United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
Edgardo Ramos, U.S.D.J.
Sefket Redzepagic ("Plaintiff) brought the
above-captained action against Defendants claiming violations
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Defendants'
failure to pay overtime wages. See Doc. 1. Plaintiff
has submitted an application for the Court to approve the
parties' Agreement and Release ("Agreement").
Circuit, parties cannot privately settle FLSA claims with
prejudice absent the approval of the district court or the
Department of Labor. See Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake
House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199, 200 (2d Cir. 2015). The
parties therefore must satisfy the Court that their agreement
is "fair and reasonable." Beckert v.
Ronirubinov, No. 15 Civ. 1951 (PAE), 2015 WL 8773460, at
*1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 14, 2015). The Court approves the Agreement
for the reasons described below.
order to evaluate the fairness of a proposed settlement, the
parties must provide the court with enough information to
evaluate 'the bona fides of the dispute.'"
Gaspar v. Pers. Touch Moving, Inc., No. 13 Civ. 8187
(AJN), 2015 WL 7871036, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 3, 2015). The
Court's inquiry into the substantive reasonableness of a
FLSA settlement requires the parties to submit, among other
things, a comparison of Plaintiff s range of possible damages
with the final settlement amount, and an explanation of the
case-specific litigation risks and other factors that justify
the discrepancy between the potential value of Plaintiff s
claims and the settlement amount, if any. See, e.g.,
Jesus v. PS Bros. Gourmet, No. 15 Civ. 99 (WHP), 2015 WL
9809999, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 18, 2015) (approving FLSA
settlement where plaintiff submitted "a detailed
breakdown of the total damages assessed for minimum wage,
overtime, and spread-of-hours violations; New York and
federal liquidated damages; interest; and pay stub
violation"); Meza v. 317 Amsterdam Corp., No.
14 Civ. 9007 (VSB), 2015 WL 9161791, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 14,
2015) (approving settlement after parties "submitted a
letter detailing why they believe the settlement reached in
this action, and the contemplated attorney's fees, are
fair and reasonable").
Agreement provides for a total settlement of $75, 000 and
divides the settlement as follows: (i) a payment to Plaintiff
in the amount of $24, 540.41; (ii) a payment to Plaintiff in
the amount of $24, 540.41 representing liquidated and other
damages; and (iii) a payment to Plaintiffs counsel in the
amount of $25, 919.18. See Doc. 82, Exhibit 1
("Agreement"). Thus, under the Agreement, Plaintiff
retains $49, 080.82 of the $75, 000. The Court is satisfied
that the parties have adequately justified the dollar amounts
constituting the settlement. Here, Plaintiff faces a large
and uncertain range of possible recovery. At the low end,
Plaintiff could potentially recover nothing at trial if
Defendants demonstrate that Plaintiff only worked overtime
when he reported it on his weekly time sheets and that the
time he spent on-call is not compensable under the FLSA.
See Doc. 82 at 2. At the high end of potential
recovery, if Plaintiff demonstrates that he was on call for
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that all his on-call time
was compensable under the FLSA, Plaintiff could recover up to
$323, 000 in wages. Id. In addition to the wages
Plaintiff may potentially recover, he could also potentially
recover up to an equal amount in damages. Id. The
Court finds that the explanation of how the payments have
been reduced to account for litigation risks and potential
defenses is reasonable. Additionally, the arms-length
settlement was reached with the assistance of counsel for the
parties, who are experienced in employment matters.
the reasonableness of attorneys' fees requested, the
Court looks to "the lodestar-the product of a reasonable
hourly rate and the reasonable number of hours required by
the case-which creates a presumptively reasonable fee."
Zhang v. Lin Kumo Japanese Rest, Inc., No. 13 Civ.
6667 (PAE), 2015 WL 5122530, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2015)
(quoting Stanczyk v. City of New York, 752 F.3d 273,
284 (2d Cir. 2014)). Under the proposed Agreement, Plaintiffs
attorneys will retain $25, 919.18 in attorneys' fees and
costs. Agreement ¶ 2.C In line with the requirements for
FLSA settlement approval in this Circuit, Plaintiffs counsel
has submitted billing records detailing the type of work
performed and hours logged by each attorney or staff member
in this matter so that the Court may calculate reasonable
fees under the "lodestar" method. See Garcia v.
Jambox, Inc., No. 14 Civ. 3504 (MHD), 2015 WL 2359502,
at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 27, 2015) ("In this circuit, a
proper fee request entails submitting contemporaneous billing
records documenting, for each attorney, the date, the hours
expended, and the nature of the work done. That requirement
extends to parties seeking approval of a settlement that
allocates a portion of the proceeds to the attorney.");
see also Beckert, 2015 WL 8773460, at *2 (evaluating
the reasonableness of plaintiff s request for fees of one
third of the settlement amount by reviewing the reasonable
hours worked multiplied by reasonable hourly rates,
i.e. the lodestar method).
Plaintiffs counsel's lodestar calculation is $34, 502.50
plus $919.18 in costs. Doc. 82, Ex. 3 at 7. This work
includes drafting and filing the complaint and amended
complaints, drafting and responding to discovery requests,
defending Plaintiffs deposition, attending court conferences,
drafting demand letters, researching and drafting opposition
to a motion for summary judgment, and settlement
negotiations. See Id. The total amount of hours
billed by all individuals amounts to 149.8 hours.
Id. The Court is satisfied with the billing rates
that counsel assigned to each biller at Eisner & Dictor,
P.C. and the number of hours spent for each
task.Based on these sums, the Court finds that
the requested attorneys' fees and costs of $25, 919.18
are objectively reasonable.
terms of the non-monetary provisions, the Court finds all of
them to be fair and reasonable.
Agreement, attached as Exhibit 1 to Doc. 82, is SO ORDERED.
The Third Amended Complaint, Doc. 30, is dismissed with
prejudice. The Clerk of the Court is respectfully directed to
close the case.
 This total amounts to approximately
one third of the overall settlement. Per the retainer
agreement between Eisner & Dictor, P.C., and Plaintiff,
Plaintiff agreed that counsel would represent him on a
contingency basis and that counsel would retain one third of
any gross recovery as attorneys' fees, plus the costs and
disbursements incurred by the firm. See Doc. 82 at
3. "One-third contingency fees ... are commonly accepted
in the Second Circuit in FLSA cases." Najera v.
Royal Bedding Co., LLC, No. 13 Civ. 1767 (NGG) (MDG),
2015 WL 3540719, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. June 3, 2015).
 The lodestar amount was calculated at
a rate of $500 an hour for partner Eugene Eisner; $250 an
hour for attorneys Thomas Lamadrid, Benjamin N. Dictor, and
Maria Chickedantz; and $125 an hour for law clerk Elizabeth