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Jenkins v. Anton

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

April 3, 2017

JENNIFER JENKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
S. DAVID ANTON, P.A. and S. DAVID ANTON, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES S. MOODY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE came before the Court for non-jury trial on February 22, February 23, March 22, March 23, and March 24, 2017. Jennifer Jenkins claims that S. David Anton, P.A. failed to pay her overtime compensation to which she was entitled under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Anton disputes that Jenkins worked more than forty hours in a work week. Having heard the testimony of the parties and their witnesses, and having reviewed the documentary evidence, the Court concludes that judgment should be entered for Defendant Anton. The Court finds Anton's testimony more credible because it better matches the other evidence in the case, particularly the testimony of other employees.

         To support a claim for overtime compensation, an employee must: (1) establish either enterprise coverage or individual coverage under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1), and (2) prove she worked more than forty hours in a work week. Jenkins concedes that enterprise coverage does not apply to this case, but contends that individual coverage does. Individual coverage exists where an employee regularly uses the instrumentalities of interstate commerce in her work, e.g., makes regular and recurrent use of interstate telephone, telegraph, mails, or travel. Thorne v. All Restoration Services, Inc., 448 Fed.3d 1264 (11th Cir. 2006). It is unnecessary for the Court to decide this issue since, even if there were individual coverage, Jenkins' claim fails because the Court finds she did not work more than forty hours in any given work week.

         Discussion

         Jenkins worked for Anton for nine months from February 11, 2013, until November 4, 2013. She was a single mother with two children, ages seventeen and twenty. Her seventeen-year-old daughter was a senior in high school graduating at the end of May. Her twenty-year-old son was a student at St. Petersburg Junior College. Both children lived with Jenkins in St. Petersburg, Florida. Anton's office was, and is, in Tampa, Florida, between forty-five minutes to an hour away depending on traffic.

         Jenkins was an active and attentive mother. She planned graduation events for her daughter in May and helped her move when she began college in August of 2013 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Jenkins was co-chair of the Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League. As such, she helped plan a Tiger Bay luncheon, a well-known political event, during her time of employment with Anton. And she was a fulltime student at the University of South Florida scheduled to graduate with a B.A. in May 2013. Her class schedule was:

Economics: Monday, 6:20 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Tampa campus
Conflict in the World: Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. - St. Petersburg campus
Senior Seminar: Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. - St. Petersburg campus
Environmental Law: Thursday, 6:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. - Sarasota campus (online with 4 classes)

         Jenkins says she only attended nine of these classes.

         Jenkins presented an excellent resume at her first hiring interview with Anton. She had thirteen years' experience as a family law paralegal. She was technologically savvy and well versed in various computer applications. She understood the office hours were 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Anton explained that his office was not a busy one and overtime would probably not be necessary. The contract he presented for her to sign provided that overtime would not be paid. But Anton told her that if overtime became absolutely necessary, he would pay it. He said that in the past fifteen years or so, overtime had been claimed on rare occasions, like when he moved his office, and he paid whatever amount of overtime was claimed. He also explained that Yvette Rodriguez, the paralegal Jenkins was replacing, never worked more than forty hours a week even though she was out frequently with medical issues.[1]

         Also at this interview, Anton gave Jenkins a handwritten list of his pending cases, seventeen in all, comprised of four securities cases and thirteen family law cases. Two of the securities cases involved little to no work because one was almost completed and a second involved an unlicensed investment advisor who filed bankruptcy shortly after Jenkins started. The average security case took about as much time as a complex divorce case.

         Jenkins claims that every day she would arrive at work by 8:00 to 8:15 a.m. and would stay until 6:30 p.m. to midnight. She also worked through lunch every day and on some weekends. Anton disputes this. Anton says that Jenkins' fixed work time soon became a relaxed schedule where she would take time off as needed and then try to make up the time either by working through ...


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