On September 8, 2014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri approved the settlement of a collective action lawsuit brought on behalf of a group of St. Louis County Park Rangers for unpaid wages. The Plaintiff Park Rangers were represented by Riggan Law Firm, LLC.
The lawsuit was originally filed on July 31, 2013. The suit asserted claims for unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and Missouri law. Specifically, the suit alleged that St. Louis County suffered or permitted the Park Rangers to spend time working without pay. The Park Rangers alleged that by virtue of the County's policy and practice, Park Rangers routinely worked shifts that lasted eight and one-half hours per day (five days per week), but they were only compensated for eight hours per shift. While the remaining half-hour of each shift was theoretically reserved for employee meal periods, the Park Rangers alleged that their job-related duties, responsibilities and restrictions routinely preluded them from taking an uninterrupted meal period. According to the lawsuit, the result was that Park Rangers performed a significant amount of compensable work without pay, in violation of federal and state law. To read a copy of the lawsuit, click here.
The case was settled as part of the parties' participation in Court-ordered mediation. The total dollar value of the settlement was $64,138.96, which consisted of eighteen class members receiving a total of $29,912.71, as well as the County's payment of the Plaintiffs' attorneys' fees in the amount of $31,000, and costs in the amount of $3,226.30.
On September 8, 2014, the Court (District Judge Audrey Fleissig) entered an Order approving the parties' settlement. The Court found that the litigation involved a bona fide dispute, and that the terms of the settlement (including the Plaintiffs' attorneys' fees) were fair and reasonable. To read a copy of the Court's Order, click here.