United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
KATHERINE B. FORREST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the Court is a proposed settlement agreement.
(ECF No. 26.) For the reasons stated below, the Court hereby
APPROVES the settlement set forth therein.
October 31, 2017, Juan Carlos Batista commenced this action
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the
New York Labor Law (“NYLL”), § 190 et seq.
and § 650 et seq. (See generally Compl., ECF No. 1.) The
Complaint alleges, in sum, that defendants: (1) failed to pay
plaintiffs the requisite minimum hourly rate; (2) failed to
pay plaintiffs the statutorily required overtime
compensation; and (3) failed to provide plaintiffs with the
required notices/wage statements.
answered the Complaint on November 14, 2017. (ECF No. 10.) On
December 18, 2017, the parties attended a mediation
conference in the courthouse; the mediation was unsuccessful.
(ECF No. 22.) Plaintiff then sought leave to file an Amended
Complaint, in order to alter the caption to name the proper
defendants; the Court granted the motion. (ECF Nos. 23, 24,
13, 2018, the Court received notice that plaintiff in this
action had accepted an offer of judgment for $75, 000. (ECF
No. 26.) Plaintiff's counsel made a fairness submission
regarding that accepted offer pursuant to Cheeks v. Freeport
Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199 (2d Cir. 2015). (ECF No.
26.) The Court ordered plaintiff's counsel to file any
retainer agreement, (ECF No. 27); plaintiff's counsel did
so on July 18, 2018, (ECF No. 28).
Approval of FLSA Settlements
FLSA and its case law protects employees from being coerced
into settling claims by requiring that a settlement either be
supervised by the Secretary of Labor or be made pursuant to a
judicially supervised settlement agreement. Cheeks v.
Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199, 206 (2d Cir.
2015), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 824 (2016). Before the Court
enters judgment on a settlement agreement, “the parties
must satisfy the Court that their agreement is ‘fair
and reasonable.'” Santos v. Yellowstone Properties,
Inc., No. 15-cv-3986, 2016 WL 2757427, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. May
10, 2016) (quoting Velasquez v. SAFI-G, Inc., 137
F.Supp.3d 582, 584 (S.D.N.Y. 2015)).
evaluate whether a settlement meets this threshold, the Court
looks to the totality of the circumstances, including:
(1) the plaintiffs 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.
Wolinsky v. Scholastic Inc., 900 F.Supp.2d 332, 335
(S.D.N.Y. 2012) (quoting Medley v. Am. Cancer Soc., No.
10-cv-3214, 2010 WL 3000028, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 23, 2010)
(other citations omitted)).
that weigh against settlement approval “include the
following: (1) ‘the presence of other employees
situated similarly to the claimant'; (2) ‘a
likelihood that the claimant's circumstance will
recur'; (3) ‘a history of FLSA noncompliance by the
same employer or others in the same industry or geographic
region'; and (4) the desirability of ‘a mature
record' and ‘a pointed determination of the
governing factual or legal ...