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Maldonado v. Golden SAJ, LLC

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

June 14, 2019

JUAN MALDONADO, Plaintiff,
v.
GOLDEN SAJ, LLC, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL C. IRICK, UNITED 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 MOTION TO DISMISS THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. 19)
FILED: April 3, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for unpaid overtime compensation. Doc. 1. The parties subsequently filed a Joint Notice of Settlement. Doc. 17. Pending before the Court is the Parties' Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and Motion to Dismiss the Case, to which the settlement agreement is attached. Docs. 19 (the Motion); 19-1 (the Agreement). The parties state that they have exchanged information regarding the hours Plaintiff worked and his compensation and have settled the case during mediation in order to avoid the costs and uncertainty of litigation. Doc. 19 at 1, 4.

         The parties assert that there is a bona fide issue as to whether Plaintiff worked the number of hours he is claiming, and the Agreement represents a fair and reasonable resolution of Plaintiff's FLSA claims. Id. at 5. The parties request that the Court grant the Motion, dismiss the case with prejudice, and retain jurisdiction in order to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement. Id. at 7.

         II. Law

         In Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352-53 (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 and under section 216(b) to recover back wages for FLSA violations. When employees bring a private action or 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.

         Since the parties have submitted a motion, the Court must scrutinize the attached Agreement to determine if it is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute. See id. at 1354-55. In determining whether the Agreement 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 ...

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