Davis v. Rockton & Rion RR, No. 474.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtHemphill & Hemphill, of Chester, S. C., for defendant
Docket NumberNo. 474.
PartiesDAVIS et al. v. ROCKTON & RION R. R.
Decision Date29 March 1946

65 F. Supp. 67

DAVIS et al.
v.
ROCKTON & RION R. R.

No. 474.

District Court, W. D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division.

March 29, 1946.


65 F. Supp. 68
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
65 F. Supp. 69
W. K. Charles, of Greenwood, S. C., for plaintiffs

Hemphill & Hemphill, of Chester, S. C., for defendant.

WYCHE, District Judge.

This is an action to recover unpaid minimum wages, overtime compensation, liquidated damages and attorney's fees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 201-219, for work performed for the defendant by the plaintiffs.

By its answer, the defendant denies the material allegations of the complaint and says that neither it nor its employees is engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and by way of an affirmative defense, alleges that the action is barred by the South Carolina statute of limitations, and that it has no obligation to pay overtime because of an exemption provided in section 13(b) (2), 29 U.S.C.A. § 213(b) (2), under which section overtime need not be paid to any employee of an employer subject to the provisions of Part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S. C.A. §§ 1-27.

In the case of Walling v. Rockton & Rion R. R., D.C., 54 F.Supp. 342, affirmed 4 Cir., 146 F.2d 111, certiorari denied, 324 U.S. 880, 65 S.Ct. 1026, heretofore tried before me, the Rockton & Rion Railroad, the defendant in the action here, was enjoined from violating the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act with reference to the payment of minimum wages and overtime compensation. All the testimony, depositions and exhibits that were admitted in evidence in the trial of that case were admitted in evidence in the case now before me, and the same issues are presented here as were involved in that case, with the exception that the defendant has alleged the bar of the South Carolina statute of limitations as a further defense to the cause now under consideration.

The defendant is engaged in transporting over its line a large volume of shipments destined for points outside of South Carolina, practically all such shipments being made by granite companies located on defendant's line. During the period covered in the complaint, such shipments have averaged in number in excess of two hundred a month. Although the less than carload shipments have predominated, yet measured in terms of carload shipments, the total monthly average has ranged from approximately thirty-five to approximately one hundred carloads. During the same period of

65 F. Supp. 70
time the intrastate shipments (all carload lots) have averaged approximately three hundred and fifty a month. On a weight and tonnage basis, defendant's superintendent testified that the interstate shipments accounted for only about ten per cent. of the total traffic. When measured either on the basis of the number of shipments or of tonnage hauled, the defendant is substantially engaged in transporting goods destined to out-of-state points, since on either basis large volumes of goods transported by the defendant are ultimately carried to out-of-state points

The defendant is also engaged in transporting over its line a substantial number of shipmates which have originated at out-of-state points. All of such shipments are consigned to the granite companies located upon the defendant's line at Rion and at Anderson's Quarry. The defendant also frequently handles incoming express shipments as freight which have originated at out-of-state points. These also are all consigned to the granite companies.

It, therefore, follows that the defendant is engaged in interstate commerce and in intrastate commerce.

The plaintiffs were employed by the defendant, during the periods set out in the complaint, as section-hands and members of construction crews. Their duties require them to construct, maintain and repair the roadbed, railroad tracks, bridges and trestles, over which the defendant operated its railway locomotives and cars for the hauling and transportation of freight and express in interstate commerce.

The defendant did not pay to the plaintiffs, during the periods alleged in the complaint, minimum wages and overtime compensation, as prescribed by the provisions of the Act, and employed the plaintiffs for work-weeks in excess of the hours provided in the Act, and failed to compensate them for such overtime at rates of not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay.

The questions involved in this controversy are: (1) Are the plaintiffs engaged in commerce, and, (2) if they are so engaged, whether the exemption from the requirement to pay overtime applies, and, (3) is plaintiffs' cause of action barred under the statute of limitations of South Carolina? Acts of the General Assembly of South Carolina May 25, 1945, 44 St. at Large, page 377; Section 356, Code of laws of South Carolina 1942.

The first two questions have already been decided by me adversely to the defendant in Walling v. Rockton & Rion R. R., supra. The defendant contends, however, that the two cases are distinguishable, in that the testimony in Walling v. Rockton & Rion R. R., supra, referred to employees generally, and had particular reference to the work performed by the engineers and firemen and train crew, and that in the cause now before me, there is no evidence in the record from which it could be held directly, or by implication, that any one or more of the plaintiffs handled, or transported in any manner, any of the goods which were shipped from points along the Rockton & Rion Railroad to places in other states, and from out-of-state sources to points along defendant's line.

It has been found that the defendant is engaged in interstate commerce, as well as intrastate commerce, so in considering the foregoing contention of the defendant, I am only concerned with the nature of the work performed by the plaintiffs during the time of their employment by the defendant. It is now well established that to be engaged in commerce within the meaning of the Act an employee must be actually engaged in the movement of commerce, or the services he performs must be so closely related thereto, as to be for all practical purposes an essential part thereof. McLeod v. Threlkeld, 319 U.S. 491, 63 S.Ct. 1248, 87 L.Ed. 1538. The question that naturally arises, therefore, is, was the work performed by the plaintiffs being done independently of the interstate commerce in which the defendant was engaged or was it so closely connected therewith as to be an essential part thereof? In answering a similar question, the Supreme Court in the case of Pedersen v. Delaware, Lack. & West. R., 229 U.S. 146, 33 S.Ct. 648, 649, 57 L.Ed. 1125, Ann.Cas.1914C, 153, said: "Tracks and bridges are as indispensable to interstate commerce by (a) railroad as are engines and cars; and sound economic reasons unite with settled rules of law in demanding that all of these instrumentalities be kept in repair. The security, expedition, and efficiency of the commerce depends in large measure upon this being done. * * * the work of keeping such instrumentalities in a proper state of repair while thus used is so...

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7 practice notes
  • Reid v. Solar Corporation, No. 280.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1946
    ...plaintiff and Amicus Curiæ rely strongly on two cases. One of these cases is the case of Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., D.C.S.Car.1946, 65 F.Supp. 67, 71. The South Carolina Legislature on May 25, 1945 passed a statute effective immediately which appears on page 377 of the Acts of the Gener......
  • Conard v. Stitzel, Civ. A. No. 31391.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 27 Diciembre 1963
    ...U.S. 759, 68 S.Ct. 59, 92 L.Ed. 345; Wolf Sales Co. v. Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., 105 F.Supp. 506 (D.Colo.1952); Davis v. Rockton & R.R.R., 65 F.Supp. 67 (W.D.S.C.1946), aff'd. 159 F.2d 291 (4th 18 See Bailey v. Glover, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 342, 22 L.Ed. 636 (1874); Atlantic City Electric Co. v. ......
  • Wolf Sales Co. v. Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., Civ. A. No. 2942.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • 25 Junio 1952
    ...66 S.Ct. 523, 90 L.Ed. 991; Caldwell v. Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., 5 Cir., 161 F.2d 83; Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., D.C., 65 F.Supp. 67. The discrimination prohibited is one of fact, and will not usually depend on the precise wording of the statute. Thus, where a limitation is ......
  • Fischbach & Moore, Inc. v. International Union of Op. Eng., Civ. No. 1251-60.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 6 Noviembre 1961
    ...1272 (1958); Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363, 63 S. Ct. 573, 87 L.Ed. 838 (1943); and Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., 65 F.Supp. 67 The court is fully cognizant of the fact that in many cases where federal statutes, which create federal rights of action, do not include a ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Reid v. Solar Corporation, No. 280.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1946
    ...plaintiff and Amicus Curiæ rely strongly on two cases. One of these cases is the case of Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., D.C.S.Car.1946, 65 F.Supp. 67, 71. The South Carolina Legislature on May 25, 1945 passed a statute effective immediately which appears on page 377 of the Acts of the Gener......
  • Conard v. Stitzel, Civ. A. No. 31391.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 27 Diciembre 1963
    ...U.S. 759, 68 S.Ct. 59, 92 L.Ed. 345; Wolf Sales Co. v. Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., 105 F.Supp. 506 (D.Colo.1952); Davis v. Rockton & R.R.R., 65 F.Supp. 67 (W.D.S.C.1946), aff'd. 159 F.2d 291 (4th 18 See Bailey v. Glover, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 342, 22 L.Ed. 636 (1874); Atlantic City Electric Co. v. ......
  • Wolf Sales Co. v. Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., Civ. A. No. 2942.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • 25 Junio 1952
    ...66 S.Ct. 523, 90 L.Ed. 991; Caldwell v. Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., 5 Cir., 161 F.2d 83; Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., D.C., 65 F.Supp. 67. The discrimination prohibited is one of fact, and will not usually depend on the precise wording of the statute. Thus, where a limitation is ......
  • Fischbach & Moore, Inc. v. International Union of Op. Eng., Civ. No. 1251-60.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 6 Noviembre 1961
    ...1272 (1958); Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363, 63 S. Ct. 573, 87 L.Ed. 838 (1943); and Davis v. Rockton & Rion R. R., 65 F.Supp. 67 The court is fully cognizant of the fact that in many cases where federal statutes, which create federal rights of action, do not include a ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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