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Salinas v. Wood Group PSN Commissioning Services, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

December 26, 2017




         This is a collective action brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Pending is Plaintiff's Opposed Motion For Certification of Collective Action and Court-Authorized Notice. (D.E. 19). Having considered the parties' briefing, arguments, the applicable legal authorities, and all matters of record, Plaintiffs' Opposed Motion for Certification is GRANTED as modified with a more narrowly tailored putative class as set forth below. The notice procedures are set forth at the end of this order pursuant to the parties agreed submissions.


         The Court has federal question jurisdiction over this FLSA action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This case has been referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for case management pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. (D.E. 21). The undersigned has authority to rule on this matter as it is non-dispositive. See Patton v. Thompson Corp., 364 F.Supp.2d 263, 265-66 (E.D.N.Y. 2005); Ruggles v. WellPoint, Inc., 591 F.Supp.2d 150, 156 (N.D.N.Y. 2008); Headrick v. Tucker Energy Serv., Inc., No. SA-16-CA-749-OLG, 2017 WL 2999976, at *1-4 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 20, 2017).


         Plaintiff Roland Salinas, a resident of Kingsville, Texas, was an employee of Defendant Wood Group PSN Commissioning Services, Inc. (“Wood Group”)[1] for various periods between 2008 and 2016. (D.E. 19-1 & 20-3). Plaintiff alleges he and potential class members were paid “at the same hourly rate for all hours worked, including those in excess of 40 in a workweek.” (D.E. 1, p. 1). He seeks to bring a collective action on behalf of all hourly employees of Wood Group who were paid “straight time for overtime” during the past three years. (D.E. 1, p. 2). Plaintiff alleges Wood Group did not pay overtime as required by the FLSA. (D.E. 1, p. 1). Wood Group employs around 55, 000 people in over 60 countries around the world and is in the business of designing, modifying, constructing and operating industrial facilities. See Wood Group maintains its method of compensating Mr. Salinas and others in the proposed class was lawful.

         On May 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit alleging that Wood Group as his employer violated sections of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (“FLSA”). (D.E. 1). Plaintiff alleges he worked as an Instrument Commissioning Coordinator and he was paid by the hour normally working more than 40 hours a week. However, Plaintiff alleges he was not paid time and a half for overtime as required by the FLSA. (D.E. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff alleges Wood Group employs other similarly situated employees who are also paid in a similar manner in violation of the FLSA.

         On July 17, 2017 Wood Group filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses. (D.E. 6). On September 25, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Opposed Motion for Conditional Certification Court-Authorized Notice. (D.E 19). Plaintiff seeks conditional certification of a collective action consisting of the following putative class:

All personnel employed by Wood Group during the past three (3) years who were paid the same hourly rate for all hours worked (including hours in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek) and no overtime compensation. (D.E. 19, p. 4).

         Plaintiff maintains conditional certification is appropriate because additional individuals who were employed by Wood Group suffered injury as a result of Wood Group's violations of the FLSA. These Potential Class Members are “similarly situated” to Plaintiffs because they (1) worked as hourly employees for Wood Group during the operative time period; (2) received straight time for overtime; and (3) were all required or permitted to work overtime without receiving compensation at the legal rate of pay. (D.E. 7, p. 7). Plaintiff seeks to proceed in this FLSA action collectively with other similarly situated former employees of Wood Group.

         Therefore, Plaintiff moves the Court to: (1) conditionally certify this action for purposes of notice and discovery; (2) order that a judicially approved notice be sent to all Putative Class Members by mail and email; (3) approve the form and content of Plaintiff's proposed judicial notice and reminder notice; (4) order Wood Group to produce to Plaintiff's Counsel the last known name, address, phone number, email address and dates of employment for each of the Putative Class Members in a usable electronic format; (5) authorize a sixty (60) day notice period for the Putative Class Members to join this case; (6) authorize Plaintiff's counsel to send by mail and email a second copy of the Notice/Consent to Putative Class Members; and (7) authorize Plaintiff's counsel to follow up with the Putative Class Members whose Notice Packet was returned as undeliverable with a call to ensure receipt of the Notice. (D.E. 19, p. 23).

         Wood Group opposes conditional certification and filed its brief in opposition to Plaintiff's motion (D.E. 20) on October 25, 2017. Wood Group maintains conditional certification should be denied because (1) the scope of the proposed class is overly broad; (2) Plaintiff is not a proper class representative because he is not similarly situated to potential class members with respect to job duties; (3) Plaintiff is not a proper class representative because he has not provided any evidence to support that a nationwide policy exists with respect to paying exempt employees “straight time” overtime; (4) Plaintiff is not similarly situated with other potential class members because individualized issues predominate and (5) Plaintiff has not shown there are other eligible members of the proposed class who are interested in joining this action. (D.E. 20, p. 12-25). Wood Group further maintains that if conditional certification is granted, the scope of the class should be narrowed. (D.E. 20, p. 27). Additionally, Wood Group objects to certain aspects of Plaintiff's proposed notice forms and procedure. (D.E. 20, p. 24).

         III. ANALYSIS.

         A. Legal Standard for ...

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