Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Holmes v. Custom Cornhole Boards Inc.

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

January 11, 2018

ULYSSES HOLMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CUSTOM CORNHOLE BOARDS INCORPORATED, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KARLA R. SPAULDING, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:

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

         MOTION: RENEWED JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND MOTION FOR DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. No. 74)

         FILED: January 4, 2018

         I. BACKGROUND.

         Plaintiff Ulysees Holmes sued Defendant Custom Cornhole Boards Incorporated seeking damages for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. and violation of the Florida Workers' Compensation Act (“FWCA”), Fla. Stat. § 440.205. Doc. No. 1. The FWCA claim was subsequently dismissed without prejudice for lack of supplemental jurisdiction, and Plaintiff was permitted to assert it concurrently with an already pending state court negligence action. Doc. Nos. 61, 62. As to the FLSA claim, Holmes alleges that Defendant failed to pay him overtime wages for all of the overtime hours he worked. Doc. No. 1, ¶ 22-23. Holmes seeks actual damages, liquidated damages, declaratory judgment and reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Id. ¶ 30.

         On November 29, 2017, the parties advised the Court that they had settled this dispute and filed a motion for approval of the settlement of the FLSA claim as required by Lynn's Food Stores v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1354 (11th Cir. 1982). The Court denied that motion because the proposed Settlement Agreement contained several provisions that undermined the fairness of the agreement, including a modification clause, a non-disparagement clause, a waiver of future employment clause, and a neutral references clause.

         The parties have since revised the proposed Settlement Agreement and have filed a renewed motion for settlement approval. Along with their motion, they have attached an executed draft of the revised Settlement Agreement. Doc. Nos. 74, 74-1. In their motion, the parties represent that they have removed the non-cash provisions and the modification clause from the revised Settlement Agreement. Doc. No. 74, at 2.

         The motion was referred to me and is ripe for review.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW.

         In Lynn's Food, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit explained that claims for compensation under the FLSA may only be settled or compromised when the Department of Labor supervises the payment of back wages or when the district court enters a stipulated judgment “after scrutinizing the settlement for fairness.” 679 F.2d at 1353. Under Lynn's Food, a court may only enter an order approving a settlement if it finds that the settlement is fair and reasonable, Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706 F.Supp.2d 1227, 1240 (M.D. Fla. 2010), and that the ensuing judgment is stipulated, Nall v. Mal Motels, Inc., 723 F.3d 1304, 1308 (11th Cir. 2013).

         When a settlement agreement includes an amount to be used to pay attorneys' fees and costs, the “FLSA requires judicial review of the reasonableness of counsel's legal fees to assure both that counsel is compensated adequately and that no conflict of interest taints the amount the wronged employee recovers under a settlement agreement.” Silva v. Miller, 307 F. App'x 349, 351 (11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam).[1] If the Court finds that the payment to the attorney is not reasonable, it must consider whether a plaintiff's recovery might have been greater if the parties had reduced the attorney's fees to a reasonable amount. See Id. at 351-52; see also Bonetti v. Embarq Mgmt. Co., 715 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1228 (M.D. Fla. 2009) (finding that the Court must consider the reasonableness of attorney's fees when a “settlement does not appear reasonable on its face or there is reason to believe that the plaintiff's recovery was adversely affected by the amount of fees paid to his attorney”).

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.