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Defrese-Reese v. Healthy Minds, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

November 19, 2018

KIMBERLY DEFRESE-REESE, ET AL.
v.
HEALTHY MINDS, INC., ET AL.

          KAREN L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendants Healthy Minds, Inc., Healthy Minds of Bastrop, LLC (“Healthy Minds, LLC”), and Angela Nichols' (“Nichols”) Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 18]. Plaintiffs Kimberly Defrese-Reese, Tyanna Jones, and LeMatthew Wilson oppose the motion. [Doc. No. 20]. Defendants did not file a reply memorandum, but did file an additional affidavit. [Doc. No. 21].

         For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs brought this action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”). They seek to have the matter certified as a collective action. They allege that Defendants failed to pay them and others overtime for hours worked in excess of forty per work week.

         Defendant Healthy Minds, Inc., and Healthy Minds, LLC are Louisiana entities which provide direct care for disabled persons in their homes. Nichols allegedly controlled the day-today operations of these organizations.

         Kimberly Defrese-Reese was employed as an “office manager, ” but was paid on an hourly basis. Tyanna Jones, and LeMatthew Wilson were employed as direct care workers and also paid on an hourly basis.

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Summary Judgment[1]

         Summary judgment “shall [be] grant[ed] . . . if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         If the moving party can meet the initial burden, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Norman v. Apache Corp., 19 F.3d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1994). The nonmoving party must show more than “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In evaluating the evidence tendered by the parties, the Court must accept the evidence of the nonmovant as credible and draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         B. Timing of the Motion for Summary Judgment

         First, as Plaintiffs point out, discovery has not yet been conducted in this case. While there is no prohibition against Defendants' filing of a motion for summary judgment prior to the completion, or at least the substantial completion, of discovery, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide some protection against premature motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs did not specifically move for relief under or cite Rule 56(d), but cited cases which have applied the rule. Rule 56(d) provides that, “[i]f a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may: (1) defer considering the motion or deny it; (2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or (3) issue any other appropriate order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). Rule 56(d) “is designed to ‘safeguard non-moving parties from summary judgment motions that they cannot adequately oppose.'” Raby v. Livingston, 600 F.3d 552, 561 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing Culwell v. City of Fort Worth, ...


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