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Krystkowiak v. Heron Financial Partners, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

June 1, 2017

TAYLOR R. KRYSTKOWIAK, Plaintiff,
v.
HERON FINANCIAL PARTNERS, INC., Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          GREGORY J. KELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: JOINT MOTION TO APPROVE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND INCORPORATED MEMORANDUM OF LAW (Doc. No. 22)
FILED: May 30, 2017
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On January 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant, alleging unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”). Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff alleges he was employed by Defendant from December 2014 through April 2016. Id. at ¶ 19; Doc. No. 15 at 1.[1] On May 30, 2017, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (the “Motion”), requesting that the Court approve their Settlement Agreement and Release (the “Agreement”) and dismiss the case with prejudice. Doc. No. 22 at 4. This matter was referred to the undersigned for a report and recommendation. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the Court grant the Motion.

         II. LAW.

         In Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States Department of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350 (11th Cir. 1982), the Eleventh Circuit addressed the means by which an FLSA settlement may become final and enforceable:

There are only two ways in which back wage claims arising under the FLSA can be settled or compromised by employees. First, under section 216(c), the Secretary of Labor is authorized to supervise payment to employees of unpaid wages owed to them . . . . The only other route for compromise of FLSA claims is provided in the context of suits brought directly by employees against their employer under section 216(b) to recover back wages for FLSA violations. When employees bring a private action for back wages under the FLSA, and present to the district court a proposed settlement, the district court may enter a stipulated judgment after scrutinizing the settlement for fairness.

         Thus, unless the parties have the Secretary of Labor supervise the payment of unpaid wages owed or obtain the Court's approval of the settlement agreement, the parties' agreement is unenforceable. Id. Before approving an FLSA settlement, the Court must scrutinize it to determine if it is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute. Id. at 1354-55. If the settlement reflects a reasonable compromise over issues that are actually in dispute, the Court may approve the settlement. Id. at 1354.

         In determining whether the settlement is fair and reasonable, the Court should consider the following factors:

(1) the existence of collusion behind the settlement;
(2) the complexity, expense, and likely duration of the litigation;
(3) the stage of the proceedings and the amount of discovery ...

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