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Smith v. R.F. Fisher Electric Co., LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 19, 2018

MICHELLE C. SMITH, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
R.F. FISHER ELECTRIC COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.

          Michael A. Williams (w/consent) Michael A. Williams, MO #47538 Williams Dirks Dameron LLC Attorney for Plaintiff

          Alan L. Rupe, #08914 Jessica L. Skladzien, #24178 LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH LLP Attorneys for Defendant

          ORDER REGARDING JOINT AND AMENDED MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF AMENDED COLLECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT

          Kenneth G. Gale United States Magistrate Judge.

         The Court, having considered the Parties' Joint and Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval of Amended Collective Action Settlement [ECF 46], hereby grants the motion for the reasons explained below.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         1. On June 25, 2018, the parties' submitted their second Joint Motion for approval of a collective action settlement. The first Joint Motion was filed with the Court on February 9, 2018. [ECF 18].

         2. On June 4, 2018, the District Judge Crabtree entered an Order denying the first Joint Motion. [ECF 43]. While Judge Crabtree believe that the settlement was “fair and reasonable, ” he concluded that he did not have enough information to determine whether the $1, 000 service payment to Plaintiff (referred to in the Agreement as an “Enhancement Payment”) was also fair and reasonable. As a result, the Court did not approve the settlement.

         3. Following receipt of the June 4 Order, the parties entered an Amended Collective Action Settlement Agreement and Release (the “Amended Agreement”). The Amended Agreement removes any reference to an Enhancement Payment and does not provide Plaintiff with a service payment.

         4. On June 25, 2018, the parties submitted their second Joint Motion seeking preliminary approval of the Amended Agreement.

         5. The Amended Agreement seeks to settle the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims alleged in the Complaint as to Plaintiff and purportedly similarly-situated individuals who, under the terms of the agreement, will be given the opportunity to consent to join the settlement consistent with Section 16(b) of the FLSA. The Amended Agreement does not seek to settle Plaintiff's Kansas Wage Payment Act (“KWPA”) claims, or the class action allegations based on those KWPA claims, which arise out of the same allegations and would give rise to the same damages as the FLSA claims. No KWPA class action has been certified, however, and the Amended Agreement ultimately calls for dismissal, with prejudice, of what remains of this lawsuit. Plaintiff's individual FLSA retaliation claim was dismissed on May 30, 2018. [ECF 42].

         6. The factual background leading up to the settlement is described in Judge Crabtree's Order [ECF 43], and incorporated here.

         Legal Standard

         7. The parties to an FLSA action must present a settlement of those claims to the court for review and the court must determine whether the settlement is fair and reasonable. Koehler v. Freightquote.com, Inc., No. 12-2505-DDC-GLR, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91745, *6-8 (D. Kan. July 13, 2016). “To approve an FLSA settlement, the Court must find that the litigation involves a bona fide dispute and that the proposed settlement is fair and equitable to all parties concerned.” Id ...


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