On May 26, NELA and Public Justice jointly filed an amicus brief in the Eleventh Circuit matter of Thomas v. JSTC (No. 22-14191), encouraging the court to distinguish the appropriate standard of review for approval of opt-in FLSA settlements from Rule 23 class action settlements. In this case, the lower court approved every aspect of a proposed settlement except separately negotiated payments to the named plaintiffs in exchange for a general release, on the grounds that such payments constituted inappropriate service awards under precedent set in a Rule 23 opt-out class action case. Although courts retain substantial discretion as to whether or not to approve a FLSA settlement, the amicus brief argues that the public policy rationales behind scrutinizing service awards in a Rule 23 class action are inapt for collective action payments. Where members have opted in, payments will not come out of the common fund, and the plaintiffs sign broader releases than the collective members, separate contractual payments to plaintiffs should not be scrutinized as if they are class action service awards. NELA would like to thank Shelby Leighton at Public Justice, and our NELA drafting team: Clif Alexander and Lauren Braddy of Anderson Alexander, PLLC(TX); Carl Fitz of Josephson Dunlap LLP (TX); and Chris McNerney of Outten & Golden, LLP (NY).