Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hackett v. ADF Restaurant Investments

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 19, 2016

JAMAR HACKETT, et al. Plaintiffs
v.
ADF RESTAURANT INVESTMENTS, et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PETER J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Jamar Hackett, on behalf of himself and other similarly situated individuals, has brought suit against ADF Restaurant Investments, LLP, ADF Midatlantic, LLC, ADF Pizza I, LLC, and ADF Pizza II, LLC, (“Defendants”), alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. The Court conditionally certified the case as a collective action under the FLSA for potential settlement purposes. ECF No. 33. Hackett and Defendants have now reached a settlement and ask the Court to approve it and dismiss with prejudice all claims in the Amended Complaint, ECF No. 35.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion to Approve Collective Action Settlement, ECF No. 84. The Court also GRANTS Plaintiffs' Application for Fees and Costs, ECF No. 85, and DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE all counts of the Amended Complaint as to all Defendants. ECF No. 35.

         I.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Defendants together operate approximately 200 Pizza Hut franchise stores in Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. They employ delivery drivers who use their own cars to deliver pizza and other food items to customers. From February 2010 to May 2013, Jamar Hackett was a delivery driver at a Pizza Hut in Clinton, Maryland, which was owned by Defendants. The Amended Complaint alleges that Hackett and other delivery drivers employed by Defendants, were reimbursed on a per mile basis for the use of their personal automobiles at a rate far below a fair approximation of the cost of using their cars.

         Hackett alleges that he was paid $7.25 per hour, including at some points in his employment, tips. Since the Federal minimum wage was $7.25 per hour during the entire period of his employment, Hackett alleges that his and his colleagues' unreimbursed business expenses caused their compensation to fall below the minimum wage.

         Hackett filed his Complaint on June 10, 2015. ECF No. 1. On October 16, 2015, the parties filed a joint motion asking the Court to grant conditional certification of the case as a collective action for possible settlement purposes, ECF No. 30. On October 21, 2015, the Court granted their joint motion. ECF No. 33. Hackett then filed an Amended Complaint on October 26, 2015. ECF No. 35. Defendants filed an Answer on November 12, 2015. ECF No. 36.

         Three hundred forty-nine (349) delivery drivers opted in to assert their claims in this case (hereinafter “Plaintiffs”). Counsel then mediated the dispute before the Hon. Arthur Boylan (ret.), a retired United States Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. After a full day of arms-length negotiations, the mediator made a settlement proposal, to which the parties eventually assented after a week of deliberation.

         After two telephone conferences with the Court, Plaintiffs then filed an Unopposed Motion to Approve Collective Action Settlement, ECF No. 84. Plaintiffs also filed an Application for Fees and Costs, ECF No. 85.

         II.

         The Settlement

         In evaluating the adequacy of settlements in FLSA cases and protecting the public interest, the Court plays a particularly important role. It must take care to ascertain and carefully examine the terms of the proposed settlement. This includes ensuring that the key terms of the proposed settlement are transparently communicated to the members of the collective action and that they are given a fair opportunity to object.

         The Court notes that each Plaintiff in this case was notified of the terms of the settlement, their particular award, and was given an opportunity to object. The deadline for any objection was set as December 12, 2016. That date has now passed and no objections have been received.

         The settlement does not contain provisions requiring its terms to be kept confidential nor has any request been made to seal the Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion to Approve Collective Action Settlement. The Court is fully in accord with Judge John W. Lungstrum of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas who held in a wage and hour case, also brought by Pizza Hut delivery drivers, that “there is broad consensus that FLSA settlement agreements should not be kept confidential and the court will not approve an agreement that prohibits and penalizes class members for sharing information about the settlement with others.” Stubrud v. Daland Corp., No. JWL-14-2252, 2015 WL 5093250 (D. Kan. Aug. 28, 2015). See also Carpenter v. Colonial Mgmt. Grp., LP, No. JKB-12-686, 2012 WL 2992490, at *2 (D. Md. July 19, 2012)(“[t]he Court holds that this confidentiality provision in this FLSA settlement agreement contravenes the important purposes of the Act and defeats both public and private efforts to enforce it”).

         The basic terms of the proposed settlement are these: The period covered by the agreement is June 10, 2012 - June 10, 2015, plus claims that accrued before that time but were tolled. A total of up to $452, 700.00 will be distributed to Plaintiffs in this case. Each Plaintiff's compensation is calculated according to the number of deliveries they undertook during the covered period, reimbursed at a rate of $.56 per mile, and assumes that deliveries were an average of five miles. An individual's actual award is reduced by the prior reimbursements received by a Plaintiff and the amount that a Plaintiff has already earned that exceeds the minimum wage. Individual awards are further adjusted so that each Plaintiff receives a proportional amount of the award fund. Awards to Plaintiffs range from $25.00 to $15, 424.72. The median recovery is $500.75. Defendants concede no wrongdoing.

         III.

         Standard ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.