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Wilson v. Decibels of Oregon, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

January 31, 2019

DANIEL WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DECIBELS OF OREGON, INC.; DENNIS SNYDER; LEO BROWN, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MICHAEL MCSHANE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, ECF No. 23. The Court has determined that this motion is appropriate for resolution without oral argument. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         BACKGROUND

         The following factual summary is derived from the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), ECF No. 15, and the docket entries for the related action, Matthew Wilson v. Decibels of Oregon et al., Case No. 1:16-cv-00855-CL.

         Plaintiff Daniel Wilson was employed by Defendant Decibels of Oregon, Inc. as an installation technician from April 14, 2014, through May 2016. FAC ¶¶ 8-10.

         On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff sought to join an earlier-filed Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective action case, Matthew Wilson v. Decibels of Oregon et al., Case No. 1:16-cv- 00855-CL (the “Matthew Wilson case”), as an opt-in plaintiff. See ECF No. 48 of Case No. 1:16-cv-08550-CL. The Matthew Wilson plaintiff moved for FLSA class certification. Judge Clarke recommended that class certification be denied on the basis that the putative class members were not similarly situated and, on August 31, 2017, this Court adopted that recommendation. ECF Nos. 82, 96 of Case No. 1:16-cv-08550-CL. Denial of class certification resulted in the involuntary dismissal of Plaintiff's claims without prejudice. FAC ¶ 16. The Matthew Wilson plaintiff proceeded with his individual claims, which were ultimately resolved by settlement agreement on April 24, 2018. ECF No. 115 of Case No. 1:16-cv-00855-CL. Plaintiff did not appeal the denial of conditional certification following entry of final judgment in the Matthew Wilson case.

         Plaintiff initiated this action on October 2, 2017. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that he and other similarly situated installation technicians were subjected an unfair and unlawful system of payment while employed by Defendants, which deprived them of wages for time spent working and overtime pay to which they were entitled. As in the Matthew Wilson case, Plaintiff is pursuing collective action on behalf of similarly situated installation technicians. Plaintiff filed a written consent to join in this action on April 5, 2018. ECF No. 17.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the record shows that “there is no genuine dispute as to any materials fact and the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a fact. T.W. Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Pac. Elect Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). Whether the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity of the dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Caltrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

         Special rules of construction apply when evaluating a summary judgment motion: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of material fact should be resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec., 809 F.2d at 630.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants move for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's FLSA collective action claim on the basis that it is partially-time barred.

         An action brought under the FLSA must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues, unless the case involves a “willful violation, ” in which case the limitations period is extended to three years. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a). “An FLSA cause of action accrues ‘at each regular payday immediately following the work period during which the services were rendered for which the wage or overtime compensation is claimed.'” Frye v. Baptist Mem'l Hosp., Inc., 495 Fed.Appx. 669, 675 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Hughes v. Region VII Area Agency on Aging, 542 F.3d 169, 187 (6th Cir. 2008)). Collective action claims are subject to an additional procedural requirement:

In determining when an action is commenced for purposes of section 255 of this title, an action commenced on or after May 14, 1947 under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended . . . shall be considered commenced on the date when the complaint is filed; except that in the case of a collective or class action instituted under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended . . . it shall be considered commenced in the case of any individual claimant-
(a) on the date when the complaint is filed, if he is specifically named as a party plaintiff in the complaint and his written consent to become a party plaintiff is filed on such date ...

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