Darden v. Southwest Arkansas Development Inc
ORDER granting 61 Motion for Review and Approval of Settlement. Signed by Honorable Susan O. Hickey on August 21, 2017. (mll)
Case 4:16-cv-04023-SOH Document 63
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
RICKY DARDEN; CAROLYN HAYES;
ANGELA LAFAYETTE; and JARVIS YOUNG
CASE NO. 4:16-CV-4023
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS DEVELOPMENT, INC., d/b/a
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
Before the Court is the parties’ Joint Motion to Review FLSA Settlement and, if Necessary,
Approve Settlement. ECF No. 61. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
Plaintiffs brought this action against Defendant alleging violations of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq., the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Ark. Code
Ann. §§ 11-4-201, et seq., and the Arkansas Civil Justice Reform Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-55206. The parties inform the Court that they have reached an agreement that resolves all claims in
Several courts have held that settlement agreements resolving wage claims are subject to
court approval to ensure that the parties are not negotiating around statutory minimum wages. See,
e.g., Int’l Union, United Auto., Aerospace, and Agric. Implement Workers of Am. v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 497 F.3d 615, 631 (6th Cir. 2007); Lynn’s Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S., 679 F.2d 1350, 1353
(11th Cir. 1982); Cruthis v. Vision’s, No. 4:12-CV-00244, 2014 WL 4092325 (E.D. Ark. Aug. 19,
2014). Other courts have held that court approval of a settlement is not necessary in cases where
the lawsuit is not a collective action, all plaintiffs have been represented by counsel throughout the
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entirety of the case, and the parties wish for their agreement to remain private. Schneider v. Habitat
for Humanity Int’l, Inc., No. 5:14-CV-5230, 2015 WL 500835, at *3 (W.D. Ark. Feb. 5, 2015).
The present lawsuit is not a collective action; all Plaintiffs have been represented by
counsel throughout the course of this litigation; and the parties agree that the present Settlement
Agreement is confidential 1 (ECF No. 60-1, ¶ 16). While it appears to the Court that the Settlement
Agreement in this case is of the type that does not require court approval, the Court has nonetheless
reviewed the agreement submitted by the parties. Upon review, the Court finds that the Settlement
Agreement is fair and reasonable to Plaintiffs and that the compromise between the parties does
not frustrate the requirements and implementation of the FLSA. See Cruthis, at *1. Accordingly,
the Court finds that the Joint Motion to Review FLSA Settlement and, if Necessary, Approve
Settlement (ECF No. 61) should be and hereby is GRANTED. The Court will enforce the terms
of the Settlement Agreement and shall retain jurisdiction over the terms of the Settlement
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 21st day of August, 2017.
/s/ Susan O. Hickey
Susan O. Hickey
United States District Judge
Although the Settlement Agreement explicitly states that the parties must keep the terms and conditions confidential,
the draft Settlement Agreement submitted to the Court was not filed under seal.
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