Benefield et al v. Convacare Management Inc et al
ORDER approving settlement agreements 97 and dismissing this case with prejudice. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 11/5/2014. (ljb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
KIMBERLY BENEFIELD, VEATRICE
CHILDRESS, JANIS FRANKS, PENNY HILL.
VICKI KELLER, JENNIFER KIRKER,
CHRISTOPHER MATHIS, KRYSTAL
REEVES, LISA STRAIN, ROSA TAYLOR,
SUSIE TOSH, and AMANDA WHITE, EACH
INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF
OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED
Case No. 4:12-cv-00589 KGB
CONVACARE MANAGEMENT, INC.,
ROLLING HILLS H.C., INC.,
JOEY WIGGINS and JOHN DOES 1-30
Plaintiffs filed this matter on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,
asserting claims against defendants to recover unpaid overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Before the Court is the parties’ joint motion to
dismiss with prejudice (Dkt. No. 97). The parties request that the Court dismiss with prejudice
certain opt-in plaintiffs. The Court grants that request and dismisses with prejudice opt-in
plaintiffs Amber Avey, Tinesha Bailey, Robyn Bolt, Kathy Butler, Elva Cabrera, Mandi Cossey,
Alice Crabtree, Manuel Estrada, Wanda Fitzgerald, Francies Hollins, Felicia Holman, Cindi
Hurley-Fryman, Devin Fryman, Michelle Fryman, Ashley Gilbert, Beth Gillmore, Sheila
Greenhaw, Jessica Hockaday, Sue Hood, Ashli Martin, Geraldine Reeves, Bobbie Stephens,
Christie Lee Masson-Todd, Stephony Trantham, Amber Watson, and Cynthia Williams.
The parties also reached settlement agreements in this case and request judicial review
and approval of their settlement agreements. The Court has been provided with the terms of the
parties’ agreements. Settlement agreements resolving FLSA claims typically are subject to court
approval. See Dillworth v. Case Farms Processing, Inc., No. 5:08-cv-1694, 2010 WL 776933, at
*2 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 8, 2010) (citing 19 U.S.C. § 216(b)). Before approving a settlement, a court
ensures that the parties are not negotiating around the FLSA’s requirements and that the
settlement represents a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute. See id. at *6; Int’l
Union, United Auto., Aerospace, & Agric. Implement Workers of Am. v. Gen. Motors Corp., 497
F.3d 615, 631 (6th Cir. 2007). The Eighth Circuit has not directly addressed the factors to be
considered in deciding motions for approval of FLSA settlements. Other district courts have
scrutinized such settlements for fairness in two steps.
First, the court should consider whether the compromise is fair and reasonable to
the employee (factors “internal” to the compromise). If the compromise is
reasonable to the employee, the court should inquire whether the compromise
otherwise impermissibly frustrates implementation of the FLSA (factors
“external” to the compromise). The court should approve the compromise only if
the compromise is reasonable to the employee and furthers implementation of the
FLSA in the workplace.
Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 2d 1227, 1241 (M.D. Fla. 2010).
The settlement agreements set forth the specific amounts to be paid to individual
plaintiffs, what those specific amounts represent, and the total amount to be paid for attorney’s
fees and costs. Further, the parties’ joint motion to dismiss with prejudice states,
The parties have determined that it is in their mutual interest to resolve the
litigation as set forth in their Settlement Agreements. This decision included
evaluating the likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their claims and defenses,
including the proper method for calculating damages, as well as the amount of
any damages. Plaintiffs have specifically considered the potential value of their
claims and concluded that the proposed settlement provides a fair and reasonable
resolution of the claims. Defendants support this result, because it eliminates the
uncertainties, risks, and cost of further litigation.
(Dkt. No. 97, at 3). For these reasons, and based upon the Court’s review of other information in
the pleadings filed and language in the settlement agreements, the Court determines that
plaintiffs’ recovery is a reasonable approximation of amounts owed under the FLSA. The Court
approves the settlement agreements. It is therefore ordered that this case be dismissed with
SO ORDERED this 5th day of November, 2014.
KRISTINE G. BAKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?