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D'CAMERA v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

October 11, 1989

LOUIS D'CAMERA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant


John H. Pratt, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

JOHN H. PRATT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiffs, certain District of Columbia police officers at or below the rank of sergeant, brought this action against the District of Columbia ("the District") for unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219 (1982), as amended by Pub.L. No. 99-150 (1985). On June 22, 1988, this court denied the District's motion for partial summary judgment. At the same time, it granted in part plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment. D'Camera v. District of Columbia, 693 F. Supp. 1208 (D.D.C. 1988). Specifically, we held that the District:

 
1) failed to establish that its police sergeants were exempt from the FLSA's overtime provisions, 29 U.S.C. § 207(o);
 
2) contravened the FLSA's overtime provisions when it "paid" compensatory time off in lieu of monetary overtime benefits from April 15, 1986, to October 1, 1987, in the absence of a provision in the parties' collective bargaining agreement providing for such substitution; and
 
3) acted lawfully when it substituted compensatory time off for overtime hours expended by plaintiffs for court appearances.

 Id. at 1216.

 The pivotal remaining issue in this case is the precise amount of overtime pay to which plaintiffs are entitled. Plaintiffs have filed two motions addressing this issue. The first is for an award of liquidated damages and a declaration that the District willfully violated the FLSA. The second is for a declaration that the District cannot deduct compensatory time used by plaintiffs against an award of back pay. The court addresses each of these motions in turn.

 I. Plaintiffs' Motion for an Award of Liquidated Damages and a Declaration that the District Willfully Violated the FLSA

 A. Liquidated Damages

 The FLSA provides that "any employer who violates the provisions of . . . section 207 . . . shall be liable to the . . . employees affected in the amount of . . . their unpaid overtime compensation, . . . and in an additional equal amount as liquidated damages." 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to liquidated damages in an amount equal to the back pay the District owes them.

 The District objects to plaintiffs' claim in two respects only. First, it asserts that plaintiff sergeants are not entitled to liquidated damages. Second, it argues that, if recoverable, liquidated damages are recoverable only from August 1, 1986 to September 27, 1987. For the reasons explained below, we reject both of these arguments.

 1. Plaintiff Sergeants' Entitlement to Liquidated Damages

 An award of liquidated damages is mandatory unless the District shows to the satisfaction of the court that it acted in good faith and had reasonable grounds for believing that its acts did not violate the FLSA. *fn1" See id. §§ 216(b), 260 (1982); see also Donovan v. United States Postal Service, 530 F. Supp. 894, 901 (D.D.C. 1981). We previously found that the District failed to prove that plaintiff sergeants were exempt from the FLSA's overtime provisions under the "bona fide administrative employee" exemption, 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1). D'Camera, 693 F. Supp. at 1210-13. The District now asks us to find that its determination that sergeants were exempt was made in good faith and with reasonable grounds to believe that such a determination did not violate the FLSA.

 "Good faith" requires "'an honest intention to ascertain what the . . . Act requires and to act in accordance with it.'" Laffey v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 185 U.S. App. D.C. 322, 567 F.2d 429, 464 (D.C. Cir. 1976) (quoting Addison v. Huron Stevedoring Corp., 204 F.2d 88, 93 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 346 U.S. 877, 74 S. Ct. 120, 98 L. Ed. 384 (1953)), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1086, 98 S. Ct. 1281, 55 L. Ed. 2d 792 (1978). To meet this test, the District must affirmatively show "a genuine attempt to ascertain what the law require[d], not simply . . . demonstrat[e] . . . the absence of bad faith." Dove v. Coupe, 245 U.S. App. D.C. 147, 759 F.2d 167, 175-76 (D.C. Cir. 1985). Moreover, while the test for good ...


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