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Freeman v. Trainingwheel Corporation, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

May 10, 2019

KATRINA FREEMAN, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, and AIREANNE, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAININGWHEEL CORPORATION, LLC, a/k/a, TRAININGWHEEL, INC., Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DOUGLAS N. FRAZIER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This cause is before the Court on the parties' Joint Stipulation and Motion for Entry of Order Approving Conditional Certification and Court-Authorized Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and Request for Stay Pending Alternative Dispute Resolution (Doc. 49) filed on March 11, 2019. The parties are requesting the Court to enter an order approving conditional certification and court-authorized notice under Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and for a stay of the proceedings until the completion of alternative dispute resolution following the opt-in period. (Doc. 49 p. 1). The undersigned recommends that the parties' motion be GRANTED.

         Section 216(b) of the FLSA authorizes one or more employees to bring a collective action against their employer for unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime “for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated.” Unlike a Rule 23 class action, in which each person falling within a certified class is bound by the judgment unless he or she opts out, each putative plaintiff must affirmatively opt-into a § 216(b) class action. Hipp v. Liberty Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 252 F.3d 1208, 1216 (11th Cir. 2001).

         A district court may grant conditional certification if a plaintiff demonstrates a reasonable basis to believe that: (1) there are other employees of the Defendant who desire to opt-in and (2) that these other employees are “ ‘similarly situated' with respect to their job requirements and with regard to their pay provisions.” Dybach v. State of Fla. Dep't of Corrs., 942 F.2d 1562, 1567-68 (11th Cir. 1991); Morgan v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., 551 F.3d 1233, 1260-61. The requirements for conditional certification under § 216(b) “are independent of, and unrelated to, the requirements for class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Grayson, 79 F.3d at 1096 n. 2.

         The Eleventh Circuit has stated that a “district court's broad discretion at the notice stage [when deciding whether to conditionally certify a class] is thus constrained, to some extent, by the leniency of the standard for the exercise of that discretion.” Morgan, 551 F.3d at 1261. Where a court has “minimal evidence” from the parties and discovery has not been completed, the typical result is that the motion is granted. Cameron-Grant v. Maxim Healthcare Servs., Inc., 347 F.3d 1240, 1243 (11th Cir.2003) (quoting Hipp, 252 F.3d at 1216).

         In this case, the parties have agreed to stipulate to a conditional certification of the collective. The parties request that the collective action consist of individuals to be conditionally certified and receive notice of the lawsuit pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b):

All individuals who worked for TrainingWheel providing training and support to TrainingWheel's clients in connection with the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems in the United States and who did not receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty (40) per week from [three years prior to the Court's order granting certification] to the present.

(Doc. 49 p. 2). In addition, the parties stipulate to the terms of the Notice of Lawsuit and Opt-In Consent Form. (Doc. 49-1; 49-2).

         Given the parties' agreement, the undersigned recommends that the parties' stipulation and motion be adopted by the District Court.

         IT IS RESPECTFULLY RECOMMENDED THAT:

         1) The Joint Stipulation and Motion for Entry of Order Approving Conditional Certification and Court-Authorized Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and Request for Stay Pending Alternative Dispute Resolution (Doc. 49) be GRANTED.

         2) The District Court enter an Order certifying the following class:

         All individuals who worked for TrainingWheel providing training and support to TrainingWheel's clients in connection with the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems in the United States and who did not receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty (40) per week from ...


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