United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
TREY L. MILLER
LENARD ENTERPRISES, LLC
D. CAIN, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 25] filed by
plaintiff Trey L. Miller. The motion relates to Miller's
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) suit for
overtime compensation against his former employer, Lenard
Enterprises, LLC (“Lenard”). The motion is
regarded as unopposed.
Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Ready Decks of Lake Charles, operates
as a franchisee of Ready Decks, Inc. and provides site-built
decks and porches to customers in Louisiana and Texas. Doc.
25, att. 4, ¶ 2; doc. 25, att. 11. The company hired
Miller as a carpenter/helper in March 2015, at a compensation
rate of $500.00/week. Doc. 25, att. 4, ¶¶ 15-16. In
that position Miller spent most of his time doing manual
labor. Id. at ¶ 21. He received raises to
$600.00 and then $700.00/week in May and June 2015,
respectively. Id. at ¶¶ 23-24;
see doc. 25, att. 10, pp. 9-10. After about one year
of employment with Lenard he was promoted to lead
carpenter/supervisor and received a raise to $750.00/week,
though he maintains that his daily activities remained
“nearly identical” and that most of his duties
involved building and installation. Id. at ¶
25; doc. 25, att. 3, pp. 10-11.
records show that he regularly worked more than 40 hours per
week for Lenard. See doc. 25, atts. 6, 10. Payroll
records also reflect that Miller was compensated weekly,
based on a 40-hour work week, throughout his employment with
Lenard, with no overtime payments and with occasional and
substantial deductions from his regular salary. Doc. 25, att.
10. He was terminated in May 2017, after complaining about
his pay and his lack of overtime compensation. Doc. 25, att.
4, ¶ 42. At that time his rate of pay was $850.00/week.
Id. Miller filed suit in this court on August 23,
2017, alleging that he was a non-exempt employee and was owed
overtime compensation under the FLSA. Doc. 1. He also
maintains that he is entitled to damages under the three-year
statute of limitations applicable to willful FLSA violations.
Id. He now moves for summary judgment on his claim.
Doc. 25. Lenard is no longer represented in this matter and
has not filed a response or request for extension within the
allotted time. Accordingly, the motion is regarded as
Rule 56(a), “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment
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.” The moving party is initially
responsible for identifying portions of pleadings and
discovery that show the lack of a genuine issue of material
fact. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954
(5th Cir. 1995). He may meet his burden by pointing out
“the absence of evidence supporting the nonmoving
party's case.” Malacara v. Garber, 353
F.3d 393, 404 (5th Cir. 2003). The non-moving party is then
required to go beyond the pleadings and show that there is a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To this
end he must submit “significant probative
evidence” in support of his claim. State Farm Life
Ins. Co. v. Gutterman, 896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th Cir.
1990). “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not
significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence
in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150
(2000). The court is also required to view all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Clift v.
Clift, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this
standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a
reasonable trier of fact could render a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Brumfield v. Hollins, 551 F.3d 322,
326 (5th Cir. 2008). When the motion is unopposed, the moving
party retains its burden of showing that there is no genuine
issue of material fact. Hetzel v. Bethlehem Steel
Corp., 50 F.3d 360, 362 (5th Cir. 1995). Under the
court's local rules, however, failure to file an
opposition means that the moving party's statement of
uncontested material facts is deemed admitted. Local Rule
Miller asserts that he is entitled to unpaid overtime
compensation under the FLSA and that he does not fit within
any exemption to that statute's overtime requirements.
The court thus analyzes the record in order to determine,
under the standards described above, whether (1) Miller can
make out a prima facie case for unpaid overtime compensation
and (2) whether any exemption might bar his claim. If Miller
shows an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on his
claims, the court then looks to the amount and categories of
Prima Facie Case
FLSA was enacted in 1938 “as a means of regulating
minimum wages, maximum working hours, and child labor in
industries that affected interstate commerce.”
Reich v. Tiller Helicopter Servs., Inc., 8 F.3d
1018, 1024 (5th Cir. 1993). Its central themes are minimum
wage and overtime requirements. E.g., Hesseltine
v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 391 F.Supp.2d 509,
515-16 (E.D. Tex. 2005). Under the latter, the FLSA
“requires any employee working over 40 hours in a week
to be paid overtime, premium compensation at the rate of one
and one-half times their ‘regular rate' of
pay.” York v. City of Wichita Falls, 48 F.3d
919, 921 (5th Cir. 1995); see 29 U.S.C. § 207.
forth a prima facie case of a FLSA overtime wage violation, a
plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence: (1)
that an employer-employee relationship existed during the
unpaid overtime periods claimed; (2) that the employee
engaged in activities within the coverage of the FLSA; (3)
that the employer violated the FLSA's overtime wage
requirements; and (4) the amount of overtime compensation
due. Parrish v. Premier Directional Drilling, L.P.,
917 F.3d 369, 379 (5th Cir. 2019). Once the plaintiff makes
this showing, “the burden shifts to the employer come
forward with evidence of the precise amount of work performed
or with evidence to [negate] the reasonableness of the
inference to be drawn from the employee's
evidence.” Harvill v. Westward Comms., LLC,
433 F.3d 428, 441 (5th Cir. 2005) (quoting Anderson v.
Mount Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 687-88 (1946)).
“If the employer fails to produce such evidence, the
court may then award damages to the employee even though the
result may only be approximate.” Id.
claims unpaid overtime wages for March 2015 until his
termination in May 2017. He supports his claim of employment
with payroll documents and his W-2, and Lenard has also
admitted that he was an employee of the company during that
time. See doc. 25, atts. 7, 9, 10. The first factor
is therefore satisfied.