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England v. Administrators of Tulane Educational Fund

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

August 17, 2017

CHRISTOPHER ENGLAND
v.
ADMINISTRATORS OF THE TULANE EDUCATIONAL FUND

         SECTION: “J” (2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          CARL J. BARBIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 29) filed by Defendant, The Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund d/b/a Tulane University (“Tulane”). Plaintiff, Christopher England, filed an opposition to the motion, (Rec. Doc. 33, ) and Tulane filed a reply. (Rec. Doc. 35.) Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be GRANTED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This litigation arises from Plaintiff's employment as a writing tutor with Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business (“Business School”) from the fall of 2013 through the fall of 2014. As a writing tutor, Plaintiff earned $19 an hour for a predetermined number of hours per semester. According to Plaintiff, Tulane defined a full-time work week as thirty-seven and one-half hours per seven days. Therefore, Plaintiff claims that Tulane's own rules require it to provide employees overtime pay for any hours exceeding thirty-seven and one-half in a given work week.

         On April 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Tulane failed to pay him “overtime” under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (“FLSA”) and failed to pay him certain benefits under the Louisiana Wage Payment statute.[1] Tulane filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on June 20, 2016, alleging that Plaintiff's complaint failed to state a claim under the FLSA. On July 19, 2016, this Court granted that motion and ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint within 21 days or the Court would dismiss his claims with prejudice. (Rec. Doc. 6 at 14.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on August 9, 2016. (Rec. Doc. 7.) In response, Tulane filed another motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), which the Court granted in part and denied in part on November 3, 2016. (Rec. Doc. 13.) Specifically, the Court dismissed with prejudice all of Plaintiff's claims for “overtime” hours worked in excess of thirty-seven and one-half hours but less than forty per week. The Court also dismissed without prejudice Plaintiff's claims for retirement plan contributions and health insurance.

         Tulane filed a motion for summary judgment on July 3, 2017 arguing for the dismissal of Plaintiffs claims under the FLSA and any state law claims. (Rec. Doc. 29.) Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion on July 19, 2017, (Rec. Doc. 33, ) and Tulane filed a reply. (Rec. Doc. 35.) The motions are before the Court on the briefs and without oral argument.

         PARTIES' ARGUMENTS

         Tulane argues that the Court should grant summary judgment because there are no genuine issues of material fact and it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Specifically, Tulane argues that Plaintiff was an exempt employee under the FLSA's teaching exemption, and therefore, is not entitled to overtime pay. Tulane also argues that Plaintiff's state law claims should be dismissed because Plaintiff was not eligible for benefits during his employment with Tulane according to its policies and practices.

         Plaintiff does not oppose Tulane's Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue of unpaid overtime under the FLSA. However, Plaintiff argues that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether Plaintiff should have been paid vacation and holiday pay benefits under Louisiana law. Plaintiff argues that his employment was continuous and that he was eligible for vacation after six months of employment. Plaintiff also argues that although he was designated as a regular part-time employee, he was actually a fulltime employee due to the number of hours he worked per week and was therefore eligible for benefits.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (citing Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 56(c)). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is an absence of genuine factual issues. Id. Once the moving party meets that burden, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and designate facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact in dispute. Id. “A factual dispute is ‘genuine' where a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. If the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, then there is no genuine issue for trial and summary judgment is proper.” Weber v. Roadway Exp., Inc., 199 F.3d 270, 272 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). The non-moving party's burden “is not satisfied with ‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ' by ‘conclusory allegations, ' by ‘unsubstantiated assertions, ' or by only a ‘scintilla' of evidence. [The courts] resolve factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving party, but only when there is an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts. [The courts] do not, however, in the absence of any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis in original) (citations omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         (A) ...


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