United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
MARIA KLEEKLAMP, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HOME PERFORMANCE ALLIANCE, INC., Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MCCOY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is the Notice of Settlement and Joint Motion
to Approve Settlement and for Dismissal with Prejudice and
Settlement Agreement and Release (Doc. 28) filed on June 4,
2018. Defendant and Plaintiffs - including Maria Kleekamp and
five other individuals who have opted in Storm Martin,
Kaitlin Greene, Julie Galla, Hallie Grooms, and Casey
Matthews - jointly request that the Court approve the
parties' settlement of their Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) issues. (Id. at 4).
approve the settlement of an FLSA claim, the Court must
determine whether the settlement is a “fair and
reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute” of the
claims raised pursuant to the FLSA. Lynn's Food
Store, Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1355 (11th
Cir. 1982); 29 U.S.C. § 216. There are two ways for a
claim under the FLSA to be settled or compromised.
Id. at 1352-53. The first, under 29 U.S.C. §
216(c), provides for the Secretary of Labor to supervise
payments of unpaid wages owed to employees. Id. at
1353. The second way, under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), is by a
lawsuit brought by employees against their employer to
recover back wages. Id. When employees file suit,
the proposed settlement must be presented to the District
Court for its review and determination that the settlement is
fair and reasonable. Id. at 1353-54.
Eleventh Circuit has found settlements to be permissible when
the lawsuit is brought by employees under the FLSA for back
wages because the lawsuit:
provides some assurance of an adversarial context. The
employees are likely to be represented by an attorney who can
protect their rights under the statute. Thus, when the
parties submit a settlement to the court for approval, the
settlement is more likely to reflect a reasonable compromise
of disputed issues than a mere waiver of statutory rights
brought about by an employer's overreaching. If a
settlement in an employee FLSA suit does reflect a reasonable
compromise over issues, such as FLSA coverage or computation
of back wages, that are actually in dispute; we allow the
district court to approve the settlement in order to promote
the policy of encouraging settlement of litigation.
Id. at 1354.
case, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant failed to compensate
them properly. (Doc. 28 at 4). Defendant denies liability.
(See id.). Additionally the parties contest:
whether an FLSA exemption applied to Plaintiffs; the number
of overtime hours Plaintiffs worked without proper pay, if
any; the number of hours Plaintiffs worked, if any, without
payment of at least minimum wage; the number of
Plaintiffs' unpaid work hours, if any, that were
compensable work hours; and whether liquidated damages are
warranted here and, if so, the amount of such damages.
(Id.). Based on these contentions, the Undersigned
finds that a bona fide dispute exists between the
though a bona fide dispute exists between the
parties, the parties decided to settle this matter
“given the disputed issues and the risks, time
requirements, and unknown case duration inherent to
litigation.” (Id.). The parties believe that
their settlement is a fair and reasonable compromise of the
disputed claim. (Id.).
agreed to a settlement to resolve their claims. (Doc. 28 at
2, 9). Under the terms of the settlement, Maria Kleekamp will
receive $1, 300.00. (Id. at 9). Storm Martin is due
to receive $600.00. (Id. at 10). Kaitlin Greene will
receive $1, 200.00. (Id.). Julie Galla will receive
$1, 200.00. (Id.). Hallie Grooms is due $300.00.
(Id.). Finally, Casey Matthews will receive $1,
200.00. (Id. at 11). Half of each ...