The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Oing, determined that the Commissioner of Labor and the Industrial Board of Appeals (IBA) were bound by the federal district court’s release in a class action alleging failure to pay minimum wages, failure to pay overtime wages and unlawful deductions. The IBA had awarded two members of the class state wage claims together with interest and penalties:
Procedurally, IBA erred in entertaining this issue. In the final approval order, the District Court clearly and unmistakably retained exclusive and continuing subject matter jurisdiction of the Stewart class action “for the purposes of supervising the implementation, effectuation, enforcement, construction, administration and interpretation of the Settlement Agreement and this Judgment.” Undoubtedly, the District Court “has the power to enforce an ongoing order against relitigation so as to protect the integrity of a complex class settlement over which it retained jurisdiction” … . … * * *
Because we have determined that claimants have released their dual wage claims, the focus now necessarily concerns the concept of privity, and whether it exists between claimants and respondents [Commissioner of Labor, et al]. We find that the holding in Applied Card Sys., Inc. (11 NY3d at 124) is dispositive of this issue.
The Applied Card Court addressed whether the state Attorney General was precluded under the doctrine of res judicata from pursuing on the class members’ behalf their restitution claims released in an underlying class action settlement. The Court held that because the Attorney General was pursuing claims identical to the ones that had been released that fact alone established privity … . The facts herein are virtually indistinguishable from Applied Card. Here, respondents, on behalf of claimants, seek to pursue their released dual wage claims. As such, privity has been established between claimants and respondents. Matter of Silvar v Commissioner of Labor of the State of N.Y., 2019 NY Slip Op 05841, First Dept 7-30-19