Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hendrix v. Shipcom Wireless, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

April 21, 2017

FELICIA HENDRIX, CYNTHIA BROWN, OMAR MOHAMMAD, CARUM ROGERS, JOHN EBERLE, DOUG SHIPE, BRIAN QUINN, and MICHELLE YARBOROUGH, on behalf Of themselves and others similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHIPCOM WIRELESS, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION AND MOTION FOR NOTICE TO POTENTIAL CLASS MEMBERS

          MARY MILLOY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the court[1] is Plaintiffs' request for an order allowing their claims to proceed as a representative collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act[2] ("FLSA"), and their Motion for Notice to Potential Class Members ("Plaintiffs' Motion, " Docket Entry # 19). The court has considered the motion, the response by Defendant Shipcom Wireless, Inc. ("Shipcom"), all other relevant filings, and the applicable law. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED.

         I. CASE BACKGROUND

         This is a claim for unpaid overtime wages by eight former employees of Shipcom. Seven[3] of these Plaintiffs were employed as "blueprinters." (Plaintiffs Motion at 3-7). The blueprinters were also referred to as inventory location designers, inventory room designers, or inventory design specialists. (Id. at 3, Defendant's Response at 3). Blueprinters were responsible for designing and re-organizing the supply areas and operating rooms at various medical facilities run by the Veterans Health Administration. (Plaintiffs' Motion at 3). This position is classified as "exempt" by Shipcom, and because of that the Plaintiffs did not receive overtime pay for any work in excess of 40 hours a week.

         Plaintiff Felicia Hendrix worked as a blueprinter for Shipcom from July 2014, until June 2016. (Plaintiffs Motion at 2). She claims to have routinely worked more than 70 hours a week during her employment with Shipcom. (Id.). She was never paid overtime, because she was classified by the company as an "exempt employee" under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Id.) Hendrix claims that there were approximately 100 other blueprinters who worked for Shipcom, either directly or as contractors, during her time with the company. She alleges that the other blueprinters were also classified as exempt employees, and did not receive overtime pay even though each worked more than 40 hours a week. (Plaintiffs Motion at 3).

         Plaintiff Cynthia Brown worked for a staffing company that placed her with Shipcom as a blueprinter, from August 2014, until March 2016. (Plaintiffs Motion at 3). In March 2016, Shipcom hired her directly to continue her work as a blueprinter until she was "furloughed, " one month later, in April 2016. (Id.). She claims to have worked 60 hours, or more, each week during her employment at Shipcom. (Id.).

         Plaintiff Omar Mohammed was a blueprinter for Shipcom from August 2014, until June 2016 and he states that he routinely worked 50-60 hours a week. (Plaintiffs' Motion at 4). Carum Rogers also worked for the company as a blueprinter from December 2014, until June 2016. He also claims that he worked more than 70 hours a week at Shipcom. (Id.). Doug Shipe and Brian Quinn were blueprinters for Shipcom from November 2014, until July 2016. (Id. at 5-6). Both men claim to have worked in excess of 50 hours a week at Shipcom. (Id.). John Eberle worked for Shipcom from January 2014, until July 2016. (Id. at 5). He was hired to be a "team lead, " but was eventually made a blueprinter. (Defendant's Response at 4-5). He says that he worked more than 60 hours a week. (Id.). None of these men received overtime compensation, because they were considered to be, and were classified as, exempt employees by Shipcom. (Plaintiffs' Motion at 3-7).

         Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on September 7, 2016, alleging that they, and other blueprinters, had been misclassified as exempt employees and denied overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Plaintiffs' Complaint, Docket Entry #1). Each Plaintiff has filed a "Consent to Become a Party Plaintiff." (Docket Entry #1, Exhibits A-F). On March 1, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Notice to Potential Class Members. (Docket Entry #19). Plaintiffs are asking the court: (1) to authorize an approved notice of this action and a consent form, to be sent to all current and former blueprinters, who were employed by Shipcom between September 7, 2013 and the present, and who worked more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay; and (2) to order Shipcom to provide the names and addresses of all current and former blueprinters employed by Shipcom from September 7, 2013, to the present. (Plaintiffs' Motion at 16). Implicit in this request is a threshold finding by the court that this matter is appropriate for certification, at least conditionally, as a collective action, which would justify a notice to potential class members.

         In support of the motion, each Plaintiff filed a declaration. (Plaintiffs' Motion, Exhibits A-F). Each of these claimants describe similar job responsibilities in their positions as blueprinters, and all claim to have worked more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay. Each person also states that he or she knows that there are other blueprinters at Shipcom who also worked more than 40 hours a week, and were also denied overtime compensation. (Id. at Exhibits A-F).

         After considering Plaintiffs' motion, Defendant's response, the pleadings, the evidence submitted, and the applicable law, the court GRANTS conditional class certification, and GRANTS the request for notice to potential class members as described below.

         II. MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION

         A. Conditional Certification under FLSA

         The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay nonexempt employees for any work hours that exceed defined maximum hours. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). Section 216(b) allows employees to pursue a cause of action against those employers who have violated that requirement. Id. § 216(b). In fact, an employee may bring a collective action against his employer on "behalf of himself. . . and other employees similarly situated." 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). But before a case may proceed as a collective action, the plaintiff must make an initial showing that the matter is appropriate for collective action treatment for "similarly situated" claimants. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 110 S.Ct. 482, 107 L.Ed.2d 480 (1989).

         There are two tests that a court may use to determine whether to certify a collective action under the FLSA: the so called Shushan approach, or the Lusardi approach. Walker v. Honghua Am., LLC,870 F.Supp.2d 462, 465 (S.D. Tex. 2012). See generally Shushan v. Univ. of Colo, at Boulder,132 F.R.D. 263 (D. Colo. 1990); Lusardi v. Xerox Corp.,118 F.R.D. 351 (D. N.J. 1987). Under the Shushan approach, "similarly situated" plaintiffs are those ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.