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Solomon v. Serenity Square, LLC

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

April 29, 2019

MATHILDA SOLOMON
v.
SERENITY SQUARE, LLC, ET AL.

          Doughty Judge.

          RULING AND ORDER

          CAROL B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is plaintiff, Mathilda Solomon's, “Motion for Conditional Certification as a Collective Action and Notice to Potential Class Members, ” [Doc. 8], in which the plaintiff moves to conditionally certify the FLSA collective action filed by her against defendants, Serenity Square LLC and Gwendolyn Caillier, the owner and operator of Serenity (collectively, “Serenity”). The motion is opposed by the defendants [Doc. 8]. For the following reasons, plaintiff's Motion for Conditional Certification is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Serenity provides in-home care for elderly, infirm, and disabled people through Direct Care Workers (“DCWs”). DCWs work in the client's home to assist with personal care activities, housekeeping activities, feeding, cooking, monitoring of the client, and other activities. Generally, DCWs work alone in a client's home. In March 2018, the plaintiff, a resident of the City of Scott, Louisiana, was hired by Serenity as a DCW. Solomon worked for Serenity for less than two months. Her employment ended following an alleged work-related back injury for which she has filed a claim with the Louisiana Office of Worker's Compensation. That claim remains in litigation.

         In the two months that she worked for Serenity, the plaintiff claims she was not paid time and a half for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a work week. On August 8, 2018, Solomon filed the instant lawsuit alleging Serenity failed to pay her overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition to her individual claims, Solomon's complaint also alleges Serenity failed to pay other “similarly situated” employees overtime compensation. Solomon filed her consent to become a party with her Complaint and joined the proposed collective action on that date. To date, more than eight months after the filing of the Complaint, no other individual has a filed a consent to join the putative class. Defendants filed an answer to the Complaint on October 29, 2018, denying the plaintiff's allegations and raising numerous defenses to her individual and collective claims.

         On November 8, 2018, Solomon filed the instant motion, seeking an order conditionally certifying a putative collective class which includes:

all individuals who
(1) Worked for Defendants at any time during the past three years; and
(2) Worked as a home health care worker (“direct support worker”) on behalf of Defendants and were paid straight time for all hours worked.

         Solomon defined the potential collective class to include “all home health care aides who worked for Defendants from August 9, 2018 to August 9, 2015, and was subject to each of the wage and hour violations alleged herein.”[1] The motion also seeks approval of a proposed notice and permission to disseminate that notice to the putative collective class using contact information to be provided by Defendants.

         In the instant motion, the plaintiff moves to conditionally certify a collective action under 29 U.S.C. §207 of the FLSA. Plaintiff contends that she regularly worked more than forty hours per week, and that despite working these hours, she was paid her regular hourly rate for all hours worked throughout her employment. The plaintiff alleges that she is “aware” that defendants paid all other direct support workers at their regular hourly rate for all hours worked, including hours worked in excess of forty hours per week.

         II. Applicable Legal Standard

         The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires covered employers to pay non-exempt employees for hours they have worked in excess of the defined maximum hours. 29 U.S.C. §207(a). Section 216(b) creates a cause of action for employees against employers violating the ...


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