United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
STEPHANIE BATES, CHARLOTTE EARVIN, MEGAN KEMP, and KY KEMP PLAINTIFFS
SPA CITY STEAKS, INC., d/b/a COLTON'S STEAK HOUSE AND GRILL DEFENDANT
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge
the Court is the parties' Joint Motion to Dismiss with
Prejudice and for Approval of Settlement Agreement. (ECF No.
25). The Court finds that no response is necessary. The Court
finds the matter ripe for consideration.
September 24, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a second amended
complaint pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et
seq., and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Ark. Code Ann
§ 11-4-201, et seq. On October 22, 2019, the
parties filed the instant motion, stating that they have
resolved all issues in this case. The parties have attached
their settlement agreement as an exhibit to the motion (ECF
No. 25-1) and ask the Court to approve their settlement
agreement and dismiss this case with prejudice.
law is unsettled as to whether judicial approval of a
proposed settlement of FLSA claims is required in the absence
of a certified class.” King v. Raineri Const.,
LLC, No. 4:14-cv-1828 CEJ, 2015 WL 631253, at *1 (E.D.
Mo. Feb. 12, 2015) (collecting cases); see also
Stainbrook v. Minn. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 239
F.Supp.3d 1123, 1127 (D. Minn. 2017) (questioning whether
judicial approval of a proposed FLSA settlement is necessary
in the absence of a final certified collective action).
Several courts have held that settlement agreements resolving
wage claims are subject to court approval to ensure that the
parties are not negotiating around statutory minimum wages.
See, e.g., Int'l Union, United Auto.,
Aerospace, and Agric. Implement Workers of Am. v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 497 F.3d 615, 631 (6th Cir. 2007); Lynn's
Food Stores, Inc. v. U.S., 679 F.2d 1350, 1353 (11th
Cir. 1982); Cruthis v. Vision's, No.
4:12-cv-0244-KGB, 2014 WL 4092325 (E.D. Ark. Aug. 19, 2014).
Other courts, including this Court, have held that judicial
approval of an FLSA settlement is unnecessary when the
lawsuit does not involve a certified class or collective
action, all plaintiffs have been represented by counsel
throughout the entirety of the case, and the parties wish for
their agreement to remain private. See, e.g.,
Adams v. Centerfold Entm't Club, Inc., No.
6:17-cv-6047-SOH, 2018 WL 5784047, at *1 (W.D. Ark. Nov. 2,
2018); Schneider v. Habitat for Humanity Int'l,
Inc., No. 5:14-CV-5230-TLB, 2015 WL 500835, at *3 (W.D.
Ark. Feb. 5, 2015).
case has not been certified as a class or collective action
and, thus, the case is being settled on an individual basis.
Moreover, Plaintiffs have been represented by counsel
throughout the course of this litigation. Thus, it appears to
the Court that the settlement agreement in this case may not
be of the type that requires court approval. However, the
parties have nonetheless requested judicial review of the
agreement. The Court will review the settlement's
FLSA-related terms for fairness because declining to review
the proposed settlement agreement would leave the parties in
an uncertain position.
review of a totality of the circumstances, the Court finds
that the settlement agreement resolves a bona fide dispute,
that the settlement is fair and reasonable to Plaintiffs, and
that the compromise between the parties does not frustrate
the requirements and implementation of the
FLSA. See Cruthis, 2014 WL 4092325 at
*1. Accordingly, the Court finds that parties' joint
motion (ECF No. 25) should be and hereby is
GRANTED. The parties' settlement
agreement is approved, and Plaintiffs' claims against
Defendant are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Court shall retain jurisdiction to vacate this order and to
reopen this action upon cause shown that the settlement has
not been completed and further litigation is necessary.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The Court will not review the
parties' settled attorneys' fees because
“authority for judicial approval of FLSA settlements .
. . does not extend to review of settled attorney
fees.” Barbee v. Big River Steel, LLC, 927
F.3d 1024, 1027 (8th Cir. 2019).
 In reaching this conclusion, the Court
has considered the following factors: (1) the stage of the
litigation and the amount of discovery exchanged; (2) the
experience of counsel; (3) the probability of success on the
merits; (4) whether there was any “overreaching”
by the employer in settlement negotiations; and (5) whether
the settlement was the product of arms' length
negotiations between the parties, based on the merits of the
case. Jordan v. RHD, Jr., Inc., No.
2:16-cv-2227-PKH, 2017 WL 3499938, at *1 (W.D. Ark. July ...