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Boudreaux v. Schlumberger Tech Corp.

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

September 17, 2019

BROCK BOUDREAUX, ET AL.
v.
SCHLUMBERGER TECH CORP.

          SUMMERHAYS, Judge

          MEMORANDUM RULING AND ORDER

          CAROL B. WHITEHURST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the undersigned magistrate judge is the “Motion For Notice of Adjudicative Facts Pursuant to FRE Rule 201, ” filed by the plaintiffs, employees of defendant Schlumberger Tech. Corp. (“Schlumberger”) [Doc. 356]. The motion is opposed by Schlumberger [Doc. 395], and the plaintiffs filed a reply brief [Doc. 401]. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

         In this matter, the plaintiffs allege that they were not paid overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In their answer, Schlumberger denies these allegations and contends it made reasonable, good-faith efforts to comply with the FLSA, that it acted with reasonable grounds in believing its actions were not in violation of the FLSA, and that any inadvertent violation was not willful. In their motion, the plaintiffs argue that there are several pending discovery motions that target Schlumberger's defenses to the plaintiffs' claims -- and in particular, its defense of good faith -- and the plaintiffs seek an order of this Court taking judicial notice of prior statements made by Sclumberger in other FLSA cases with respect to the issue of classification of workers, as well as judicial notice of a prior sanction order against Schlumberger and its counsel, Robert Lombardi, filed in a case in the District Court of North Dakota.

         In the instant motion, the plaintiffs argue that in invoking the defense of good faith, Schlumberger is implicitly pleading that it had no notice of contrary authority or knowledge of any circumstances that would require inquiry into the issue of classification under the FLSA. Plaintiffs argue that Schlumberger has repeatedly represented in other litigation that it was not aware of any findings suggesting that the MWD operators should be classified as non-exempt. In their motion, the plaintiffs request that this Court take judicial notice of these statements made by Schlumberger in other FLSA proceedings. The plaintiffs also ask this Court to specifically take judicial notice of pleadings filed in litigation in the District Court of North Dakota, where the plaintiffs argue that Schlumberger and Lombardi were sanctioned by the court for discovery abuses for failure to produce documents.

         In response, Schlumberger argues that the plaintiffs are asking this Court to “put matters prominently in a public record” without providing context and, more specifically, that the matters that are the subject of the plaintiffs' motion are not tied to any pending motion or other request before this Court and that, effectively, this Court's taking judicial notice of such matters would constitute an advisory opinion. The undersigned agrees, and for the additional following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

         Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence allows a court to take judicial notice of adjudicative facts, as follows:

         (b) Kinds of Facts That May Be Judicially Noticed. The court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it:

(1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or
(2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

         (c) Taking Notice. The court:

(1) may take judicial notice on its own; or
(2) must take judicial notice if a party requests it and the court is supplied with the necessary information.

         (d) Timing. The court may take judicial notice at any stage of the proceeding. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)-(d). On appeal, a district court's refusal to take judicial notice is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Taylor v. ...


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