United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
OLIVIA COPE, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, known and unknown, Plaintiff,
LET'S EAT OUT, INCORPORATED d/b/a BUFFALO WILD WINGS, JEREMY BOYER, individually, JAMES BRUNO, Individually, BRUNO MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC., BRUNO ENTERPRISES, INC. TOO, WING BACKS, INC., SOONERS OR LATER, INC., HOT TEX, INC., and SPREADING OUR WINGS, INC. Defendants.
AMENDED ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF
STEPHEN R. BOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 5, 2019, the Court heard an Unopposed Motion for
Final Approval of Class and Collective Action Settlement by
Named Plaintiff Olivia Cope (“Class
Representative”), on behalf of herself, the Opt-in
Plaintiffs, and two classes of similarly-situated employees.
The Court has read and considered the Motion, the supporting
memorandum of law, and other related materials submitted by
the Class Representative, has heard the Parties'
presentation at the hearing on final approval, and is
otherwise fully informed with respect to the premises
supporting final approval;
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
Unless otherwise defined herein, all terms used in this Order
(the “Final Approval Order”) will have the same
meaning as defined in the Class and Collective Action
Settlement Agreement (“Settlement Agreement”).
The terms of the Settlement Agreement (ECF No. 316-2) are
hereby incorporated by reference into this Order.
Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action
and over all Parties to the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367, including the Opt-in
Plaintiffs and the Class Members, certified by Order dated
May 10, 2017. (ECF No. 172).
Class Members as defined in the Order Preliminarily Approving
the Settlement Agreement (ECF No. 317) are co-extensive with
the classes previously certified by the Court on May 10, 2017
(ECF No. 172) and are as follows:
a. All current and former servers and bartenders working at
any of Defendants' Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in
Missouri who, at any time from February 10, 2014 until May
31, 2015, were paid sub-minimum, tip-credit rates of pay (the
“Missouri Minimum Wage Act Class”); and
b. All current and former servers and bartenders working at
any of Defendants' Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants who, at
any time from February 10, 2011 until May 31, 2015, were paid
sub-minimum, tip-credit rates of pay (the “Missouri
Common Law Class”).
Court finally approves the Settlement Agreement and the
Settlement of the Missouri Minimum Wage Act Class and the
Missouri Common Law Class claims as fair, reasonable, and
adequate. Defendants shall pay a total of $650, 000.00, plus
the employers' share of payroll taxes as set forth in the
Settlement Agreement, to resolve this litigation.
Court finds that no Class Member excluded himself or herself
from the Settlement following the issuance of Class Notice
and no Class Member objected to the Settlement. The absence
of any objections to the Settlement by Class Members supports
approval of the Settlement.
Settlement of the Fair Labor Standards Act collective action
is approved as a fair and equitable resolution of a bona
fide wage and hour dispute. The Settlement is also a
fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution of the class action
claims. The Settlement is equitable to all parties and is the
result of arm's length negotiations by experienced
counsel after extensive discovery and motion practice.
Settlement was reached weeks before trial on a class-wide
basis was scheduled to begin and after Defendants informed
Class Counsel that Defendants intended to file for bankruptcy
to avoid the trial of this matter. Thus, the stage of the
litigation and the risks of proceeding to trial warrant
approval of the Settlement. Likewise, the Settlement has the
support of Class Counsel and Defendants' Counsel, both of
whom have significant experience representing parties in
complex class actions.
formula for allocation of Settlement Payments as set forth in
the Settlement Agreement is approved as a fair, equitable,
and reasonable measure for calculating and distributing the
settlement payments to the Class Representative, Opt-in
Plaintiffs, and Class Members.
Notice of Settlement sent to Opt-in Plaintiffs and the Class
Notice and Claim Form sent to Class Members via First Class
Mail and electronic mail adequately informed the Opt-in
Plaintiffs and the Cl ass Members of the terms of the
Settlement Agreement, the process available to them to obtain
monetary relief, their right to request exclusion from the
Settlement and pursue their own remedies, and their
opportunity to file written objections and appear and be
heard at the Final Approval Hearing. The Notice of Settlement
and Class Notice and Claim Form also adequately informed
Opt-in Plaintiffs and Class Members of additional resources
available to obtain further information, including the
telephone number of Class Counsel and the Settlement
Administrator. The Court finds that the Notice of Settlement
and Class Notice and Claim Form satisfied the requirements of
Rules 23(c)(2)(B) and 23(e)(1).
the timing specified in the Settlement Agreement, Defendants
shall deposit into the Qualified Settlement Fund Four Hundred
and Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($475, ...