United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. SPAULDING UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the
following motion filed herein:
MOTION: RENEWED JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF UNPAID
WAGES SETTLEMENT AND DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFFS' ACTION
WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. No. 23)
FILED: February 22, 2018
John Rodriguez and Zuleika Gomez, filed a complaint against
Defendant, ABM Aviation, Inc. Both Plaintiffs alleged that
Defendant failed to pay them minimum wages in violation of
the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 201, et seq. Doc. No. 1. In addition, Gomez
alleged that Defendant failed to pay her overtime wages in
violation of the FLSA. Id. Plaintiffs alleged that
they were entitled to unpaid wages and liquidated damages.
parties informed the Court that they had settled the case and
filed a motion requesting that the Court approve the
settlement in accordance with Lynn's Food Stores,
Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350 (11th Cir. 1982).
Doc. No. 18. I denied that motion without prejudice for three
reasons. First, the parties submitted an unsigned agreement.
Second, motion was not clear as to whether and to what extent
Plaintiffs had compromised their claims. Finally, the
proposed settlement agreement impermissibly allowed the
parties to modify the agreement. I required that a renewed
motion address these issues. Doc. No. 19.
February 22, 2018, the parties filed a renewed motion for
settlement approval (Doc. No. 23), which is supported by an
amended and fully-executed settlement agreement (Doc. No.
23-1). In the motion, the parties stipulate to an order
approving their settlement and dismissing this case with
prejudice. The motion also clarifies the extent to which
Plaintiffs are compromising their claims. Finally, the
amended settlement agreement does not include language that
would allow the parties to modify the agreement. The matter
is now ripe for review.
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
enter an order approving a settlement only 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).
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). 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
Whether Plaintiffs Have ...