United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
B. WHITEHURST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JLTJGE
before the Court are two motions for summary judgment, to
wit, the Motion for Summary [Rec. Doc. 21] filed by the
plaintiff, David Chaisson, and the Motion for Summary
Judgment [Rec. Doc. 19] filed by the defendant, Pellerin
& Sons, Inc. (“PSI”). The motions are, in
effect, cross motions for summary judgment, both parties
seeking judgment on all claims in this case. Both motions are
opposed [Docs. 29, 30], and PSI filed a reply brief in
response to the plaintiff's opposition brief [Doc. 39].
For the following reasons, PSI's motion is GRANTED, the
plaintiff's motion is DENIED.
Factual and Procedural Background
instant matter was originally filed in the Fifteenth Judicial
District Court for the Parish of Lafayette, Louisiana and
asserts a claim for unpaid overtime, purportedly under both
the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
201, et seq. and the Louisiana Wage Payment Act, La.
Rev. Stat. 23:631, et seq. (“LWPA”). The
plaintiff was employed by PSI as a manual laborer for years
until his employment ended on June 12, 2017. The plaintiff
alleges that PSI failed to pay him overtime from the time he
began work at PSI until the date he left employment. He also
alleges PSI violated the record keeping provisions of the
FLSA, contained in 29 C.F.R. 516, et seq., because it did not
utilize time cards, a time clock, or another means of
tracking an employee's actual hours worked. The plaintiff
alleges that under the LWPA, he is entitled to “wages
due” and reasonable attorney's fees. Finally, the
plaintiff seeks monetary relief under 29 U.S.C. §216(b).
removed the matter to this Court on June 22, 2018 on the
grounds that the plaintiff expressly asserted a claim for
overtime compensation under the FLSA. The parties filed cross
motions for summary judgment on May 17, 2019 (PSI) and May
20, 2019 (plaintiff). The motions are now ripe for
Contentions of the Parties
motion, PSI focuses on the issue of preemption, arguing that
the plaintiff's claim for unpaid wages under the LWPA is
preempted by the FLSA, and that the plaintiff's state law
claims must be dismissed as a matter of law. PSI goes on to
argue that the plaintiff has no claim under the FLSA for
unpaid overtime because the plaintiff fails to set forth any
summary judgment evidence that he worked for more than forty
hours in any workweek and that he was not paid for any
alleged overtime work during the time period applicable to
this lawsuit. In response to this motion, the plaintiff -
despite having alleged claims under the FLSA -- argues that
the FLSA does not, in fact, apply to his claims, leading to
consternation on the part of the Court in attempting to
identify the claims pled and the governing law.
reply brief to the plaintiff's opposition, PSI argues
that the plaintiff appears to now be arguing he has a claim
for unpaid regular pay under the LWPA, with associated LWPA
penalties. PSI points out, however, the plaintiff has
not asserted any such claim in his Petition. The only facts
pled in the plaintiff's Petition are those relating to
the plaintiff's claim for overtime pay for hours
allegedly worked in excess of 40 hours per week over the
course of his employment. Specifically, the sole claim
asserted by the plaintiff is one for $6, 240.00 in unpaid
overtime pay per year and penalties for PSI's alleged
failure to pay overtime. In short, the Petition does not
include a claim for alleged unpaid regular pay.
response to this Court's Sua Sponte Briefing Order, PSI
renews its arguments that the plaintiff, in fact, does not
allege a claim for unpaid regular wages under the LWPA. PSI
points to the fact that the amounts sought by the plaintiff
in his original Petition are actually the same amounts he
seeks as overtime wages under the FLSA. PSI reiterates that
the plaintiff has not properly pled facts that support a
claim under the FLSA. Finally, PSI argues that, to the extent
the plaintiff has alleged a claim for unpaid overtime wages
under state law, he fails to submit evidence to defeat
summary judgment on this claim, because he cannot show that
he is entitled to overtime wages under state law in the
absence of a contractual agreement with his employer, which
the plaintiff concedes he did not have.
response to the briefing order, the plaintiff simply
acknowledges that he “cannot assert facts about
plaintiff's activities that trigger application of [the]
FLSA.” The plaintiff then goes on to argue the FLSA
nevertheless applies based on his belief that PSI is an FLSA
“enterprise.” Plaintiff also cites to a provision
from The Department of Labor's Field Operations Handbook
to support an alternative argument regarding individual
Summary Judgment Standard
motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the
pleadings, depositions and affidavits show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069 (5th Cir.1994)(en banc). Initially, the party moving for
summary judgment must demonstrate the absence of any genuine
issues of material fact. When a party seeking summary
judgment bears the burden of proof at trial, it must come
forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed
verdict if such evidence were uncontroverted at trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
As to issues which the non-moving party has the burden of
proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy this burden by
demonstrating the absence of evidence supporting the
non-moving party's claim. Id. If the moving
party fails to carry this burden, his motion must be denied.
If he succeeds, however, the burden shifts to the non-moving
party to show that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Id. at 322-23.
the burden shifts to the respondent, he must direct the
attention of the court to evidence in the record and set
forth specific facts sufficient to establish that there is a
genuine issue of material fact requiring a trial. Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 324; Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 56(c). The
responding party may not rest on mere allegations or denials
of the adverse party's pleadings as a means of
establishing a genuine issue worthy of trial, but must
demonstrate by affidavit or other admissible evidence that
there are genuine issues of material fact or law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248-49 (1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398
U.S. 144. 159 (1970); Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. There
must be sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party to
support a verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 249; Wood v. Houston Belt & Terminal Ry., 958
F.2d 95, 97 (5th Cir.1992). There is no genuine issue of
material fact if, viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, no reasonable trier of
fact could find for the non-moving party. Lavespere v.
Niagara Mach. & Tool Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 178
issue of fact is presented and if the mover is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law, the court is required to render
the judgment prayed for. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 322. Before it can find that there
are no genuine issues of material fact, however, the court
must be ...