Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pupo v. Riviera Loft Hotel LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 3, 2018

JOSE R YGUALA PUPO, Plaintiff,
v.
RIVIERA LOFT HOTEL LLC and JORGE MORENOS, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN J. O'SULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (DE# 40, 8/29/17) and the Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 49, 10/16/17).

         BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff has alleged a cause of action against defendants Riviera Loft Hotel LLC (hereinafter "Riviera") and Jorge Moreno (hereinafter "Moreno") for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. 201, et sea, (hereinafter "FLSA"). See First Amended Complaint under 29 U.S.C. 201- 216 Overtime Wage Violations (DE# 14, 3/22/17) (hereinafter "Amended Complaint").

         On August 29, 2017, the defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment and statement of undisputed facts. See Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (DE# 40, 8/29/17) (hereinafter "Defendants' Motion"); Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts in Support of Their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 39, 8/29/17) (hereinafter "Defendants' SOF"). On September 19, 2017, the plaintiff filed his response in opposition to the motion and to the statement of undisputed facts. See Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 40] (DE# 44, 9/19/17) (hereinafter "Plaintiff's Response"); Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts in Opposition to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts (DE# 45, 9/19/17) ("Plaintiff's RSOF"). The defendants filed their reply on October 10, 2017. See Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 48, 10/10/17) (hereinafter "Defendants' Reply").

         The plaintiff also moved for partial summary judgment and filed a statement of undisputed facts. See Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 49, 10/16/17) (hereinafter "Plaintiff's Motion"); Statement of Material Facts in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 50, 10/16/17) ("Plaintiff's SOF"). On November 13, 2017, Defendant Riviera filed its response in opposition to the plaintiff's motion and to the statement of undisputed facts. See Defendant Riviera Loft Hotel LLC's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [D.E. 49] (DE# 61, 11/13/17) (hereinafter "Riviera's Response"); Defendant Riviera Loft Hotel, LLC's Statement of Material Facts in Opposition to Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts in Support of His Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [D.E. 50] (DE# 62, 11/13/17) ("Riviera's RSOF"). Defendant Moreno adopted defendant Riviera's response to the plaintiff's motion and filed his own response to the statement of undisputed facts. See Defendant Jorge Moreno's Adopts [sic] Defendant Riviera Loft's Response [DE 61] to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [DE 50] (DE# 63, 11/13/17); Defendant Jorge Moreno's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [D.E. 50] (DE# 64, 11/13/17) (hereinafter "Moreno's RSOF"). The plaintiff filed his reply on November 16, 2017. See Plaintiff's Reply to Defendants' Responses to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 65, 11/16/17) (hereinafter "Plaintiff's Reply").

         Both motions are ripe for adjudication.

         FACTS [1]

         The plaintiff began his employment with the defendants[2] under the title "line cook." See Personnel Change Notice (DE# 62-2, 11/13/17). On December 1, 2015, the plaintiff was given the title "kitchen manager." Jdj[3] Defendant "Riviera's timeclock and payroll records pertaining to Plaintiff are true and correct copies of Plaintiff's employee timeclock and payroll records" and "Plaintiff has no time or pay records to contradict the Defendants' time and pay records." Defendants' SOF at ¶ 7; Plaintiff's RSOF at ¶ 7.

         The defendants divide the plaintiffs employment into two parts: (1) September 5, 2015 through November 20, 2015, when the plaintiff was paid hourly (hereinafter "First Period of Employment") and (2) November 21, 2015 through January 27, 2017, when the plaintiff was paid a salary ("Second Period of Employment"). The parties do not dispute that the plaintiff was properly compensated for all overtime hours worked during the First Period of Employment. Defendants' SOF at ¶ 4; Plaintiff's RSOF at ¶ 4.

         During the Second Period of Employment, the plaintiff was paid a weekly salary of $645.25 per workweek. Defendants' SOF at ¶ 5. During this time, "Plaintiff was paid the same salary every week regardless of the number of hours he worked in the week." Id. at ¶ 6.[4] The number of hours worked by the plaintiff varied greatly. Id. at ¶10.

         The parties dispute the plaintiff's primary duties during the Second Period of Employment. The plaintiff maintains that he was a cook and his primary duty was to make food. Plaintiff's SOF at ¶¶ 1-2. The defendants assert that the plaintiff had numerous primary duties including: "ensuring] proper functioning of equipment;" "training new employees on standard operations and expectations of the entire Restaurant, " supervising other employees, "play[ing] an integral part in the hiring and firing of kitchen staff;" "coordinating] and maintaining] employee scheduling" and "ensuring] the Restaurant ran smoothly and that the kitchen work flow was conducive to the daily operations of the Restaurant." Riviera's RSOF at ¶ 2.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court, in reviewing a motion for summary judgment, is guided by the standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), which states, in relevant part, as follows:

A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that 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).

         The moving party bears the burden of meeting this exacting standard. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett. 477 U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.. 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). That is, "[t]he moving party bears the initial responsibility of informing the . . . court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop.. 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991) (quoting Celotex. 477 U.S. at 323) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In assessing whether the moving party has satisfied this burden, the Court is required to view the evidence and all factual inferences arising therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Batev v. Stone. 24 F.3d 1330, 1333 (11th Cir. 1994). "When evaluating cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court analyzes each individual motion on its own merits and thus views the facts on each motion in the light most favorable to the respective nonmovant." Adeqa v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co.. No 07-20696, 2009 WL 3387689, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 16, 2009). Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no dispute as to any material fact and only questions of law remain. Reich v. John Alden Life Ins. Co.. 126 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1997). If the record presents factual issues, the Court must deny the motion and proceed to trial. Adickes. 398 U.S. at 157; Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

         Despite these presumptions in favor of the non-movant, the Court must be mindful of the purpose of Rule 56 which is to eliminate the needless delay and expense to the parties and to the Court caused by an unnecessary trial. Celotex. 477 U.S. at 322-323. Consequently, the non-moving party cannot merely rest upon his or her bare assertions, conclusory allegations, surmises or conjectures, Id. As the Supreme Court noted in Celotex:

[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment. . . against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to the party's case, and on which the party will bear the burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be "no genuine issue as to any material fact, " since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the non-moving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.

Id. at 322-323. Thus, the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient. There must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the non-movant. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251; Matsuchita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.. 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).

         ANALYSIS

         1. Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE# 40)

         As noted above, the defendants divide the plaintiff's employment into two parts: (1) September 5, 2015 through November 20, 2015, when the plaintiff was paid hourly (hereinafter "First Period of Employment") and (2) November 21, 2015 through January 27, 2017, when the plaintiff was paid a salary ("Second Period of Employment"). The defendants argue they are entitled to partial summary judgment as to each period of employment for the reasons stated below.

         a. Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs First Period of Employment

         The defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff's overtime claim from September 5, 2015 to November 20, 2015 because "the undisputed record demonstrates Plaintiff was properly paid the time and a half rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in each workweek during this time period." Defendants' Motion (DE# 40 at 2). In support of their argument, the defendants cite their time records and the plaintiff's deposition testimony.

         The plaintiff does not dispute that the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the First Period of Employment. See Plaintiff's Response (DE# 44 at 3) (stating "[u]pon further review of the facts and evidence the Plaintiff concedes on this issue as to alleged unpaid overtime concerning the First period, September 5, 2015 to November 20, 2015, only."). Accordingly, the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment as to the First Period of Employment is GRANTED.

         b. Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's Second Period of Employment

         The plaintiff was paid a salary from November 21, 2015 through January 27, 2017. The defendants further argue that they "are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of the appropriate method for computing overtime in the event Plaintiff is determined to be a non-exempt employee." Defendants' Motion (DE# 40 at 3). The defendants concede that the issue of whether the plaintiff is an exempt employee is a disputed issue of fact. Id. at 2 n. 2. Nonetheless, the defendants argue that "[i]n the event it is determined Plaintiff was misclassified as exempt during the Second Period of Employment, partial summary judgment should be entered limiting Plaintiffs overtime claim during this time period to the proper 'half-time' computation based on the hours recorded by Plaintiff each week." Id. at 2-3. The defendants further argue that in the event the plaintiff is not an exempt employee, the Court should rule as a matter of law that the hours worked by the plaintiff during the Second Period of Employment are limited to those recorded in the timekeeping and payroll records.

         i. Method of Calculating Damages

         The plaintiff argues that the Court should not enter summary judgment for the defendants on the Second Period of Employment because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the parties were in agreement that the plaintiff's salary was intended to compensate the plaintiff for all hours worked. Plaintiff's Response (DE# 44 at 5). The plaintiff has filed an affidavit wherein he attests that he expected to be paid overtime in addition to his salary. See Affidavit of Jose R. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.