Aquino v. Fort Washington Auto Body Corp et al
OPINION AND ORDER: This matter is before me on a joint application to approve a settlement between plaintiff Ismael Santana and defendants and a separate settlement between the remaining plaintiffs and defendants. (As further set forth in this Order. ) Accordingly, within 30 days of the date of this Order, the parties are to provide the information sought and a revised settlement agreement between Santana and defendants that limits the persons or entities covered by the general release. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman on 3/31/2017) Copies Sent By Chambers. (cf)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
YUNIOR AQUINO, 06 behalf of
himself, individmally, and
on behalf of all others
similarly situated, et al.,
::-:::-::---~~-DATE FILED:-:. ~ 131 ILz .
16 Civ. 390 (HBP)
-againstFORT WASHINGTON AUTO BODY
CORP., et al.,
PITMAN, United States Magistrate Judge:
This matter is before me on a joint application to
approve a settlement between plaintiff Ismael Santana and defendants and a separate settlement between the remaining plaintiffs
All parties have consented to my exercising
plenary jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
This is an action brought by seven individuals who were
or are employed by defendants.
Plaintiffs allege that they were
not paid for overtime work and did not receive proper wage
Plaintiffs assert their claims under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (the "FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201
provisions of the New York Labor Law (the "NYLL").
was commenced as a collective action with respect to the FLSA
claim, and the parties stipulated to the matter proceeding as a
Defendants deny plaintiffs' allegations.
that plaintiffs' salaries covered all hours worked and included
an additional amount for their overtime hours.
dispute the number of hours that plaintiffs claim to have worked.
Moreover, defendants assert that Santana was a manager and, thus,
exempt from the federal and state overtime requirements.
I held a lengthy settlement conference on September 29,
2016 that was attended by Santana and his counsel.
conference, Santana claimed he was owed either $58,133.86 or
$239,802.19 in unpaid wages, depending on whether the wages he
received were intended to compensate him for all hours worked or
only for the first forty hours.
After a protracted discussion of
the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' respective positions, Santana and defendants agreed to resolve his claim for a
total settlement of $38,500.00.
The parties have also agreed
that $230.21 of the settlement figure will be allocated to
reimburse Santana's counsel for their out-of-pocket costs,
$15,400.00 (or 40%) of the remaining $38,269.79 will be paid to
Santana's counsel and that the balance of $22,869.79 will be paid
The remaining plaintiffs and defendants have agreed to
a total settlement of $170,000.00, to be distributed among the
plaintiffs on a pro rata basis.
The parties have also agreed
that, after deduction of out-of-pocket costs, plaintiffs' counsel
will receive one-third of each plaintiff's recovery as attorneys'
The amounts claimed by each of the remaining plaintiffs,
the gross amount of the settlement fund allocable to each plaintiff and the net amount that will be received by each plaintiff
after deduction for legal fees and costs are as follows:
12, 626. 21
26, 831. 66
This settlement was reached prior to the settlement conference I
conducted between Santana and defendants.
A preliminary review of both proposed settlements
First, I cannot approve the agreement between
The amount claimed by each of the plaintiffs purportedly
includes the allegedly unpaid overtime (assuming that the wages
paid represented straight time pay for all hours actually
worked) , liquidated damages and statutory damages for alleged
violations of New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act.
Santana and defendants because it contains an impermissible
In pertinent part, the release provides:
[T]he Parties, with respect solely and only to conduct
that has arisen on, or prior to, the date that this
Agreement is executed, knowingly and voluntarily, fully
and forever, release .
. all actions, causes of
. including but not limited to those arising
the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"); the New
York Labor Law ("NYLL"); the FLSA's and NYLL's implementing regulations; any alleged violation of federal,
state or local laws prohibiting discrimination .
any other federal, state or local civil or human rights
. [;] the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act; the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended; the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act; any public policy, contract, tort
or common law obligation .
.; any claim for wages or
other compensation under any federal or state wage
payment laws, and their implementing regulations; any
claim for compensation, bonus, incentive pay, vacation
pay, sick pay, separation or severance payments of any
kind, or any other payments or benefits; and any obligation for costs, fees or other expenses, including but
not limited to, claims for minimum wages, overtime and
(Letter from Kevin A. Guaranda, Paralegal, to the undersigned,
dated Nov. 16, 2016 ("Guaranda Letter"), Ex. 1
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