Hill v. World Wide Technology Holding Co., Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs unopposed motion for approval of the FLSA collective action settlement reached in this case is GRANTED. (Doc. No. 26.) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall proceed, and shall provide notice to the class, in accordance with the settlement.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, for purposes of resolution of the case, andconsistent with the above decision, Count II of the complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 10/25/12. (JWJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DONNA HILL, individually and on behalf )
of a class of others similarly situated,
WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY
HOLDING CO, INC., and WORLD WIDE )
Case No. 4:11CV02108 AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This action for unpaid overtime wages is before the Court on Plaintiff Donna
Hill’s unopposed motion for approval of the collective action settlement agreement and
agreement for attorney’s fees reached in this case. For the reasons set forth below, this
motion shall be granted.
Plaintiff alleges in her complaint that Defendants have maintained a practice and
policy of denying overtime wages to its sales operations employees, in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq., and Missouri’s wage and
hour law. Count I of the complaint is brought as an opt-in collective action under the
FLSA on behalf of Plaintiff and all other similarly situated sales operations employees
employed by Defendants in the last three years. Count II is brought as an opt-out class
action under Missouri law and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
The Case Management Order in the case was entered on March 12, 2012. The
next docket activity was a Notice of Settlement, filed by Plaintiff on July 23, 2012.
Along with the present motion, filed on September 6, 2012, Plaintiff has submitted for
judicial review the Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims reached by the parties.
Pursuant to the Agreement, all eligible FLSA collective class members will be provided
notice of the terms of the Agreement, and a form to complete in order to participate in the
settlement. Participating individuals will receive monetary relief, from a confidential
settlement fund, that approximates full value for the actual overtime worked but not paid
for. Eligible class members who do not participate will receive a check of $200 with a
further notice of their options. Only eligible class members who participate or who
negotiate the $200 check will release their alleged overtime claims against Defendants.
The named Plaintiff will be paid a reasonable service award for pursuing the case.
By separate agreement, the parties have settled the matter of attorney’s fees, costs,
and expenses, such that payment of these agreed-upon sums will not diminish the
amounts payable to the class.
“When employees bring a private action for back wages under the FLSA, and
present to the district court a proposed settlement, the district court may enter a stipulated
judgment after scrutinizing the settlement for fairness. Accordingly, as long as the Court
is satisfied that a settlement reached in adversarial proceedings represents a fair and
equitable compromise of a bona fide wage and hour dispute, the settlement may be
approved, and stipulated judgment entered.” Simmons v. Enter. Holdings, Inc., No.
4:10CV00625, 2012 WL 2885919, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 13, 2012) (citing cases).
“To approve an FLSA settlement, the Court must find that (1) the litigation
involves a bona fide dispute, (2) the proposed settlement is fair and equitable to all parties
concerned and (3) the proposed settlement contains an award of reasonable attorney
fees.” Grove v. ZW Tech, Inc., No. 11–2445–KHV, 2012 WL 4867226, at *2 -3 (D.
Kan. Oct. 15, 2012). To determine whether a settlement of an FLSA collective action is
fair and equitable to all parties, courts apply the same fairness factors as apply to a
proposed class action settlement under Rule 23, which include “(1) whether the proposed
settlement was fairly and honestly negotiated, (2) whether serious questions of law and
fact exist which place the ultimate outcome of the litigation in doubt, (3) whether the
value of an immediate recovery outweighs the mere possibility of future relief after
protracted and expensive litigation and (4) the judgment of the parties that the settlement
is fair and reasonable.” Id.
Here, upon review of the complaint, the terms of the settlement agreement, the
notice and form for participation to be provided to all eligible class members, and the
memorandum in support of the motion for approval, the Court finds that the litigation
involves a bona fide dispute, and that the settlement agreement is fair and equitable.
Further, the form of notice is fair and accurate, and reasonably advises class members of
the terms of the settlement and their options with regard to the settlement. The Court also
finds that the separate agreement for attorney’s fees, expenses, and costs is reasonable.
The Court notes, as stated above, that the payment of fees, expenses, and costs will not
diminish the funds payable to eligible class members.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s unopposed motion for approval of
the FLSA collective action settlement reached in this case is GRANTED. (Doc. No. 26.)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall proceed, and shall provide
notice to the class, in accordance with the settlement.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, for purposes of resolution of the case, and
consistent with the above decision, Count II of the complaint is DISMISSED without
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 25th day of October, 2012.
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