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:
REVISED AND AMENDED UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR
APPROVAL OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND ENTRY
OF JUDGMENT OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. No.
May 25, 2018
Keila Mateo Marte, filed a complaint against Defendants,
Gizmo Orlando, Inc., and Kevin Beattie, alleging that
Defendants failed to pay all of her overtime wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.
Doc. No. 1. In this action, she seeks unpaid overtime wages
and liquidated damages for the three years preceding the
filing of the complaint. Id. ¶¶ 56, 63.
7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a notice informing the Court that
the parties had settled the case. Doc. No. 6. On May 16,
2018, the parties 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. 8. I denied that motion because the proposed
settlement agreement included several terms that arguably
undermined its fairness. Doc. No. 10. Specifically, it (1)
did not confine the release of claims to only the claims
asserted in the complaint; (2) it included a covenant not to
sue that arguably constituted a general release; and, (3) it
included a provision whereby Plaintiff agreed not to seek
re-employment with Defendant. In addition, I noted that the
motion did not adequately explain whether and to what extent
Plaintiff was compromising her claims.
parties were permitted to file a renewed motion for
settlement approval and did so on May 25, 2018. Doc. No. 11.
The renewed motion attaches a revised settlement agreement,
which no longer includes a provision preventing Plaintiff
from seeking re-employment with Defendant and no longer
includes a covenant not to sue. Doc. No. 11-1. In the
settlement agreement, the parties stipulate to the entry of
an order dismissing the case with prejudice. The motion is
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
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).
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 Fed.Appx.
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 Plaintiff Has Compromised Her Claim.
the terms of the revised settlement agreement, Defendants
will pay Plaintiff a total of $10, 000.00-$5, 920 to
Plaintiff (representing $2, 960 in unpaid wages and $2, 960
in liquidated ...