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Lopez v. Triangle Fire, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division

May 23, 2017

OSVALDO LOPEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
TRIANGLE FIRE, INC., RAQUEL CANO, and ORLANDO ALFONSO, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' RENEWED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JAMES LAWRENCE KING, Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Defendants TRIANGLE FIRE, INC., RAQUEL CANO, and ORLANDO ALFONSO'S Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (DE 56), filed with leave of Court.[1] The Court has additionally considered Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to the Motion (DE 57).

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Through the instant motion, Defendants seek to establish the applicability of the "retail or service establishment" exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") to Plaintiffs FLSA claim and to be awarded summary judgment on that basis. Plaintiff opposes the motion, arguing the undisputed facts fail to show by clear and affirmative evidence that Defendant is entitled to claim the exemption.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The following material facts are undisputed:

         Triangle Fire is a Florida corporation headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Triangle Fire is in the business of servicing and inspecting commercial fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers, primarily at customers' business locations. Raquel Cano and Orlando Alfonso are corporate officers of, and exercised operational control over the activities of, Triangle Fire. At all times material to the above-styled action, Osvaldo Lopez was a service technician working for Triangle Fire on a commission basis. Lopez's job duties included inspecting fire suppression systems and inspecting and servicing fire extinguishers.

         Triangle Fire sells fire extinguishers to the general public and to businesses from its brick-and-mortar location in Miami-Dade County, in-person at customers' places of business, and over the internet through its website. Triangle fire also sells "kitchen hood [fire suppression] systems" and "computer room [fire suppression] systems" to both businesses and homeowners. Triangle Fire also services fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems, although it does not do so pursuant to maintenance contracts. It is undisputed that over seventy-five percent of the goods and services Triangle Fire sells are not for resale.

         Triangle Fire sells the following fire extinguishers:

1) "ABC or Multi-Purpose extinguishers" which "utilize a specially fluidized and siliconized mono ammonium phosphate dry chemical" to "chemically insulate[] Class A fires by melting at approximately 350°F and coat[] surfaces to which it is applied" and can also "smother[] and break[] the chain reaction of Class B fires . . . ." DE 56-2 at 5-6.
2) Carbon Dioxide extinguishers which "discharge[ carbon dioxide] as a white cloud of 'snow' which smothers a fire by eliminating its oxygen" and is "effective for Class B flammable liquid fires and is electrically non-conducive." Id. at 9.
3) "Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers [which] are intended for the protection of facilities traditionally protected by Halon 1211 ... [such as] Computer Centers, Data/Document Storage Areas, Communications Facilities, Control Rooms, Electronics Manufacturing, Museums, Art Galleries, Historical Collections, [and] Laboratories." Id. at 12-13.
4) "Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers [which] are the best for common restaurant & kitchen fire hazards [and] contain a special potassium acetate based, low PH agent developed for use in pre-engineered restaurant kitchen systems." Id. at 16.
5) Class D fire extinguishers for use on high-temperature chemical fires often caused by combustible ...

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