Rembert v. A Plus Home Health Care Agency, LLC, No. 20-3454 (6th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Rembert, a nurse, routinely worked more than 40 hours per week for A Plus but did not receive overtime. Rembert filed a purported class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor investigated. The court certified a class and ordered A-Plus to provide a list of persons potentially fitting within the class. The deadline passed. A magistrate scheduled a phone conference; defense counsel failed to appear. A Plus provided responsive information about five weeks after the deadline. The parties began discovery, which was notable for defense counsel’s repeated failure to comply. Rembert’s counsel finally filed a motion to compel. The magistrate granted the motion and ordered A Plus to pay “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.” Defense counsel failed to respond. Rembert filed another motion. As a result of the DOL investigation, some class members received full payment of the amounts owed to them. The parties ultimately agreed to the entry of judgment in favor of Rembert and the remaining class members, $18,961.
Rembert moved for an award of fees and costs under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. 216(b). Her lawyers requested hourly rates of $350 and $300, respectively, and submitted detailed records for 21.2 hours of work for the motion to compel and 98.7 hours on the remainder of the case. The court approved the rates but reduced counsel’s total compensable hours to 46.2 and cut the fee award an additional $1,660. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The plaintiffs obtained 100% of the recovery due to them. The court did not explain which hours it rejected and apparently did not consider the impact of delays caused by defense counsel. The court remanded with instructions to grant the petition for fees and costs in the amount of $38,765.00.