Smith v. Shoreline Transportation of Alabama, LLC.
OPINION. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 2/18/14. (djy, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
OF ALABAMA, LLC,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
In this lawsuit brought pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), as amended,
29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq., the court has before it the parties’ joint motion
for approval of settlement agreement.
The court also has
before it the settlement agreement and full and final
general release of all claims signed by all parties.
Plaintiff Roderick Smith filed his complaint against
defendant Shoreline Transportation of Alabama, LLC in
federal court, asserting that the company had failed to
pay him wages and overtime owed under FLSA.
is proper pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (FLSA) and 28
U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question).
Later, the parties filed the pending motion for
approval of the settlement agreement.
The court held a
hearing to discuss this motion and address the settlement
represented that the agreement was fair and reasonable.
Further, Smith stated that he was satisfied with the
However, the court stated its concern with
the provision that would prevent Smith from disclosing
the terms and existence of the settlement unless required
under law and with the provision in which Smith would
release Shoreline from legal claims unrelated to FLSA.
When an employee brings a private action under the
FLSA and presents a proposed settlement agreement to the
stipulated judgment after scrutinizing the settlement for
fairness.” Lynn’s FoodStores, Inc. v. United States Dept.
of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir. 1982).
reviewed the agreement, the court finds that the parties
have reached an agreement based on a negotiated, goodfaith compromise of a bona-fide dispute over application
of relevant provisions of the FLSA and of wages owed
under the FLSA based on the assertion that Smith was not
Furthermore, the court finds, with two exceptions, that
the agreement reflects a fair and reasonable resolution
of the dispute between the parties.
The court will only grant approval of the agreement
with two modifications.
First, the court rejects the
confidentiality provision in the settlement agreement,
disclosing the existence and terms of the settlement
agreement, including the amount of the settlement.
Hogan v. Allstate Beverage Co., Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d
1274, 1283-4 (M.D. Ala. 2011) (Thompson, J.) (finding
that confidentiality provisions unequally benefit the
employer and frustrate FLSA goals); Dees v. Hydradry,
Inc., 706 F. Supp. 2d 1277, 1242; see also Elizabeth
Confidential Settlements and the Fair Labor Standards
Act, 34 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. 109, 113 (2013)
(“Congress’s intent to protect both the public’s interest
in a well-functioning economy and the vulnerable worker
subject to unequal bargaining dynamics militates against
Second, the court rejects the agreement’s provision
requiring Smith to release all discrimination claims
provision requires release of all discrimination claims,
including those arising under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981a, 2000e
et al, amongst others.
The court finds this pervasive
entitled to use an FLSA claim (a matter arising from the
employer’s failing to comply with the FLSA) to leverage
a release from liability unconnected to the FLSA.” Hogan,
821 F. Supp. 2d 1284 (quoting Moreno v. Regions Bank, 729
F. Supp. 2d 1346, 1351 (M.D. Fla. 2010) (Merryday, J.)).
Such provisions take advantage of workers seeking to
recover backpay who may be willing to waive unknown
claims in order to access withheld wages as soon as
With the understanding that the proposed settlement
incorporates the two modifications discussed above, the
appropriate judgment will be entered to that effect.
modifications they can ask within the time allowed by law
that the judgment be set aside.
DONE, this the 18th day of February, 2014.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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