Mullas v. Collins Motor Sales, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER Denying Defendants' Unopposed 11 MOTION to File Lawsuit Resolution Under Seal for in Camera Review and Approval - Signed by District Judge Judith E. Levy. (FMos)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 16-cv-13430
Judith E. Levy
United States District Judge
Collins Motor Sales, Inc. and
Mag. Judge R. Steven Whalen
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ UNOPPOSED
MOTION TO FILE LAWSUIT RESOLUTION UNDER SEAL FOR
IN CAMERA REVIEW AND APPROVAL 
In September 2016, plaintiff filed a three-count complaint alleging
that defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay
minimum wage, failing to pay overtime, and for retaliation. (See Dkt.
1.) The parties have apparently resolved the matter among themselves,
and defendants seek to have the settlement agreement reviewed in
camera for approval and sealed from the public eye.
(See Dkt. 11.)
Defendants reason that because they “desire confidentiality” and the
“confidentiality provision is a material term”; there “is a strong public
policy in favor of resolving disputed claims”; and public “disclosure of
the terms and conditions of the Resolution would render it less
valuable,” the Court should exercise its “discretionary power to seal
documents.” (Id. at 2-3.)
Unlike other settlement agreements, there is a presumption of
public access to agreements approved under the FLSA. See Snook v.
Valley OB-GYN Clinic, P.C., No. 14-cv-12302, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
177517, at *7 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 29, 2014) (directing parties to file the
proposed settlement agreement on the docket within one week “in light
of the extensive case law indicating that it is inappropriate to allow
FLSA settlement agreements to remain confidential”); Bouzzi v. F&J
Pine Rest., LLC, 841 F. Supp. 2d 635, 639 (E.D.N.Y. 2012) (“Whe[n], as
here, the FLSA settlement is submitted to the court for approval, the
approval process is a judicial act.
Consequently, the settlement
agreement is a judicial document to which the presumption of public
access attaches.”); Joo v. Kitchen Table, Inc., 763 F. Supp. 2d 643, 647
(S.D.N.Y. 2011) (“[T]his Court joins the overwhelming consensus of
district courts that have considered the issue to hold that an FLSA
settlement cannot be sealed absent some showing that overcomes the
presumption of public access.”).
As noted above, the only reason defendants give as to the need of
confidentiality is that it is a material term that they desire, and without
it, the agreement would be less valuable. But “courts have ‘roundly
rejected’ the argument that confidentiality provisions in [FLSA]
settlement agreements are a sufficient interest to overcome the
presumption of public access.” Snook, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177517, at
*6. Defendants have given no reason for this Court to do otherwise.
Accordingly, defendants’ motion (Dkt. 11) is DENIED. The parties
shall file the proposed settlement agreement on the docket for the
Court’s review by March 24, 2017.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: March 21, 2017
Ann Arbor, Michigan
s/Judith E. Levy
JUDITH E. LEVY
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served
upon counsel of record and any unrepresented parties via the Court’s
ECF System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail addresses
disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on March 21, 2017.
s/Felicia M. Moses
FELICIA M. MOSES
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