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Morales v. Humphrey

United States District Court, District of Columbia

May 29, 2015

WILLIAM ERNESTO CHILIN MORALES, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MELVIN HUMPHREY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES E. BOASBERG, District Judge.

Plaintiffs William Ernesto Chilin Morales, Jorge Eduardo Rico Turrubiartes, and Carlos R. Orellana-Murga brought this lawsuit against former employer Melvin Humphrey, seeking unpaid wages from 2012 through 2014. Plaintiffs claim violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the D.C. Minimum Wage Revision Act, and the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law. Defendant now moves for partial summary judgment on the FLSA claim, contending that he does not meet that statute's income requirements. As Plaintiffs correctly point out that the Motion is premature without further discovery, the Court will deny it without prejudice.

I. Background

The Court begins with certain background facts that are not in dispute for purposes of this Motion. Humphrey is the owner of low-income apartment units and houses in Washington, D.C. See Mot., Exh. 3 (Declaration of Melvin Humphrey), ¶ 3. As maintenance workers employed by Defendant, Plaintiffs were each paid a flat rate for 8 hours of work per day, 40 hours per week, even though they worked 60 hours per week during 2012-2013, their first year of employment. See Am. Compl., ¶¶ 9-11, 13. Plaintiffs' hours in 2013-2014 averaged 45 per week for Turrubiartes and Orellano-Murga and 60 per week for Morales. Id . Orellana-Murga repeatedly asked for overtime pay and was ultimately fired as a result. Id., ¶ 12. Plaintiffs were never paid for the excess hours worked. Id., ¶ 13.

They filed suit in this court seeking compensatory and statutory damages under both federal and local law. Id., ¶¶ 21, 24, 28. Specifically, they set out the following counts:

Count I: Failure and refusal to comply with the D.C. Minimum Wage Revision Act by not paying Plaintiffs overtime wages as required by the Act. Id., ¶¶ 19, 21.

Count II: Willful violation of Sections 206 and 207 of the FLSA by failing to compensate Plaintiffs at a rate of one and a half times the minimum hourly wage for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Id., ¶¶ 23-24.

Count III: Violation of the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law by willfully failing and refusing to properly compensate Plaintiffs for regular and overtime wages. Id., ¶¶ 27-30.

Defendant has now moved for partial summary judgment on the FLSA count.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings and the evidence demonstrate that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d 889, 895 (D.C. Cir. 2006). "A fact is material' if a dispute over it might affect the outcome of a suit under governing law; factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary' do not affect the summary judgment determination." Holcomb, 433 F.3d at 895 (quoting Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248). An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; Holcomb, 433 F.3d at 895.

The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The moving party may successfully support its motion by identifying those portions of "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, " that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

When a motion for summary judgment is under consideration, "the evidence of the non-movant[s] is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [their] favor." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255; see also Mastro v. Potomac Electric Power Co., 447 F.3d 843, 849-50 (D.C. Cir. 2006); Aka v. Washington Hospital Center, 156 F.3d 1284, 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1998) ( en banc ); Washington Post Co. v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, 865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989). On a motion for summary judgment, the Court must "eschew making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence." Czekalski v. Peters, 475 F.3d 360, 363 (D.C. Cir. 2007).

The non-moving parties' opposition must consist of more than mere unsupported allegations or denials and must be supported by affidavits, declarations or other competent evidence, setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. They are required to provide evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to find in their favor. See Laningham v. United States Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242 (D.C. Cir. 1987). If the non-movants' evidence is "merely colorable" or "not significantly probative, " summary judgment may be granted. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50; see Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. at 380 ("Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a ...


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