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Huyck v. Schilling-Devaney

United States District Court, D. Oregon

August 5, 2019

KAREN HUYCK, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERRIE SCHILLING-DEVANEY, an individual; and SHERRIE'S JEWELRY BOX, INC., an Oregon Corporation, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOLIE A. RUSSO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Karen Huyck, brings this action to recover unpaid wages allegedly owed by defendants Sherrie's Jewelry Box, Inc. and Sherrie Schilling-Devaney pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 206, 207, and Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 653.025, 653.261, 652.120, and 652.610. Defendants assert that neither defendant employed plaintiff, but instead she worked as an independent contractor. Plaintiff previously moved for summary judgment arguing she was not an independent contractor and asserting the Office of Administrative Hearing for the Employment Department issued an order finding that plaintiff was an employee and not an independent contractor of defendant Sherrie's Jewelry Box, Inc. However, the order did not have preclusive effect on these proceedings and the Court denied summary judgment. Plaintiff again moves for summary judgment arguing she is, in fact, an employee; that defendant Sherrie Schilling-Devaney is plaintiff's statutory employer; plaintiff is entitled to FLSA minimum-wage and overtime claims; and plaintiff is entitled to Oregon unpaid-wage, minimum-wage, overtime, and wrongful deduction claims. Plaintiff also moves for summary judgment on defendants' affirmative defenses and counterclaim.

         A careful review of the record demonstrates there are significant genuine issues of material fact in dispute, and that the parties rely primarily on their own assertions regarding the facts that are material to the legal analysis in this case. For the reasons stated below, the motion for summary judgment is denied.

         A. Independent Contractor Versus Employee

         For purposes of both state and federal wage-and-hour claims, the analysis for determining whether an employment or independent contractor relationship exists is the same. Mathis v. Hous. Auth. of Umatilla Cty., 242 F.Supp.2d 777, 783 (D. Or. 2002).

         The FLSA defines an “employee” broadly as “any individual employed by an employer.” 29 USC § 203(e)(1). Accordingly, “employer” “includes any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.” 29 USC § 203(d). The FLSA defines “employ” as to “suffer or permit to work.” 29 USC §§ 203(g). The terms “suffer or permit” are interpreted as “with the knowledge of the employer.” Forrester v. Roth's IGA Foodliner, Inc., 646 F.2d 413, 414 (9th Cir.1981). The FLSA is to be construed expansively in favor of coverage to accomplish the goals of this remedial legislation. Tony & Susan Alamo Found. v. Secretary of Labor, 471 U.S. 290, 296-97 (1985).

         A non-exhaustive list of factors to distinguish between an employee and an independent contractor include:

1) the degree of the alleged employer's right to control the manner in which the work is to be performed;
2) the alleged employee's opportunity for profit or loss depending upon his managerial skill;
3) the alleged employee's investment in equipment or materials required for his task, or his employment of helpers;
4) whether the service rendered requires a special skill;
5) the degree of permanence of the working relationship; and
6) whether the service rendered is an integral part of the alleged employer's business.
The presence of any individual factor is not dispositive of whether an employee/employer relationship exists. Such a determination depends upon the ...

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