United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING THE PARTIES' JOINT
MOTION TO APPROVE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (ECF NO. 17)
V. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed this action claiming that Defendants violated the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay
overtime compensation. The matter is presently before the
Court on the parties' Joint Motion to Approve Settlement
Agreement. (ECF No. 17.) For the reasons that follow, the
Court is granting the motion.
reviewing a proposed FLSA settlement, the court must
determine whether it 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 are
several factors courts consider in making this determination:
(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.
Wolinsky v. Scholastic, Inc., 900 F.Supp.2d 332, 335
(S.D.N.Y. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted); see also Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706
F.Supp.2d 1227, 1241 (M.D. Fla. 2010). Where the settlement
agreement includes the payment of attorney's fees, the
court must assess the reasonableness of that amount.
Wolinsky, 900 F.Supp.2d at 336 (citing cases finding
judicial review of the fee award necessary). “[T]he
Court must carefully scrutinize the settlement and the
circumstances in which it was reached, if only to ensure that
‘the interest of [the] plaintiffs' counsel in
counsel's own compensation did not adversely affect the
extent of the relief counsel procured for the
clients.'” Id. (quoting Cisek v.
Nat'l Surface Cleaning, Inc., 954 F.Supp.
110, 110-11 (S.D.N.Y. 1997)).
parties' agreement provides that Defendants will make a
gross payment of $17, 000.00 in complete settlement of this
action including attorney's fees and costs. The amount of
the settlement to be paid to Plaintiff's counsel for
costs and attorney's fees is $6, 176.87. Considering the
relevant factors, the Court finds this settlement “fair
parties represent that for the two-year period leading up to
the filing of Plaintiff's Complaint, the total amount of
unpaid overtime, assuming the FLSA is applicable to
Plaintiff, is between $6, 096.25 and $6, 140.00. For the
third year of potential liability, the total amount of unpaid
overtime, if the FLSA is applicable to Plaintiff, is between
$4, 455.52 and $5, 257.00. Thus, the parties' settlement
agreement recoups for Plaintiff a significant portion of the
amount of unpaid overtime compensation she claims is due.
settlement enables the parties to avoid additional burdens
and expenses of proceeding with this litigation, which would
detract from any award Plaintiff might recover if she pursued
this case through discovery and to trial. Moreover, Plaintiff
avoids the risk of not prevailing as there is a bona fide
dispute as to whether she is covered by the FLSA and subject
to its overtime provisions. There also is a dispute between
the parties regarding the number of overtime hours Plaintiff
worked. As such, both parties face risks if the Court does
not approve the settlement. Plaintiff risks a potential award
and Defendant risks increased exposure.
parties are represented by competent and experienced legal
counsel who engaged in numerous discussions regarding the
factual and legal disputes. The Court therefore concludes
that the settlement is the product of arm's-length
bargaining. Finally, there is no reason for the Court to
suspect fraud or collusion.
Court also approves the parties' proposed settlement with
respect to attorney's fees and costs. “In an
individual FLSA action where the parties settled on the fee
through negotiation, there is ‘a greater range of
reasonableness for approving attorney's fees.'”
Wolinsky, 900 F.Supp.2d at 336 (internal citation
omitted). However, the Court is required to carefully examine
the settlement “to ensure that the interest of
plaintiffs' counsel in counsel's own compensation
[did not] adversely affect the extent of the relief counsel
[procured] for the clients.'” Id.
(internal citation omitted). The Court finds that the amount
allocated for attorney's fees is fair and reasonable
considering the result reached in this case and the total
number of hours that Plaintiff's counsel dedicated to
conclusion, the Court finds the parties' settlement fair
IT IS ORDERED that the Joint Motion to
Approve Settlement (ECF No. 17) is GRANTED;
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was
mailed to counsel of record and/or pro se parties on this
date, May 21, 2019, ...