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Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

October 23, 2017

MEI XING YU, individually, on behalf of all other employees similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
HASAKI RESTAURANT, INC., SHUJI YAGI, KUNITSUGU NAKATA, HASHIMOTO GEN, Defendants-Petitioners, JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE #1-10, Defendants.

          Submitted: September 19, 2017

         Petition for permission to appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) and for leave to file a late petition.

         Petition and late filing granted.

          Louis Pechman, Laura Rodríguez, Lillian M. Marquez, Pechman Law Group PLLC, New York, NY, for Defendants-Petitioners.

          Before: NEWMAN, WALKER, and POOLER, Circuit Judges.

          JON O. NEWMAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         The pending petition for permission to take an interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) presents a narrow issue concerning the procedure for perfecting such an appeal. The issue is whether, under the circumstances of this case, the petitioners' notice of appeal, which was filed within ten days of the District Court's order sought to be reviewed, is the functional equivalent of a section 1292(b) petition to invoke our jurisdiction over a later filed petition.

         Background

         The section 1292(b) petition arises out of a suit filed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York by Mei Zing Yu, a sushi chef, against Yu's employer, Hasaki Restaurants, Inc., and three restaurant owners or managers (collectively "Hasaki") for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. And New York Labor Law.[2] The complaint was filed "on behalf [of] all other employees similarly situated."

         Yu and Hasaki negotiated a settlement. Counsel for Yu then informed the District Court by letter that Yu had accepted the defendants' offer of judgment pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         The District Court (Jesse M. Furman, District Judge) ordered the parties to submit the settlement agreement to the Court for the Court's approval and also to submit letters detailing why the settlement was fair and reasonable. In response, counsel for Hasaki sent the Court a letter for all parties, arguing that the District Court lacked authority to review the offer of judgment because entry of a Rule 68 judgment is mandatory. The Judge Furman considered an amicus curiae brief filed by the U.S. Department of Labor in a similar case pending before another District Judge. That brief argued that District Court approval of the settlement was required.

         On April 10, 2017, the District Court entered an Opinion and Order setting forth its view that judicial review of an FLSA settlement was required before entry of a Rule 68 judgment. Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc., 319 F.R.D. 111 (S.D.N.Y. 2017). Judge Furman explained that the considerations animating this Court's decision in Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 769 F.3d 199 (2d Cir. 2015), requiring court approval of FLSA claims sought to be settled by stipulated dismissal, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), applied to Rule 68 settlements. See Yu, 319 F.R.D. at 117. The District Court's Order directed the parties, in the absence of a notice of appeal filed within ten days, to submit a joint letter explaining the basis for their settlement and why it should be approved. Acknowledging the split of authorities on the Rule 68 issue among district courts within the Second Circuit, Judge Furman certified his order for interlocutory review under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). He also stayed the FLSA case in the event a timely notice of appeal was filed.

         On April 14, 2017, Hasaki filed in the District Court a notice of appeal from the District Court's April 10 Order.[3]The notice of appeal identified the Order appealed from and its date. On the same date, the notice of appeal, the District Court's Order and Opinion sought to be reviewed, and the docket sheet were electronically transferred to this Court by the CM/ECF system. On April 27, 2017, Hasaki filed in this Court Forms C and D, describing the nature of the action and the issues to be raised. On June 21, 2017, Hasaki filed a ...


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