United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
JENNIFERMARIE TASMAN, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HT RESTAURANT GROUP LLC, a Florida Limited Liability Company doing business as Hidden Treasure Raw Bar & Grill Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. KLINDT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the Court on the Joint Motion for Order
Approving Fair Labor Standards Act Settlement and Dismissal
with Prejudice (Doc. No. 18; “Motion”), filed
June 13, 2018. In the Motion, the parties seek the
Court's approval of their settlement agreement, and they
request that this case be dismissed with prejudice. Motion at
2 ¶ 9. The Motion is referred to the undersigned for the
issuance of a report and recommendation regarding an
appropriate resolution. See Track Notice and FLSA
Scheduling Order (Doc. No. 5), entered September 18, 2017, at
3; Order of Administrative Closure and Reference (Doc. No.
19), entered June 13, 2018, at 2.
brought this action on August 23, 2017 for minimum wage
violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”).
See Complaint (Doc. No. 1). On August 28, 2017,
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury
Trial (Collective Action Complaint) (Doc. No. 3;
“Amended Complaint” or “Am. Compl.”),
because the Complaint was not dated or signed by counsel.
Plaintiff alleges in her Amended Complaint that she worked
for Defendant as a server from February 1, 2017 through July
3, 2017. Am. Compl. at 4 ¶ 13-14. She states that
“during multiple weeks, ” she worked between
fifty-five to sixty hours per week, and Defendant failed to
pay her overtime wages for those hours worked in excess of
forty hours a week. Id. ¶ 15, 18. Plaintiff
also alleges Defendant paid her “the tip-credited wage
for the hours spent performing non-tip producing duties . . .
.” Id. at 5 ¶ 21. In her Responses to
Court Interrogatories, Plaintiff represents that her regular
rate of pay was “$5.08 per hour plus tips, ” and
that she “worked on average 15-20 hours of overtime per
week.” Plaintiff Jennifermarie Tasman's Responses
to Court Interrogatories (Doc. No. 6-1), filed September 22,
2017, at 1.
parties have entered into a settlement agreement to resolve
all of Plaintiff's claims. See Motion Ex. A
(“Settlement Agreement”). Under the terms of the
settlement agreement, Defendant agrees to pay Plaintiff a
total of $2, 000.00 for allegedly unpaid wages and for
liquidated damages, as well as $750.00 for attorney's
fees and costs. Settlement Agreement at 3.
parties represent that the Settlement Agreement “fairly
and reasonably takes into account each party's interest,
benefits, and rights . . . .” Motion at 2 ¶ 8. The
parties represent that “[a]lthough Defendant contended
Plaintiff was not entitled to any unpaid wages under the
FLSA, Defendant still agreed to resolve Plaintiff's
claim, ” and that “[h]ad Plaintiff proceeded to
trial, she would have risked recovering nothing if a jury
determined she was paid properly in accordance with the
records and did not work off-the-clock.” Id.
They also represent that the payment for attorneys' fees
and costs was “negotiated separately from the amount
paid to Plaintiff.” Id. ¶ 7.
FLSA case for “back wage[s] or liquidated damage[s],
” the Court must make a finding that any compromise
settlement of the case represents “a fair and
reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute over FLSA
provisions” after “scrutinizing the settlement
for fairness.” Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S.
ex rel. U.S. Dept. of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353, 1355
(11th Cir. 1982); see also Nall v. Mal-Motels, Inc.,
723 F.3d 1304, 1306 (11th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted);
Silva v. Miller, 307 Fed.Appx. 349, 351 (11th Cir.
review of the Motion, the Settlement Agreement, and the
remainder of the file, the Court finds that the Settlement
Agreement, including the award of attorneys' fees and
costs, represents “a fair and reasonable resolution of
a bona fide dispute” over provisions of the FLSA.
Lynn's Food Stores, 679 F.2d at
assessing the fairness of the agreement, the undersigned
observes that it contains a release provision. See
Settlement Agreement at 2. “Courts typically disfavor
general release clauses in FLSA settlement agreements.”
DeGraff v. SMA Behavioral Health Servs., 945
F.Supp.2d 1324, 1329 (M.D. Fla. 2013) (citations omitted).
Here, however, the release is limited to claims for unpaid
wages and claims under the FLSA. See Settlement
Agreement at 2. As such, the release is distinguishable from
those disfavored by courts, for it “allay[s] any
concern that Plaintiff may be giving up an unknown, but
valuable, claim that is completely unrelated to the FLSA
claim, and which ‘confers an undeserved and
disproportionate benefit on the employer and effects an
unanticipated, devastating, and unfair deprivation on the
employee.'” Coleman v. Target Corp., No.
6:12-cv-1315-Orl-37GJK, 2013 WL 867891, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Mar.
1, 2013) (unpublished) (quoting Moreno v. Regions
Bank, 729 F.Supp.2d 1346, 1351 (M.D. Fla. 2010)).
Accordingly, the undersigned finds that the release provision
here does not undermine the fairness or reasonableness of the
due consideration, it is
the Joint Motion for Order Approving Fair Labor Standards Act
Settlement and Dismissal with Prejudice (Doc. No. 18) be
GRANTED to the extent that the Court enter
an Order and Stipulated Final Judgment
APPROVING the parties' settlement
agreement attached to the Motion.
this case be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and
that the Clerk be directed to close the file.
RECOMMENDED at ...