United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
STEPHEN P. BAUER
LIVAUDAIS ELECTRICAL & CONSTRUCTION, LLC, PHILIP LIVAUDAIS, AND BOBBY LAMBERT
ORDER AND REASONS
JAY C. ZAINEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 8)
filed by Defendants: Livaudais Electrical & Construction,
LLC, Philip Livaudais, and Bobby Lambert (collectively
referred to as “Defendants”). Plaintiff Stephen
P. Bauer (“Bauer”) opposes this motion (Rec. Doc.
10), Defendants have replied (Rec. Doc. 15), and Plaintiff
has filed a surreply. (Rec. Doc. 17). The motion, set for
submission on November 1, 2017, is before the Court on the
briefs without oral argument. This matter is set to be tried
to a jury beginning on August 27, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. Having
considered the motion and memoranda of counsel, the record,
and the applicable law, the Court finds that the
Defendants' motion should be GRANTED for
the reasons set forth below.
Electrical is owned by Defendant Philip Livaudais
(“Livaudais”) with its principal place of
business located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. (Rec. Doc.
1, ¶¶ 2, 3). Defendant Bobby Lambert
(“Lambert”) serves as office manager of Livaudais
Electrical. Id. at ¶ 4. According to his
complaint, Plaintiff Stephen Bauer worked for Livaudais
Electrical & Construction, LLC (“Livaudais
Electrical”) as an electrician for approximately nine
years. Id. at ¶ 10. In his complaint, Bauer
claims that Livaudais violated the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) by failing to pay Bauer overtime for all
hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Id. at
¶ 22. Bauer also alleges to be a non-exempt employee
under the FLSA, and is therefore entitled to pay times one
and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
Id. at ¶¶ 11, 22. Allegedly, Livaudais has
made no payments to properly compensate Bauer for all hours
worked overtime as required by the FLSA. Id. at
¶ 24. When approached by Bauer about the shortfall in
overtime pay, Livaudais allegedly admitted to such
shortfalls, but then refused to properly compensate Bauer.
Id. at ¶ 26. Bauer believes his insisting on
being properly compensated for overtime work caused Livaudais
to constructively discharge Bauer. Id. Bauer alleges
his discharge constitutes retaliation in violation of the
complaint further alleges that Lambert altered Bauer's
time sheets by regularly reducing and shortening the hours
recorded on Bauer's time sheets during his employment
with Livaudais Electrical. Id. at ¶ 21.
Additionally, Bauer alleges Livaudais wrongfully made payroll
deductions from Bauer's paychecks for unexplained amounts
and withheld payroll taxes on said deductions. Id.
at 25. As a result, Bauer claims he was required to pay
income taxes on the improperly deducted amounts. Id.
brings claims under the FLSA alleging that Livaudais failed
to compensate Bauer for overtime work. 28 U.S.C. §§
207, 216. Bauer also alleges that Livaudais failed to comply
with Federal Labor Regulations, specifically violating 28
C.F.R. § 516.2, by “implementing a management
policy, plan or decision that intentionally altered payroll
and other records.” Id. at ¶ 29.
Additionally, Bauer brings a claim for retaliation under the
FLSA against Livaudais. Id. Bauer's state law
claims include conversion by Livaudais for tampering with
Bauer's work hours and breach of Livaudais'
contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing. Id.
at ¶ 32. Finally, Bauer brings the same above-mentioned
claims against Lambert for his alleged assistance with
Livaudais and Livaudais Electrical in depriving Bauer of fair
pay. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 21.
Defendants bring this motion for summary judgment arguing
that res judicata bars Plaintiff's claims. (Rec.
Doc. 8, p. 8). Defendants argue that Bauer's claims have
previously been fully adjudicated before the Justice of the
Peace Court in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Specifically,
on July 18, 2017, Judge Bruce Jackson of the St. Bernard
Parish Justice of the Peace Court rendered judgment against
Bauer and in favor of Livaudais and Livaudais Electrical.
(Rec. Doc. 8-5, Ex. 2). That judgment stems from claims
brought by Bauer against Livaudais and Livaudais Electrical
for “maliciously and systematically for a period of at
least 7 years us[ing] liquid paper on [Bauer's]
hand-written time sheets to shave roughly 7-15% and in one
case over 30% of worked overtime [without] [Bauer's]
knowledge. . . .” (Rec. Doc. 8-2, Ex. 1). Also on July
18, 2017, Judge Jackson rendered judgment against Bauer and
in favor of Lambert. (Rec. Doc. 8-7, Ex. 4). That judgment
stems from claims brought by Bauer against Lambert in the
same Justice of the Peace Court. Bauer's Statement of
Claim against Lambert stated, “[I'm] going to prove
without doubt that Bobby Lambert played a pivotal role in the
systematic theft of over [$]60, 000.00 of my earned overtime
over the span of my employment with Livaudais Electrical and
Construction.” (Rec. Doc. 8-6, Ex. 3).
now bring this motion for summary judgment claiming that the
July 18, 2017 judgments rendered in their favor bar
Bauer's current claims before this Court. The Court is
now tasked with determining whether the judgments rendered
against Bauer in the Justice of the Peace Court should be
given res judicata effect.
Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as
Plaintiff's claims arise in part under the laws of the
United States. Particularly, Plaintiff brings claims against
Defendants for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29
U.S.C. § 201 et seq. This Court also retains
jurisdiction of Plaintiff's state law claims of
conversion and breach of contract through supplemental
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
judgment is appropriate only if “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, ” when
viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant,
“show that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact.” TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James, 276
F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002) (citing Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)). A dispute
about a material fact is “genuine” if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Id. (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). The Court must draw all
justifiable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).
Once the moving party has initially shown “that there
is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving
party's cause, ” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986), the non-movant must come forward
with “specific facts” showing a genuine factual
issue for trial. Id. (citing Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). Conclusional
allegations and denials, speculation, improbable inferences,
unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic argumentation do
not adequately substitute for specific facts showing a
genuine issue for trial. Id. (citing SEC v.
Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993)).