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Patel v. Shah

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

May 23, 2017

JIGAR PATEL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
AMISH SHAH, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This opinion concerns four proposed FLSA settlements. In their amended complaint, plaintiffs Jigar Patel, Palak Patel, Kanu Patel, and Veena Patel contend that their former employers, defendants Ashish Shah, Anthony Sharifi, Sharifi, Inc., and Eat Fresh, Inc., violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.[1] The plaintiffs have accepted offers of judgment, and the parties have asked the Court to approve the proposed resolution of this FLSA action. (Doc. 40). The Court will approve the plaintiffs' acceptance of the offers of judgment because the proposed judgments are fair and reasonable compromises of a bona fide dispute.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The defendants own and operate two Subway restaurants in Huntsville, Alabama. (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 1, 12-14). The plaintiffs worked for the defendants' restaurants as non-exempt hourly employees. (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 5-8). The plaintiffs made sandwiches, served customers, and engaged in other non-exempt jobs. (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 5-8).

         According to the plaintiffs, on numerous occasions, the defendants required them to work more than 40 hours in a given workweek and refused to pay them overtime wages for those hours. (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 1, 25, 29-31). In their answer to the plaintiffs' amended complaint, the defendants deny that they failed to properly compensate the plaintiffs under the FLSA. (Doc. 15, ¶¶ 5-8, 25, 29-31).

         For purposes of resolving this action, the parties reviewed the defendants' payroll and time records for each plaintiff. (Doc. 40, ¶¶ 7-8). The plaintiffs contend that the records demonstrate that the defendants did not pay overtime wages for all hours worked over 40 in a given workweek. (Doc. 40, ¶ 7). The defendants contend that the plaintiffs' testimony, clock-in/clock-out reports, payroll records, and other information produced during discovery demonstrate that the plaintiffs are not eligible for overtime under the FLSA because of the bona fide executive exemption.[2] (Doc. 40, ¶ 8). The defendants also maintain that documents produced in discovery reveal that some of the plaintiffs already have received full compensation for hours worked over 40 in a given workweek. (Doc. 40, ¶ 8).

         Based on their own records, the defendants' records, and the plaintiffs' memories, plaintiffs Palak Patel, Veena Patel, and Kanu Patel made settlement demands for $992.52, $463.56, and $2, 574.26, respectively. (Doc. 40, ¶ 4).[3] The defendants then made, and the plaintiffs accepted, offers of judgment in the following amounts:

• Jigar Patel ($500.00);
• Palak Patel ($1, 000.00);
• Veena Patel ($2, 000.00); and
• Kanu Patel ($3, 000.00).

(Doc. 40-1; Doc. 40-2; Doc. 40-3; Doc. 40-4). For plaintiffs Jigar Patel, Palak Patel, and Kanu Patel, the proposed judgments exceed their unpaid overtime wages without accounting for liquidated damages. (Doc. 40, ¶ 10). For plaintiff Veena Patel, the proposed judgment accounts for both unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages. (Doc. 40, ¶ 10). The parties represent to the Court that they believe that the offers of judgment reflect fair and reasonable compromises of this FLSA dispute. (Doc. 40, ¶ 11).[4]

         On this record, the Court considers the parties' motion to approve the proposed resolution of this action.

         II. ...


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