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United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division
December 22, 2021, Decided; December 22, 2021, Filed
Case No. 3:18-cv-972-BJD-MCR
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION1
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on the parties' Joint Motion to Approve FLSA Settlement ("Joint Motion") (Doc. 118) and Plaintiffs' and Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum in Support of the Joint Motion to Approve FLSA Settlement (Doc. 130) ("Supplemental Memorandum"). The undersigned has reviewed the filings in this case and has conducted a hearing with the parties on November 10, 2021. For the reasons stated herein, the undersigned recommends that the Joint Motion (Doc. 118) be GRANTED, the proposed Settlement Agreement and Release (Doc. 118-1) be APPROVED, and the case be DISMISSED as stated herein.
On August 10, 2018, Plaintiff brought this collective action on behalf of himself and other similarly situated employees against Defendant DBI Services, LLC, under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (Doc. [*3] 1.) Plaintiff sought to recover unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages, attorney's fees and costs as well as declaratory relief for Defendant's alleged failure to compensate him at the statutory rate of one and one-half times his regular rate of pay for any overtime hours worked. (See id.) Plaintiff alleged that, as an on-call technician performing general maintenance on highways and roads for Defendant, he was paid hourly and was required to perform a company vehicle inspection twice each workday, off the clock, which resulted in unpaid overtime wages in violation of the FLSA.2 (Id. at 3-4.)
On September 11, 2018, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that Plaintiff failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted because, as a matter of law: (1) the company vehicle inspections are not compensable activities under the FLSA, but rather preliminary and postliminary activities that are not integral and indispensable to the principal activities of the job; and (2) the vehicle inspections are de minimis and thus not compensable. (See Doc. 12 at 1-2.) On July 3, 2019, the undersigned entered a Report and Recommendation recommending [*4] denial of the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 32.) On August 5, 2019, the Court entered an Order adopting the undersigned's Report and Recommendation, overruling Defendant's objections thereto, and denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (See Docs. 33, 34, 35.) On August 15, 2019, Defendant filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses, denying liability and asserting various affirmative defenses. (Doc 36.)
On February 24, 2020, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Conditionally Certify Collective Action and Facilitate Notice to Potential Class Members, on behalf of "all hourly-paid technicians who work/worked for DBI Services, LLC companywide within the last three years since August 10, 2015, the date the Complaint was filed, who were/are required to complete DBI's [DVIR] inspection and/or related work and were not paid overtime premiums for overtime hours worked." (Doc. 37 at 10.) According to the parties, "416 Opt-in Plaintiffs filed their consent to join, 10 of which later withdrew their consent to join form."3 (Doc. 118 at 4.) In the discovery process, the parties produced over 47,000 documents and took the depositions of Plaintiff Dozier and other Opt-in Plaintiffs. (Id.) Defendant also [*5] served over 10,500 discovery requests to Plaintiffs, prompting Plaintiffs to move for entry of a protective order and for representative discovery. (Id. at 5 (citing Docs. 95, 108, 111, 115, 116).) They also participated in mediation on February 24, 2021, which was unsuccessful. (Id.) The parties continued to litigate various issues, including Plaintiff's motion to amend the Complaint, and filed various discovery-related motions and briefs. (See Docs. 84, 87, 91, 92, 93, 96, 98, 106, 112, 113.)
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2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 245359 *; 2021 WL 6061742
OSCAR DOZIER, individually on behalf of himself and other similarly situated employees, Plaintiffs, v. DBI SERVICES, LLC, a Foreign Limited Liability Company, Defendant.
Subsequent History: Adopted by Dozier v. Dbi Servs., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10912 (M.D. Fla., Jan. 19, 2022)
Prior History: Dozier v. DBI Servs., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131751, 2019 WL 3542969 (M.D. Fla., July 3, 2019)
settlement, parties, Opt-in, attorney's fees, settlement agreement, collective action, undersigned, recommends, approving, costs, report and recommendation, fair and reasonable, class member, common fund, overtime, inspection, retain jurisdiction, certification, awards, terms of the settlement, liquidated damages, general release, employees, similarly situated, constituting, discovery, notice, cases, district court, back wages