United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
the Court are Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgement,
R. Doc. 31, Defendant's motion to dismiss, R. Doc. 35,
Defendant's motion in limine, R. Doc. 36, and
Plaintiffs' motion to certify the class, R. Doc. 53.
Having heard oral argument and considered the parties'
briefs and the applicable law, the Court issues this Order
case involves a claim for unpaid wages and interest under the
Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiffs Beverly York and Linda
Wilson were employed by defendant Advocates for Juvenile and
Adults Rights, Inc. as personal care aides (later re-titled
Direct Service Workers). R. Doc. 1 at 2. Plaintiffs claim
they were required to work overtime, were not compensated for
wait time between job assignments, were not reimbursed for
travel costs, and were charged for equipment, uniforms, and
required certification and licensing. R. Doc. 1 at 5-7.
Plaintiffs also allege defendants did not comply with the
record-keeping provisions of the FLSA and wrongfully deducted
or failed to pay wages as required by Louisiana law. R. Doc.
1 at 6, 8. Plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages, liquidated
damages, prejudgment interest, and attorney's fees. R.
Doc. 1 at 7. Plaintiffs', in their complaint, seek
recovery under both federal and state law. They urge their
federal claims by filing a collective action under the FLSA
and their state claims by a class action under Federal Rule
timely answered the complaint and admitted that certain
employees including Plaintiffs had been underpaid and were
currently receiving restitution. R. Doc. 8 at 2. Furthermore,
Defendant avers that Plaintiffs' claims are time barred,
fail to state a cause of action, and fail to meet the
necessary requirements for class certification. R. Doc. 8 at
4-5. Defendant raises the Port-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 260, as a defense barring Plaintiff's claims
because the acts or omissions were done in good faith and in
reasonable belief that they were not a violation of the FLSA.
R. Doc. 8 at 6. Finally, Defendant denies being responsible
for portions of the payments Plaintiff demands. R. Doc. 8 at
filed a Motion to certify a class to proceed as a collective
action under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) in November 2016. R.
Doc. 11. The Court denied the Motion, as Plaintiffs had not
submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate the existence of
a class. However, Plaintiffs were given leave to submit
additional information. On April 27, 2017, the Court granted
the Motion for conditional class certification, and ordered
that Defendants produce “a complete list of all persons
employed by AJAR as DSW personnel who worked at AJAR between
April 22, 2012 and present, including their legal name, job
title, address, telephone number, dates of employment,
location of employment, date of birth, and Social DSW
number.” R. Doc. 21. Plaintiffs did not file a motion
for certification of a class under Rule 23 for the Louisiana
state law claims until January 11, 2018. R. Doc. 53.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc.
move for summary judgment on both their FLSA and LWPA claims
for back pay, unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, and
attorneys' fees and costs. R. Doc. 31. Plaintiffs argue
that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact
because Defendant has admitted culpability. R. Doc. 31-1 at
2. Plaintiffs allege that in its 30(b)(6) deposition,
Defendant admitted that it is a FLSA covered employer, all
Plaintiffs are FLSA covered employees, Defendant has never
paid overtime to the Plaintiffs, Defendant did not attempt to
figure out how much overtime should have been paid or attempt
to pay overtime. R. Doc. 31-1 at 2. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant also admitted it did not pay Plaintiffs during a
period in 2014. R. Doc. 31-1 at 2. Furthermore, Plaintiff
avers that Defendant has admitted that it knew it was
required to pay overtime and failed to do so. R. Doc. 31-1 at
alleges that the amended FLSA rule, applicable here, is
retroactive to January 1, 2015 and that Plaintiffs are
entitled to overtime pay and liquidated damages from that
date. R. Doc. 31-1 at 8-9. Therefore, Plaintiffs have
included detailed exhibits providing information for each
plaintiff's unpaid wages and unpaid overtime. Plaintiffs
ask the Court to grant summary judgment as to these claims
and to award Plaintiffs their unpaid wages, liquidated
damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. R. Doc. 31-1 at
responds in opposition arguing that there are issues of
genuine material fact. R. Doc. 43. Defendant argues that the
Department of Labor did not tell Defendant that its workers
would be entitled to overtime pay starting January 1, 2015.
R. Doc. 43 at 2. Defendant argues that it was not making an
effort to deprive Plaintiffs of wages but rather Defendant
did not earn enough to pay overtime. R. Doc. 43 at 2.
Finally, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs are not entitled to
receive wages that have prescribed under either the LWPA or
the FLSA. R. Doc. 43 at 3.
Defendant's 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc.
moves to dismiss the Louisiana Wage Payment Act
(“LWPA”) claims of several plaintiffs on the
basis of prescription. R. Doc. 35. Defendant alleges that the
prescriptive period for recovery of unpaid wages is three (3)
years. R. Doc. 35-1 at 2. Defendant alleges that the
following plaintiffs opted into this action after this
prescriptive period had passed: Carolyn Cloud, Gieselle
Davis, Diane Effron, Sheryl Green, Corey King, Angela Morgan,
LeShanta Ratliff, and Reney Rumley Alexander. R. Doc. 35-1 at
2. Therefore, Defendant asks the Court to dismiss these
claims. R. Doc. 35-1 at 3.
responds in opposition arguing that because these claims were
alleged as a class action, Rule 23 tolls the statute of
limitations for all potential class members. R. Doc. 46.
Defendant's Motion in Limine (R. Doc. 36)
moves to exclude 1) overtime wages outside the statute of
limitations and 2) alleged hearsay portions of Jacquelyn
Hughes' affidavit. R. Doc. 36. First, Defendant argues
that, because Defendant's alleged failure to pay overtime
was not willful or reckless, the two (2) year FLSA statute of
limitations applies. R. Doc. 36-2 at 3. Therefore, Defendant
argues that overtime wages accrued more than two years before
each plaintiff's opt-in date should be excluded from
evidence. R. Doc. 36-2 at 3.
Defendant alleges that Jacquelyn Hughes, Defendant's
former contractor, testified “that a representative
from the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division
informed [Defendant] AJAR that direct service workers would
be subject to the FLSA overtime provisions beginning January
1, 2015.” R. Doc. 36-2 at 4. Defendant wishes to
exclude this portion of Hughes' affidavit on the grounds
that it is hearsay, not ...