United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion to Conditionally
Certify a FLSA Collective Action, Approve Notice and
Expedited Consideration. (Rec. Doc. 9; Memorandum in Support
at Rec. Doc. 12). Defendants, We Care Homes, Inc. and Kyle
Jones, opposed the Motion (Rec. Doc. 13), and Plaintiff
replied (Rec. Doc. 16). Considering the evidence, the law,
and the arguments of the parties, and for the reasons fully
explained below, Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED.
Nellie Migues, individually and on behalf of all other
similarly situated current and former employees of
Defendants, filed this suit under the Fair Labor Standards
Act against her former employer, We Care Homes, Inc. and Kyle
Jones, We Care's alleged manager. Plaintiff alleges that
she was employed by We Care as a home health
worker from September 2018 through June 2019, and
that during that time she worked hours in excess of forty
hours per week but was not paid overtime as required by the
FLSA. (Rec. Doc. 1; 9-2, ¶2-3; 12). She further attested
that her We Care supervisor assigned her hours to work with
each client and that because of the nature of the work and
the works days scheduled by We Care, she and other home
healthcare workers regularly worked more than forty hours in
a week. (Rec. Doc. 9-2, ¶7-9). She was required to
record her time on a standardized We Care form, which she
turned in to We Care. (Rec. Doc. 9-2, ¶10). Plaintiff
asserted that she had “personal knowledge from talking
to We Care administrators and other home health workers that
We Care did not pay its home health workers overtime for
hours worked over 40 in a work week, ” and that
“all home healthcare workers employed by We Care shared
the same job descriptions and performed the same basic
functions.” (Rec. Doc. 9-2, ¶13-14).
filed the instant Motion seeking conditional class
certification under the FLSA authorizing such actions. In
support of her Motion, Plaintiff submitted, in addition to
her own affidavit, the affidavits of Ashley Walker and
Samantha Migues, each of whom attested similarly. (Rec. Doc.
9-6 and 9-7).
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) obligates employers to pay
their employees over-time rates (one and one-half times of
their regular rate of pay) for hours worked over forty hours
per week. 29 U.S.C. §207(a)(1). An employee may bring a
claim for FLSA violations on behalf of himself and other
similarly-situated employees, but the other employees do not
become plaintiffs in the action unless and until they consent
in writing, or “opt-in.” 29 U.S.C. §216(b);
Sandoz v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 553 F.3d 913, 915
(5th Cir. 2008).
remedial nature and purpose of the FLSA “militate
strongly in favor of allowing cases to proceed
collectively.” West v. Lowes Home Centers,
Inc., No. 6:09-1310, 2010 WL 5582941, at *3 (W.D. La.
Dec. 16, 2010), report and recommendation adopted, No.
6:09-1310, 2011 WL 126908 (W.D. La. Jan. 14, 2011) (quoting
Roussell v. Brinker Int'l, Inc., No. H-05-3733,
2008 WL 2714079, at *24 (S.D. Tex. July 9, 2008)). A
collective action affords plaintiffs “the advantage of
lower individual costs to vindicate rights by the pooling of
resources. The judicial system benefits by efficient
resolution in one proceeding of common issues of law and
fact....” Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling,
493 U.S. 165, 170 (1989); Green v. Plantation of
Louisiana, No. 2:10-0364, 2010 WL 5256354, *3 (W.D. La.
Nov. 24, 2010), report and recommendation adopted, No.
2:1-0364, 2010 WL 5256348 (W.D. La. Dec. 15, 2010);
Boudreaux v. Schlumberger Technology Corp., No.
6:14-2267, 2015 WL 796602, *2 (W.D. La. Feb. 25, 2015).
District courts typically apply the two-step framework
enunciated in Lusardi v. Xerox Corp.
[C]ollective actions typically proceed in two stages. First,
the plaintiff moves for conditional certification of his or
her collective action. The district court then decides,
usually based on the pleadings and affidavits of the parties,
whether to provide notice to fellow employees who may be
similarly situated to the named plaintiff, thereby
conditionally certifying a collective action. Second, once
discovery is complete and the employer moves to decertify the
collective action, the court must make a factual
determination as to whether there are similarly-situated
employees who have opted in. If so, the collective action may
proceed, and if not, the court must dismiss the opt-in
employees, leaving only the named plaintiff's original
Sandoz, 553 F.3d at 916, fn. 2 (5th Cir. 2008),
citing Mooney v. Aramco Servs. Co., 54 F.3d 1207,
1213-14 (5th Cir.1995), overruled on other grounds by
Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90
Whether conditional certification is
invokes stage one by seeking conditional certification and
urging the Court to facilitate providing notice to other We
Care employees. The standard for satisfying step one is
“fairly lenient.” Mooney, 54 F.3d at
1214. The initial determination of whether the putative
collective members are sufficiently similarly situated to the
named plaintiff to proceed collectively is based on
“minimal evidence, ” before discovery happens.
Id. This Court has further previously synthesized
the law applicable to conditional certification as follows:
At the notice stage, the plaintiff bears the burden of making
a preliminary factual showing that at least a few similarly
situated individuals exist. The plaintiff may satisfy his or
her burden through submission of evidence in the form of
pleadings, affidavits[, ] and other supporting documentation.
At the notice stage, ‘courts appear to require nothing
more than substantial allegations that the putative class
members were together the victims of a single decision,
policy, or plan infected by discrimination.' Because the
court has minimal evidence, this determination is made using
a fairly lenient standard, and typically results in
conditional certification of a representative class where
potential class members receive ...