Finstad v. MUY Pizza Minnesota, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: Based on the Joint Motion in this matter, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 1. The Joint Motion 63 is GRANTED; 2. The Settlement Agreement is APPROVED; and 3. This matter is DISMISSED with prejudice, with no costs, fees or disbursements to any party except as set forth in the Settlement Agreement. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY. (Written Opinion) Signed by The Hon. Paul A. Magnuson on 05/05/2017. (LLM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Duane Finstad, individually
and on behalf of similarly
Civ. No. 16-1172 (PAM/BRT)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MUY Pizza Minnesota, LLC,
This matter is before the Court on the parties’ joint Motion for Approval of
Settlement in this collective action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
Plaintiff Duane Finstad instituted this action alleging that his employer, Defendant
MUY Pizza Minnesota, LLC, failed to reimburse him and other similarly situated
delivery drivers for expenses they incurred using their personal vehicles to perform their
jobs. The Court certified the case as a collective action (Docket No. 15), and during the
opt-in period, 214 individuals filed consents to join Finstad as Plaintiffs.
The parties mediated their differences in February 2017 with retired United States
Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan. That mediation resulted in the settlement
agreement now before the Court. The settlement provides for a payment to each class
member based on a formula that takes into account the number of deliveries each Plaintiff
made during the class period and the rate at which each Plaintiff was reimbursed for
those deliveries, and provides for a minimum payment to guarantee that each Plaintiff
receives some payment. The settlement also provides for a service award to Finstad, and
for payment of Plaintiffs’ counsel’s fees and costs.
The Court reviews a FLSA collective-action settlement to ensure that the litigation
involved a bona fide dispute and that the settlement is fair and equitable to all parties.
King v. Raineri Constr., LLC, No. 4:14cv1828, 2015 WL 631253, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Feb.
In determining whether a settlement is fair and reasonable under FLSA,
factors a court may consider include the stage of the litigation and amount
of discovery exchanged, the experience of counsel, the probability of
plaintiffs’ success on the merits, any “overreaching” by the employer in the
settlement negotiations, and whether the settlement was the product of
arm’s length negotiations between represented parties based on the merits
of the case.
Id. All of these factors weigh in favor of approval of this settlement. The litigation had
progressed past the discovery stage, so that the parties understood the strengths and
weaknesses of their case. The parties are represented by experienced counsel. Claims of
the type Plaintiffs raised had never before been litigated to a jury, and thus success was
not assured. Given the involvement of retired Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan, there is
little chance that Defendant overreached, and it is clear that the settlement was a product
of arms’ length negotiations.
The Court finds that the settlement represents a fair and reasonable compromise of
a bona fide dispute. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
The Joint Motion (Docket No. 63) is GRANTED;
The Settlement Agreement is APPROVED; and
This matter is DISMISSED with prejudice, with no costs, fees or
disbursements to any party except as set forth in the Settlement Agreement.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: May 5, 2017
s/ Paul A. Magnuson
Paul A. Magnuson
United States District Court Judge
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