United States District Court, W.D. Texas
DANA WHITE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiff
U.S. CORRECTIONS, LLC, U.S. CORRECTIONS, LLC, AND SOUTH EAST EMPLOYEE LEASING, INC., Defendants
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
HIGHTOWER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT
this Court are Defendant U.S. Corrections, LLC's Motion
to Dismiss, filed on June 13, 2019 (Dkt. No. 8);
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Motor
Carrier Exemption, filed on August 30, 2019 (Dkt. No. 21);
and the related response and reply briefs. The District Court
referred the above motions to the undersigned Magistrate
Judge for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and
Rule 1 of Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States
District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Corrections, LLC (“USC”) is a North Carolina
corporation that provides prisoner transportation services in
Texas and across the United States. USC employs drivers to
transport prisoners between various correctional facilities.
USC employed Dana White (“Plaintiff”) as an
extradition officer who was responsible for
“transporting inmates between prisons and other
facilities in passenger vans weighing less than 10, 001
pounds.” Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 16. Plaintiff worked for
USC from June 2018 to January 2019. Plaintiff alleges that
she regularly worked more than 40 hours per week and that USC
failed to compensate her at the required overtime rate for
such work in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). Plaintiff
further alleges that similarly situated extradition agents
also were not paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40
hours per week.
April 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, on behalf of
herself and all similarly situated employees, alleging that
USC, U.S. Corrections, LLC,  and East Employee Leasing,
violated the FLSA by failing to (1) pay overtime compensation
to her and similarly situated employees, and (2) maintain
accurate time and pay records. Plaintiff seeks unpaid
overtime compensation, liquidated damages, attorneys'
fees and costs, pre and post-judgment interest, and an order
allowing this action to proceed as a collective action under
29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
13, 2019, USC filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, arguing
that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because
(1) Plaintiff is exempt from the overtime pay requirements of
the FLSA under the Motor Carrier Act exemption, 29 U.S.C.
§ 213(b); (2) there is no private cause of action for
alleged violations of the FLSA's recordkeeping
requirements; and (3) the Complaint fails to state a claim
for relief for the putative group of individuals Plaintiff
seeks to represent.
opposes the Motion to Dismiss. She also has filed a Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment arguing that the Motor Carrier
Act exemption does not apply in this case and, therefore, the
Court should dismiss Defendant's affirmative defense with
prejudice under Rule 56.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to
dismiss an action for failure to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court
“accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them
in the light most favorable to the [nonmovant].” In
re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th
Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme
Court has explained that a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter “to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the [nonmovant] pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the [movant] is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678.
“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (internal quotations and citations omitted).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Id. The
court's review is limited to the complaint, any documents
attached to the complaint, and any documents attached to the
motion to dismiss that are central to the claim and
referenced by the complaint. Lone Star Fund V (U.S.),
L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir.
judgment shall be rendered when the pleadings, the discovery
and disclosure materials, and any affidavits on file show
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986); Washburn v.
Harvey, 504 F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir. 2007). A dispute
regarding a material fact is “genuine” if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is
required to view all inferences drawn from the factual record
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475
U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Washburn, 504 F.3d at 508. A
court “may not make credibility determinations or weigh
the evidence” in ruling on a motion for summary
judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,
530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000); see also Anderson, 477
U.S. at 254-55.
the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the party
opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary
judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine fact issue.
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Mere conclusory
allegations are not competent summary judgment evidence, and
thus are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary
judgment. Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476
F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007). Furthermore, unsubstantiated
assertions, improbable inferences, and unsupported
speculation are not competent summary judgment evidence.
Id. The party opposing summary judgment is required
to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate
the precise manner in which that evidence supports its claim.
See Adams v. Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn., 465 F.3d
156, 164 (5th Cir. 2006). If the nonmoving party fails to
make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to its case and on which it will bear the
burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must be granted.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.
summary judgment is sought on an affirmative defense, as
here, the movant “must establish beyond peradventure
all of the essential elements of the claim or defense to
warrant judgment in his favor.” Fontenot v. Upjohn
Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986). “Once
the movant does so, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to
establish an issue of ...