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Pedraza-Victoria v. Villa Bellini Ristorante & Lounge Inc.

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

January 15, 2020

DAVID PEDRAZA-VICTORIA, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLA BELLINI RISTORANTE & LOUNGE INC. and VINCENT ADDONISIO, Defendants.

          ORDER

          CHARLENE EDWARDS HONEYWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 53), Defendant Vincent Addonisio's response thereto (Doc. 60), and the parties' Joint Stipulation of Agreed Material Facts (Doc. 62). In the motion, Plaintiff argues that summary judgment should be granted as to Addonisio's liability for overtime pay under the FLSA because the evidence shows that Plaintiff is covered by the FLSA and Addonisio qualified as his employer. Doc. 60. The Court, having considered the motion and being fully advised in the premises, will deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND AND FACTS[1]

         A. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff David Pedraza-Victoria filed the Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 1) against Defendants Villa Bellini Ristorante & Lounge, Inc. (“Villa Bellini”) and Vincent Addonisio, an officer of Villa Bellini, alleging one count for recovery of overtime compensation against both Defendants pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (“FLSA”), and a second count alleging a collective action under the FLSA for similarly situated employees. Doc. 1. Villa Bellini is a restaurant that provides food and beverages to the general public and Pedraza-Victoria was employed by Villa Bellini. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 5, 20; Doc. 13 ¶¶ 5, 20.

         In Defendants' Answer, Defenses and Counterclaim (Doc. 13), Villa Bellini admitted that its employees ran credit card transactions that transacted business in interstate commerce on a daily basis; handled goods such as food, napkins, silverware, appliance and restaurant equipment that have traveled in interstate commerce; and, during the times relevant to the Complaint, had an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of not less than $500, 000. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 17-19; Doc. 13 ¶¶ 17-19. Addonisio did not make such admissions. Doc. 13 ¶¶ 17-19.

         Villa Bellini also raised various counterclaims against Pedraza-Victoria. However, the instant Motion for Summary Judgment is not directed to Villa Bellini, which has since filed a Notice of Bankruptcy (Doc. 45), resulting in this action being stayed as against Villa Bellini (Doc. 46).

         B. Undisputed Facts

         Pedraza-Victoria was an employee of Villa Bellini from April 2015 to January 2018. Doc. 62 ¶ 1. During that time, Pedraza-Victoria worked more than forty hours in one or more workweeks without being compensated at the rate of time and one-half for all such hours. Id. ¶¶ 2, 3.

         From February 2015 to April 2015, Addonisio was the Vice President of Villa Bellini. Id. ¶ 6. He became the Chief Executive Officer of Villa Bellini in September 2016. Id. ¶ 7. For at least some portion of Pedraza-Victoria's employment, Addonisio had the authority to hire and fire him. Id. ¶ 5. Additionally, at all times relevant to this action, Addonisio was authorized to discipline Villa Bellini's employees, as well as to set rates of pay and schedules for its employees, including Pedraza-Victoria. Id. ¶¶ 9-13. Addonisio also had control of Villa Bellini's payroll during all times relevant to this action. Id. ¶ 14.

         C. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment

         Pedraza-Victoria moves for summary judgment on the issue of liability against Addonisio, arguing that Addonisio is individually liable because he created, implemented, and enforced Villa Bellini's illegal pay practices. Doc. 53 at 2. Plaintiff relies, in part, on his Requests for Admissions propounded on Defendants that Defendants failed to respond to and are deemed admitted (the “Admissions”). Id. Among the requests was a request that Addonisio “[a]dmit that Defendant's failure to compensate Plaintiff at the rate of time and one-half for all of Plaintiff's hours worked in excess of forty (40) in a workweek constitutes a violation of the [FLSA].” Doc. 53-1 at 12. In the Request for Admissions directed to Addonisio, “Defendant” was defined as Addonisio. Id. at 2.

         Pedraza-Victoria argues that the Answer and Admissions establish that: (1) he is individually covered by the FLSA; and (2) Addonisio is his employer under the FLSA. Doc. 53. Addonisio responds that Pedraza-Victoria cannot rely on the Admission that Addonisio violated the FLSA because that request constituted a legal conclusion and was improper. Doc. 60 at 2.

         II. ...


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