United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Chad McFarlin, individually and on behalf of similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
The Word Enterprises, LLC, et al., Defendants.
OPINIONAND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'SMOTIONTO
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Strike
Defendants' Improper Notices, filed on November 20, 2019.
ECF No. 128. Defense Counsel previously submitted a Notice
Regarding Status Conference (ECF No. 125) and a Supplement to
Notice Regarding Status Conference (ECF No. 126) on November
18, 2019. After reviewing Plaintiff's Motion, the Court
concludes that oral argument will not aid in the resolution
of this matter. Accordingly, the Court will resolve the
Motion on the brief as submitted. See E.D. Mich.
L.R. 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike [#128] will be DENIED.
instant case involves a chain of three Hungry Howie's
franchises located in Haslett, Perry, and St. Johns,
Michigan. ECF No. 75, PageID.1597. Plaintiff Chad
McFarlin filed a complaint against The Word Enterprises, LLC
et al. (“Defendants”) on July 6, 2016.
See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants
paid him below the Federal and Michigan minimum wages during
his time as a delivery driver for Hungry Howie's pizza.
Id. Plaintiff brought the action under the Fair
Labor Standards Act, the Michigan Minimum Wage Law, and the
Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (“WOWA”)
to recover unpaid wages owed to him and similarly situated
Hungry Howie's delivery drivers employed by Defendants.
Id. Defendants filed an answer on August 31, 2016
denying the allegations and asserting affirmative defenses.
ECF No. 19.
then filed his First Amended Complaint on September 19, 2017.
ECF 75. He alleged that throughout his time as a delivery
driver at the Perry franchise, Defendants paid him and
similarly situated drivers the exact Michigan minimum wage.
Id. He also purported that Defendants did not
adequately reimburse him and other drivers for vehicle
expenses incurred while delivering pizzas. Id. at
PageID.1598. Therefore, according to Plaintiff, Defendants
actually paid Plaintiff and similarly situated drivers below
the federal and Michigan minimum wages. Id. at
PageID.1607, 1610. Defendants continued to deny these
Status of Plaintiff and Defendants' Settlement
and Defendants (together, the “Parties”)
participated in a full-day, private mediation on August 15,
2019 before the Honorable James Rashid. ECF No. 116,
PageID.2563. The Parties subsequently filed a Joint Status
Report on September 19, 2019. ECF No. 118. The Joint Status
Report explained that the Parties reached a settlement in
principle, subject to the Court's approval. Id.
at PageID.2567. The Joint Status Report also included dates
for the Parties to meet in order to move forward with their
settlement. This Court met with the Parties on September 23,
2019 to discuss the status of their settlement agreement as
well as the dates in the Joint Status Report. See
ECF Nos. 119, 120.
November 7, 2019, this Court conducted a status conference
with the Parties. See ECF No. 121. There, the
Parties advised the Court that they have been unable to meet
the deadlines outlined in their Joint Status Report. This
Court addressed the Parties' concerns and proposed a
revised case management plan. See ECF No. 122,
November 14, 2019, this Court conducted a telephonic
conference with the Parties to provide an updated status. The
Parties advised the Court that they made some progress since
their last meeting. ECF No. 124, PageID.2582. They explained
that there was still a disagreement as to the specific
language and mechanics of the release, however. Id.
This Court therefore ordered the Parties to meet with each
other on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to resolve
this disagreement, as well as any other remaining disputes in
the language for the Final Settlement Agreement. Id.
filed a Notice Regarding Status Conference on November 18,
2019. See ECF No. 125. This Notice provided an
updated status on the cases' settlement agreement.
Specifically, Defendants expressed their concern that the
Court was previously misled as to when the class list was
due. Id. at PageID.2585. Further, this Notice
denoted the outstanding dispute concerning the language of
the scope of the release. Id. at PageID.2586
(“The basic delay in getting the settlement singed is
that Plaintiffs attempted to modify the scope of the release
to be 50% of what was agreed to.”). Defendants also
indicated, though, that they were hopeful that this issue was
behind the Parties and that they could still meet their
deadlines for both the Final Settlement Agreement and the
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of FLSA Collective and
Class Action Settlement. Id. at PageID.2586-87.
also filed a Supplement to Notice Regarding Status Conference
later that day. See ECF No. 126. In this Notice,
Defendants objected to Plaintiff's request to have a
court reporter present during the conference on the final
settlement language. Id. at PageID.2588. The Court
advised the Parties soon after that they were to meet and
confer in the presence of the court reporter.
now seeks to strike Defendants' Notice Regarding Status
Conference (ECF No. 125) and Supplement to Notice Regarding
Status Conference (ECF No. 126) (together, the
“Notices”) from the record. ECF No. 128.
Plaintiff argues that Defense Counsel Mr. Patrick Lannen made
“several unsupported accusations” and
“unprofessional accusations” in these allegedly
improper Notices. Id. at PageID.2607. Plaintiff
further claims that these Notices “serve no other
purpose other than distracting [the Court] from the remaining
issues in this matter and clouding the record with improper