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Dinkel v. Medstar Health Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 16, 2015

PEGGY DINKEL, VALARIE GADSON, AND DEIDRE BECKFORD, for themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs
v.
MEDSTAR HEALTH INC. and WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER, Defendants

For PEGGY DINKEL, VALARIE GADSON, DEIDRE BECKFORD, for themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs: Monica Bansal, PRO HAC VICE, Gary Edward Mason, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jason S. Rathod, Nicholas A Migliaccio, WHITFIELD BRYSON & MASON LLP, Washington, DC; David J. Cohen, PRO HAC VICE, KOLMAN ELY, PC, Penndel, PA.

For MEDSTAR HEALTH, INC., WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER, Defendants: Joseph Erwin Schuler, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jacqueline C. Tully, Paul DeCamp, JACKSON LEWIS LLP, Reston, VA.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs are employees of Washington Hospital Center who bring this collective action against Defendants MedStar Health, Inc. (" MedStar" ) and Washington Hospital Center, claiming that Defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ) and the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act (" DC-MWA" ) by failing to compensate them for " meal break" and " uniform maintenance" work. Before the Court are Defendants' [131] Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Plaintiffs' Uniform Maintenance Claim and Defendants' [116] Motion to Exclude Testimony of Plaintiffs' Witnesses.[1] Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' uniform maintenance activities are not compensable in light of the Supreme Court's explication of the relevant standard in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 135 S.Ct. 513, 190 L.Ed.2d 410 (2014). Defendants also argue that the uniform maintenance activities are de minimis as a matter of law. Upon consideration of the pleadings,[2] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART Defendants' [131] Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court concludes that the time spent by the collective members on uniform maintenance is not compensable under the FLSA because the uniform maintenance activities are not integral and indispensable to the employees' principal activities and because they are not principal activities themselves. Therefore, the Court GRANTS the Motion with respect to Plaintiffs' FLSA claim. However, the Court DENIES the Motion WITHOUT PREJUDICE with respect to the DC-MWA claim for reasons stated below. Because the Court concludes that Plaintiffs' FLSA claim does not succeed even if the expert witness testimony they submitted were admissible, the Court need not resolve Defendants' [116] Motion to Exclude Testimony at this time. The Court HOLDS that motion IN ABEYANCE

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pending further proceedings with respect to Plaintiffs' DC-MWA claim.

I. BACKGROUND

The pertinent facts in this case were laid out previously by this Court in Dinkel v. Medstar Health Inc., No. CV 11-0998 (CKK), 304 F.R.D. 339, 2014 WL 2885692, at *1 (D.D.C. June 26, 2014); Dinkel v. MedStar Health, Inc., 880 F.Supp.2d 49, 51 (D.D.C. 2012); and Dinkel v. Medstar Health, Inc., 286 F.R.D. 28, 30 (D.D.C. 2012). Because the basis for the Court's decision is primarily legal in nature, the Court need not recite the facts of this case at length. Therefore, the Court reserves a presentation of relevant facts for the discussion of the individual issues below.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where " the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [that it] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The mere existence of some factual dispute is insufficient on its own to bar summary judgment; the dispute must pertain to a " material" fact. Id. Accordingly, " [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Nor may summary judgment be avoided based on just any disagreement as to the relevant facts; the dispute must be " genuine," meaning that there must be sufficient admissible evidence for a reasonable trier of fact to find for the non-movant. Id.

In order to establish that a fact is or cannot be genuinely disputed, a party must (a) cite to specific parts of the record--including deposition testimony, documentary evidence, affidavits or declarations, or other competent evidence--in support of its position, or (b) demonstrate that the materials relied upon by the opposing party do not actually establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Conclusory assertions offered without any factual basis in the record cannot create a genuine dispute sufficient to survive summary judgment. Ass'n of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO v. U.S. Dep't of Transp., 564 F.3d 462, 465-66, 385 U.S.App.D.C. 347 (D.C. Cir. 2009). Moreover, where " a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact," the district court may " consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

When faced with a motion for summary judgment, the district court may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence; instead, the evidence must be analyzed in the light most favorable to the non-movant, with all justifiable inferences drawn in its favor. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255. If material facts are genuinely in dispute, or undisputed facts are susceptible to divergent yet justifiable inferences, summary judgment is inappropriate. Moore v. Hartman, 571 F.3d 62, 66, 387 U.S.App.D.C. 62 (D.C. Cir. 2009). In the end, the district court's task is to determine " whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 251-52. In this regard, the non-movant must " do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); " [i]f the evidence is merely colorable, or is not sufficiently probative, summary judgment may be granted." Liberty Lobby,

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477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal ...


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