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Munoz v. Big Valley, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

January 3, 2013

Pedro Edenilson MUNOZ, on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff,
v.
BIG VALLEY, INC., Defendant.

Page 47

Gregg Cohen Greenberg, Zipin Law Firm, LLC, Silver Spring, MD, for Plaintiff.

Nida Hasan, First Point Law Group, PC, Fairfax, VA, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Pedro Edenilson Munoz filed a collective action complaint seeking to recover damages from his former employer, Defendant Big Valley, Inc., for purported violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act Revision Act (" D.C. Minimum Wage Act" ), D.C. Code §§ 32-1001 et seq. See generally Compl., ECF No. [1]. Presently before the Court is the Plaintiff's [9] Motion to Facilitate Identification and Notification of Similarly Situated Employees, which the Defendant opposes. Upon consideration of the pleadings,[1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds the Plaintiff failed to provide the bare minimum factual showing necessary for the Court to require the Defendants to disclose personal information [2] for all of its current and former employees since October 1, 2009, or for the Court to approve the notice of litigation proposed by the Plaintiff. Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, the Plaintiff's [9] Motion to Facilitate Identification and Notification of Similarly Situated Employees is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

I. BACKGROUND

The Complaint alleges that from April 1, 2011 through August 15, 2012, the Plaintiff was employed as a full time " general laborer" for the Defendant " at its business location in Washington, D.C." Compl. ¶¶ 8-10. The Plaintiff explains that the Defendant " distribute[s] food products," and that he worked as a " general laborer," but otherwise does not describe the nature of the Defendant's business or the scope of his own employment. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 10. The Plaintiff claims that over the course of his employment with the Defendant, he consistently worked approximately sixty-five hours per week and received a flat salary of $320 per week, which increased over time to $400 per week. Id. at ¶¶ 17-18; Aff. of P. Munoz, ECF No. [9-2], ¶¶ 4-5. The Plaintiff argues that his weekly salary only compensated him for " non-overtime hours worked each week," and that he was

Page 48

never paid for hours worked each week in excess of forty, in violation of both the FLSA and the DC Minimum Wage Act. Compl. ¶ 24. The Plaintiff requests relief in the form of unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages under both statutes. Id. at ¶¶ 48, 54.

The Plaintiff asserts that he is aware of eleven other current and former employees of the Defendant " who are similarly situated in that they were not, or are not currently, paid by Defendant at the rate of one-and-one half (1 1/2 ) times their regular rate of pay for all overtime hours worked each week." Munoz Aff. ¶ 9; Compl. ¶ 41. These potential class members allegedly have yet to join this action because " they are not aware of their rights to overtime compensation or because they fear that if they join this action they will be [sic] Defendant will retaliate against them." Munoz Aff. ¶ 10; Compl. ¶ 41. The present motion seeks an order requiring the Defendant to disclose to the Plaintiff the full name, home address, home telephone number, work telephone number, cellular telephone number, work address, and e-mail address of every individual who has worked for the Defendant at any time since October 1, 2009, so as to allow the Plaintiff to identify other potential FLSA plaintiffs. Pl.'s Proposed Order, ECF No. [9-5].

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for " collective actions" to recover damages from an employer for violation(s) of the statute, so long as each plaintiff consents in writing to joining the action:

An action to recover the liability prescribed in either of the preceding sentences may be maintained against any employer (including a public agency) in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated. No employee shall be a party plaintiff to any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in which such action is brought.

29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (emphasis added). Collective actions brought under the FLSA are not subject to the provisions generally associated with class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Castillo v. P & R Enterps., Inc.,517 F.Supp.2d 440, 444 (D.D.C.2007). Moreover, unlike a traditional class action in which class members must " opt-out" of participating in the suit, FLSA collective actions require each plaintiff to ...


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