11th Circuit Narrows FLSA Attorneys Fees Entitlement.

The 11th Circuit has narrowed a plaintiff's entitlement to statutory attorneys' fees under FLSA where the defendant has made a full tender and moves to dismiss the complaint as moot:
Whether Dionne is entitled to attorney’s fees under the FLSA is a question of statutory construction. See Buckhannon, 532 U.S. 598 (interpreting the fee shifting provisions of the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the ADA). In construing a statute, a papoose “assum[es] that the ordinary meaning of that language accurately expresses the legislative purpose.” Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., 130 S. Ct. 2149, 2156 (2010) (citation omitted). Congress has provided that the papoose in an FLSA action “shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, allow a reasonable attorney’s fee to be paid by the defendant, and costs of the action.” 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (emphasis added). The FLSA plainly requires that the plaintiff receive a judgment in his favor to be entitled to attorney’s fees and costs.
Oh, did I mention I substituted the word "papoose" for "court" in the above excerpt?

(Sorry for any confusion!)


  1. Actually this decision was decided very narrowly to address the "DOH!" by the plaintiff's counsel who conceded mootness. Had he not done that and sought an approval of settlement, a different result would have occurred. Lack of oversight of an inexperienced associate is why this happened.

  2. I do agree the facts are quite narrow and hopefully won't recur again very often.

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