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Garner ClassAction Frequently Asked Questions

1) The amount owed me was different than the amount of the "back pay" listed on       my stub.  Why? 

2) What was deducted? 

3)  Why weren't all deductions itemized and listed on the check stub?

4)  I understand that by law we need to pay taxes but I never had 32% taken out of       my check before, how were the withholding percentages determined? 

5)  Why are the class members responsible for the attorney fees and costs?  Why       isn't the State responsible for the attorney fees and costs? 

6) For Deceased Subs, what is the procedure to reissue the deceased sub's check to      a spouse or child ?

7) What is the procedure if I did not receive my check?

8)  Why wasn't I asked to be a class representative?   What makes the named       plaintiffs more qualified to be a class representative than me? 

9)  If the appellate court rules in the substitutes' favor, will there be another       distribution for interest?  If so, will we be responsible again for attorneys fees,       costs, GET and stipends?   

10)  I worked during the relevant period as a substitute teacher,
        why am I not listed? I have documentation, who do I talk to for my money?
 

11) What will happen to all the awards not claimed?  Will it go back to the State or be        redistributed to the class members?  

12)  Will we be receiving a W-2 or 1099?

13)  Who is paying for JS Services' fee for processing and distributing the payroll         checks?

14)  On the check stub it states the payroll period is from 1/1/14-3/6/14,
        what does that mean?

15) How were the class representatives' stipends calculated?

16) How come my check is a little different than the percentages would indicate?

17) What is the status on the interest portion of our award?

 

 

1) The amount owed me was different than the amount of the "back pay" listed on my stub.  Why? 
Your gross back pay award was reduced on account of (1) attorneys fees, (2) costs and GET, and (3) stipends to the class representatives who pursued the case on behalf of all class members.  The back pay amount shown on your check is the amount remaining after these deductions were made.  State and federal taxes were withheld based on the reduced balance. 

By taking the fees, etc., out "pre-tax," you avoided having to pay taxes on "phantom income"--that is money you did not receive.  If taxes had been assessed before the fees, etc., were deducted, your withholding would have been much larger.  You paid (and do not owe) taxes on the money that was received by the lawyers and class representatives.   

2) What was deducted? 
Total Value of Remedy to the Class, including the employer's payment of Social Security and  Medicare taxes for the Teachers' benefit: $14,672,916.43.

Cash wages to Class Members: $13,978,554.57 (Wages)

Fees awarded: $3,668,229.11 (25% of Total Value; 26.24% of Cash Value)

Costs awarded: $558,902.71 (3.81%)

General Excise Taxes on Fees and Cost: $181,930.26 (not all costs are taxable) (1.24%)

TOTAL DEDUCTIONS (prior to taxable back pay):
32.77% based upon Total Value
34.01% based upon Cash Value

Then, the State and Federal taxes were withheld on the taxable back pay.

3)  Why weren't all deductions itemized and listed on the check stub?
The tax-related deductions were all shown. 

4)  I understand that by law we need to pay taxes but I never had 32% taken out of my check before, how were the withholding percentages determined?   
The withholding for back wages are prescribed by IRS policies.  A flat rate was used.  There was no other practical solution consistent with the IRS policies relating to back wage settlements.  If too much was withheld, you will get a refund when you file your 2014 federal and state tax returns.

5)  Why are the class members responsible for the attorney fees and costs?  Why isn't the State responsible for the attorney fees and costs? 
The State will be obligated to pay a portion of the fees and costs incurred in this case.  When that amount is determined (after all other issues in the case have been decided) there will be a supplemental distribution.

However, the attorneys brought this class action on the premise that they would, as allowed by law, be paid a contingency fee based upon the total recovery for the class members.  Under the law, they are entitled to be paid based upon the benefit conferred upon the class, not the amount the state may be liable to pay. 

6) For Deceased Subs, what is the procedure to reissue the deceased sub's check to a spouse or child ?

Please refer to the following link to pursue a deceased sub's unclaimed check. http://budget.hawaii.gov/finance/unclaimedproperty/owner-information/

7) What is the procedure if I did not receive my check?

 Please refer to the following link to pursue your unclaimed check. http://budget.hawaii.gov/finance/unclaimedproperty/owner-information/

8)  Why wasn't I asked to be a class representative?   What makes the named plaintiffs more qualified to be a class representative than me? 
The class representatives were the substitutes who came forward to pursue the case in 2002.  Many members of the class may have been qualified, but these people came forward at the onset and worked closely with the lawyers for the past 11+ years. 

9)  If the appellate court rules in the substitutes' favor, will there be another distribution for interest?  If so, will we be responsible again for attorneys fees, costs, GET and stipends?   
We will be defending the teachers' claims for interest and attorneys fees.  We will be asking the Court to award a portion of any amounts recovered as compensation for our work. 

10) I worked during the relevant period as a substitute teacher, why am I not listed?  I have documentation, who do I talk to for my money? 
Provide the documentation to us, and we will evaluate your claim.  The identity of the class members was based upon the DOE's payroll records and it was limited to people who worked in certain job classifications.  It may be that people thought they were "substitutes" when, in fact, they were assigned to some other job classification (such as part-time teachers).

11)  What will happen to all the awards not claimed?  Will it go back to the State or be redistributed to the class members?  
As prescribed by law, the unclaimed money will be returned to the State and that money remains available for each class member for a period of time. 

If the class member does not come forward within the period prescribed by law, the funds will "escheat" to the State.  This is what Hawai`i law requires for all unclaimed funds.

12)  Will we be receiving a W-2 or 1099?
You will be receiving a W-2.

13)  Who is paying for JS Services' fee for processing and distributing the payroll checks?
The State of Hawai`i will be reimbursing Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing for the cost of developing a system for issuing and mailing the checks.  Those costs totaled more than $125,000.  The firm advanced those expenses to expedite the distribution of the funds.

14)  On the check stub it states the payroll period is from 1/1/14-3/6/14, what does that mean? 
This period was an error, the class period is November 2000-June 2005.

If you should have additional questions, please either email us at classaction@ahfi.com or leave a voice message at (808)441-6151.  Someone will get back to you promptly.

15) How were the class representatives' stipends calculated?
The class representatives stipends were based upon the amount of work each representative devoted, and the value of the contribution. That is why, for example, David Garner, who was instrumental from the beginning to the end, received the highest stipend. Others, who were less active, received less--sometimes, far less. The stipends were in line with amounts awarded in other long-running class actions. Since the case is continuing, the class representatives will continue to represent the interests of the class members; however, it is not anticipated that there will be any additional stipends.

16) How come my check is a little different than the percentages would indicate?
We are still holding a small amount of the initial payment from the state (approximately $95,000) for a future distribution. That amount will be allocated to the class members along with the future award of fees and costs that will be paid by the state and (we hope) interest (which, net of attorneys fees is approximately 1/2 of the nearly $14 million already recovered from the State. Because of this small "holdback" ( which was due to a last minute recalculation of the amounts due), your check will be "off" by a tiny fraction (less than 1% from the amounts reflected in the calculations set forth above).

17) What is the status on the interest portion of our award?
The appeal is pending and the time table on the appeal has not been determined.

If you should have additional questions, please either email us at classaction@ahfi.com or leave a voice message at (808)441-6151.  Someone will get back to you promptly.