United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge.
in this case are housekeeping employees at the Walter E.
Washington Convention Center (“Washington Convention
Center”) who have sued their employers for unpaid wages
and overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), the District of Columbia Minimum Wage
Revision Act (“Minimum Wage Act”), the District
of Columbia Living Wage Act (“Living Wage Act”),
the District of Columbia Wage Payment and Collection Law
(“Wage Payment Law”), and District of Columbia
common law. Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of
similarly-situated employees. Pending before the Court is
Plaintiffs'  Consent Motion for Final Approval of
Settlement (“Pls.' Mot.”). Upon consideration
of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities, and the
record for purposes of this motion, the Court will GRANT
Plaintiffs' motion for final approval.
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiffs are housekeeping aides at the Washington
Convention Center who are or were employed by Defendants.
Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶ 25. Plaintiffs allege that the
wages they received from Defendants were below the minimum or
living wage. Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiffs also contend
that they worked over 40 hours per week without receiving the
appropriate amount of overtime compensation. Id.
¶¶ 41-43. Since the filing of this case, 64
similarly-situated employees have filed consents to join the
lawsuit, such that there are now 68 Plaintiffs. See
Montes v. Janitorial Partners, Inc., No. 15-7107, 2017
WL 2602825, at *1 (D.C. Cir. June 16, 2017) (“the FLSA
provides that ‘[n]o employee shall be a party plaintiff
to [a collective] action unless he gives his consent in
writing . . . and such consent is filed in the court in which
such action is brought.'”) (quoting 29 U.S.C.
the suit was filed and informal discovery was completed, the
parties notified the Court that they had reached a settlement
in principle. See Joint Status Report, ECF No. 27. Plaintiffs
subsequently filed a Consent Motion for Preliminary Approval
of Settlement, which the Court granted on March 14, 2017. See
Memorandum Opinion and Or der (March 14, 2017), ECF Nos. 32,
33. In its March 14, 2017 Memorandum Opinion and Order, the
Court preliminarily certified the Plaintiff class for
settlement purposes, appointed Plaintiffs' counsel as
class counsel, preliminarily approved of the class
settlement, approved of the agreed-upon notice to potential
class members of the proposed settlement, and set a final
hearing on the fairness of the settlement. Id. Class
counsel subsequently sent the approved notice to the class
members. See Affidavit of Michelle Banker, ECF No. 38.
22, 2017, the Court held a final hearing on the fairness of
the settlement. No objections to the settlement were
presented. However, the parties notified the Court at that
hearing that four class members had accidentally not received
notice. The parties have subsequently informed the Court that
those class members have now been given notice and have
either affirmatively indicated that they do not object to the
settlement, or have failed to object within the time frame
provided to do so. In addition to mailing them notice of the
settlement, class counsel spoke with three of these members
over the phone and the members confirmed that they wanted to
be part of the class and had no objection to the class
settlement. With respect to the fourth class member-who is
currently employed by Aramark-in addition to mailing her
notice of the settlement, both class counsel and Defendant
Aramark have spoken with her over the phone. She neither
indicated orally whether she would opt out or object to the
settlement, nor did she indicate her preference in writing,
but time has run out for her to do so.
Terms of the Settlement
parties have submitted their proposed class settlement to the
Court. See Joint Stipulation of Settlement, ECF Nos. 30-1,
37-2. The key terms of the parties' agreement are as
the parties have agreed that the wages of all of
Defendants' employees at the Washington Convention Center
will be no less than the applicable living wage required by
the Living Wage Act from November 16, 2016 forward. Second,
Defendants have agreed to pay Plaintiffs a maximum of $466,
250, plus the costs of settlement administration and any
amount of the employers' share of payroll taxes. This
$466, 250 would be used to satisfy Plaintiffs' claims for
damages, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and costs.
Of this amount, $373, 250 will be paid to the class members
as damages. The parties have agreed to request the Court
certify a class for the purposes of settlement, and that each
member of this class who does not opt out would receive a
pro-rata share of the $373, 250 based on his or her share of
total estimated damages, with a minimum payment of $100.
Further, a total of $4, 000 of the $466, 250 settlement will
be paid to the named-Plaintiffs in consideration for their
time and effort in prosecuting this lawsuit, and $89, 000
will be paid to satisfy Plaintiffs' claims for
attorneys' fees and costs.
exchange for these payments, class members who did not opt
out of the lawsuit will release Defendants, their
predecessors, assigns, and/or related companies from all wage
and hour and pay-related claims under the FLSA, District of
Columbia law, or any other federal, state, and/or local laws
that were or could have been asserted in this lawsuit and
that accrued as of November 16, 2016. Defendants deny all
liability or wrongdoing and Plaintiffs agree to voluntarily
dismiss with prejudice all claims stated in this lawsuit
against the Defendants on a class-wide basis.
Court's Memorandum Opinion will proceed in three parts.
First, the Court will grant final certification of the
Plaintiff class for purposes of settlement. Second, the Court
will approve of the proposed class settlement as fair,
adequate, reasonable and not the product of collusion. ...