United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
PITMAN United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before me on the parties' joint application to
approve their settlement (Docket Item ("D.I.") 18).
All parties have consented to my exercising plenary
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
parties reached their proposed settlement prior to any
settlement conference being scheduled, and therefore, my
knowledge of the underlying facts and the justification for
the settlement is limited to counsels' representations in
their letter submitted in support of the settlement.
formerly worked for defendant FSM Management Inc. as a
building superintendent and seeks, by this action, to recover
unpaid minimum wages and overtime premium pay. The action is
brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the
"FLSA"-), 28 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and
the New York Labor Law. Plain- tiff also asserts a claim
based on defendants' alleged failure to maintain certain
records and to provide certain notices under the Wage Theft
Prevention Act (the "WTPA").
alleges he was assigned to perform cleaning and maintenance
work at three buildings in Manhattan from June 2014 through
June 2015. He alleges he worked 46 hours per week from June
2014 through April 2015 and was paid a flat weekly salary of
$245.00. Plaintiff claims he is owed $4,
500.00 in unpaid minimum wage, $800.00 in unpaid overtime,
$5, 300.00 in liquidated damages and $10, 000.00 for WTPA
deny plaintiff's allegations. Specifically, defendants
dispute the number of hours plaintiff alleges he worked,
claiming that he worked only 24 hours per week.
parties have agreed to a settlement in the total amount of
$16, 500.00. The proposed settlement further provides that
plaintiff's counsel will receive $5, 863.67 and that the
balance of $10, 636.33 will be paid to plaintiff. The amount
allocated to counsel is comprised of $545.00 for
out-of-pocket costs plus one-third of the remaining
settlement proceeds, i.e., $545.00 ($15, 955.00 ÷ 3)
approval of an FLSA settlement is appropriate
"when [the settlement] [is] reached as a result of
contested litigation to resolve bona fide
disputes." Johnson v. Brennan, No. 10 Civ.
4712, 2011 WL 4357376, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 16, 2011).
"If the proposed settlement reflects a reasonable
compromise over contested issues, the court should approve
the settlement." Id. (citing Lynn's
Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353
n.8 (11th Cir. 1982)).
Agudelo v. E & D LLC, 12 Civ. 960 (HB), 2013 WL
1401887 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 4, 2013) (Baer, D.J.)
(alterations in original). "Generally, there is a strong
presumption in favor of finding a settlement fair, [because]
the Court is generally not in as good a position as the
parties to determine the reasonableness of an FLSA
settlement." Lliguichuzhca v. Cinema 60, LLC,
948 F.Supp.2d 362, 365 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (Gorenstein, M.J.)
(internal quotation marks omitted). "Typically, courts
regard the adversarial nature of a litigated FLSA case to be
an adequate indicator of the fairness of the
settlement." Beckman v. KeyBank, N.A., 293
F.R.D. 467, 476 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (Ellis, M.J.), citing
Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States,
supra, 679 F.2d at 1353-54.
Wolinsky v. Scholastic Inc., 900 F.Supp.2d 332, 335
(S.D.N.Y. 2012), the Honorable Jesse M. Furman, United States
District Judge, identified five factors that are relevant to
an assessment of the fairness of an FLSA settlement:
In determining whether [a] proposed [FLSA] settlement is fair
and reasonable, a court should consider the totality of
circumstances, including but not limited to the following
factors: (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.
(Internal quotation marks omitted). The settlement here
satisfies these criteria.
the net settlement represents more than 100% of
plaintiff's unpaid wages and approximately one-third of
his liquidated and WTPA damages. Thus, the net settlement
amount provides ...