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Mayer v. MWB Real Estate Venture, Inc.

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

September 18, 2019

LAURA MAYER, Plaintiff,
v.
MWB REAL ESTATE VENTURE, INC.; CONWAY A. BOLT, III; BOLT REAL ESTATE, LLC; AND MARCELLA W. BOLT, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          GREGORY J. KELLY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND DISMISSAL OF THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE AND SUPPORTING MEMORANDUM OF LAW (Doc. No. 29)
FILED: September 17, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On July 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against Defendants, alleging violations of the overtime and retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) and breach of contract. Doc. No. 23. On September 17, 2019, the parties filed a “Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and Dismissal of the Case with Prejudice and Supporting Memorandum of Law” (“the Motion”). Doc. No. 29. Attached to the Motion is the parties' Settlement Agreement and FLSA Release (the “Settlement Agreement”). Id. at 11-18.

         II. LAW.

         In Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States Department 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 under section 216(b) to recover back wages for FLSA violations. When employees bring a private action for 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.

         Thus, unless the parties have the Secretary of Labor supervise the payment of unpaid wages owed or obtain the Court's approval of the settlement agreement, the parties' agreement is unenforceable. Id.; see also Sammons v. Sonic-North Cadillac, Inc., No. 6:07-cv-277-Orl-19DAB, 2007 WL 2298032, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 7, 2007) (noting that settlement of FLSA claim in arbitration proceeding is not enforceable under Lynn's Food because it lacked Court approval or supervision by the Secretary of Labor). Before approving an FLSA settlement, the Court must scrutinize it to determine if it is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute. Lynn's Food Store, 679 F.2d at 1354-55. If the settlement reflects a reasonable compromise over issues that are actually in dispute, the Court may approve the settlement. Id. at 1354.

         In determining whether the settlement 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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