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Humphries v. Hartford South, LLC

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

March 31, 2017




         This matter is before the Court, without a hearing, on the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 31) filed by the Defendant, Hartford South, LLC (“Hartford South”); the Response in Opposition (Doc. 35) filed by the Plaintiffs, Johnathan Humphries and Felix Roman; and Hartford South's Reply thereto (Doc. 36).

         I. Background

         Hartford South is a roofing and construction company located in Orlando, Florida. Hartford South hired Roman on October 31, 2012, and hired Humphries on October 28, 2014. Both were hired as roofers[1] for projects in the Orlando area, and both were laid off on September 28, 2015. (Doc 21 ¶ 17; Doc. 31-3 at 11-12; Doc. 31-1 at 28:21-4.)

         Hartford South provides transportation for its employees in its trucks to and from the jobsite. (Doc. 31-1 at 42-43; Doc. 31-3 at 24-29.) However, employees were not required to take this transportation. If an employee drove his own vehicle or found alternate transportation, he could arrive directly at the jobsite and was not required to report back to Hartford South's shop at shift's end. Hartford South's trucks left the shop for the jobsite around 6:30 or 6:45 a.m. Thus, if an employee wished to travel to the jobsite in the trucks, he would arrive at Hartford South's shop between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. (Doc. 32-1 at 60:22; 31-3 at 33:2-13.)

         Typically, thirty to thirty-five employees would arrive at Hartford South's shop to ride in its trucks, and out of those, five or six would help load various items into the trucks. (Doc. 31-3 at 45.) The materials that needed loading varied on any given day, but often consisted of water coolers, nails, glue, plates, screws, boards, towels, rags, rollers, brooms, scrapers, and various other items. (Doc. 31-1 at 16; Doc. 31-3 at 34.) Occasionally, they would load larger building materials or a replacement generator. (Doc. 31-3 at 38.) If either Roman or Humphries were taking the trucks to the jobsite, they would help load. (Doc. 31-5 at 43.)

         Plaintiffs allege that, during their employment with Hartford South, they were not paid overtime for time worked in excess of forty hours in a work week. (Doc. 21 ¶ 25.) Specifically, Plaintiffs admit that they were paid for their regular shift, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Doc. 35 at 15-16.), but claim they were uncompensated for time spent loading trucks at Hartford South's shop (Doc. 21 ¶ 21-22) and time spent riding in Hartford South trucks to and from the jobsite. (Doc. 21 ¶ 23.)

         Hartford South argues that any time spent loading or riding in its trucks to and from the jobsite is not compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 254(a).[2]

         II. Summary Judgment

         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. Id. at 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. The Fair Labor Standards Act

         Under § 207 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19, “an employer may not employ his employee for a workweek longer than forty hours unless his employee receives overtime compensation at a rate not less than one and a half times his regular rate.” Allen v. Bd. of Pub. Educ. for Bibb Cty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1314 (11th Cir. 2007) (citing 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1)). “A person is employed if he or she is suffered or permitted to work.” Id. (citing 29 U.S.C. § 203(g)). “It is not relevant that the employer did not ask the employee to do the work, ” and neither is the “reason that the employee performed the work.” Id. “If the employer knows or has reason to believe that the employee continues to work, the additional hours must be counted.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         But an employee cannot be entitled to overtime compensation if the work performed is not compensable. Brantley v. Ferrell Elec., Inc., 112 F.Supp.3d 1348, 1369 (S.D. Ga. 2015) (citations omitted). The Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 254(a), exempts specific activities from compensation ...

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