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Thomas v. Waste Pro USA, Inc.

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

August 15, 2019

ALFRED W. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
WASTE PRO USA, INC. and WASTE PRO OF FLORIDA, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Charlene Edwards Honeywell United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion for Judicial Notice (Doc. 222), and Defendants' response thereto (Doc. 223). In the motion, Plaintiff requests that the Court judicially notice thirty-three documents which include papers filed in other cases, orders entered in other cases, testimony, evidence, a verdict form, a final judgment, a satisfaction of judgment, and corporate filings. Doc. 222 at 1-7. Plaintiff further requests that the Court judicially notice “adjudicative facts, ” including the date the complaint was filed in Andreu v. Waste Pro of Florida, Inc., et al., No:0:17-cv-60926 (S.D. Fla.) (Andreu), the date the trial began in Andreu, testimony that occurred during the Andreu trial, statements made during closing arguments in Andreu, the jury verdict in Andreu, the final judgment in Andreu, arguments made by Defendant Waste Pro of Florida, Inc. (“WP Florida”) in Andreu, and the answer filed by Defendant Waste Pro USA, Inc. (“WP USA”) in Michael Riddle v. Waste Pro of USA, Inc., No. 6:11-cv-01593 (M.D. Fla) (Riddle). Doc. 222 at 7-13. Plaintiff contends that judicial notice is proper pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b) because they are matters of public record and capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy could not reasonably be questioned. Id. at 13. Defendants respond that judicial notice is not proper because Plaintiff requests the Court to notice the substance and conclusions of the documents, not just the fact that these documents were filed or proceedings occurred, which Defendants contend falls outside the bounds of Rule 201. The Court, having considered the motion and being fully advised in the premises, will grant the Motion for Judicial Notice only to the extent that it will recognize that the documents were filed, the dates that the events occurred, and the subject matter of litigation. The Court will not take judicial notice of the documents for the purpose of establishing the truth of the matter asserted in such documents.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is a collective action filed pursuant to § 216(b) of the FLSA by Plaintiff Alfred W. Thomas (“Thomas” or “Plaintiff”) pertaining to the pay of certain “Helpers” employed by Defendants WP USA and WP Florida (collectively, “Defendants”), which alleges willful violations of the FLSA. Doc. 111 ¶¶ 1, 64, 72. Prior to this action, Roger Andreu filed an action against, among others, WP Florida, which also alleged violation of the FLSA. Doc. 197-5. That case proceeded to trial and the jury entered a verdict in favor of Andreu. Doc. 197-8. Final judgment was entered against WP Florida. Doc. 197-9. Also prior to this action, Michael Riddle filed an action against WP USA in which WP USA answered with an admission that Riddle was employed by WP USA as a truck driver. Doc. 197-37 ¶ 4. Plaintiff asks the Court to use various documents and evidence from these cases in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment, which are included as exhibits to his Motion for Summary Judgment.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b)(2) states that a “court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it . . . can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” “[C]ourts may take judicial notice of documents from a prior proceeding because they are matters of public record and ‘capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy could not reasonably be questioned.' ” Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. S.-Owners Ins. Co., 314 F.Supp.3d 1284, 1300 (M.D. Fla. 2018) (quoting Horne v. Potter, 392 Fed.Appx. 800, 802 (11th Cir. 2010). However, although a court may take judicial notice of documents filed in other courts, the court may not do so for the truth of the matters asserted in the other litigation, and may only take judicial notice to establish the fact of such litigation and related filings. Id. (citing United States v. Jones, 29 F.3d 1549, 1553 (11th Cir. 1994)). “As such, ‘a court may take judicial notice of another court's order only for the limited purpose of recognizing the ‘judicial act' that the other order represents or the subject matter of the litigation.' ” Id. (quoting Jones, 29 F.3d at 1553). Likewise, the court may take judicial notice of the documents filed in a proceeding, but not the facts contained in the documents. Kruse, Inc. v. Aqua Sun Invs., Inc., No. 6:07-cv-1367-Orl-19UAM, 2008 WL 276030, at *3 n.2 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 31, 2008).

         Similarly, the Court may take judicial notice of publicly filed corporate documents. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Estate of Robert M. Levesque, No. 8:08-cv-2253-T-EAJ, 2010 WL 2978037, at *1 (M.D. Fla. July 19, 2010). However, the Court may do so “only to the extent of what the documents state[], not to prove the truth of their contents.” Id. (citing Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271, 1279 (11th Cir. 1999)).

         Based on the above, the Court will take judicial notice of the documents listed in Plaintiff's Motion for Judicial Notice (Doc. 222), but, with respect to the matters filed in other cases, the Court will do so only to the extent of recognizing the litigation and the filing of the documents or occurrence of testimony, but will not take judicial notice of the facts contained in those documents. Those events, which appear on the public dockets for their respective cases, include:

• The Andreu complaint (Doc. 197-5)
• Portions of the Andreu trial testimony (Docs. 197-9, 197-17, 197-19, 197-20, 197-49)
• The Andreu docket sheet (Doc. 197-7)
• The signed Andreu verdict form (Doc. 197-8)
• The Andreu final judgment (Doc. 197-9)
• The Andreu answer and affirmative defenses ...

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