United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. KLINDT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the Court on the Joint Motion for Approval of
FLSA Settlement and Dismissal of Action with Prejudice and
Incorporated Memorandum of Law (Doc. No. 14;
“Motion”), filed July 9, 2019. 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 1. 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 April
8, 2019, at 3; Order of Administrative Closure and Reference
(Doc. No. 13), entered July 2, 2019, at 2.
February 21, 2019, Plaintiff commenced this action in state
court by filing a Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc.
No. 3; “Complaint”) against Defendants for
overtime wage violations and wrongful discharge under the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et
seq. (“FLSA”). See Complaint at 1;
Defendants' Notice of and Petition for Removal (Doc. No.
1; “Notice of Removal”) at Ex. A (Doc. No. 1-1).
Defendants removed the matter to this Court on April 5, 2019.
See Notice of Removal.
alleges in the Complaint that “[d]uring his employment
with Defendants, Plaintiff regularly worked overtime hours
but was not paid time and one-half of his regular rate of pay
for those overtime hours.” Complaint at 4 ¶
According to Plaintiff, “[t]hroughout his employment
with Defendants, Plaintiff made complaints about their
failure to pay overtime compensation.” Id. at
5 ¶ 19. Plaintiff further asserts that “Defendants
terminated Plaintiff's employment in retaliation for, and
as a direct and proximate result of, Plaintiff's inquiry
and complaint about overtime compensation.”
Id. ¶ 20. According to Plaintiff's Notice
of Filing Answers to Court's Interrogatories (Doc. No. 9;
“Answer to Court's Interrogatories”), filed
April 22, 2019, Plaintiff estimates he is owed $21, 342.22 in
unpaid overtime wages. See Answer to Court's
Interrogatories at Ex. A.
parties have entered into a settlement agreement to resolve
all of Plaintiff's claims. See Motion Ex. A
(Doc. No. 14-1; “Settlement Agreement”). Under
the terms of the settlement agreement, Defendants agree to
pay Plaintiff a total of $9, 000.00 for allegedly unpaid
wages and $2, 000.00 for attorney's fees and costs.
Settlement Agreement at 1-2 ¶ 1.
parties represent that “the complexity, expense, and
length of future litigation of Plaintiff's FLSA claims
support approval of the FLSA settlement.” Motion at 5.
The parties state that “Plaintiff's probability of
success on the merits and the amount he would be awarded, if
any, is uncertain, further demonstrating that this settlement
is fair and appropriate and should be approved.”
Id. at 6. According to the Motion, the parties
“had sufficient information and conducted an adequate
investigation to allow them to make an educated and informed
analysis and conclusion in agreeing upon the proposed
settlement.” Id. The parties also represent
that the attorney's fees were “agreed upon
separately and without regard to the amount paid to”
Plaintiff.” Id. at 6 (citation omitted).
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.
light of the representations made by the parties and upon
review of the Motion, the Settlement Agreement, and the
remainder of the file, the Court finds that the Settlement
Agreement, including the award of attorney's 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 ¶ 4. “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 “which Plaintiff has, had, or may have . . .
pursuant to the [FLSA], which are or could have been
encompassed in th[is l]itigation.” Settlement Agreement
at 2-3 ¶ 4. 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
Joint Motion for Approval of FLSA Settlement and Dismissal of
Action with Prejudice and Incorporated Memorandum of Law
(Doc. No. 14) 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.