United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
CHRISTOPHER PREJEAN, on behalf of Himself and Other Persons Similarly Situated
SATELLITE COUNTRY, INC., LYNN JENKINS & PAMELA MCCUE
WHITEHURST, MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Claims of 1099
Opt-Ins Based Upon Prescription of the Statute of Limitations
[Doc. No. 121] filed by Defendants. Plaintiffs filed a
Memorandum in Opposition to the motion [Doc. No. 131].
Defendants filed a reply. [Doc. No. 142].
following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.
September 14, 2017, Christopher Prejean, on behalf of himself
and all others similarly situated, filed a Collective Action
Complaint against the Defendants, Satellite Country, Inc.,
Pamela McCue, and Lynn Jenkins, alleging violations of
provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (hereinafter
“FLSA”) for alleged failure to pay overtime
wages. On April 17, 2018, this Court conditionally certified
this matter as a Collective Action, and approximately
fifty-five (55) Plaintiffs have joined the litigation.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Standard of Review
Defendants style their motion as “to dismiss, ”
it is actually a motion for summary judgment which requires
the Court to consider documents outside the pleadings.
See Fed. R. Civ. p. 12(d).
judgment is appropriate when the evidence before a court
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.
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247). “The moving party
may meet its burden to demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact by pointing out that the record
contains no support for the non-moving party's
claim.” Stahl v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 283
F.3d 254, 263 (5th Cir. 2002). Thereafter, if the non-movant
is unable to identify anything in the record to support its
claim, summary judgment is appropriate. Id.
“The court need consider only the cited materials, but
it may consider other materials in the record.”
evaluating a motion for summary judgment, courts “may
not make credibility determinations or weigh the
evidence” and “must resolve all ambiguities and
draw all permissible inferences in favor of the non-moving
party.” Total E & P USA Inc. v. Kerr- McGee Oil
and Gas Corp., 719 F.3d 424, 434 (5th Cir. 2013)
(citations omitted). While courts will “resolve factual
controversies in favor of the nonmoving party, ” an
actual controversy exists only “when both parties have
submitted evidence of contradictory facts.” Little
v. Liquid Air. Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir.
1994). To rebut a properly supported motion for summary
judgment, the opposing party must show, with
“significant probative evidence, ” that
a genuine issue of material fact exists. Hamilton v.
Segue Software, Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477 (5th Cir. 2000)
(emphasis added). “‘If the evidence is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative,' summary
judgment is appropriate.” Cutting Underwater Tech.
USA, Inc. v. Eni U.S. Operating Co., 671 F.3d 512, 517
(5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).
there can be no genuine dispute as to a material fact when a
party fails “to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
This is true “since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Id. at 323.
seek damages for unpaid compensation under the FLSA.
Defendants move the Court to determine as a matter of law to
address two issues: (1) that the claims of five purported
Plaintiffs who performed work more than three years ago are
time-barred and (2) that claims of seventeen other Plaintiffs
who performed work more than two years ago are also
time-barred unless Plaintiffs prove at trial that
Defendants' violations of the FLSA were willful.
FLSA mandates that “no employer shall employ any of his
employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless
such employee receives compensation for his employment in
excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than
one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is
employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). A two-year
statute of limitations applies to claims under the statute
unless Defendants' violations are determined to be
willful, in which case a three-year statute of limitations
applies. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a). The Supreme Court has
explained the “standard of willfulness” necessary
for the three-year statute of limitations to apply. See
McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe Co., 486 U.S. 128, 133-35
(1988). A plaintiff bears the burden of proving a willful
violation of the statute. Id. at 135. Plaintiffs
must establish that “the employer either knew or showed
reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was
prohibited by the statute.” Id. at 133;
see also Singer v. City of Waco, 324 F.3d 813, 821
(5th Cir. 2003) (same). Whether the two-year or three-year
statute of limitations is applicable, the claim does not
“commence” for an opt-in plaintiff in a
collective action until the individual files with the court a
written consent to join the collective action. 29 U.S.C.
§ 256(b); see also Atkins v. General Motors
Corp., 701 F.2d 1124, 1130 n. 5(5th Cir. 1983) (Section
256 requires collective action plaintiffs “to opt in,
and limitations runs from the opt-in date. We cannot alter
the express terms of the statute.”).
Plaintiffs Outside the Three-Year ...