Butz, Michael v. Automation Solutions of America, Inc.
ORDER granting 14 the parties' request for FLSA settlement review. The settlement is approved. Pursuant to the parties' stipulation, all claims are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by District Judge James D. Peterson on 11/7/17. (jat)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
MICHAEL S. BUTZ,
AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff Michael S. Butz filed suit against his former employer, defendant Automation
Solutions of America, Inc. (ASA), alleging that ASA failed to pay him overtime wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201–19, and Wisconsin wage
and hour laws and wrongfully discharged him. Dkt. 1. The parties have reached a settlement
agreement. They previously moved the court to approve their confidential settlement
agreement filed under seal; the court denied the motion because it could not approve the
settlement agreement without making it accessible to the public and the parties had not
supplied the court sufficient information to determine whether the agreement is reasonable.
Dkt. 13. The parties now renew their motion and have filed their agreement without sealing
it. Dkt. 14. The court will grant the parties’ motion and approve the settlement agreement.
As the court previously noted, the FLSA bars settlements that “establish sub-minimum
wages,” Walton v. United Consumers Club, Inc., 786 F.2d 303, 306 (7th Cir. 1986), so the court
must review the settlement agreement to determine whether it “represents a fair and reasonable
resolution of a bona fide dispute.” Salcedo v. D’Arcy Buick GMC, Inc., 227 F. Supp. 3d 961 (N.D.
Ill. 2016). Factors considered when reviewing settlement agreements for FLSA collective
actions include “the range of reasonableness of the settlement fund in light of the best possible
recovery [and] all the risks of litigation,” such as the risks of establishing liability and damages.
Burkholder v. City of Ft. Wayne, 750 F. Supp. 2d 990, 995 (N.D. Ind. 2010) (quoting Misiewicz
v. D’Onofrio Gen. Contractors, No. 08-cv-4377, 2010 WL 2545439, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. May 17,
2010)). The court was unable to approve the settlement agreement the first time around
because the parties had not provided any information from which the court could infer
reasonableness. Their submissions indicated only “that Butz received a salary (we don’t know
what it was) and sometimes worked more than 40 hours a week.” Dkt. 13, at 3.
This time around, the parties have not done much better. They indicate that Butz’s
salary was $80,000 and that he worked more than 40 hours a week “on a regular basis.”
Dkt. 14, at 2. They highlight some disputes of law and fact and indicate that based on those
disputes and the advice of counsel, the parties agreed to a settlement in which ASA will pay
$20,000 to Butz and $10,000 to his counsel. In exchange, Butz will release all claims against
This information would not be sufficient to approve settlement of an FLSA collective
action, where collective action members’ interests may not be adequately represented. But here,
where a single plaintiff has direct control of the litigation, it suffices. The agreement is not “a
mere waiver of statutory rights” but rather a compromise of disputed issues. Burkholder, 750 F.
Supp. 2d at 995 (quoting Misewicz, 2010 WL 2545439, at *3). Butz’s counsel will obtain the
standard one-third contingency fee and no more. The court is satisfied that the settlement
agreement represents a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute, so it will approve
the settlement agreement.
IT IS ORDERED that:
1. The parties’ request for FLSA settlement review, Dkt. 14, is GRANTED.
2. The settlement is APPROVED.
3. Pursuant to the parties’ stipulation, all claims are DISMISSED with prejudice. The
clerk of court is directed to close this case.
Entered November 7, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
JAMES D. PETERSON
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