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Adam Clark v. Ss Golf Group

December 19, 2011



This cause comes before the Court on a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 23) filed by Defendant Errol Estate Country Club, LTD. ("Errol"); and a response (Doc. 29) filed by Plaintiff Adam Clark ("Clark").

I. Background

Plaintiff sues Defendants for failure to pay proper overtime and minimum wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §216, et seq. (the "FLSA"). Clark was employed as a general maintenance worker at a "golf and tennis resort, estate property and country club." (Doc. 1 at 4). In March and June 2011, Defendants allegedly failed to compensate Clark as required under the FLSA. The Complaint asserts three causes of action: failure to pay overtime as required under the FLSA (Count I); minimum wage violation under the FLSA (Count II); and declaratory relief (Count III). Errol moves for summary judgment on the basis that Clark has not established that it was his "employer" under the FLSA.

II. Standard

A party is entitled to summary judgment when it can show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); Beal v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 20 F.3d 454, 458 (11th Cir. 1994). Which facts are material depends on the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); Watson v. Adecco Employment Servs., Inc., 252 F. Supp. 2d 1347, 1351-52 (M.D. Fla. 2003). In determining whether the moving party has satisfied its burden, the court considers all inferences drawn from the underlying facts in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolves all reasonable doubts against the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

When a party moving for summary judgment points out an absence of evidence on a dispositive issue for which the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the non-moving party must "go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324-25 (internal quotations and citations omitted). Thereafter, summary judgment is mandated against the non-moving party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish a genuine issue of fact for trial. 322, 324-25; Watson, 252 F. Supp. 2d at 1352. The party opposing a motion for summary judgment must rely on more than conclusory statements or allegations unsupported by facts. Evers v. Gen. Motors Corp., 770 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir. 1985) ("conclusory allegations without specific supporting facts have no probative value") (citations omitted); Broadway v. City of Montgomery, Ala., 530 F.2d 657, 660 (5th Cir. 1976).

III. Analysis

To determine whether an entity is an employer under the FLSA, courts look to (1) whether or not the employment took place on the premises of the alleged employer; (2) how much control the alleged employer exerted on the employees; and (3) whether or not the alleged employer had the power to fire, hire, or modify the employment condition of the employees. Welch v. Laney, 57 F.3d 1004, 1011 (11th Cir. 1995) (quoting Wirtz v. Lone Star Steel Co., 405 F.2d 668, 669-70 (5th Cir. 1968)). The "suffer or permit to work" standard in the FLSA derives from state child-labor laws designed to reach businesses that used middlemen to illegally hire and supervise children. Rutherford Food Corp. v. McComb, 331 U.S. 722, 728 n. 7 (1947). It has been called " the broadest definition [of employee] that has ever been included in one act." United States v. Rosenwasser, 323 U.S. 360, 363 n. 3 (1945). The Act also contemplates joint employment "in which a single individual stands in the relation of an employee to two or more persons at the same time." 29 C.F.R. § 791.2.

In its Motion, Errol concedes that it owned the property where Clark worked, but contends it "exercised absolutely no control" over Clark. Rather, he worked on a golf course which was "leased" to SS Golf. Though Errol references the affidavit of a "representative attesting to the fact that Plaintiff was not an employee of Errol," it provides no evidence to demonstrate its "lack of control." See (Doc. 23).*fn1

Clark, on the other hand, provides evidence which suggests (1) Errol owned and operated the property where Clark worked; (2) that Clark was hired and supervised by an Errol employee; (3) that his pay records were maintained by Errol's finance manager at the company's corporate headquarters;

(4) he was required to wear an Errol uniform; (5) he reported directly to Errol management. (Doc. 29). Errol has not demonstrated that it is entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, it is ORDERED that Defendant's Motion for summary judgment (Doc. 23) is DENIED.

Copies furnished to: Counsel of Record ...

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