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Laura v. J.D. Parker & Sons Co. Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

February 1, 2017

NICHOLAS LAURA, individually & on behalf of all similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
J.D. PARKER & SONS CO., INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. WHITTEMORE District Judge.

         BEFORE THE COURT are Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 36) and Defendant's response (Dkt. 40) and Defendant's Second Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 42) and Plaintiffs' response (Dkt. 44). Upon consideration, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED and Defendant's Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Named Plaintiff Nicholas Laura and opt-in Plaintiff Lester McVicker ("Plaintiffs")[1] were . employed by Defendant, a private garbage collection company in Pasco County, Florida, as garbage truck drivers. (Parker Dec, Dkt. 40-1 ¶¶ 3, 21). Plaintiffs allege they were paid a day rate and worked overtime, but were not paid overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards, Act ("FLSA").

         Defendant moves for summary judgment contending that it is exempt from the FLSA under the Motor Carrier Act Exemption. Plaintiffs also move for summary judgment on the Motor Carrier ' Act Exemption defense and for partial summary judgment on all elements of their claim except for the number of overtime hours, whether Defendant willfully violated the FLSA, and whether Defendant can prove a good faith defense.

         II. UNDISPUTED FACTS

         Defendant is a private company that collects residential trash and recyclable materials in, Pasco County, Florida. (Dkt. 15-1 ¶ 3). Plaintiffs were employed by Defendant as truck drivers and were paid a day rate. (Dkt. 18-1¶¶ 1, 9; Dkt. 22-1). Defendant is registered with the Department of Transportation ("DOT") and has an assigned DOT number which is displayed on its trucks. (Dkt. ' 40-1 ¶¶ 6-7). Defendant is registered as a private motor carrier authorized to transport intrastate non-hazmat garbage, refuse, and trash. (Dkt. 44-1). Defendant's truck drivers regularly drive on public roads and U.S. highways. (Dkt. 40-1 ¶ 18). After garbage is picked up by the truck drivers, it is taken to the West Pasco Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Facilities - West Pasco Class III Landfill - Waste-to-Energy Facility located in Spring Hill, Florida. (Id. ¶ 26).

         III. STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate where "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 genuine factual ' dispute exists only if a reasonable fact-finder 'could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the [non-movant] is entitled to a verdict.'" Kernel Records Oy v. Mosley, 694 F.3d 1294, 1300 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252(1986)). A fact is material if it may affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the court, by reference to materials on file, that there are no genuine disputes of material fact that should be decided at trial. Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., Inc., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). If the moving party fails to demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute, the motion should be denied. Kernel Records, 694 F.3d at 1300 (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 160 (1970); Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 606-08 (11th Cir. 1991)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motor Carrier Exemption

         Defendant argues that the Motor Carrier Act Exemption exempts its from the overtime provision of the FLSA as a matter of law. In response, Plaintiffs argue that the exemption does not apply because Defendant was not subject to the authority of the Secretary of Transportation and ' because their employment did not entail interstate transportation of garbage.

         The FLSA requires employers to pay employees at time-and-a-half for any time worked in excess of forty hours per week. See 29 U.S.C. ยง 207(a)(1). However, the act specifically exempts from this requirement "any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to ...


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