United States District Court, D. Kansas
MICHAEL MCGLON, On behalf of himself and others Similarly situated, Plaintiff,
SPRINT CORPORATION, et al., A Kansas Corporation Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROBINSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon consideration of
Defendants Sprint Corporation and Sprint/United Management
Company's (collectively “Sprint”) Motion to
Enforce Settlement Agreement and Impose Sanctions (Doc. 89).
An evidentiary hearing was held March 5, 2018. After
considering the arguments, evidence, and testimony of the
parties, the Court is prepared to rule. For the reasons
explained in detail below, the Court denies Sprint's
February 16, 2016, Michael McGlon filed this collective
action Complaint against Sprint, alleging that Defendants
violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”),
29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et.seq., by failing to
pay him, and BISO Inside Sales Representatives similarly
situated to him, minimum wages and overtime required by the
FLSA. McGlon was represented by Class Counsel Brent Hankins
and Brendan Donelon. This Court granted McGlon's motion
for conditional certification on December 6, 2016, and 152
opt-in plaintiffs joined the lawsuit.
parties participated in mediation on July 6, 2017. A
Settlement Agreement was negotiated and executed by Sprint on
August 30, 2017. On September 1, 2017, the parties filed a
Joint Motion for Settlement Approval, and the Court granted
the motion, thereby approving the Settlement Agreement, on
September 6, 2017. The Settlement Agreement was not filed
under seal. In performance of the Settlement Agreement,
Sprint paid a total settlement sum of $365, 000, with
payments of $120, 450 and $7, 954 to Class Counsel for
attorneys' fees and costs, respectively, incurred in the
prosecution of McGlon's collective action claims.
22.1 of the Settlement Agreement states:
The Parties' negotiations  shall be held confidential
other than necessary disclosures made to the Court. Class
Counsel and the Named Plaintiff shall not issue, nor cause to
be issued, any statements to the public or media regarding
the Settlement or any of its terms, including statement on
any website(s) or via social media.
December 6, 2017, Tijuana Mingo filed a complaint asserting a
collective class action under § 216(b) of the FLSA
against the same Defendants, Mingo v. Sprint Corporation,
et al., No. 17-2688-JAR, which was assigned to this
Court. This case was brought by individuals who did not opt
into the McGlon case, but are asserting the same
claims. The complaint in Mingo describes the class
sought for certification as being:
All persons who worked as a BISO Inside Sales Representatives
(or persons with similar job duties) for Sprint within three
years prior to the filing of this Complaint, but excluding
any persons who participated via consent in the FLSA
collective action McGlon, et al. v. Sprint Corporation,
et al., D. Kan. No. 2:15-cv-2099-JAR (hereinafter the
December 8, 2017, The Kansas City Star (“The
Star”) published an article entitled “After
Sprint settles lawsuit for overtime pay, more employees
sue.” The article reported inter alia,
that after previously settling an overtime pay dispute with
153 employees, a new collective class action lawsuit had been
filed against Sprint on the same complaint.
hearing, the Court heard testimony from Sprint's in-house
counsel and Class Counsel, Brendan Donelon and Brent Haskins.
is Sprint's in-house counsel. She oversaw the
McGlon litigation and served as Sprint's company
representative at the mediation. Hamilton testified that the
McGlon case was filed in February 2016 and the Court
conditionally certified the collective action in December
2016. There was no discovery conducted and a mediation was
held July 6, 2017. At that time, there were 153 potential
class members. The case settled at mediation for $365, 000. A
Stipulation of Settlement Agreement was executed by the
parties, and on August 30, 2017, Hamilton signed the
Settlement Agreement on behalf of Sprint. As part of the
settlement, Class Counsel was paid $128, 404 for their
attorneys' fees and costs.
testified about the settlement negotiation process. Class
Counsel prepared the first draft, then drafts of the
Agreement were exchanged by the attorneys for several weeks.
Hamilton testified that Section 22.1 of the Agreement was
drafted by Sprint, and that the provision is clear and
unambiguous and “completely prohibits” Class
Counsel or the named plaintiff, Michael McGlon, from issuing
or causing to be issued any statements regarding the
Settlement or any of its terms in any public media forum.
Hamilton testified that the provision was an essential
settlement term, that Sprint would not have settled at
mediation if the term was not in the Settlement Agreement,
and that it needed the term to be completely enforced in
order to uphold the Agreement.
further testified as to how Sprint benefits from the language
in Section 22.1. Because of the nature of FLSA opt-in
actions, she stated this provision was designed to diminish
public discussion about FLSA actions and to prohibit public
comments and statements to the media. Publication of the
Settlement also had a damaging effect on Sprint's
reputation in the community as well as a damaging effect on
Sprint's work force. Hamilton testified that Sprint takes
great pride in their work force and complying with wage and
hour laws, and The Star article reached a large publication
conceded that much of the information in The Star article was
a matter of public record, but testified that Sprint takes
issue with specific paragraphs in the article. First,
paragraphs four and five of the article state:
Mingo hadn't worked at Sprint since February 2015 and
hadn't heard about the first lawsuit. But a former
co-worker she kept in touch with had been covered by the
asked me about it, and I didn't know anything about it,
” Mingo said.Hamilton testified that Class Counsel
arranged for Ms. Mingo to be interviewed by The Star and make
statements about the McGlon settlement, which she believes to
be in violation of Section 22.1 of the Settlement Agreement.
paragraphs six and seven of the article state:
Mingo contacted the attorneys who handled the case, as did
several others as word of ...