United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by
plaintiff David DeArmond (“DeArmond”), on behalf
of himself and all others similarly situated, regarding the
ability of defendant Alliance Energy Services, LLC
(“Alliance”) to rely on certain defenses. For the
following reasons, the motion is denied.
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) case arises
from Alliance's failure to pay its employees overtime
compensation for attendance at mandatory safety meetings.
Acknowledging that it made “some unintentional payroll
errors, ” Alliance contacted the United States
Department of Labor (“DOL”). The DOL reviewed
Alliance's report and opened an administrative
proceeding. The DOL's investigation concluded that
Alliance's FLSA violations resulted in underpayment to 85
employees totaling $43, 382.38 covering the period from June
16, 2015 to April 27, 2017. “Under [DOL] supervision,
Alliance [then] issued payment, at the overtime rate, to
affected current and former employees.”
estimates that Alliance paid approximately $13, 000 to
employees participating in the present case, excluding
DeArmond himself. Despite these payments, DeArmond and a
number of other Alliance employees continue to pursue this
collective action, arguing that they are entitled to
additional liquidated damages under the FLSA.
now moves for judgment as a matter of law, arguing that
Alliance is precluded from asserting the defenses of waiver
and good faith. Alliance opposes the motion in part.
judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The party seeking
summary judgment need not produce evidence negating the
existence of material fact, but need only point out the
absence of evidence supporting the other party's case.
Id.; Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190,
1195 (5th Cir. 1986).
the party seeking summary judgment carries its burden, the
nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing
that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The showing of a genuine issue is
not satisfied by creating “‘some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, ' by ‘conclusory
allegations, ' by ‘unsubstantiated assertions,
' or by only a ‘scintilla' of evidence.”
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of
material fact exists when the “evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Although the substance or
content of the evidence submitted to support or dispute a
fact on summary judgment must be admissible . . ., the
material may be presented in a form that would not, in
itself, be admissible at trial.” Lee v. Offshore
Logistical and Transp., LLC, 859 F.3d 353, 355 (5th Cir.
2017) (quotation omitted).
party responding to the motion for summary judgment may not
rest upon the pleadings but must identify specific facts that
establish a genuine issue. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248. The nonmoving party's evidence, however,
“is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are
to be drawn in [the nonmoving party's] favor.”
Id. at 255; see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526
U.S. 541, 552 (1999).
argues that Alliance is precluded from asserting the defenses
of waiver and good faith. The Court considers each in turn.
outset, Alliance concedes that-with one exception-the
liquidated damages claims asserted by DeArmond and his fellow
plaintiffs have not been waived. Of the 32 plaintiffs
currently involved in this case, Alliance contends that only
the claims of Ronnie Bates (“Bates”) have been
waived. The Court confines its analysis
The FLSA provides that The Secretary [of Labor] is authorized
to supervise the payment of the unpaid minimum wages or the
unpaid overtime compensation owing to any employee or
employees . . . and the agreement of any employee to accept
such payment shall upon payment in full constitute a waiver
by such employee of any right he may have . . . to such
unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation and an
additional equal amount as liquidated damages.
29 U.S.C. § 216(c). “For there to be a valid
waiver[, ] section 216(c) simply requires (a) that the
employee agree to accept the payment which the Secretary
determines to be due and (b) that there be ‘payment in
full.'” Sneed v. ...