performed by talented and dedicated experts. We are happy that our clients will finally see a resolution to this long and hard fought case.” Class counsel also represents 3,919 business channel employees in a related case entitled Harlow et al. v. Sprint Nextel Corporation et al., Civ. No. 08-2222-KHV (D. Kan.). The Court preliminarily approved a settlement of that case earlier this month.

Plaintiffs now begin the settlement notice process and then will subsequently seek final approval of the settlement so payments can be distributed to the class. Class members are encouraged to promptly update their contact information by visiting http://www.sprintretailsettlement.com or http://www.nka.com/case/sprintretailsettlement/. These websites also provide additional information about the settlement.

The case is entitled Sibley v. Sprint Nextel Corp., Civ. No. 08-2063-KHV (D. Kan.).