United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER APPROVING PARTIES' SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE
RAYMOND P. MOORE, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the Parties' "Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Agreement and Dismissal of Case with Prejudice" ("Joint Motion") (ECF No. 192). The Parties request that the Court approve their settlement agreement which resolves all of Plaintiff's claims. For the below stated reasons, the Court approves the Parties' settlement agreement and, pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, dismisses the case with prejudice.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This is an action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219 (2012), the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654 (2012), and other state-law claims. (ECF No. 83.)
As detailed in the Joint Motion, the Parties, represented by their respective counsel, engaged in good-faith, arm's length negotiations and have each reasonably compromised to settle all claims in this case.
Plaintiff, with counsel's advice, has fully consented to and executed the final settlement agreement resolving all of this case's claims. (ECF No. 192-1 at 8.)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Courts have held that settlements of FLSA actions such as this one may require court approval. Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir. 1982); Baker v. Vail Resorts Mgmt. Co., Case No. 13-CV-01649, 2014 WL 700096, at *1 (D. Colo. Feb. 24, 2014). Approval should be granted when: (1) the FLSA settlement is reached as a result of bona fide dispute; (2) the proposed settlement is fair and equitable to all parties concerned; and (3) the proposed settlement contains a reasonable award of attorneys' fees. Lynn's Food Stores, 679 F.2d at 1354; Baker, 2014 WL 700096 at *1.
A. Bona Fide Dispute
Parties requesting approval of an FLSA settlement should provide the Court with sufficient information to determine whether a bona fide dispute exists. Baker, 2014 WL 700096 at *1; Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706 F.Supp.2d 1227, 1241-42 (M.D. Fla. 2010). To meet this obligation, the parties must present: (1) a description of the nature of the dispute; (2) a description of the employer's business and the type of work performed by the employees; (3) the employer's reasons for disputing the employee's right to a minimum wage or overtime; (4) the employee's justification for the disputed wages; and (5) if the parties dispute the computation of wages owed, each party's estimate of the number of hours worked and the applicable wage. Baker, 2014 WL 700096 at *1; Collins v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 568 F.Supp.2d 714, 719-20 (E.D.La. 2008).
Plaintiff claims that Defendant failed to pay him overtime wages while he worked as a customer service representative at Defendant's Colorado Springs call center. (ECF No. 83 at ¶¶ 1, 9, 17, 18.) Defendant denies that it failed to pay Plaintiff any overtime wages due. (ECF No. 192 at 3.) Defendant's policies prohibit an hourly employee from performing work during times for which he or she is not compensated. (ECF No. 192 at 3.) Plaintiff alleges he is owed overtime wages for work performed preparing his computer prior to the beginning of his shift so that he was able to accept customer calls immediately when his shift began and that he was not paid for the time spent preparing his computer. (ECF No. 83 at ¶ 15.) Plaintiff claims that he worked 40 hours or more per week and is entitled to overtime for all uncompensated time. (ECF No. 83 at ¶¶ 14, 17, 18.) Among other reasons, Defendant disputes that Plaintiff was required to work off the clock. (ECF No. 192 at 3-4.)
The Court finds that a bona fide ...