United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
B. TOOMEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court on the parties' Joint
Motion Requesting Order Approving Settlement Agreement and to
Dismiss Lawsuit With Prejudice (“Motion”) (Doc.
11) and their Joint Supplemental Memorandum in support
thereof (Doc. 13). The Motion was referred to the undersigned
for a report and recommendation regarding an appropriate
resolution. (Doc. 10.) For the reasons set forth herein, the
undersigned respectfully RECOMMENDS that the
Motion be GRANTED, the Settlement Agreements
and FLSA Releases (“Agreements”) (Doc. 11 at
6-20) be APPROVED, and this action be
DISMISSED with prejudice.
filed the instant action seeking unpaid overtime wages
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”) (Doc.
3). According to the Complaint, Plaintiffs were employed by
Defendants as non-exempt workers who performed manual labor
and flooring installation during the relevant time period.
(Id. at 1.) However, Defendants missclassified
Plaintiffs as independent contractors. (Id. at 3.)
Plaintiffs regularly worked in excess of forty hours per
week, and Defendants failed to pay them one and one-half
times their regular rates of pay for the overtime hours
worked, in violation of the FLSA. (Id. at 3, 5.)
Plaintiffs sought compensation for all unpaid overtime
compensation, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and
costs, and pre-judgment interest. (Id. at 5.) The
parties now request that the Court approve their settlement
of Plaintiffs' claims. (Doc. 11.)
216(b) of the FLSA provides in part:
Any employer who violates the provisions of section 206 or
section 207 of this title shall be liable to the employee or
employees affected in the amount of . . . their unpaid
overtime compensation . . . and in an additional equal amount
as liquidated damages. . . . The court in such action shall,
in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or
plaintiffs, allow a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid
by the defendant, and costs of the action.
29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
the context of suits brought directly by employees against
their employer under section 216(b) . . . the district court
may enter a stipulated judgment after scrutinizing the
settlement for fairness.” Lynn's Food Stores,
Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir.
1982). Judicial review is required because the FLSA was meant
to protect employees from substandard wages and oppressive
working hours, and to prohibit the contracting away of these
rights. Id. at 1352. “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, ” the district court is
allowed “to approve the settlement in order to promote
the policy of encouraging settlement of litigation.”
Id. at 1354. In short, the settlement must represent
“a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide
dispute over FLSA provisions.” Id. at 1355. In
addition, 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
Bonetti v. Embarq Management Co., the court analyzed
its role in determining the fairness of a proposed settlement
under the FLSA, and concluded:
[I]f the parties submit a proposed FLSA settlement that, (1)
constitutes a compromise of the plaintiff's claims; (2)
makes full and adequate disclosure of the terms of
settlement, including the factors and reasons considered in
reaching same and justifying the compromise of the
plaintiff's claims; and (3) represents that the
plaintiff's attorneys' fee was agreed upon separately
and without regard to the amount paid to the plaintiff, then,
unless the 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 attorney, the Court will approve the settlement without
separately considering the reasonableness of the fee to be
paid to plaintiff's counsel.
715 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1228 (M.D. Fla. 2009). Other cases from
this district have indicated that when attorneys' fees
are negotiated separately from the payment to a plaintiff,
“an in depth analysis [of the reasonableness of the
fees] is not necessary unless the unreasonableness is
apparent from the face of the documents.” King v.
My Online Neighborhood, Inc., No. 6:06-cv-435-Orl-22JGG,
2007 WL 737575, at *4 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 7, 2007).
Agreements provide that Defendants will pay the following
sums to Plaintiffs and their counsel: $5, 000 to Robert Ortiz
($2, 500 for unpaid wages and $2, 500 for liquidated
damages); $2, 000 to Dauvonique Tisby ($1, 000 for unpaid
wages and $1, 000 for liquidated damages); and $2, 000 to
Plaintiffs' counsel for attorneys' fees and costs
($1, 000 for Robert Ortiz's claim and $1, 000 for
Dauvonique Tisby's claim). (Doc. 11 at 8, 16; Doc. 13 at
5-6.) The parties represent that Plaintiffs'