United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JOSEPH D. FLOWERS, II, Plaintiff,
STEERPOINT MARKETING, LLC, JOHN SLIMAK, Defendants.
L. Pryor" United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion
Directing Clerk's Office to Enter Judgment (Dkt. 55), in
which Plaintiff, Joseph Flowers, II (“Mr.
Flowers”) seeks an order directing the Clerk of the
Court to enter Judgment in this case pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 68.
Flowers's Complaint alleges that Defendants, SteerPoint
Marketing, LLC and John Slimak (“SteerPoint”)
failed to pay him overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), Indiana's Minimum
Wage Statute, and Indiana's Wage Claims Statute. [Dkt.
1.] The parties participated in a settlement conference in
December 2018, which was unsuccessful. [Dkt. 44.] After the
settlement conference, the parties conducted further
discovery and continued to discuss settlement options. [Dkt.
57 ¶¶ 2-4.] On April 1, 2019, SteerPoint submitted
a written settlement offer to Mr. Flowers, via email, of $25,
000. [Dkt. 57 ¶ 4.] The written offer captioned
“Defendants' Offer of Judgment” and signed by
defense counsel, states in full:
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, Defendants
SteerPoint Marketing, LLC and John Slimak, by counsel, hereby
offer to allow the Plaintiff to take a judgment against them
in the amount of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25, 000.00).
(“April 1 Offer”) [Dkt. 57-2.]
receiving SteerPoint's offer, Mr. Flowers's counsel
emailed SteerPoint's counsel to discuss the April 1
Offer. The parties' respective counsel had a telephonic
conversation on April 3, 2019, wherein defense counsel
indicated that the April 1 Offer was intended to include all
costs, expenses, and attorney fees. Mr. Flowers's counsel
responded that he believed Rule 68 allowed Mr. Flowers to
recover attorney fees in addition to the $25, 000 Offer of
Judgment. [See Dkt. 57-3.]
this phone conversation, defense counsel emailed Mr.
Flowers's counsel to confirm their position that the
April 1 Offer was intended to be inclusive of all costs,
expenses, and attorney fees. [Dkt. 57-3.] Five minutes later,
defense counsel submitted “Defendants' Amended
Offer of Judgment” that offered Mr. Flowers $25, 000
and expressly stated the offer included attorney fees, costs
and all expenses (“April 3 Offer”). [Dkt. 57 at
¶ 6.] Fourteen minutes later, Mr. Flowers filed his
“Notice of Acceptance of Offer of Judgment” with
this Court, which purported to accept the April 1 Offer.
Flowers now seeks an order directing the Clerk of the Court
to enter a judgment in his favor pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 68 due to his acceptance of the April 1
Offer. SteerPoint opposes the entry of judgment, arguing that
the terms of any offer by the Defendants, including the April
1 Offer, were meant to be inclusive of all costs and fees and
that because no offer of judgment was filed with the Court,
any acceptance is in turn invalid.
Rule of Civil Procedure 68 states:
At least 14 days before the date set for trial, a party
defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an
offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs
then accrued. If, within 14 days after being served, the
opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer,
either party may then file the offer and notice of
acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter
Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a). Once an offer of judgment has been
accepted and filed, “the court has no discretion to
alter or modify the parties' agreement, ”
Sanchez v. Prudential Pizza, Inc., 709 F.3d 689, 691
(7th Cir. 2013) (citing Webb v. James, 147 F.3d 617,
621 (7th Cir. 1998), and “judgment must be
entered.” Webb, 147 F.3d at 621. “Rule
68 offers may not be revoked during the 14-day period
established by the Rule, ” Sanchez, 709 F.3d
at 692, and once the offer has been accepted it cannot be
rescinded. Webb, 147 F.3d at 621. Acceptance is
effective when the plaintiff serves a written notice of
acceptance on the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 68(a).