Fouche v. Preferred Pediatric Home Health Care, Inc. et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE: The Court GRANTS the 37 Joint MOTION for Settlement Approval filed by Malinda Fouche. Fouche's claims against Preferred Pediatric Home Health Care, Inc., and Jane Doss are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge David R. Herndon on 12/4/2017. (lmp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
PREFERRED PEDIATRIC HOME
HEALTH CARE, INC., and JANE DOSS,
Case No. 16-cv-1389-DRH-SCW
SETTLEMENT APPROVAL AND DISMISSAL ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
I. Introduction and Background
This matter comes before the Court on the parties’ Joint Motion for
Settlement Approval (Doc. 37). The motion specifically requests that the Court
grant final approval of the Settlement Agreement, and dismiss this case with
prejudice. 1 Based on the following, the grants the motion.
On December 27, 2016, Plaintiff Malinda Fouche filed the underlying
lawsuit in her individual capacity and on behalf of allegedly similarly situated
hourly-paid home health employees at Preferred Pediatric Home Health Care, Inc.,
alleging that defendants failed to pay certain overtime compensation in violation of
the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. 207(a)(1) (Count I), the Illinois
Minimum Wage Law (“IMWL”), 820 ILCS 105/3-4a (Count II), and the Missouri
The motion also sought leave to file a first amended complaint in this matter, prior to the Court
granting final approval of the Settlement Agreement. On November 30, 2017, the Court granted
plaintiff’s request and directed that her first amended complaint be filed (Doc. 40). Later that day,
plaintiff filed her first amended complaint (Doc. 41)
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Minimum Wage Law (“MMWL”), Mo. Rev. Stat. 290.505.1 (Count III). She also
alleged that defendants misclassified her as an exempt employee during a portion
of her employment, and by doing so, denied her additional overtime under the
FLSA (Count IV), the IMWL (Count V), and the MMWL (Count VI). On November
30, 2017, plaintiff filed an amended complaint in effect removing all class and
collective action claims from her complaint, thus reasserting all claims asserted in
her complaint in her individual capacity only (Doc. 41). Plaintiff and the
Defendants have reached a settlement of each of plaintiff’s claims, as asserted in
the First Amended Complaint, and now seek final settlement approval and
dismissal of this case with prejudice (Doc. 37).
II. Law and Application
As mentioned above, this case includes FLSA claims. Stipulated settlements
in a FLSA case must be approved by the Court. McAfee v. Hubbard, No. 14-CV1010, 2017 WL 1479304 (S.D. Ill. April 25, 2017), citing Burkholder v. City of
Fort Wayne, 750 F.Supp.2d 990, 994 (N.D. Ind. 2010); Lynn Food Stores, Inc. v.
United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1355 (11th Cir. 1982). To be approved, the
settlement must constitute “a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide
dispute.” Lynn, 679 F.3d at 1355.
“Normally, a settlement is approved where it is the result of ‘contentious
arm’s-length negotiations, which were undertaken in good faith by counsel . . .
and serious questions of law and fact exist such that the value of an immediate
recovery outweighs the mere possibility of further relief after protracted and
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expensive litigation.’” Burkholder, 750 F.Supp.2d at 995, citing Misiewicz v.
D’Onofrio General Contractors Corp., No. 08 CV 4377, 2010 WL 2545439, *4
(E.D.N.Y. May 17, 2010).
When reviewing a FLSA settlement, a court normally considers the
following factors: (1) the complexity, expense, and likely duration of the litigation;
(2) the stage of the proceeding and the amount of discovery completed; (3) the
risks of establishing liability; (4) the risks of establishing damages; (5) the ability
of the defendants to withstand a larger judgment; (6) the range of reasonableness
of the settlement fund in light of the best possible recovery; and (7) the range of
reasonableness of the settlement fund in light of all the risks of litigation.
Burkholder, 750 F.Supp 2d at 995 (citing to Misiewicz, 2010 WL 2545439, at *4)
The Court has considered and applied the factors set forth in Burkholder,
and finds the settlement to be fair, reasonable, and adequate when balanced
against the probable outcome of further litigation and the risks related to liability
and damages. The Court finds the extensive investigation and research conducted
by the parties led them to reasonably evaluate and understand their respective
positions. The Court further finds that approving the settlement will avoid
substantial and additional costs by the parties, as well as further delay and risks
likely to be encountered by further litigation of the claims and defenses asserted.
The Court also finds the settlement has been reached after litigation of a bona fide
dispute and as a result of arms-length negotiations involving experienced counsel
for both sides. As such, the Court finds the settlement is fair, adequate,
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reasonable, and in the best interest of the parties. Finally, the Court finds that
the settlement satisfies all fairness and adequacy factors as set forth in this
Circuit’s jurisprudence regarding resolution of claims under 29 U.S.C. § 201, et
seq. (the Fair Labor Standards Act).
Therefore, the Court approves, as fair and reasonable, the amount
requested by the plaintiff to be paid to counsel for the services rendered, and
expenses they have incurred, in prosecuting this action.
Neither the settlement, nor any exhibit, document or instrument delivered
under the Settlement Agreement, nor any statement, transaction or proceeding in
connection with the negotiation, execution or implementation of the settlement,
shall be discoverable, or admissible in evidence, for any purpose, except as
provided in the Settlement Agreement and General Release.
Without affecting the finality of this Order, the Court shall retain exclusive
jurisdiction with respect to the interpretation, implementation and enforcement of
the terms of the settlement, all orders and judgments entered in connection
therewith, and other matters ancillary to the settlement, and the parties and their
counsel submit to the jurisdiction of the Court for purposes of interpreting,
implementing, and enforcing the settlement and all orders and judgments entered
in connection therewith.
Therefore, the Court approves the parties’ settlement upon the terms and
conditions in the Settlement Agreement.
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For the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS the Joint Motion for
Settlement Approval (Doc. 37). The settlement agreement between the plaintiff
and defendants is APPROVED, and plaintiff’s claims against Preferred Pediatric
Home Health Care, Inc., and Jane Doss are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The
Clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Judge
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