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Bar, eatery owners settle

Three former Conch Republic Seafood Co. employees who claim their supervisors kept tips and failed to pay them minimum and overtime wages have reached a proposed settlement with the bar owners, as have Fat Tuesday workers who sued the same owners in a similar lawsuit, according to federal court records.

Terry Worthing, Michael Bell and Britt Gordon asked U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore to approve the undisclosed settlement against the Key West Bight seafood restaurant on Nov. 1, to which he submitted an undisclosed order two days later, none of which is public record.

They sued Conch Republic and its co-owners, James Reed and Jeffrey Gunther, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, alleging the company failed to pay them:

  • Time and a half for overtime;
  •  The full $4.23 hourly minimum wage; and
  • Their share of pooled tips, into which each contributed 2 percent of their own tips. They claim managers kept the money instead of giving it to the employees, according to the lawsuit.

The workers and owners “formulated their own proposed settlement figures” and Reed and Gunther “agreed to settle to avoid the costs and inconvenience associated with further litigation and without admission of any liability,” according to court records.

Fat Tuesday suit

On Nov. 2, U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King also issued an order approving a settlement reached by nine of the 12 total Fat Tuesday employees who filed a similar lawsuit against Reed and Gunther, who own the Duval Street bar. Specifics of that settlement also were not disclosed.

Andrea Marion, Jamie Mattingly, Rachel Cobb, Matt Kilgore, Jill Sorboro, Samantha Usina, Stephanie Hertz, Jorden Moorehead and Jamie Laino were dismissed from the lawsuit, according to court records.

Former bartenders Anthony Roberts, Charles Fricke and Layne Thrasher are still named in the lawsuit.

King granted a continuance on Nov. 4 that set a deadline for Wednesday so that attorneys could interview former Fat Tuesday General Manager David Thibault, according to court records.

The plaintiffs’ attorney in both cases, Davie-based Todd Shulby, did not return The Citizen’s multiple phone messages left at his office this week. Fort Lauderdale-based Patrick Muldowney, who is representing the bar owners, sent The Citizen an email stating he does not comment on pending cases.

Reed and Gunther last week filed a lawsuit against Thibault seeking more than $15,000 in damages, a case that Monroe County circuit Judge David Audlin will hear. Reed and Gunther claim Thibault stole thousands from Fat Tuesday and its workers.

Key West attorney Cara Higgins is representing Reed and Gunther in the lawsuit against Thibault.

To view the original article form Keys News click here.