United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
HECTOR O. BELEN, Plaintiff,
KINNERET, INC. and KINNERETII, INC., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. HOFFMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the
following motion filed herein:
RENEWED JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OFI SETTLEMENT AND TO
DISMISS CASE WITH PREJUDICE (Doc. 25)
June 13, 2019
it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART
Plaintiff has alleged a claim for unpaid overtime wages
against the Defendant, his former employer, in violation of
the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). See Doc. 1
(Complaint) and Doc. 15 (Plaintiffs answers to the
Court's FLSA interrogatories). After engaging in limited
discovery as required by the Court's FLSA Scheduling
Order (Doc. 14), the Parties reached a settlement. (Docs.
21-22). The Parties filed an initial joint motion for
approval of settlement (Doc. 22), which the Court denied
because the settlement agreement contained inconsistent
provisions relating to the scope of the claims the Plaintiff
agreed to waive and release. (Doc. 24). The Court directed
the Parties to file a renewed motion for settlement approval
on or before June 13, 2019 (Id.), which they did,
along with a revised settlement agreement (Doc. 25 (Motion)
and Doc. 25-1 (Revised Agreement)). That motion and the
revised settlement agreement have been referred to the
undersigned for review.
response to the Court's FLSA Interrogatories, the
Plaintiff claims that he worked for the Defendants as a
nonexempt employee between 2015 and 2018 and was paid $24.00
per hour. (Docs. 15 at 4-5; 25 at 2). The Plaintiff claims
that he worked an average of five to ten overtime hours per
week throughout his employment with the Defendants. (Doc. 15
at 5). The Plaintiff further claims that the Defendants
misclassified him as an exempt employee and paid him a
salary, therefore failing to compensate him for the overtime
hours he worked in violation of the overtime provision of the
FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207, and Florida common law. (Docs. 15
at 5; 25 at 1-2). As a result, the Plaintiff claims that he
is entitled to somewhere between $6, 000.00 and $18, 000.00
in unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated
damages. (Doc. 15 at 5).
the Revised Agreement, the Plaintiff will receive $2, 950.00
in unpaid wages, $2, 950.00 in liquidated damages, and $4,
000.00 in attorney fees and costs in exchange for releasing
any and all FLSA claims that he may have against the
Defendants and other released parties. (Doc. 25-1 at
¶¶ 2-3). The parties assert that the Revised
Agreement represents a fair and reasonable resolution of the
Plaintiffs FLSA claims and request that the Court grant the
Motion and dismiss the case with prejudice. (Doc. 25 at 5).
settlement of a claim for unpaid minimum or overtime wages
under the FLSA may become enforceable by obtaining the
Court's approval of the settlement
agreement. Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S.
Dep'tof Labor, 679?.2d 1350, 1352-53 (11th Cir.
1982). Before approving an FLSA settlement, the Court must
scrutinize the settlement agreement to determine whether it
is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute of
plaintiff s FLSA claims. See Id. at 1353-55. In
doing so, the Court should consider the following
• The existence of collusion behind the settlement.
• The complexity, expense, and likely duration of the
• The state of the proceedings and the amount of