United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DE 83)
LAWRENCE KING, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (the "Motion") (DE 83), filed
September 6, 2019. Defendants Epoca Corp.
("Epoca"), David Bradley, Matthew Bradley and Scott
Bradley (the "Defendants") ask this Court to grant
summary judgment because (1) Plaintiff Robert Reddish is an
independent contractor and is not entitled to any relief
under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLS A"); (2)
Reddish cannot prove the elements of overtime or retaliation
claims as a matter of law; and (3) Scott Bradley is not an
"employer" under the FLS A. Id. at 21. The
Defendants filed a Statement of Undisputed Facts in Support
of Motion for Summary Judgment on August 30, 2019 (DE 82).
Reddish responded to the Motion (DE 92) with a corresponding
statement of material facts (DE 93) On October 4, 2019.
following facts are undisputed:
is a Florida corporation that engages in plumbing and
construction services for new construction and renovation
projects. See DE 82 ¶ 1. David Bradley is the
Chief Executive Officer and President of Epoca (DE 82 ¶
2), and Matthew Bradley is the Chief Financial Officer and
Vice President of Epoca. Id. ¶ 3. Scott Bradley
(the father of David and Matthew) works for Epoca
(id. ¶ 4), but the parties dispute whether
Scott is a manager of Epoca (thereby subjecting him to
individual liability) or a mere employee. Plaintiff Robert
Reddish worked for Epoca from June 2015 through February 2017
before filing the instant lawsuit. DE 1 Ex. A, DE 1-3.
Reddish performed demolition services, removed debris from
construction sites, and operated machinery during his alleged
employment. See DE 82 ¶¶ 6-9. Reddish sued
the Defendants for unpaid overtime wages and retaliation
under the Fair Labor Standards Act on April 2, 2017 (DE 1).
judgment is appropriate where there is "no genuine issue
as to any material fact and  the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986). An issue is genuine if a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Mize v.
Jefferson City Bd. of Educ, 93 F.3d 739, 742. (11th Cir.
1996). A fact is material if it may affect the outcome of the
case under the applicable substantive law. Allen v. Tyson
Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997).
reasonable fact finder could draw more than one inference
from the facts, creating a genuine issue of material fact,
summary judgment should not be granted. Samples ex rel.
Samples v. City of Atlanta, 846 F.2d 1328, 1330 (11th
Cir. 1988). The moving party has the burden of establishing
both the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and that
it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). On a motion for summary
judgment, the court views the evidence and all reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Davis v. Williams, 451 F.3d 759, 763(11th
argue they are entitled to summary judgment because (1)
Reddish is not an "employee" under the Fair Labor
Standards Act and (2) Reddish has failed to establish the
elements of his overtime or retaliation claims as a matter of
law. Defendants also move to establish as a matter of law
that Scott Bradley is not individually liable with Epoca for
any FLSA violations.
Independent Contractor vs. Employee
FLSA does not apply to independent contractors. See
Murray v. Playmaker Servs. LLC, 512 F.Supp.2d 1273, 1276
(S.D. Fla. 2007). Rather, the FLSA only applies to
"employees," which are "individual[s] employed
by an employer." 29 U.S.C. § 203(e)(1). Whether an
individual qualifies as an employee or independent contractor
is a question of law for the Court. Anterior v. D & S
Farms, 88 F.3d 925, 929 (11th Cir. 1996). Accordingly,
courts look to the "economic reality" of the
relationship between the parties and whether the relationship
demonstrates dependence. See Scantland v. Jeffry Knight,
Inc., 721 F.3d 1308, 1311 (11th Cir. 2013); see also
Bartels v. Birmingham, 332 U.S. 126, 130 (1947)
("[E]mployees are those who as a matter of economic
reality are dependent upon the business to which they render
service."). The "economic realities test"
includes six factors, discussed in detail below. No single
factor is dispositive, and courts may consider any
combination of factors that accurately reflects the economic
reality of the relationship. Murray, 512 F.Supp.2d
first factor considers the degree of the alleged
employer's control over the manner in which work is to be
performed. Construing the facts in the light most favorable
to Reddish as the nonmoving party, the Court concludes that
genuine issues of material fact remain as to the extent of
Defendants' control over Reddish's work.
"Control is only significant when it shows an individual
exerts such a control over a meaningful part of the business
that she stands as a separate economic entity."
Scantland, 721 F.3d at 1313 (emphasis added) (quoting
Usery v. Pilgrim Equip. Co., Inc., 527 F.2d 1308,
1312-13 (5th Cir. 1976)).
instant case, the "normal [daily] practice was to show
up for work" (DE 93 ¶ 11) at "the
warehouse," wherefrom Defendants would send Reddish to
the various job sites. Reddish Depo. at 215, ¶¶
8-11 (DE 82-5 at 55). Reddish would advise when work was
completed by sending pictures of completed projects to David
and Matthew Bradley. (DE 82 ¶ 22). David and Matthew
Bradley would periodically review completed work at the job
sites where Reddish was working. David Bradley Aff. ¶ 3
(DE 94-1). Defendants told Reddish what job sites to attend
and what tasks to complete, although the parties dispute the
amount of supervision that Reddish received. Compare
David Bradley Aff. ¶ 3 (DE 94-1) with (DE 93
¶ 36). After Reddish would send photographs to David and
Matthew and inform them that he had completed a project, they
would sometimes respond: "Good job. I need you to go to
another site." Reddish Depo. at 94, ¶¶ 19-20
(DE 82-5 at 24). Then, Reddish would either "[g]et in
their vehicle and go to another site" or "go back
to the warehouse" if there was not another project at
that time. Id. at 21-25.
parties also dispute whether Reddish maintained other jobs or
solicited work from other companies during the period of his
alleged employment with Epoca. According to Defendants,
Reddish "actually drew income from others while working
with Epoca." DE 83 at 4. But Reddish states that he
only worked for Defendants (and no one else) during
the period of his alleged employment. DE 93 ¶ 8. Albert
Sierra, the owner of Atlantic Coast Construction
("ACC"), stated in his affidavit that Reddish
solicited work from ACC (and that Reddish even worked for ACC
at one point) (Sierra Aff. ¶¶ 4-5 DE 82-7), but
Reddish disputes ...