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Swimmer v. Woodspring Suites Property Management, LLC

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

May 9, 2018

ROBERT SWIMMER, Plaintiff,
v.
WOODSPRING SUITES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, LLC, Defendant.

          REPORTANDRECOMMENDATION

          GREGORY J. KELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

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

MOTION: JOINT RENEWED MOTION FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND ORDER OF JUDGMENT DISMISSING CASE WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. No. 38)
FILED:May 2, 2018
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On October 28, 2016, Plaintiff instituted this action against Defendant for unpaid overtime compensation and retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Florida. Doc. No. 1-1. On December 1, 2016, Defendant removed the action to this Court. Doc. No. 1. On April 18, 2018, the parties filed a joint motion for approval of their settlement agreement. Doc. No. 35. On April 23, 2018, the motion was denied because Plaintiff's counsel, who had obligations under the settlement agreement, did not sign the settlement agreement, and the parties did not address whether the no- reemployment clause was fair. Doc. No. 37. On January 18, 2018, the parties filed a renewed joint motion for approval of their new settlement agreement (the “Motion”).[1] Doc. No. 38.

         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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