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Thomson Reuters' West Publishing
settles class action lawsuit

Last update: March 25, 2009
StarTribune.com

West Publishing West Publishing has settled a class action suit brought by two former legal-research employees who sued the company for allegedly not paying overtime wages.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed by attorneys for the plaintiffs or for West, a Thomson Reuters business with major operations in Eagan and headquarters in New York.

West officials denied any wrongdoing in a statement Wednesday.

Plaintiffs Paul Egtvedt and Nicole Anderson formerly worked as reference staff attorneys for Westlaw, an online legal research service within the company. Their suit alleged that the company violated state and federal labor laws by not paying overtime to employees who routinely worked more than 40 hours a week.

Egtvedt and Anderson sued individually and on behalf of more than 150 reference attorneys and attorney trainees, claiming that those employees routinely worked before and after their scheduled shifts and on weekends.

The former employees are seeking unpaid wages and attorney costs and fees.

Their complaint was filed Tuesday in Dakota County District Court in Hastings by plaintiffs' attorney Charles Firth of Minneapolis -- even though a settlement has been reached -- because the settlement of a class action suit must be approved by a judge.

Once the settlement is approved, other current and former employees will be contacted to claim their share of the money under what's called an "opt in" collective action, according to court documents.

Minnesota's Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay employees overtime at 1 1/2 times the regular rate for which they are paid and to keep records about employees' overtime work. Federal law also applies to overtime requirements.