Newly-Minted WDPA Judge Skeptical of Parties’ Request to Seal FLSA Settlement Papers

As most readers of this blog know, Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective action settlements must be approved by the court as “fair and reasonable” resolutions of a “bona fide dispute” (although it is less clear whether such a requirement should apply to FLSA lawsuits settled on behalf of individual employees). On September 3, 2019, Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan (who recently took a seat on the Western District of Pennsylvania bench) issued an opinion preliminarily rejecting the parties’ request that the motion papers seeking approval be filed under seal pursuant to a confidentiality provision in the settlement agreement. The opinion in Kapolka v. Anchor Drilling Fluids, USA, LLC, 2:18-cv-01007-NR is available HERE. I think the opinion is concise and thoughtful. It cites numerous cases holding that, as a matter of public policy, FLSA settlements should be available to the public. So it’s a good resource for lawyers researching the confidentiality issue. -PW

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