United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford Mag. Judge
OPINION AND ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT
E. LEVY United States District Judge
January 30, 2017, plaintiff brought this action against
Defendants alleging that they violated the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201,
et seq., and the Michigan Worker Opportunity Wage
parties have agreed upon a settlement amount and the material
settlement terms and have executed a Settlement Agreement and
Release. According to the Settlement Agreement, defendants
agree to pay $3, 565.76 as compensation, and $3, 396.24 in
attorney fees and costs, for a total of $6, 962.00.
counsel subsequently filed supplemental briefs and affidavits
indicating that 25 hours was spent working on the case by
five attorneys who charge between $250 and $350 per hour.
(Dkts. 9, 10.) Counsel state the amount of attorney fees and
costs that would be owed absent the settlement agreement
would be $7, 791.00. (Id.)
approval of settlement agreements in FLSA cases is necessary
for an agreement to be enforceable. Cheeks v. Freeport
Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199, 206 (2d Cir. 2015);
Smolinski v. Ruben & Michelle Enters. Inc., Case
No. 16-cv-13612, 2017 WL 835592, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 3,
2017). This requires the court to determine whether the
settlement is a “fair and reasonable resolution of a
bona fide dispute over FLSA provisions.” Lynn's
Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1355
(11th Cir. 1982).
there is not a prescribed process for making this
determination, courts generally consider the following
factors in non-collective FLSA cases:
(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 faced by the parties; (4) whether the
settlement agreement is the product of arm's-length
bargaining between experienced counsel; and (5) the
possibility of fraud or collusion.
See Wolinsky v. Scholastic, Inc., 900 F.Supp.2d 332,
335 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted); see Williams v. Alimar Sec., Inc., No.
13-12732, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13530, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Feb.
1, 2017); Arrington v. Mich. Bell Tel. Co., No.
10-10975, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157362, at *3 (E.D. Mich.
Nov. 2, 2012). And when the settlement agreement includes the
payment of attorney's fees, the court must also assess
the reasonableness of that amount before approving the
settlement. Wolinsky, 900 F.Supp.2d at 336.
reviewing plaintiff's complaint, the settlement
agreement, and plaintiff's counsel's billing, the
Court finds that the settlement agreement is fair and
complaint lacks a number of details relevant to determining
whether the $3, 565.76 in compensation is fair. But plaintiff
states that he was not paid overtime “since September
2015” and until the end of his employment, the date of
which is not specified. Further, the complaint alleges he was
not paid for nine hours of overtime the week of November 2.
Assuming plaintiff was paid his base hourly pay of $8.50 for
nine hours of overtime each week from September 2015, to the
filing of the complaint on January 30, 2017, instead of
$12.75 in overtime, plaintiff would be owed approximately $2,
945.25 in unpaid wages. This amount is slightly less than
what defendant agreed to pay in the settlement, $3, 565.76,
and the Court therefore finds the settlement fair and
reasonable as to compensation.
because the parties agreed to settle before discovery began,
they saved substantial time and resources from continuing to
develop their claims and defenses.
negotiation was also the product of an arm's-length
transaction. Plaintiff's interests were represented by
Hawks Quindel S.C. and Mahany Law, and defendants'
interests were represented by Starr, Butler, Alexopoulos,
& Stoner, PLLC. And counsel for each side is experienced
in handling FLSA cases. Further, there is no evidence of
fraud or collusion.
Court also finds that the attorney fee to which the parties
agreed is fair and reasonable. Plaintiff's counsel agreed
to take the case on contingency, and the settlement provides
for $3, 396.24 in attorney fees and costs, which is
approximately 43.6% of the ...