Byers v. Petro Servs., Inc., Case No. 14–62794–CIV.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
Writing for the CourtJAMES I. COHN, District Judge.
Citation110 F.Supp.3d 1277
Parties Michael BYERS, Plaintiff, v. PETRO SERVICES, INC., Defendant.
Docket NumberCase No. 14–62794–CIV.
Decision Date21 May 2015

110 F.Supp.3d 1277

Michael BYERS, Plaintiff,

Case No. 14–62794–CIV.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida.

Signed May 21, 2015.

110 F.Supp.3d 1279

Julisse Jimenez, Ruben Martin Saenz, Saenz & Anderson, PLLC, Aventura, FL, for Plaintiff.

Frank Morreale, Matthew Pearce McLauchlin, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Jacksonville, FL, for Defendant.


JAMES I. COHN, District Judge.

THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 21]. The Court has reviewed the Motion, Plaintiff's Response [DE 33], and the record in this case, and is otherwise advised in the premises. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court determines that Plaintiff comes within the FLSA's executive-employee exemption from overtime requirements. Accordingly, the Court will grant the Motion, and will enter judgment in Defendant's favor.


In this action under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., Plaintiff Michael Byers alleges that Defendant Petro Services, Inc. ("Petro Services") failed to pay him overtime wages as required by law. Petro Services hired Byers in 2009 to manage one of its convenience stores: Store 1824. Deposition of Michael Byers, Mar. 5, 2015 (DE 24–1 & 24–2), at 10:13–14, 38:23–39:10. Byers' employment was terminated in 2014. Id. at 10:15–16. Petro Services paid Byers a salary of $700 to $750 per week during his employment, in addition to occasional bonuses. Id. at 16:19–19:3.

Byers alleges that he worked an average of 60 hours per week during his employment with Petro Services. Compl. ¶ 9. Byers contends that he was never paid overtime wages for the time he worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Id. Byers asserts that this failure to pay overtime violated the FLSA. Byers has raised a single claim against Petro Services on this basis for the recovery of unpaid overtime wages. Id. ¶¶ 4–15.

Petro Services now moves for summary judgment on Byers' claim for unpaid overtime. In the Motion, Petro Services argues that it was not required to pay overtime wages to Byers, because he was an executive or administrative employee exempt from the FLSA's overtime requirements.


A district court "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it

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believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). To satisfy this burden, the movant must show the court that "there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

After the movant has met its burden under Rule 56(a), the burden of production shifts, and the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). As Rule 56 explains, "[i]f a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact ... the court may ... grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials—including the facts considered undisputed—show that the movant is entitled to it." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3). Therefore, the non-moving party "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials in its pleadings" but instead must present "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1576–77 (11th Cir.1990). In deciding a summary-judgment motion, the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Davis v. Williams, 451 F.3d 759, 763 (11th Cir.2006).


Byers has asserted a claim under the FLSA for unpaid overtime. The FLSA generally requires an employer to pay its employees time-and-a-half for any work beyond forty hours per week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). However, the FLSA contains exemptions from this overtime requirement. As relevant here, the FLSA's overtime-compensation requirements do not apply to executive or administrative employees. 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1). Petro Services contends in its Motion that Byers was an executive or administrative employee, thus it was not required to pay him overtime under the FLSA. The Court agrees with Petro Services that Byers falls within the FLSA's exemption for executive employees. Accordingly, Petro Services is entitled to summary judgment on Byers' claim against it.

The FLSA's exemptions are narrowly construed. Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 594 (11th Cir.1995) (per curiam). An employer asserting an exemption bears the burden of establishing that the exemption applies by clear and affirmative evidence. Calvo v. B & R Supermarket, Inc., 63 F.Supp.3d 1369, 1378–79 (S.D.Fla.2014). With respect to the executive exemption, an employee working in an executive capacity means an employee:

1) Compensated on a salary basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week ...;

2) Whose primary duty is management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof;

3) Who customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees; and

4) Who has the authority to hire or fire other employees or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees are given particular weight.

29 C.F.R. § 541.100(a).

For purposes of the Motion, Byers acknowledges that he was compensated on a salary basis of more than $455 per week, and that he directed the work of two or

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more other employees. Resp. 9. Accordingly, the only disputed issues relate to the nature of Byers' primary duty and whether he had substantial influence over the hiring, firing, advancement, or promotion of other employees. The Court will address each of these issues in turn.

A. Byers' Primary Duty Was Management

The executive exemption only applies if the employee's primary duty is management. Byers' title while employed by Petro Services was "store manager." Declaration of Michael Byers (DE 34–1) ¶ 5. However, Byers' title is not dispositive of his primary duty. Instead, the Court must examine the surrounding facts to determine whether Byers' "most critical duties to the enterprise were his exempt managerial duties." Rutenberg v. Boynton Carolina Ale House, LLC, No. 09–80409, 2010 WL 135100 at *3 (S.D.Fla. Jan. 8, 2010) (citing Rodriguez v. Farm Stores Grocery, Inc., 518 F.3d 1259, 1264 (11th Cir.2008) ). In resolving this issue, "[h]ow an employee spends her time working is a question of fact, while the question of whether the employee's particular activities exclude her from the overtime benefits of the FLSA is a question of law." Langley v. Gymboree Operations, Inc., 530 F.Supp.2d 1297, 1301 (S.D.Fla.2008) (citing Icicle Seafoods, Inc. v. Worthington, 475 U.S. 709, 714, 106 S.Ct. 1527, 89 L.Ed.2d 739 (1986) ).

In examining whether an employee's primary duty is management, the Court is guided by regulations from the Department of Labor:

Generally, "management" includes, but is not limited to, activities such as interviewing, selecting, and training of employees; setting and adjusting their rates of pay and hours of work; directing the work of employees; maintaining production or sales records for use in supervision or control; appraising employees' productivity and efficiency for the purpose of recommending promotions or other changes in status; handling employee complaints and grievances; disciplining

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