The Shavitz Law Group, one of the leading plaintiff-side FLSA firms in Florida, was sanctioned recently by U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp for soliciting plaintiffs in violation of Florida Bar rules. The case is Hamm v. TBC Corp. and Tire Kingdom, Inc., Case No. 07-80829-CIV-RYSKAMP/VITUNAC. The details of the case are laid out in a Report and Recommendation issued by Magistrate Judge Ann E. Vitunac.
In his Order Adopting the Report and Recommendation, Judge Ryskamp made some telling remarks about the the nature of FLSA litigation in the Southern District of Florida:
This Court would also note that, according to the Administrative Office of the United
States Courts, for the past five years the Southern District of Florida has averaged 28.7% of all FLSA cases filed in the United States. This would cause one to wonder if the employers in the Southern District are willfully ignoring the FLSA. The more logical conclusion is that FLSA cases are heavily weighted in favor of the plaintiff. Most cases are filed against small businesses which quickly realize that it is cheaper to pay a small claim and the plaintiff’s attorney’s fee than it is to defend the claims. Very few FLSA cases go to trial. It is clear that the volume of cases in the Southern District is attorney-driven.
Attorney-driven or not, the flood in FLSA litigation continues. I suspect that the Hamm decision will do little to stem the tide.