NY Courts & The Fair Labor Standards Act

Strategies for Defense of FLSA Collective Actions

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In Lynch v. The City Of New York, the Southern District of New York decertified a conditionally certified FLSA collective of thirty Administrative Associates alleging, primarily, that they were not paid overtime for all hours worked. See No. 16-CV-5677 (KBF) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 27, 2017). The Court’s decision hinged on the variation in facts necessary to establish an element of each plaintiff’s claim: whether the City had actual or constructive knowledge of the allegedly unpaid work.
Continue Reading Court Decertifies FLSA Collective Alleging Claims for Unpaid Overtime

In Knox v. John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc., the Southern District of New York granted a Section 216(b) motion for conditional certification of an Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) collective consisting of female sales associates contending that their employer discriminatorily awarded a $12,000 annual clothing allowance to male employees but not female employees. See No. 17-CIV-772 (GHW) (GWG) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 17, 2017). However, the Court declined to grant that aspect of the motion that sought equitable tolling of the claims of potential opt-in plaintiffs.
Continue Reading Court Grants Conditional Certification Of Equal Pay Act Collective, But Denies Equitable Tolling To Claims Of Opt-In Plaintiffs

In Perez v. City of New York, the City moved for summary judgment against a variety of FLSA claims advanced by a collective of Associate Urban Park Rangers related to unpaid wages. See No. 12-CIV-4914 (PAE) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2017). The Court granted the motion in part and denied it in part ruling on a plethora of issues including the applicable statute of limitations, allegations of willfulness, and applicable tolling. However, one aspect – its denial of summary judgment as to overtime claims where plaintiffs failed to utilize the City’s overtime reporting mechanisms – merits particular attention.
Continue Reading Court Denies Employer Summary Judgment Against FLSA Overtime Claims Despite Plaintiffs’ Failure To Properly Report Overtime In Accordance With Established System

In Cabrera v. Stephens, the Eastern District of New York conditionally certified an FLSA collective of 7-Eleven workers who alleged that their time records were manipulated and that they were not appropriately paid for all hours worked. See No. 16-CV-3234 (ADS) (SIL) (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2017). The motion for conditional certification was accompanied by a motion to strike declarations submitted by the employer of putative class/collective members who contended that they had been appropriately paid for all hours worked. The plaintiffs alleged they had been obtained under coercive circumstances. The motion provided the Court with an opportunity to outline the
Continue Reading Court Grants Conditional Certification of FLSA Collective and Comments on Permissibility of Certain Communications Between Defense Counsel, Employers and Putative Class/Collective Members

In Ramirez-Marin v. JD Classic Builders Corp., the Court addressed a procedurally esoteric question: can a named-plaintiff assert state law claims on behalf of persons who filed “opt-in consents” to participate in the FLSA portion of an action? The Court confirmed that opt-in plaintiffs, upon filing a consent, are deemed to assert all claims contained in the action. See No. 16-CV-5584 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2017).
Continue Reading Court Confirms that Opt-In Plaintiffs are Party to State Law Claims

In Lopes v. Heso, Inc., the Eastern District of New York addressed four discrete legal issues related to the dissemination of a notice to putative members of a conditionally certified collective. See No. 16-CV-6796 (MKB) (RML). Specifically, at the request of the parties, the Court addressed: (i) whether the notice should cover a three- or six-year period; (ii) the proper date for calculating the look back period; (iii) whether the employer would be required to post a copy of the notice in the workplace; and (iv) whether a reminder notice would be sent to the original recipients. The Court took
Continue Reading Court Authorizes Expansive Notice for Conditionally Certified Collective

In Lawtone-Bowles v. City of New York, the Southern District of New York granted in part, and denied in part, a Rule 12(b) motion to dismiss overtime claims advanced under the FLSA and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”). See No. 16-CV-4240 (AJN) (Sept. 22, 2017).

The plaintiffs worked for the Department of Homeless Services as Motor Vehicle Operators responsible for transporting homeless persons to temporary housing placements, train stations, and airports. The plaintiffs were generally scheduled for give shifts of eight hours and thirty minutes each week, with thirty minutes automatically deducted for uncompensated meal periods each day. They contended
Continue Reading Court Largely Denies Motion to Dismiss Overtime Claims Under FLSA and NYLL

In Chen v. Kyote Sushi, Inc., the Court denied a motion for conditional certification of an FLSA collective in favor of compelling arbitration on an individual basis. See No. 15-CV-7398 (DLI) (JO) (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 2017). The Chen plaintiffs alleged a variety of claims for unpaid wages and contended that they should be permitted to pursue their claims in court despite each having executed arbitration agreements that required arbitration of a variety of claims, including those arising under the FLSA, on an individual basis. The plaintiffs alleged that the arbitration agreements were invalid insofar as they were individually called into
Continue Reading Court Denies Conditional Certification of Collective in Favor of Compelling Arbitration

In Roseman v. Bloomberg L.P., the Southern District of New York granted a Rule 23 motion for class certification of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) overtime claims brought by a class of Analytics Representative. See No. 14-CV-2657 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 21, 2017). Analytics Representatives were responsible for assisting users of Bloomberg Terminals, a computer software system which allows clients to access and analyze financial data. They contended that their duties were ministerial in nature and did not meet the requirements for the administrative exemption from overtime under the NYLL.
Continue Reading Court Grants Class Certification to Analytics Representatives with Respect to Overtime Claims Under New York Labor Law

In Landaverde v. Dave Murray Construction & Design, Inc., the Court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs imposing individual liability on the owner of the defendant company under the FLSA. See 15-CV-5379 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 11, 2017). The Court granted liability as against the individual owner of the company and provided a helpful summary of the current state of the law.
Continue Reading Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment Against Individual Defendant Imposing “Employer” Liability on Company Owner

In Williams v. The Bethel Springvale Nursing Home, the Court denied a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of overtime claims under the FLSA and denied a contemporaneous motion for decertification of a collective. See 14-CIV-9383 (NSR) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 12, 2017).
Continue Reading Court Denies Motion for Summary Judgment Directed at Overtime Claims Based Upon “Absurd” Gap-Time Argument

In Huertero-Morales v. Raguboy Corp., the Southern District denied a motion for conditional certification of a collective action consisting of various restaurant workers paid on an hourly basis. See No. 17-CIV-2429 (JCF) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 12, 2017). The plaintiff alleged that he and other workers were required to work off-the-clock and that they participated in an invalid “tip pool” because a manager received a portion of the tips. The Court found that the plaintiff’s motion was plagued by “general and conclusory allegations.”
Continue Reading Court Denies Motion for Conditional Certification Based Upon Deficient Allegations, Reminding Employers of the Value of Testing the Sufficiency of Allegations

In McEarchen v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., the Hon. Roslynn Mauskopf confirmed a report and recommendation from the Hon. James Orenstein decertifying a conditionally certified FLSA collective of Assistant Managers who claimed that they had been misclassified as exempt. See 13-CV-3569 (RRM) (JO) (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 6, 2017). The plaintiffs did not file any objections to the Magistrate Judge’s ruling in exchange for an agreement from Urban Outfitters to consent to a 60-day tolling period for the claims of the dismissed opt-in plaintiffs.
Continue Reading Court Confirms Report & Recommendation Decertifying FLSA Collective of Assistant Managers

In Pineda v. Frisolino, Inc. and Peter Migliorini, the Court issued an opinion and order setting forth its conclusions of law following a four-day bench trial into claims of unpaid wages under the FLSA and NYLL. See 15-CIV-3774 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2017). Of particular note was the Court’s determination that the restaurant’s owner qualified as an “employer” under the FLSA and was thus jointly and severally responsible for the damages awarded to the plaintiffs.
Continue Reading Court Highlights The Expansive Definition Of “Employer” Under The FLSA In Imposing Individual Liability On Restaurant Owner

In Benavides v. Serenity Spa NY, Inc., the Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification of their minimum wage and overtime claims under the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”). See No. 15-CV-9189 (JLC) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 1, 2017). In so doing, the Court declined to consider the declarations of five employees submitted by the employer in opposition to the motion. The Court’s ruling highlights the need for employers to exercise care in developing an evidentiary record to oppose class certification.
Continue Reading Southern District Declines to Consider Declarations Proffered by Employer in Granting Rule 23 Class Certification Of NYLL Claims

In Sandoval v. Philippe North American Restaurants, LLC, the Southern District refused to grant preliminary approval to an unopposed settlement seeking to resolve FLSA and NYLL claims directed at allegedly unpaid wages, illegal retained tips, and “spread of hours” pay. See 16-CV-0615 (VSB) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2017). The Court based its decision on what it determined to be an overbroad release contained in the settlement agreement.
Continue Reading Court Refuses To Approve Unopposed Motion Seeking Preliminary Approval Of Settlement of FLSA And NYLL Claims Based Upon Overbroad Release Provision