United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (DOC. NOS. 29,
lawsuit is about an employer that allegedly violated federal
and California wage and hours laws by, amongst other acts and
omissions, failing to pay overtime and failing to provide
meal and rest breaks. The employer is Defendant MEC
Development, LLC (“Defendant” or
“MEC”), and the plaintiffs are three former
employees of MEC: namely, Antonio Jefferson, Wayne Lewis, and
the Court is the parties' second joint motion for
approval of a settlement agreement of Plaintiffs' several
claims, including a FLSA overtime claim. See Doc.
No. 29-1. The Court will approve the settlement agreement.
a North Dakota limited-liability company that provided
services pertaining to unmanned aerial systems
(e.g., drones) and surveillance and video/imagery
solutions. Some of MEC's business operations were
conducted in China Lake, California and Inyokern, California.
At these locations, MEC employed “logisticians”
who performed logistics support.
are three former employees of MEC who worked as logisticians
at MEC's China Lake and Inyokern locations. Plaintiffs
were employed by MEC during the following time periods:
Jefferson from May 26, 2014, through September 8, 2015; Lewis
from February 10, 2014, through September 8, 2015; and Brown
from May 12, 2014, through September 8, 2015.
leaving their employment at MEC, Plaintiffs filed suit
against MEC in October 2017. See Doc. No. 1.
Plaintiffs alleged that MEC violated multiple federal and
California wage and hour laws affecting Plaintiffs and a
class of other similarly situated logisticians. On that
basis, Plaintiffs pleaded seven claims for relief against
first claim is (1) failure to pay overtime compensation as
required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”). Plaintiffs' six other claims against
MEC are based on California law: namely, (2) failure to pay
overtime compensation; (3) failure to provide meal periods;
(4) failure to authorize and permit rest breaks; (5) failure
to pay all wages due at termination; (6) engaging in unfair
competition; and (7) failure to comply with California's
wage statement laws, such as by failing to furnish Plaintiffs
with accurate itemized written statements showing their total
hours worked. See id.
pleaded their FLSA claim on behalf of themselves and a class
of similarly situated logisticians pursuant to § 216(b)
of the FLSA, which allows a plaintiff to bring an FLSA claim
“in behalf of himself . . . and other employees
similarly situated.” 29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
Similarly, Plaintiffs pleaded their California claims
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 on behalf of themselves and a
class of similarly situated logisticians.
engaging in discovery and settlement negotiations, Plaintiffs
and Defendant filed their first joint motion for approval of
a settlement agreement. See Doc. No. 25-1. The Court
denied that motion because the proposed settlement agreement
and the parties' briefing failed to demonstrate that the
proposed settlement agreement was a fair and reasonable
resolution of a bona fide dispute over FLSA provisions.
See Doc. No. 28 (Court's order denying first
motion for approval of settlement agreement). In the
Court's order denying the motion, the Court identified
the relevant legal standard that the parties must meet in
order to obtain the Court's approval of a FLSA
settlement, and the Court identified several deficiencies
with the parties' first proposed settlement agreement and
supportive briefing. See id.
parties then filed their second joint motion for approval of
a settlement agreement, which is now before the Court. To
date, Plaintiffs have not moved for class certification for
any of their claims, and Plaintiffs indicate that they have
abandoned their pursuit of class certification.
Parties' Second Joint Settlement Motion
their second joint motion for approval of a settlement
agreement, the parties assert that they have reached a
settlement agreement that, if approved by the Court, will
resolve all of Plaintiffs' claims. The parties state that
the settlement agreement should be approved by the Court
because the settlement agreement is fair and reasonable.
settlement agreement, Defendant agrees to make the following
four settlement payments to Plaintiffs, respectively: (1)
$22, 000 to Jefferson, $6, 763.70 of which is for his
California overtime claim and $15, 236.30 of which is for his
California rest and meal break claim; (2) $24, 000 to Lewis,
$7, 749.66 of which is for his California overtime claim and
$16, 250.34 of which is for his California rest and meal
break claim; (3) $21, 000 to Brown, $5, 164.83 of which is
for his California overtime claim and $15, 835.17 of which is
for his California rest and meal break claim; and (4) $61,
344.45 to all Plaintiffs - to be paid directly to
Plaintiffs' attorneys - representing the full and final
settlement of all of Plaintiffs' attorney's fees and
settlement agreement provides no payments to Plaintiffs for
their California claims of failure to pay wages when due and
failure to provide compliant wage statements, and this is
because, according to the parties, the claims are barred by
the statute of limitations. Similarly, the settlement
agreement provides no payments to Plaintiffs for their FLSA
overtime claim because, according to the parties, the claim
is likely barred by the statute of limitations and,
additionally, double recovery for both a FLSA overtime claim
and a California overtime claim is generally not allowed.
consideration for the foregoing settlement payments, each
Plaintiff agrees to release Defendant “from any and all
claims . . . that he had, has, or may have against
[Defendant], arising out of or relating to the subject matter
of the claims in this ...