RICK CALAMIA, JR.
CORE LABORATORIES, LP
APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 772-449, DIVISION
"J" HONORABLE STEPHEN C. GREFER, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, RICK CALAMIA, JR. In Proper
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, CORE LABORATORIES, LP Mark R.
Beebe, Adrienne C. May
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Robert A. Chaisson, and
Hans J. Liljeberg
J. LILJEBERG, JUDGE.
appeals a trial court judgment rendered in favor of
defendant, dismissing plaintiff's claims for unpaid
wages, penalty wages, attorney fees, and costs. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Rick Calamia, Jr., was employed by defendant, Core
Laboratories, LP ("Core Lab"), from January 25,
2016 through December 2, 2016. After his employment was
terminated, Mr. Calamia asserted that he was owed
compensation for various unpaid wages. Core Lab disputed that
any wages remained unpaid and declined to compensate Mr.
Calamia for the wages he claimed. On May 23, 2017, Mr.
Calamia initiated summary proceedings against Core Lab
pursuant to the Louisiana Wage Payment Act, La. R.S. 23:631,
et seq., seeking unpaid wages, penalty wages,
attorney fees, and costs.
Motion for Summary Relief, Mr. Calamia asserted that at the
time of his discharge, Core Lab owed him for 73.8 hours of
unpaid wages at his regular pay rate of $24.00 per hour,
totaling $1, 808.16. He contended that those wages included 7
hours of time entry wages, 16 hours of holiday pay, 49 hours
of accrued Personal Time Off ("PTO"), and 3.34
hours of accrued sick leave, referred to as Extended Illness
Bank ("EIB"). Mr. Calamia asserted that Core Lab
failed to timely pay him these wages which were due under the
terms of his employment, in violation of La. R.S.
23:631(A)(1)(a). Thus, he argued that he was entitled to not
only the unpaid wages, but also ninety days of penalty wages
pursuant to La. R.S. 23:632(A).
Lab filed a memorandum in opposition to Mr. Calamia's
claims, asserting that Core Lab had paid Mr. Calamia all of
the wages to which he was entitled under the terms of his
employment. It argued that Mr. Calamia used all of his PTO
time, was paid for all time entry wages and holiday wages,
and was not entitled to wages for any remaining EIB hours
following his termination pursuant to company policy. Core
Lab further argued that no penalty wages were due, because no
wages remained outstanding and, even if they had been, there
was a good faith dispute as to whether wages were owed.
24, 2017, this matter came for hearing before the trial
court. At the hearing, Mr. Calamia testified that he began
working for Core Lab in the position of Inspector II on
January 25, 2016. Because he was a student with classes
during the week, he was scheduled to work only on Fridays,
Saturdays, and Sundays. Mr. Calamia testified that he was
guaranteed to receive pay for 40 hours per week, plus
overtime and holiday pay. He also stated that he earned PTO,
which accrued at a rate of 4.0 hours each bi-weekly pay
period, and EIB, which accrued at a rate of 1.54 hours each
bi-weekly pay period.
to Mr. Calamia, during his employment, he decided to get
treatment for a medical condition, so he consulted with his
employer to make arrangements to take vacation (PTO) time.
The medical procedure took place on or about October 25,
2016, which was a weekday, and he was scheduled to take PTO
for the following weekend work days. Mr. Calamia testified
that the pain from the procedure was worse than he had
anticipated, so he asked for the second weekend off as well.
Mr. Calamia provided Core Lab with a document from his doctor
indicating that he was released to return to work as of
November 7, 2016, but it did not indicate whether he could
return to work with or without restrictions. Core Lab
indicated that it would need this information regarding any
restrictions before allowing Mr. Calamia to return to work.
Lab placed Mr. Calamia on a medical leave of absence,
pursuant to the company policy, which provided that an
employee would be placed on medical leave if he was to be
absent from work "for more than seven (7) calendar days
necessitated by physical incapacity to work for any
reason." Mr. Calamia obtained a second release to return
to work from his treating physician, indicating that he could
return without restrictions on November 19, 2016. Mr. Calamia
testified that Core Lab returned him to active duty for
payroll purposes as of that date; however, Core Lab informed
him that it would not allow him to physically return to work
"in the field" until he was cleared by a company
physician. Core Lab terminated Mr. Calamia's employment
after he tested positive for two controlled substances during
a drug screen, and he never physically returned to work for
are three bi-weekly pay periods that are relevant in this
matter. They are the pay periods from: October 22,
2016 through November 4, 2016 ("Period 1");
November 5, 2016 through November 18, 2016 ("Period
2"); and November 19, 2016 through December 2, 2016
("Period 3"). Mr. Calamia testified regarding the
pay statements submitted for these time periods. He asserts
that these statements show he is entitled to the compensation
he seeks for unpaid wages.
trial, Cheryl Watson testified for the defense. She stated
that she is the Payroll Manager for Core Lab and is
responsible for reconciling and approving the payrolls. She
agreed that under the terms of Mr. Calamia's employment,
he was scheduled to work or to be on call each week from 6:00
a.m. on Friday until 6:00 a.m. on Monday. She stated that he
was guaranteed payment for 40 hours each week if he was
available and fit for duty. However, Ms. Watson testified
that he was not guaranteed 40 hours of pay during weeks when
he was on medical leave, and he did not accrue PTO or EIB
during weeks that he was on medical leave.
Watson also testified regarding Core Lab's payroll
procedure, wherein Core Lab initially pays the employee a
full 80-hour bi-weekly paycheck before receiving the
employee's time sheet for that time period. Then, once
the time sheet is received, there is a reconciliation on the
next pay statement to account for the hours actually worked
during the prior period. After being asked by the trial
court, Ms. Watson agreed that there is a "two-week
lag" between the time card and the reconciliation on the
pay statement. Ms. Watson testified about the information on
Mr. Calamia's pay statements for the three pertinent time
periods, and she explained the discrepancies in the
statements that were later reconciled.
hearing the testimony of Mr. Calamia and Ms. Watson, and
considering the exhibits admitted into evidence, the trial
court rendered judgment in favor of Core Lab, dismissing Mr.
Calamia's claims for unpaid wages. Mr. Calamia appeals.
appellate court may not set aside a trial court's factual
findings unless they are clearly wrong or manifestly
erroneous. Rosell v. ESCO, 549 So.2d 840 (La. 1989).
If the trial court's account of the evidence is plausible
in light of the record viewed in its entirety, the reviewing
court may not reverse, even if it would have viewed the
evidence differently as the trier of fact. Rodriguez v.
Green, 12-98 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/20/12), 111 So.3d 1, 3.
Louisiana Wage Payment Act, La. R.S. 23:631, et
seq., is designed to compel the prompt payment of earned
wages upon an employee's discharge or resignation.
Davis v. St. Francisville Country Manor, L.L.C.,
13-190 (La.App. 1 Cir. 11/1/13), 136 So.3d 20. La. R.S.
23:631 provides, in pertinent part:
A. (1)(a) Upon the discharge of any laborer or other employee
of any kind whatever, it shall be the duty of the person
employing such laborer or other employee to pay the amount
then due under the terms of employment, whether the
employment is by the hour, day, week, or month, on or before
the next regular payday or no ...