Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hobbs v. Cable Marketing & Installation of Louisiana, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 6, 2018

DARRELL HOBBS On behalf of himself and others similarly situated
v.
CABLE MARKETING & INSTALLATION OF LOUISIANA, INC., ET AL

         SECTION "B"(2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

         Plaintiff filed a “Motion for Conditional Certification and Court-Supervised Notice” for his claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Rec. Doc. 17. Defendants timely filed an opposition. Rec. Doc. 20. Plaintiff then sought, and was granted, leave to file a reply. See Rec. Doc. 24. For the reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that the motion (Rec. Doc. 17) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's request to conditionally certify a collective action under the FLSA is GRANTED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the collective is defined as “All individuals who provided cable repair and installation services for Cable Marketing and Installation of Louisiana, Inc. or Cable Marketing & Installations, Inc. at any time since February 6, 2015, and who were classified as independent contractors.” IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties file into the record, no later than Wednesday, February 21, 2018, (1) a copy of the proposed notice, (2) a copy of the proposed abbreviated text message notice, and (3) any objections thereto.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants provide to Plaintiff's counsel, no later than Thursday, March 8, 2018, a list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and dates of employment for individuals who fall within the definition of the collective. The list shall be in an electronic format accessible to Plaintiff's counsel.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the opt-in period for potential plaintiffs is sixty (60) days, beginning for the collective on the date when Defendants provide the list of contact information to Plaintiff's counsel.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's request to toll the statute of limitations is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as premature, to be reurged if necessary once the parties develop a sufficient evidentiary record within applicable discovery deadlines.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff Darrell Hobbs was a cable technician.[1] See Rec. Docs. 1 ¶ 21; 17-4 ¶ 2. Hobbs installed and repaired telephone, television, and internet services for customers of Charter Communications (Charter) from December 2016 to April 2017. See Rec. Docs. 1 ¶¶ 6, 21; 17-4 ¶ 2. Ten years prior, in 2007, Charter contracted (Charter contract) with Cable Marketing and Installation[2] (CMI) to provide cable technician services to Charter customers in Louisiana and Mississippi.[3] See Rec. Docs. 17-2 at 42; 20-1 at 2.

         To this day, the Charter contract governs the work performed by the cable technicians. See Rec. Doc. 20-1 at 2. It dictates, among many other facets of the cable technicians' work, when technicians must be available to work, id. at 9, how technicians are assigned jobs via a cell phone application, id. at 46-48, how technicians interact with customers, id. at 47-48, how much Charter will pay for each type of job, id. at 59-68, and how to invoice Charter for completed jobs, id. at 13-15, 56. Even when CMI subcontracts the work, the subcontractor must agree to fully comply with the Charter contract. See Id. at 18-19.

         When CMI entered into the Charter contract in 2007, CMI employed some technicians directly, but also subcontracted some work to other companies. See Rec. Doc. 20-1 at 2. One of those companies was M&M Broadband Services, LLC (M&M Broadband), which signed a subcontractor agreement with CMI in October 2013. See id. at 3, 5-10. The contract encompasses installation and repair work for various unnamed cable companies. See Id. at 5. The exact job description is expected to “change[] from time to time based on [CMI's] contracts.” Id. The contract states that M&M Broadband is an independent contractor, not an employee. See Id. at 7.

         In April 2016, CMI stopped employing its own cable technicians; since that time, all installation and repair work has been performed by M&M Broadband pursuant to the October 2013 subcontractor agreement. See Id. at 3. To meet its obligations to CMI and Charter, M&M Broadband executed subcontractor agreements with Eric Ewens and Ross Broadband Technologies (Ross Broadband). See Rec. Docs. 20-2; 20-7. In turn, Ross Broadband executed an independent contractor agreement with Hobbs. See Rec. Doc. 20-8 at 12-22. These contracts also state that the cable technicians are independent contractors, not employees. See Rec. Docs. 20-2 at 4; 20-7 at 4; 20-8 at 12. The cable technicians did not sign contracts with CMI directly, but nor were they entirely separate from CMI. Technicians wore shirts with the CMI logo, reported to a building with the CMI logo, used badges marked with CMI's name and address, and received forms bearing the CMI logo or address. See Rec. Doc. 21-1 at 2-13.

         Hobbs states in his affidavit that he and his fellow cable technicians regularly worked over forty hours per week, were not paid overtime, and sometimes even earned less than minimum wage. See Rec. Doc. 17-4 ¶¶ 3-12. Cable technicians are paid piece rate, which means that they receive a certain amount of money per job completed. See Id. ¶¶ 9-10. When a technician's work falls below the standards in the Charter contract, that technician could be retroactively assessed a “charge back, ” further reducing the technician's per hour wage. See Id. ¶ 8. As a result, Hobbs brought suit against CMI under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and a Louisiana statute that prohibits employers from assessing fines against employees. See Rec. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 66-94. Hobbs now seeks conditional certification of a collective action to pursue the FLSA claims on behalf of himself and other cable technicians whom CMI classified as independent contractors. See Rec. Doc. 17.

         LAW ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.