United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division
ORDER APPROVING FLSA SETTLEMENT
Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge
case arises out of plaintiffs' claims against defendants
for alleged unpaid wages. The parties have filed a joint
motion (Doc. No. 142) to approve their settlement agreement.
For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.
October 20, 2014, plaintiffs Jeff Roeder and Christopher
Grill filed this Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action
against defendants DIRECTV, INC., and DIRECTV, LLC
(collectively, DIRECTV). Doc. No. 2. On January 2, 2015,
DIRECTV filed a motion (Doc. No. 13) to dismiss for failure
to state a claim. That motion was denied on September 22,
2015. Doc. No. 24. On August 19, 2016, DIRECTV filed motions
(Doc. Nos. 59, 62) for summary judgment as to the claims
asserted by both plaintiffs. Those motions were denied on
January 13, 2017, and trial was set to begin June 5, 2017.
Doc. No. 108.
2, 2017, the parties advised the court that they had reached
a settlement. As such, the trial of this matter was removed
from the court's calendar. Doc. No. 139. On July 10,
2017, the parties filed their joint motion to approve
settlement agreement (Doc. No. 142) and a copy of the sealed
settlement agreement (Doc. No. 143).
settlements of FLSA claims are unenforceable. See, e.g.,
Shackleford v. CargillMeat Solutions, 2013 WL 209052, at
*3 (W.D. Mo. Jan. 17, 2013); Lynn's Food Stores, Inc.
v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352-54 (11th Cir.
1982). Therefore, wage claims arising under the FLSA can be
settled in one of two ways. First, 29 U.S.C. § 216(c)
authorizes the Secretary of Labor to supervise payment of
unpaid wages owed to employees. Second, in a private action
under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), a district court may approve a
settlement reached as a result of contested litigation to
resolve a bona fide dispute between the parties. Id.
(citing Brooklyn Sav. Bank v. O'Neil, 324 U.S.
Section 216(b), a district court must make two inquiries.
First, the court must determine if the settlement was the
product of "contested litigation." Second, the
court must inquire as to whether the settlement involves a
fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute between
the parties. To indicate fairness, courts generally rely on
the adversarial nature of a litigated FLSA case that results
in settlement. Id. at 1354. If the proposed
settlement reflects a reasonable compromise over contested
issues, the court may approve the settlement in order to
promote the policy of encouraging the settlement of
The parties have shown that a bona fide wage and hour dispute
demonstrate that a bona fide wage and hour dispute exists,
the parties must provide the reviewing court with the
(1) a description of the nature of the dispute (for example,
a disagreement over coverage, exemption or computation of
hours worked or rate of pay;(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
employees' right to a minimum wage or overtime; (4) the
employees' 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
v. Weber Carpet, Inc., No. 10-2131-KHV, 2012 WL 162403,
at *3 (D. Kan. Jan. 19, 2012). Here, the parties have
demonstrated that a bona fide dispute exists as to
plaintiffs' claims that DIRECTV violated the FLSA by
failing to pay overtime compensation for all hours worked.
DIRECTV denied these claims and raised various defenses,
including that the plaintiffs were independent contractors
rather than employees. The parties also disputed the proper
way to calculate plaintiffs' regular rate of pay for
purposes of determining the amount of overtime pay owed.
These disputes were detailed in the briefing on DIRECTV'S
motions for summary judgment and in the proposed jury
instructions submitted in advance of trial. There is no doubt
that a bona fide dispute exists between the parties.
The settlement is fair and ...