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Janice Ruffin et al v. New Destination

March 29, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge


Plaintiffs Janice Ruffin and Rev. Keith Young (collectively, "Plaintiffs") bring this action against Defendants New Destination, LLC and India Lyles (collectively, "Defendants") seeking to recover wages they claim they are owed for hours worked as employees of Defendant New Destination, LLC. Plaintiffs assert a claim for breach of contract and causes of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 ("FLSA"), and the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law, D.C. Code § 32-1308. Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' [28] Motion for Summary Judgment, in response to which Defendants have filed an opposition, and Plaintiffs have filed a reply. For the reasons explained below, the Court shall grant-in-part and deny-in-part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.


The following facts are drawn from Plaintiffs' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts.*fn1

Plaintiff Janice Ruffin ("Ruffin") is a social worker with a license in counseling issued by the District of Columbia. Pls.' Stmt. ¶ 1. Since earning a masters degree in social work, Ruffin has worked with adults and juveniles in Washington, D.C., many of whom have a history of substance abuse. Id. Rev. Keith Young ("Young") is an "Elder" in the Apostolic Christian Church and is currently the Pastor of Sovereign Ministries of the Apostolic Faith in Washington, D.C. Id. ¶ 2. Young earned a Ph.D. in pastoral counseling in 2000 and provides pastoral counseling to his members and works as a spiritual counselor. Id.

Defendant New Destination, LLC ("New Destination") is a professional corporation that provided individual and group counseling for addiction recovery. Pls.' Stmt. ¶ 3. Defendant India Lyles ("Lyles") is the Executive Director and owner of New Destination. Id. ¶ 4; Answer ¶ 6. On May 8, 2008, New Destination entered into a Health Care Provider Agreement with the D.C. Department of Health Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration to provide health care services as part of a drug treatment program. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 7; Pl.'s Ex. 5 ("Human Care Provider Agreement"). Lyles signed the contract as "CEO" of New Destination. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8. The contract became effective on May 21, 2008. Id. ¶ 9.

On February 18, 2008, Ruffin signed a contract with New Destination to work as a counselor. Pls.' Stmt. ¶ 3. New Destination agreed to pay Ruffin $50 per hour for individual counseling and $65 per hour for group counseling. Id. ¶ 6. Young signed a contract to work for New Destination as a "Faith Based Minister" on April 10, 2008. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. New Destination agreed to pay Young $17 per hour. Id. ¶ 6. Soon after being hired, Ruffin and Young recruited clients for New Destination from missions, jails, and throughout the District of Columbia. Id. 11.

Ruffin counseled her first client at New Destination on May 21, 2008. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 12. Ruffin provided both group counseling and individual counseling for addiction recovery and prevention for her clients at New Destination. Id. ¶ 14. Ruffin submitted time sheets known as "NDBHS Tickets" to Lyles listing the date and hours worked and the names of the clients she counseled. See id.; Pl.'s Ex. 6 (NDBHS Tickets). Ruffin worked hundreds of hours for New Destination between May and October 2008 and claims that she is owed $15,675.25 in back pay. See Pl.'s Ex. 4 (Decl. of Janice Ruffin) ¶ 9. Ruffin's only payment from New Destination came in the form of a $1000 check issued on October 9, 2008. Id. ¶ 10. Ruffin claims that Lyles was responsible for providing information about her counseling sessions to the D.C. Department of Health. Id. ¶ 13. Defendants do not dispute that Lyles told New Destination employees that she was "solely responsible for billing." Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 11.

Young also worked hundreds of hours between April and December 2008 counseling clients for New Destination, and he submitted "NDBHS Tickets" to Lyles describing the services performed. See Pl.'s Ex. 3 (Decl. of Rev. Keith Young) ¶¶ 5, 7; Pl.'s Exs. 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D (NDBHS Tickets). Young was only paid twice, once with a $1000 check on October 8, 2008, and a second time with a $1500 check on October 31, 2008. Pl.'s Ex. 3 (Decl. of Rev. Keith Young) ¶ 8. The $1500 check bounced, and Lyles subsequently paid Young $1000 in cash. Id. Young claims that he is owed $11,500 in back pay. Id. ¶ 9.


Plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment on all of their claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials); or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). "If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence; the evidence must be analyzed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, with all justifiable inferences drawn in his favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). "If material facts are at issue, or, ...

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