United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jamie Arnold and Clinton Feger and Defendants DirecTV, LLC
d/b/a DTV Home Services and DTV Home Services II, LLC
(“DirecTV”), have filed a Joint Motion to Approve
Settlement Agreement (Doc. No. 485). This case was brought
under § 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938,
29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq.
(“FLSA”), and, as such, any settlement must be
approved by the Court. Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v.
United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir.
1982). In support of the motion, the parties have
detailed the negotiations that led to the settlement and the
Settlement Agreement itself, which the parties jointly
requested be filed under seal. Because the Court finds that
the settlement is fair and equitable to the parties, it will
approve the settlement.
district court may only approve a settlement agreement in a
case brought under § 216(b) after it determines that the
litigation involves a bona fide dispute and that the proposed
settlement is fair and equitable to all parties.
Id.; Fry v. Accent Mktg. Servs., L.L.C.,
No. 4:13CV59 CDP, 2014 WL 294421, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 27,
the settlement is the product of contested litigation, as the
parties disputed numerous issues during the litigation.
Plaintiffs alleged that AeroSat violated the FLSA by failing
to pay for all hours worked and failing to properly pay
overtime premiums and that DirecTV was liable for those
violations. DirecTV asserted several defenses and affirmative
defenses, including that Plaintiffs were properly compensated
for all hours worked, that Plaintiffs were exempt from
overtime under the FLSA's retail exemption in §
7(i); and that Plaintiffs had insufficient evidence
supporting their alleged overtime work. The Court granted
DirecTV's motion for summary judgment as to
Plaintiffs' claims for gap time (Doc. Nos. 472, 473), but
found there were genuine issues of material fact that
precluded summary judgment on most issues for either side. On
July 13, 2017, the parties conducted a mediation session with
neutral Francis X. Neuner, Jr., and settled this case. As a
result, the Court finds the parties have a bona fide dispute.
determine whether the settlement is fair and reasonable under
the FLSA, courts consider the same fairness factors typically
applied to a Rule 23 class action. Fry, 2014 WL
294421, at *1; Moore v. Ackerman Inv. Co., No. C
07-3058-MWB, 2009 WL 2848858, at *2 (N.D. Iowa Sept. 1,
2009). “Among the factors a court may consider are the
stage of the litigation, the amount of discovery exchanged,
the experience of counsel, and the reasonableness of the
settlement amount based on the probability of plaintiffs'
success with respect to any potential recovery.”
Fry, 2014 WL 294421, at *1.
instant case, the parties engaged in contested litigation for
seven years, including extensive discovery and motion
practice. The parties spent considerable time analyzing the
merits of the case, discussing various issues implicated in
the case, litigating the parties' cross motions for
summary judgment, and litigating class certification and
decertification. The parties were represented throughout the
pendency of the case and during settlement negotiations by
experienced and competent counsel who was able to assess the
value of the respective claims and defenses and incorporate
that assessment into the terms of the settlement. Plaintiff
Arnold only claims to have worked for DirecTV for eight weeks
during the relevant time period; Plaintiff Feger only claims
to have worked for DirecTV for nine weeks during the relevant
time period. In their discovery responses, Plaintiffs
disavowed any “off the clock” claims and the
Court determined on summary judgment that straight time was
not recoverable. Thus, the only issue left was whether
overtime premiums paid to Plaintiffs were legally correct
based on the calculation of their regular rate of pay. The
Court finds no basis to doubt that the settlement is a fair
and reasonable resolution to both sides in light of the many
disputes regarding liability and the proper way to calculate
Plaintiffs' regular rate of pay.
Court further finds the requested attorneys' fees in this
case are reasonable. “It is well-established that the
starting point in determining attorney fees is the lodestar,
which is calculated by multiplying the hours expended by a
reasonable hourly rate. Fry, 2014 WL 294421, at *1
(citing Fish v. St. Cloud State Univ., 295 F.3d 849,
851, (8th Cir. 2002)). The attorneys in this case have
undertaken significant motion practice, discovery, negotiated
with opposing counsel, and participated in mediation. The
amount of attorneys' fees requested by Plaintiffs'
counsel is not opposed by DirecTV and is reasonable based on
the amount of time and effort expended on this case.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties'
Joint Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement  is
separate order of dismissal will accompany this Memorandum
 Plaintiffs also brought claims under
the Missouri Minimum Wage Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. §§