FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is this lawsuit about?

Plaintiff Jerry Brooks claims Emerald City Comicon violated Washington State law by failing to pay people classified as volunteers the minimum wages they were owed under Washington laws for performing services at the 2014 and/or 2015 Emerald City Comicon Conventions in Seattle, Washington. Emerald City Comicon denies Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in May 2016 in King County Superior Court.

What claims are resolved by the Settlement?

The settlement will resolve all claims that Class Members could have brought against Emerald City Comicon regarding Emerald City Comicon’s alleged failure to pay Class Members their minimum wages, as set forth above.

Who is included in the Settlement?

All people classified as volunteers who worked for Eitane Emerald Corp, (d/b/a Emerald City Comicon Corp) in 2014 and/or 2015 at the Emerald City Comicon Conventions in Seattle, Washington.

What are the basic terms of the settlement?

Subject to Court approval, the essential terms of the settlement are as follows:

Settlement Payments: Emerald City Comicon will pay $493,227.84 to resolve all claims alleged in this lawsuit. As part of the settlement: (a) a payment to the named Plaintiff in an amount up to $5,000 to compensate Plaintiff for his services in bringing forth this lawsuit and representing the Class; (b) a payment of approximately $123,306.96 to Class Counsel for their attorneys’ fees; (c) a payment of approximately $1,523.55 to reimburse Class Counsel for the litigation expenses they have incurred since in representing Plaintiff and Class Members; (d) a payment of approximately $15,000 for payment to Settlement Administrator; and, (e) a payment of approximately $348,397.33 to the Class (the “Class Fund”), which will be distributed to those Class Members who submit valid and timely Claim Forms.

Class Representative Service Award: The settlement provides for service awards to the Plaintiff and Class Representative, Jerry Brooks, in the amount of up to $5,000.

Class Counsel’s Fees and Expenses: The settlement provides a process for the King County Superior Court to review and approve a payment out of the gross settlement amount to Class Counsel for the attorneys’ fees they have incurred in relation to the lawsuit. Class Counsel is seeking payment of 25% of the gross amount or approximately $123,306.96 for their fees. Subject to approval by the King County Superior Court, Class Counsel will also be reimbursed for the expenses that they have incurred in representing Plaintiff and the Class. Class Counsel is seeking a payment of approximately $1,523.55 to reimburse them for these costs. These payments are separate from and in addition to the Class Fund payment. Class Counsel have been working on this case since March 2016 but have not yet received anything for their efforts.

Settlement Administrator Fees: The settlement provides for a payment to the Settlement Administrator a fee of up to $15,000.

Class Fund: The Class Fund is the amount used to compensate Eligible Class Members for the wages they allegedly lost, for interest and payroll taxes on these wage payments, and for damages they are allegedly owed under Washington’s wage payment statutes.

Distribution of Class Fund: Each Class Member who submits a valid and timely Claim Form and who does not submit a valid and timely request for exclusion will become a Eligible Class Member and will be eligible to receive a settlement payment. Each Eligible Class Member will receive a proportional share of the Class Fund based on his or her estimated hours worked in conjunction with the 2014 and/or 2015 Emerald City Comicon Convention. Checks will be distributed by the Settlement Administrator and sent to the last known address of all Eligible Class Members.

Should any portion of the Class Fund remain unclaimed 130 days after the period specified in the Agreement for Eligible Class Members to submit Claim Forms and receive cash settlement checks, forty percent of any such residual funds will be disbursed by the Settlement Administrator to the Legal Foundation of Washington, with remaining residual funds then retained by Defendants.

Tax Treatment of Settlement Payments: One-half (50%) of each award to a Class Member will be treated as wages and subject to normal payroll tax withholdings and payments. The other one-half (50%) of each award to a Class Member will be treated as non-wages on which there will be no tax withholding. Please consult an accountant regarding the taxes you may owe if you receive money from the settlement.

Release of Claims: Upon final approval by the Court, Class Members will release Emerald City Comicon, Jim Demonakos, George Demonakos, Reed Elsevier, Inc., and Reed Exhibitions from any and all past or present claims, debts, demands, causes of action, liabilities, losses, obligations, interest, attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses, damages, exemplary damages, and injuries of every kind, nature and description that were or could have been asserted by Plaintiff on behalf of Settlement Class Members against any Defendant based on the facts alleged in the Complaint, including, but not limited to, any claims related to any work performed related to 2014 and/or 2015 Emerald City Comicon Conventions.

For the full language of the release, and to review the entire settlement agreement please see the "Documents" section of this website.

Dismissal of Action: Upon Final Approval the Court will enter a Judgment of Dismissal of the Lawsuit with prejudice but may retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement.

How can I get my payment?

To get a payment, you must complete and return a Claim Form to the following address:

Brooks v. Emerald City Comicon
Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 470
Tallahassee, FL 32302-0470

Read the instructions carefully, fill out the Claim Form, sign it, and mail it to the address above so that it is received no later than July 31, 2017. If you prefer, you may complete a Claim Form online by clicking HERE.

When will I get my payment?

The only way to get money from the settlement is to complete and return a timely Claim Form. The Superior Court will hold a hearing on August 23, 2017 to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, the parties will then have to wait to see whether there is an appeal. This will take at least 30 days and, if there is an appeal, can take up to a year or more to resolve. In the event of an appeal, information regarding its progress will be posted at on this website. If there is no appeal, payments will then be processed and paid to Class Members arising from the settlement. Please be patient.

How can I exclude myself from the Settlement?

If you fit the definition of a Settlement Class Member and want to exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must request exclusion in writing by July 15, 2017. You may be excluded as a member of the class by submitting a written request stating, “I hereby request that I be excluded from the proposed settlement class in the case of BROOKS vs. EITANE EMERALD CORP ET AL.” The request must include your name, your address, and your signature. You must mail a copy of the letter so that it is received no later than July 15, 2017 to the Settlement Administrator at P.O. Box 470, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0470 or electronically at staff@settlementservicesinc.com. You can also click HERE to submit it online.

If you exclude yourself from the Settlement (i.e., opt out), you will not receive any payment from the Settlement. You will also not be entitled to object to the Settlement as set out in Section 10 below. If you exclude yourself, you will not be bound by the terms of the Settlement, including the Release described above. This means you will retain the right at your own expense, to pursue any claims you may have against Defendants.

When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at August 23, 2017, at the King County Superior Court, 401 Fourth Avenue N., Kent, Washington, 98032, in Courtroom C-203 of Judge JUDITH H. RAMSEYER. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. You do not have to come to the hearing.

What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do not submit a Claim Form so that it is received by July 31, 2017, you will not receive a share of the settlement but you will release all claims against Defendant.

How do I get more information?

Information in this website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can view the Settlement Agreement in the documents section of this website, by clicking HERE, or by writing to Class Counsel at Rekhi & Wolk, P.S., 529 Warren Ave. N., #201, Seattle, WA 98109 or calling: 206-388-5887. Plaintiff’s motion for final approval of the settlement agreement, including Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, costs, Settlement Administration Expenses, and Service Award for the named Plaintiff will be available for you to review on August 15, 2017 if you contact Class Counsel and request a copy.