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McCoy v. City of Shreveport

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 19, 2014

MARGENE M. McCOY, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, Defendant-Appellee

Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 505-624. Honorable Scott J. Crichton, Judge.

BROUSSARD, HALCOMB & VIZZIER, By: Daniel E. Broussard, Jr., Counsel for Appellant.

COLVIN, SMITH & McKAY, By: Jennifer P. McKay, Counsel for Counsel for Appellant.

Before STEWART, DREW and MOORE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 243

[49,428 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] MOORE, J.

Margene McCoy, a former assistant fire chief with the Shreveport Fire Department (" SFD" ), appeals a summary judgment dismissing his claim for overtime wages. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

McCoy was a veteran of SFD, being promoted to assistant fire chief in January 2003 and holding that position until he retired in 2009. In August 2006, he filed suit against the City of Shreveport, alleging that he was due additional pay or overtime wages for time spent attending staff meetings, disciplinary board hearings, EMS workshops, other committee meetings, work-related training, and command of Hurricane Rita-related fire line operations. He sought a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to overtime under La. R.S. 33:1994 and 33:1969, an injunction ordering the City to comply with these statutes, and an award of all unpaid overtime.

The City filed a general denial, and then the case languished for some time. In August 2012, the City filed the instant motion for summary judgment, asserting (1) all overtime wage claims are subject to two years' prescription under the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 255, and (2) McCoy was exempt from overtime wage requirements because he was a highly compensated executive employee

Page 244

not eligible for overtime under FLSA, a federal statute explicitly referenced in R.S. 33:1994 A since a 1993 amendment. In support, it attached portions of McCoy's deposition, in which he stated that he supervised about 160 employees, addressed personnel issues, delegated responsibility to subordinates and exercised numerous management functions.[1] It also cited jurisprudence holding that [49,428 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] deputy chiefs, district chiefs and battalion chiefs were executives and thus exempt from FLSA overtime provisions. Monroe Firefighters Ass'n v. City of Monroe, 600 F.Supp.2d 790 (W.D. La. 2009 ); Simmons v. City of Fort Worth, 805 F.Supp. 419 (N.D. Tex. 1992); Smith v. City of Jackson, Miss., 954 F.2d 296 (5 Cir. 1992).

McCoy opposed the motion, arguing that R.S. 33:1994 actually excluded him from the provisions of FLSA, and thus entitled him to time-and-a-half overtime in accordance with the schedule in § 1994 A. In support, he attached the deposition of then-Chief Kelvin Cochran stating that McCoy received three hours of FLSA overtime every week. He also argued that Monroe Firefighters and Smith, supra, were true FLSA cases, not overtime cases under § 1994 A, and that the applicable prescriptive period was three years, under La. C.C. art. 3494. He also attached copies of pay stubs showing that between August 2005 and his retirement, the City routinely paid him overtime, evidencing an intent to compensate him more generously than FLSA would require.

At a hearing in November 2012, the district court denied the motion for summary judgment, intimating that R.S. 33:1994 was ambiguous and citing " all those ...


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