United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
KELSEY DAOUST, on behalf of herself and those similarly-situated, Plaintiff,
MARU RESTAURANT, LLC, MARU DETROIT, LLC, MARU EAST LANSING, LLC, MARU GRAND RAPIDS, LLC, MARU KALAMAZOO, LLC, MARU MIDLAND, LLC and MARU HOSPITALITY, LLC, Domestic Limited Liability Companies, and ROBERT SONG, Individually, Defendants. Installment Payment Paid to Class Counsel Amount Remaining for Participating Class Members
FINAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF
THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
TERRENCE G. BERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
upon the facts presented to the Court during the June 19,
2019 Final Approval and Fairness Hearing, the Court's
review of the Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law is Support of
the Motion for Preliminary Approval, the Declaration of
Andrew R. Frisch (“Frisch Declaration”), and all
other papers submitted in connection with Plaintiff's
Motion for Preliminary Approval, the Court grants final
approval of the settlement memorialized in the Settlement
Agreement and Release (“Settlement Agreement”)
between Plaintiff, KELSEY DAOUST, and Defendants MARU
RESTAURANT, LLC, MARU DETROIT, LLC, MARU EAST LANSING, LLC,
MARU GRAND RAPIDS, LLC, MARU MIDLAND, LLC, MARU HOSPITALITY,
LLC, and ROBERT SONG (“Defendants”) (collectively
“the Parties”), and “so orders” all
of its terms except as set forth herein.
lawsuit is a hybrid class and collective action asserting
wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) and Michigan's Workforce Opportunity
Wage Act (“WOWA”), M.C.L. § 408.411, et
seq. It concerns Defendants' use of a tip pool and,
later, a service charge. Plaintiff contends the tip pool and
service charge were unlawful and should result in Defendants
being unable to take a tip credit (i.e., paying the lower
tipped minimum wage and taking a credit for tips received to
make up for the difference with the regular minimum wage).
Defendants denied Plaintiff's allegations.
Parties have agreed to a $1, 450, 000 settlement covering 359
class members. The settlement was reached during arms-length
negotiations between the Parties, which were conducted by
experienced counsel following extensive investigation, and on
the basis of mutual recognition of the strengths and
weaknesses of each other's positions. The settlement was
achieved during mediation with the assistance of the
Honorable Steven Rhodes (Retired Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court for the Eastern District of Michigan). After
subtracting for fees, administrative costs and the like, the
average payment per class member is approximately $2, 585.
of the Settlement Class
Court finds that all requirements of Rule 23(a) and (b)(3) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are satisfied for
Court finally certifies the following class under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e), for settlement purposes only
All tipped server employees who worked for any of the
Defendants from November 30, 2014 through June 3, 2018, with
the exception of six (6) servers who did not receive the
class notice after a remailing and who therefore are excluded
from the class definition.
of the Settlement Agreement
Court hereby grants the Motion for Final Approval and
approves the settlement on behalf of the class as set forth
in the settlement Agreement and this Order under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 23(e).
Under Rule 23(e), a class settlement must be “fair,
reasonable, and adequate” under a seven-factor
standard. UAW v. General Motors Corp., 497 F.3d 615,
626 (citing Granada Invs., Inc. v. DWG Corp., 962
F.2d 1203, 1205 (6thCir.1992); Williams v.
Vukovich, 720 F.2d 909, 922-23 (6th Cir.1983)).
Seven Factor Standard is Satisfied
Sixth Circuit uses the following seven factors to evaluate
class action settlements: (1) the risk of fraud or collusion;
(2) the complexity, expense and likely duration of the
litigation; (3) the amount of discovery engaged in by the
parties; (4) the likelihood of success on the merits; (5) the
opinions of class counsel and class representatives; (6) the
reaction of absent class members; and (7) the public
interest. UAW v. General Motors Corp., 497 F.3d 615,
626 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Granada Invs., Inc. v. DWG
Corp., 962 F.2d 1203, 1205 (6th Cir.1992); Williams
v. Vukovich, 720 F.2d 909, 922-23 (6th Cir.1983).
These factors were thoroughly reviewed with Class Counsel
during the June 19, 2019 Fairness Hearing. The Court finds
that all of the factors set forth in UAW, 497 F.3d
at 615, which provides the analytical framework for
evaluating the ...