United States District Court, S.D. Florida
MARIA D. AZZE, et al., Plaintiffs,
DADE MEDICAL COLLEGE, INC.; UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERNMOST FLORIDA, INC.; DADE MEDICAL COLLEGE OF HOLLYWOOD, LLC; DADE MEDICAL COLLEGE OF HOMESTEAD CORP.; ERNESTO PEREZ; JASON HANFORD; and CHRIS GRESSETT, Defendants.
P. GAYLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court on Plaintiffs'
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF No. 53]. In this
action, Plaintiffs (eighty-one in number) allege violations
of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of
1988 (“WARN Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 2101 et
seq., and the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
The Plaintiffs also assert claims for unpaid wages in
violation of Florida law and for negligence. The claims arise
from mass layoffs by the Defendants(which took place on October
30, 2015) upon the failure of the entity known as “Dade
Medical College, ” and from Defendants' alleged
failure to pay the Plaintiffs' wages in the weeks leading
up to those layoffs.
instant motion, Plaintiffs seek partial summary judgment on
one issuerelated to their FLSA claim: that the three
individual Defendants named herein-Ernesto Perez, the
Chairman of Dade Medical College; Chris Gressett, the CEO of
Dade Medical College at the time of its closing; and Jason
Hanford, the CFO of Dade Medical College at the time of its
closing (collectively, the “Individual
Defendants”), who each appear in this action pro
se-are the Plaintiffs' “employers” under
the FLSA. The Individual Defendants have filed responses in
opposition to the motion [ECF Nos. 56, 57 &
60].The Court has reviewed the parties'
briefs, the record in this case, and the applicable law and
is otherwise fully advised in the premises. For the reasons
that follow, the Plaintiffs' motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a),
“is appropriate only if the movant shows that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Tolan v.
Cotton, 572 U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per
curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)) (internal quotation
marks omitted); see also Alabama v. North Carolina,
560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010). “By its very terms, this
standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged
factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an
otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of
material fact.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
issue is “genuine” when a reasonable trier of
fact, viewing all of the record evidence, could rationally
find in favor of the nonmoving party in light of his burden
of proof. Harrison v. Culliver, 746 F.3d 1288, 1298
(11th Cir. 2014). And a fact is “material” if,
“under the applicable substantive law, it might affect
the outcome of the case.” Hickson Corp. v. N.
Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir. 2004)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Where the material facts are undisputed and all that
remains are questions of law, summary judgment may be
granted.” Eternal Word Television Network, Inc. v.
Sec'y of U.S. Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., 818 F.3d 1122, 1138 (11th Cir. 2016).
Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor. SEC v. Monterosso, 756 F.3d
1326, 1333 (11th Cir. 2014). However, to prevail on a motion
for summary judgment, “the nonmoving party must offer
more than a mere scintilla of evidence for its position;
indeed, the nonmoving party must make a showing sufficient to
permit the jury to reasonably find on its behalf.”
Urquilla-Diaz v. Kaplan Univ., 780 F.3d 1039, 1050
(11th Cir. 2015).
as here, the moving party bears the
burden of proof at trial:
that party must show affirmatively
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact: it must
support its motion with credible evidence . . . that would
entitle it to a directed verdict if not controverted at
trial. In other words, the moving party must show that, on
all the essential elements of its case on which it bears the
burden of proof at trial, no reasonable jury could find for
the nonmoving party.
United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop., 941
F.2d 1428, 1438 (11th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (citations,
internal quotation marks, and alterations omitted). The
nonmovant, in order to avoid summary judgment must
come forward with evidence sufficient to call into question
the inference created by the movant's evidence on the
particular material fact. Only if after introduction of the
non-movant's evidence, the combined body of evidence
presented by the two parties relevant to the material fact is
still such that the movant would be entitled to a directed
verdict at trial-that is, such that no reasonable jury could
find for the non-movant-should the movant be permitted to
prevail without a full trial on the issues.
Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116
(11th Cir. 1993).
proceeding further, the Court instructs that it “places
great emphasis upon, and implores the parties to be mindful
of, the fact that local rules have ‘the force of
law.'” State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.
v. B&A Diagnostic, Inc., 145 F.Supp.3d 1154, 1158
(S.D. Fla. 2015) (quoting Hollingsworth v. Perry,
558 U.S. 183, 191 (2010)). Southern District of Florida Local
Rule 56.1 requires that “[a] motion for summary
judgment and the opposition thereto shall be accompanied by a
statement of material facts as to which it is contended that
there does not exist a genuine issue to be tried or there
does exist a genuine issue to be tried, respectively, ”
S.D. Fla. L.R. 56.1(a). A statement shall, inter
alia, “[b]e supported by specific references to
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions, and affidavits on file with the Court.”
Id. R. 56.1(a)(2). Furthermore, a statement of
material facts submitted in opposition to a motion for
summary judgment “shall correspond with the order and
with the paragraph numbering scheme used by the
movant.” Id. R. 56.1(a). Local Rule 56.1(b),
which governs the effect of a nonmovant's failure to
controvert a movant's statement of undisputed facts,
provides: “All material facts set forth in the
movant's statement filed and supported as required above
will be deemed admitted unless
controverted by the opposing party's statement, provided
that the Court finds that the movant's statement is
supported by evidence in the record.” Id. R.
56.1(b) (emphasis added). This rule “serves a vital
purpose in ‘help[ing] the court identify and organize
the issues in the case.'” B&A
Diagnostic, 145 F.Supp.3d at 1158 (quoting Mann v.
Taser Int'l, Inc., 588 F.3d 1291, 1303 (11th Cir.
2009)). “It also preserves scarce judicial resources by
preventing a court from ‘having to scour the record and
perform time-intensive fact searching.'”
Id. (quoting Joseph v. Napolitano, 839
F.Supp.2d 1324, 1329 (S.D. Fla. 2012)).
the purpose that these rules serve, “litigants ignore
them at their peril.” Caban Hernandez v. Philip
Morris USA, Inc., 486 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2007). The
Plaintiffs filed a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in
support of their Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 52].
The Individual Defendants filed no response to the
Plaintiffs' Statement in conjunction with the filing of
their (identical) individual oppositions to the Motion for
Summary Judgment. Upon con- sideration, the Court finds that
the Plaintiffs' Statement is supported as required and
substantially complies with all requirements of Local Rule
56.1-with one exception. Paragraph 30 states that
“Chris Gresset would hire and fire employees, operate
the company, provide training, determine what contracts the
company might get into and had the authority to sign on
behalf of the company.” [ECF No. 52 ¶ 30] (all
errors [sic]). While each of the other thirty-four paragraphs
in the Plaintiffs' Statement contains a citation ...