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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
MEDOX CORPORATION, KAREN
SHAEFFER, and MEGAN SHAEFFER,
Case No. 8:13-cv-878-T-33TGW
This matter is before the Court pursuant to the parties’
Stipulation for Dismissal of this Fair Labor Standards Act
case, filed on July 5, 2013. (Doc. # 14). The stipulation
states that the parties “stipulate to the dismissal of this
entire action, on the merits, and with prejudice as to all
claims.” Id. at 1. As Plaintiff seeks relief under the Fair
Labor Standards Act, additional information is needed before
this Court can dispose of this case.
Plaintiff filed his complaint against Defendants, his
employer, on April 5, 2013, alleging that Defendants failed to
pay him overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA. (Doc.
The Eleventh Circuit ruled in Lynn’s Food Stores, Inc. v.
United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352 (11th Cir. 1982), that
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“Congress made the FLSA’s terms mandatory; thus, the
provisions are not subject to negotiations or bargaining
between employers and employees. FLSA rights cannot be
abridged by contract or otherwise waived because this would
nullify the purpose of the statute and thwart the legislative
policies it was designed to effectuate.” (internal citations
In Lynn’s Food, the employer sought judicial approval of
private agreements it entered into with its employees to
settle FLSA violations. Pursuant to the settlement
agreements, the employees waived their rights to file FLSA
claims in exchange for a small fraction of the back wages that
the Department of Labor concluded that the employees were
owed. Specifically, the employer offered only $1,000.00 to be
divided between fourteen employees. The employees were not
represented by counsel, and it was clear that the employees
were not fairly compensated. Concerned about the unequal
bargaining power between employers and employees, the Eleventh
Circuit ruled that the agreements could not be approved absent
supervision of the Department of Labor or a stipulated
judgment entered by a court which has determined that the
settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution of the FLSA
claims. Thus, a compromise of an employee’s FLSA rights
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through a settlement of a lawsuit is subject to judicial
The parties represent in the stipulation that “the
agreement reached by the Parties includes a payment to
Plaintiff in full for all of Plaintiff’s FLSA wage claims,
including liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.
As such, the resolution of this matter does not constitute a
‘compromise’ which would involve Court review and/or approval
pursuant to [Lynn’s Food].” (Doc. # 14 at 1).
However, “Lynn’s Food suggests no exception to judicial
oversight of settlements when the employee receives all wages
due.” Silva v. Miller, 307 F. App’x 349, 351 (11th Cir.
2009). Despite the parties’ assertion to the contrary, it is
only “after judicial inquiry confirms both ‘full compensation’
and ‘no side deal’ (in other words, the absence of
compromise), [that] no further judicial inquiry is necessary.
In every other instance, Lynn’s Food requires plenary review
by the district court.” Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706 F. Supp.
2d 1227, 1240 (M.D. Fla. 2010).
Because the parties’ stipulation fails to preclude the
existence of a compromise -- in particular, the stipulation
does not confirm the absence of any “side deals” -- the
parties’ stipulation for dismissal is rejected. Accordingly,
by July 16, 2013, the parties shall file a motion for approval
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of the settlement of this case consistent with the authorities
outlined above. The parties are advised that this Court will
not accept a generic motion devoid of relevant information
about the settlement at issue, and must attach any written
agreement or memorialization of the terms of the settlement to
the motion. The motion must confirm that the attached
agreement includes every term and condition of the parties’
settlement (in other words, confirm the absence of any “side
deal”) and if, in fact, the settlement involves a compromise
(that is, if Plaintiff either receives less than the full
compensation claimed for unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and
attorney’s fees or agrees to any term other than the release
of her claim in exchange for full compensation), the parties
must identify the bona fide dispute or disputes resolved by
the compromise and state the reason for the compromise.
Additionally, the parties must either demonstrate the
reasonableness of the proposed attorney’s fees using the
lodestar approach or represent that the parties negotiated the
attorney’s fees separately and without regard to the amount
paid to settle Plaintiff’s FLSA claim.
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED ADJUDGED and DECREED:
The parties shall file a detailed and specific motion for
Court approval of the settlement of this Fair Labor Standards
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Act case by July 16, 2013.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers in Tampa, Florida, this 9th
day of July, 2013.
All Counsel of Record