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Hernandez v. Morning Call Coffee Stand, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 12, 2018

ANTONIA HERNANDEZ
v.
MORNING CALL COFFEE STAND, INC.

         SECTION "L" (1)

          ORDER & REASONS

         Before the Court are Defendant's Motions to Dismiss, for Summary Judgment, for Decertification of Collective Class Action, and to Strike. R. Docs. 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 48. Plaintiffs have responded in opposition. R. Docs. 43, 44, 45, 46, and 47. After considering the parties' briefs and the applicable law, the Court issues this Order & Reasons.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Antonia Hernandez (“Hernandez”) has filed this lawsuit as a putative class action on behalf of herself and other similarly situated parties to recover unpaid overtime wages. R. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff claims that, while she was employed as a kitchen helper at Defendant Morning Call Coffee Stand, Inc. (“Morning Call”), she was not paid one-and-a-half times her hourly wage for hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per week. R. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff claims that all overtime hours were paid in cash. R. Doc. 1 at 4. Plaintiff files this lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and claims unpaid wages, interest, liquidated damages, and attorney's fees and costs. R. Doc. 1 at 1-2. Plaintiff also requests declaratory and injunctive relief. R. Doc. 1 at 2.

         On June 15, 2017, the Court entered the default of Defendant Morning Call because Defendant had failed to appear, plead, or otherwise defend. R. Doc. 6. On November 21, 2018, the Court vacated the default because good cause was shown, namely the death of president and sole shareholder of Defendant Morning Call. R. Doc. 14. Defendant answered the complaint generally denying the allegations. R. Doc. 16. Defendant also asserts the following affirmative defenses among others: prescription, good faith, and Defendant did not authorize Plaintiffs to work overtime. R. Doc. 16.

         II. PRESENT MOTIONS

         A. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc. 37)

         Defendant moves to dismiss the claims brought by Plaintiff Angelo Albers, Jr. for failure to prosecute. R. Doc. 37. Defendant alleges that Plaintiff Albers, Jr. has twice failed to appear for a noticed deposition and has failed to communicate with counsel. R. Doc. 37-1.

         Plaintiff only opposes dismissal with prejudice. R. Doc. 43.

         B. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 39)

         Defendant moves for summary judgment against Plaintiff Antonia Hernandez based on statements made during her deposition testimony. R. Doc. 39-3. Defendant alleges that Plaintiff Hernandez made the following statements during her deposition testimony: 1) she worked 16-17 hours overtime per week, 2) she was paid either $270 or $360 per week in cash for overtime, and 3) she was paid approximately $18, 576 per year in cash for overtime. R. Doc. 39-3 at 3. Defendant argues that these statements are judicial admissions that negate any claims Plaintiff has for overtime pay. R. Doc. 39-3 at 4. Defendant argues that given this testimony, Plaintiff Hernandez would have had to work 23.8 hours of overtime per week to be entitled to any additional overtime pay. R. Doc. 39-3 at 4. Therefore, Defendant asks the Court to grant summary judgment on Plaintiff Hernandez's overtime claims. R. Doc. 39.

         Plaintiff responds in opposition arguing that Defendant has mischaracterized Plaintiff's deposition testimony. R. Doc. 44 at 1. Plaintiff argues that she has never stated that she was paid the correct amount of overtime and that the amounts given in her deposition testimony were “estimates.” R. Doc. 44 at 2.

         C. Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 40)

         Defendant moves for partial summary judgment against Plaintiff David McEniry based on statements made during his deposition testimony. R. Doc. 40-3. Defendant alleges that Plaintiff McEniry made the following statement during his deposition testimony: he worked roughly one hour of overtime per week. R. Doc. 40-3 at 2. Defendant argues that this statement is a judicial admission that limits Plaintiff McEniry's claims for overtime pay. R. Doc. 40-3 at 6. Defendant argues that given this testimony, Plaintiff McEniry is entitled at most to only one hour of overtime pay over the course of his time working for ...


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