Earlier today, United States District Judge Marcia G. Cooke entered a federal judgment against Greenstar Landscaping, Co. and its owner, Peter E. Masi, for overtime wages and liquidated damages owed to a former employee in S.D. Florida Case No.: 1:21-cv-22391-COOKE/O’Sullivan. FairLaw Firm‘s client in this case worked for Greenstar Landscaping, Co., and he routinely worked more than 40 hours in a week. He would send in his hours by text to the owner of Greenstar Landscaping, Co., Peter E. Masi. The former employee alleged that he was never paid overtime wages for the overtime hours that he worked.
Most lawsuits drag on for months or even years before they are resolved. But, since FairLaw Firm conducted a thorough investigation before filing a federal lawsuit for our client, and because of our high level of skill in presenting our case, we were able to convince Greenstar Landscaping, Co. and Peter E. Masi to make an formal offer (under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) to pay our client every dollar and every penny of overtime that he claimed, plus an amount equal to the unpaid overtime wages that he claimed, to settle the case through the Court’s entry of a judgment against them. FairLaw Firm’s client accepted the offer, and after review of the offer by two federal judges (U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan and District Judge Marcia G. Cooke), the District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a federal judgment against Greenstar Landscaping, Co. and Peter E. Masi and in favor of our client. This judgment confirms what we and our client knew – that Greenstar Landscaping, Co. and Peter E. Masi were cheating this employee out of his overtime wages. We understand what it means to work overtime – how grueling it is to work outside, in the sun and the elements, for so many hours and to not be properly paid for those extra work hours.
FairLaw Firm is pleased to have been able to obtain for its client a 100% recovery – meaning that its client received 100% of the overtime wages he claimed he was owed plus 100% of the liquidated damages – so that our client received twice the amount of overtime he was owed. Although the offer that Greenstar Landscaping, Co. and Peter E. Masi made to our client states that it should not be considered an admission of liability, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s entry of judgment against them is a finding that they underpaid their employee.
Under a federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §201, et seq., most employers are required to pay non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek an overtime wage that is one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. In other words, non-exempt employees who work overtime are supposed to be paid time and one-half. An example would be an employee who makes the current, Florida minimum wage of $10 per hour would have to receive at least $15 per hour for each overtime hour of work.
An employer who fails to timely pay overtime wages to its employee is required to pay that employee the unpaid or underpaid overtime wages earned, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages (a penalty), plus the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs under the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. §216(b).