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http://nycourts.law.com/CourtDocumentViewer.asp?view=Document&docID=46477 Magistrate Judge Francis PLAINTIFFS IN a class action are approximately 29,700 claimants who were employed on cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. and its affiliates, including Celebrity Cruise Lines. Plaintiffs alleged that they were denied overtime pay to which they were entitled under collective bargaining agreements entered into between the companies and two international labor unions. During the course of litigation, the parties entered into negotiations that ultimately led to a settlement agreement that was approved by the court. The court had to determine its role in implementing the settlement of the class action. The court concluded, among other things, that because class settlements are contracts, courts do not generally have the authority to modify them on the basis of equitable principles alone. The courts, however, have the equitable power to allocate the proceeds of a settlement fund among class members as long as it does not alter the liability of the defendant.

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