Robles Sanchez v. Payam Inc. et al
ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the parties may not dismiss this action with prejudice unless the settlement agreement has been approved by either the Court or the Department of Labor (DOL). Accordingly, to the extent the parties wish to dismiss thi s action with prejudice, they must either file a joint letter motion requesting that the Court approve the settlement agreement or, alternatively, provide documentation of the approval by DOL. If no letter or stipulation is filed by October 13, 2022, a conference shall be held on October 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York 10007. SO ORDERED., ( Motions due by 10/13/2022.) (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 9/16/2022) (ama)
Case 1:21-cv-09628-VEC Document 17 Filed 09/16/22 Page 1 of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
CARLOS AGOSTIN ROBLES SANCHEZ,
PAYAM INC., PAPRIKA II LLC, and
PAPRIKA LLC ,
DATE FILED: 9/16/2022
VALERIE CAPRONI, United States District Judge:
WHEREAS on September 13, 2022 (Dkt. 16), the Court was notified that through
mediation, an agreement was reached on all issues; and
WHEREAS this case involves claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the parties may not dismiss this action with prejudice
unless the settlement agreement has been approved by either the Court or the Department of
Labor (DOL). See Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199, 206 (2d Cir. 2015).
Accordingly, to the extent the parties wish to dismiss this action with prejudice, they must either
file a joint letter motion requesting that the Court approve the settlement agreement or,
alternatively, provide documentation of the approval by DOL. Any letter motion, along with the
settlement agreement, must be filed on the public docket by October 13, 2022. The letter
motion must explain why the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable and should discuss, at a
minimum, the following factors:
(1) the plaintiff’s range of possible recovery; (2) the extent to which “the settlement
will enable the parties to avoid anticipated burdens and expenses in establishing
their respective claims and defenses”; (3) the seriousness of the litigation risks
Case 1:21-cv-09628-VEC Document 17 Filed 09/16/22 Page 2 of 3
faced by the parties; (4) whether “the settlement agreement is the product of arm'slength bargaining between experienced counsel”; and (5) the possibility of fraud or
Wolinsky v. Scholastic Inc., 900 F. Supp. 2d 332, 335 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (quoting Medley v. Am.
Cancer Soc., No. 10-CV-3214, 2010 WL 3000028, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 23, 2010)). The letter
must also address whether there is a bona fide dispute as to the number of hours worked or the
amount of compensation due and how much of the proposed settlement plaintiff’s attorney shall
be seeking as fees. See Cheeks, 796 F.3d at 206. Absent special circumstances, the Court will
not approve any settlement agreement that is filed under seal or in redacted form. See id.
The parties are advised that the Court is unlikely to approve any agreement that contains
a general release or a release of any claims that were not raised in the complaint and are
unrelated to wage-and-hour claims under the FLSA or related state laws. See Flores-Mendieta v.
Bitefood Ltd., No. 15-CV-4997, 2016 WL 1626630, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 21, 2016) (“A FLSA
settlement cannot offer the defendant a sweeping release from liability that would ‘waive
practically any possible claim against the defendants, including unknown claims and claims that
have no relationship whatsoever to wage-and-hour issues.’” (quoting Cheeks, 796 F.3d at 206)).
Such releases are generally disfavored, even if mutually applicable to all parties. See Gurung v.
White Way Threading LLC, 226 F. Supp. 3d 226, 229 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (“The fact that the
general release is styled as mutual . . . does not salvage it, absent a sound explanation for how
this broad release benefits the plaintiff employee.”). If, notwithstanding that admonition, the
parties believe that this case is sufficiently unusual that the Court should consider approving a
release that goes beyond wage-and-hour and related labor law claims, the joint motion must
explain why such a settlement term is appropriate in this case. Failure to do so will likely result
in the motion being summarily denied but may also result in sanctions against the attorneys for
failure to comply with this Court’s order.
Case 1:21-cv-09628-VEC Document 17 Filed 09/16/22 Page 3 of 3
The Second Circuit has left open for future decision whether an FLSA case may be
settled without Court or DOL approval and dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A). See id. at 201 n.2 (“[W]e leave for another day the question of
whether parties may settle [FLSA] cases without court approval . . . by entering into a Rule
41(a)(1)(A) stipulation without prejudice.”). If the parties wish to proceed without Court or
DOL approval, they must submit a stipulation pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
41(a)(1)(A). Any such stipulation must be filed on the public docket within 30 days and must
be accompanied by an affirmation from Plaintiff’s counsel (1) stating that the Plaintiff(s) have
been clearly advised that the settlement of this case does not preclude them from filing another
lawsuit against the same Defendant(s) and (2) affirming that the settlement agreement does not
contain a release of the Defendant(s). See, e.g., Elfenbein v. Gulf & W. Indus., Inc., 590 F.2d
445, 449 (2d Cir. 1978) (per curiam) (“[A] dismissal without prejudice permits a new action
(assuming the statute of limitations has not run) without regard to Res judicata principles.”
(quoting Rinieri v. News Syndicate Co., 395 F.2d 818, 821 (2d Cir. 1967)). The parties are
warned that this option runs the risk that the case may be reopened in the future.
If no letter or stipulation is filed by October 13, 2022, a conference shall be held on
October 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse,
40 Foley Square, New York, New York 10007.
United States District Judge
Date: September 16, 2022
New York, NY
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