Elizabett v. Chicago Motors, Inc. et al
ORDER granting 26 Joint Motion for FLSA Settlement Approval, dismissing the case with prejudice, and directing the Clerk to close this case. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman on 9/17/2014. (lpr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 14‐22227‐CIV‐GOODMAN
MARTIN JAVIER ELIZABETT,
CHICAGO MOTORS, INC., et al.,
ORDER APPROVING FLSA SETTLEMENT AND CLOSING CASE
This matter is before the Court on the parties’ Joint Motion for Approval of
Settlement Agreement. [ECF No. 26]. For the reasons outlined below, the parties’ joint
motion is GRANTED, the settlement agreement is approved, this case is dismissed
with prejudice, and the Clerk is directed to close this case, though the Court will
maintain jurisdiction for ninety days to enforce the terms of the settlement, if necessary.
In general, the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”)1 are mandatory and not subject to negotiation or bargaining
between employers and employees. See Brooklyn Sav. Bank v. O’Neil, 324 U.S. 697 (1945).
29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
However, there are two ways employees may settle and waive a claim against their
employer for unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay under the FLSA: (1) if the
payment of unpaid minimum wage/overtime pay is supervised by the Secretary of
Labor; or (2) in a private lawsuit brought by an employee, if the parties present the
district court with a proposed settlement and the court enters an order approving the
fairness of the settlement. 29 U.S.C. § 216(c); Lynn’s Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, 679
F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir. 1982); see also Schulte, Inc. v. Gangi, 328 U.S. 108 (1946).
An employee may settle and release FLSA claims against his employer without
the supervision of the Secretary of Labor if all of the following conditions are met: (1)
the settlement occurs in an adversarial context; (2) there are issues of FLSA coverage
and/or computations actually in dispute; and (3) the district court enters an order
approving the settlement after scrutinizing the fairness of the settlement. Lynn’s Food
Stores, 679 F.2d at 1354.
The parties have submitted their settlement agreement along with their joint
motion for settlement approval. [ECF No. 26, pp. 8‐12]. The Court has reviewed the
terms of the settlement, considered the factors outlined in Lynn’s Food Stores, and also
considered the strength of the parties’ cases, the factual positions of the parties, the
existence (or lack thereof) of documents supporting or corroborating the parties’
positions, the strength and weaknesses in the parties’ respective cases, and the parties’
desire to resolve the dispute sooner, rather than later.
The Court finds that the settlement here represents a genuine compromise of a
bona fide dispute. The Defendants will pay Plaintiff $10,000.00 to resolve his FLSA
claims as well as Plaintiff’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, which is substantially
less than the $12,102.65 that Plaintiff claimed in his Statement of Claim. [ECF No. 6]. In
addition, under the terms of the settlement, Defendants are “released and acquitted of
any past, future, known, and unknown liability related to the services performed” by
Plaintiff for Defendants. [ECF No. 26, p. 9]. Finally, Plaintiff’s counsel will receive
$5,000.00 of the $10,000.00 settlement paid by Defendants, which is significantly less
than the $8,402.50 Plaintiff’s counsel incurred in fees and costs in this matter.
Therefore, the Court finds that the settlement here occurred in an adversarial
context and that there are genuine issues in dispute. The Court further finds that the
settlement reached by the parties represents a reasonable compromise by both sides and
is fair and reasonable. Accordingly, it is:
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the parties’ settlement agreement is fair and
reasonable. The settlement is APPROVED and this action is DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE. The Court reserves jurisdiction for ninety days from the date of this Order
to enforce the terms of the parties’ settlement. The Clerk is directed to CLOSE THIS
CASE and deny all pending motions as moot.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, September 17, 2014.
Copies furnished to:
All counsel of record
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