United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
in this case are three maintenance workers formerly employed
by a residential landlord in the District of Columbia. In
this suit, they allege that in 2012, 2013, and 2014, their
erstwhile employer, Defendant Melvin Humphrey, failed to pay
them overtime wages as required by D.C. and federal law. The
federal statute they believe entitles them to overtime
payment is the Fair Labor Standards Act, which mandates
time-and-a-half wages for hours worked over forty each week.
See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). The Act, however,
applies only to “enterprise[s] engaged in
commerce,” id., a class of businesses whose
characteristics include, inter alia, earning at
least $500,000 per year. See 29 U.S.C. §
203(s)(1)(A)(ii). Convinced that his business brought in less
than that amount during the years that Plaintiffs worked for
him, Humphrey quickly moved for summary judgment on that
basis. Plaintiffs rejoined that they had no way of knowing
how much Defendant’s business earned without discovery;
agreeing, the Court denied Humphrey’s motion without
having now concluded, Humphrey again moves for summary
judgment on the same ground. In essence, then,
Defendant’s present Motion poses the $500,000 Question:
Did his rental business earn enough, in gross receipts, to
qualify as an “enterprise” governed by the FLSA
or not? As it turns out, the record still does not admit of a
clear answer, so the Court will again deny summary judgment.
the underlying facts of this case are undisputed. The Court
will first set out those facts, as well as the case’s
procedural history. It will later delve into the disputed
facts in the Analysis section.
William Ernesto Chilin Morales, Jorge Eduardo Rico
Turrubiartes, and Carlos R. Orellana-Murga are former
employees of Humphrey who worked to maintain low-income
apartment and housing units Defendant owns and leases in the
Southeast quadrant of the District of Columbia. See
ECF No. 20, Attach. 6 (Defendant’s Statement of Facts),
¶¶ 1-3; ECF No. 21 at 2-4 (Plaintiffs’
Statement of Facts) at 2, ¶¶ 1-9. Humphrey owns
approximately twenty properties and leases around eighty
residential units. See Def. SOF, ¶ 3; Pl. SOF,
¶ 9. The only records Humphrey keeps regarding the rent
paid by his tenants are his bank statements; he maintains no
other accounting records relating to these apartment units.
See Def. SOF, ¶ 4; Pl. SOF, ¶ 10.
three Plaintiffs worked for Humphey from 2012 to 2014,
although their start and end dates differ slightly.
See Def. SOF, ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Pl. SOF,
¶¶ 3, 5, 7. Plaintiffs were paid a daily amount,
regardless of the hours they worked each day: Morales
received $120, and Murda and Turrubiartes each received $135.
See Def. SOF, ¶¶ 9-13; Pl. SOF,
allege in their Complaint that this rate was intended to
cover eight hours of work per day, and that under federal and
D.C. law, they should have been compensated at a rate of one
and a half times their regular hourly rate for all additional
hours worked. See ECF No. 3 (Amended Complaint) at
1-2. According to Plaintiffs, on many weeks they were
compensated for only forty hours of work (five daily
payments), even though they were “required to work an
average of sixty hours per week.” See id.,
¶¶ 9-11. At least one Plaintiff, Murga, was
eventually terminated as a result of his repeated requests
for overtime payment. See id., ¶ 12.
filed suit in this Court in August of 2014, contending that
Defendant’s compensation practices violated the
overtime-protection provisions of the D.C. Minimum Wage
Revision Act (DCMWRA), the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection
Law (DCWCL), and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
See id. at 1. In March of 2015, Defendant moved for
partial summary judgment. See ECF No. 9, Attach. 2
(First MSJ). He argued, principally, that he did not meet the
minimum-income requirement of the FLSA, which covers only
enterprises earning at least $500,000 per year. See
First MSJ at 3. He attached redacted versions of his bank
statement as proof that his business brought in less than the
half-million dollars required by the statute. See
id., Exhs. A, B, C.
Court was not persuaded. It found that the question of
whether Humphrey’s real-estate business satisfied the
FLSA’s threshold income requirements was premature
without further discovery, as Plaintiffs had argued, and it
denied his partial-summary-judgment motion without prejudice.
See Morales v. Humphrey, 309 F.R.D. 44, 48-49
(D.D.C. 2015). It permitted additional discovery under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) so that Plaintiffs
could gather “facts essential to justify [their]
opposition” to Humphrey’s motion, including by
“obtain[ing] affidavits or declarations.”
Id. at 47 (quoting F.R.C.P. 56(d)).
record now fleshed out, Defendant renews his Motion for
Summary Judgment. See ECF No. 20. The current Motion
largely mirrors its predecessor, arguing again that the
business does not meet the $500,000 FLSA threshold.
See MSJ at 4-5. Defendant also addresses in part the
merits of Plaintiffs’ FLSA claim, contending that one
Plaintiff was entitled only to minimum-wage payments and
that, at most, Defendant is liable only for one half the
regular rate for Plaintiffs’ overtime hours. See
id. at 6-9. More important, this time around the
parties’ briefings have the benefit of Humphrey’s
full, unredacted bank statements, produced during discovery.
See ECF 21 (Opp.), Exh. 6 (Full Bank Statements).
The Court, accordingly, will revisit the FLSA income
requirement with the aid of this additional evidence.
judgment may be granted 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); 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 it is capable of affecting the
substantive outcome of the litigation. See Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; Holcomb, 433 F.3d at
895. A dispute 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. “A party asserting
that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support
the assertion” by “citing to particular parts of
materials in the record” or “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.
motion for summary judgment is under consideration,
“[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255;
see also Mastro v. Potomac Electric Power Co., 447
F.3d 843, 850 (D.C. Cir. 2006); Aka v. Wash. Hosp.
Ctr., 156 F.3d 1284, 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (en
banc). On a motion for summary judgment, the Court must