The City of Cleveland, OH has agreed to pay over $619,322 to settle a 2018 lawsuit filed by a lone EMT alleging the city violated the FLSA and Ohio state law. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in November 2018, contained rather straight-forward allegations of underpaid overtime. Specifically, EMS Captain Margerita Noland-Moore, the original plaintiff in the lawsuit, claimed the city failed to include longevity pay and shift differential pay in her, and other EMTs, regular rate of pay. For more on the initial suit, click here.
The settlement calls for a total of $422,655 be paid to a class of as many as 4,248 possible plaintiffs. The settlement not only resolves issues of underpaid overtime within the city’s EMS division, but also many other city departments. The settlement allows current and former city employees to “opt-in” to the settlement if they choose. In order to be eligible to opt in, the employee must have received longevity and/or shift differential payments which was not included in their overtime rate of pay between November 2015 and November 2018. On average, city employees will receive around $100 each if they choose to join the settlement. However, individual employees are free to refuse the settlement and pursue their individual claims if they so choose.
Attorneys that represented Capt. Noland-Moore and the other plaintiffs will receive $191,666 in costs and fees for their work filing the initial lawsuit and reaching the settlement. Additionally, Capt. Noland-Moore will also receive $5,000 for being the named plaintiff in the suit. This is common in FLSA litigation. The named plaintiff, or often plaintiffs, receive an additional sum of money, above their damages, as recognition for the effort and risk that the individual undertook by filing the lawsuit. Here is a copy of the Joint Motion seeking court approval of the settlement that was filed with the court last month.