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Madison v. United Site Services of Florida, Inc.

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

April 18, 2018

JERMAINE MADISON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED SITE SERVICES OF FLORIDA, INC., Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL C. IRICK UNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause comes before the Court for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION:

JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. 50)

FILED:

February 21, 2018

THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         Jermaine Madison (Plaintiff), on behalf of himself and other similarly situated individuals, filed this putative collective action against Defendant alleging, among other things, that he and other similarly situated employees were subject to a policy whereby Defendant automatically deducted their lunch breaks even though they often worked through those breaks. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 8, 11-12. Plaintiff alleged that he and other similarly situated employees often worked more than 40 hours per week, and, thus, the time deducted by Defendant would be considered unpaid overtime compensation. Id. at ¶ 8-12, 22. Therefore, Plaintiff asserted a single claim for unpaid overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 207. Id. at 4-5. Mike McLendon and Tardarius Taylor subsequently joined this action as opt-in plaintiffs. Docs. 24; 25.

         Plaintiff moved to conditionally certify this case as a collective action. Doc. 32. The motion was unopposed. Id. The Court granted the motion to the extent it requested conditional certification, certifying the following class:

All service technicians and pick-up and delivery technicians who 1) worked at Defendant's Orlando location . . . and 2) who claim they were not paid all overtime wages owed as a result of Defendant's automatic deduction of time for lunch breaks during which they worked.

Doc. 35 at 1-2. The Court also appointed Plaintiff as the class representative. Id. at 2. Keith Jacobs, Darius Washington, Robert Thames, Anthony Felton, and Robert Kohn joined this action prior to the close of the opt-in period. Docs. 38; 39; 40; 42; 43.

         The parties settled the case prior to the close of discovery. Doc. 48. Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the opt-in plaintiffs, filed a Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and Dismissal with Prejudice (Motion), as well as settlement agreements (collectively, Agreements) between each plaintiff and Defendant (Doc. 50-1). Doc. 50. The parties argue that the Agreements constitute a fair and reasonable resolution of Plaintiff's and the opt-in plaintiffs' (collectively, Plaintiffs) respective FLSA claims and request that the Court grant the Motion, dismiss the Complaint with prejudice, and retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement. Id.

         II. LAW.

         The settlement of a claim for unpaid minimum or overtime wages under the FLSA may become enforceable by obtaining the Court's approval of the settlement agreement. Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S. Dept of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352-53 (11th Cir. 1982).[1] The Court, before giving its approval, must scrutinize the settlement agreement to determine whether it is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute of a plaintiff s FLSA claims. See id at 1353-55. In doing so, the Court should consider the following nonexclusive factors:

• The existence of collusion behind the settlement.
• The complexity, expense, and likely duration of the ...

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