Cerutti v. Frito Lay Inc.

Citation777 F.Supp.2d 920
Decision Date28 March 2011
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 09–22.
PartiesNancy CERUTTI, James Coffman, John Constabile, Matthew Donaldson, Anthonty Georgiana, Donald McKnight, Linda Massucci, Michael Massucci, Shaun Christopher, and John Arison, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,v.FRITO LAY, INC., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Pennsylvania


John R. Linkosky, Carnegie, PA, Joseph E. Fieschko, Jr., Fieschko & Associates, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, for Plaintiffs.Rachel A. Miller, Ashley T. Hirano, Guy N. Halgren, Samantha D. Hardy, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, San Diego, CA, Stephanie R. Reiss, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Pittsburgh, PA, for Defendant.


CONTI, District Judge.I. Introduction

Pending before the court is a motion for partial summary judgment (“Motion”) (ECF No. 26), filed by defendant Frito–Lay, Inc. (defendant or “Frito–Lay”) with respect to claims filed by plaintiffs Nancy Cerutti (Cerutti), James Coffman, John Constabile, Matthew Donaldson, Anthony Georgiana, Donald McKnight, Linda Massucci, Michael Massucci, Shaun Christopher, and John Arison (collectively, plaintiffs). Plaintiffs assert that Frito–Lay violated the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (“PMWA”), as amended, 43 Pa.Stat.Ann. §§ 333.101 et seq., by failing to pay them overtime (“OT”) compensation as required by 43 Pa.Stat.Ann. § 333.104(c). Plaintiffs allege claims on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. Because a class has not been certified at this time, however, only the named plaintiffs are before the court. For the reasons stated below, the court will grant in part and deny in part Frito–Lay's Motion.

II. Procedural and Factual BackgroundA. Procedural Background

Plaintiffs filed the instant action in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Pennsylvania and defendant removed plaintiffs' action to federal court, pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1453. (ECF No. 1.) After removal, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint (“Amended Complaint”) asserting that Frito–Lay failed to pay overtime (“OT”) compensation as required by the PMWA, for the period from April 21, 2006 through the present. (ECF No. 21.)

Frito–Lay argues it is entitled to partial summary judgment because: 1) plaintiffs were exempt from OT compensation under the Pennsylvania motor carrier exception (“PMCE”) to the PMWA, which is codified in 43 Pa.Stat.Ann. § 303.105(b)(7), for the entire period in question; and 2) even if plaintiffs' were not exempt, Frito–Lay properly compensated plaintiffs for all OT hours worked utilizing the fluctuating workweek (“FWW”) method of calculating OT compensation, described in 29 C.F.R. § 778.114. Plaintiff disputes those arguments. B. Factual Background 1

Frito–Lay argues that the issues before the court are solely legal in nature. Plaintiffs agree with one caveat: plaintiffs indicate that a least one legal issue raised by defendant Frito–Lay, i.e., the calculation of when the hourly rate of pay is determined, must be resolved by a jury.2 The relevant factual background, however, is not complex and is focused upon Frito–Lays' driving operations, its OT compensation method, and plaintiffs' job responsibilities.

Frito–Lay is an international snack food manufacturing company engaged in manufacturing, sales and distribution of snack foods across the United States, Canada and Mexico. (SF ¶ 1; ECF No. 34.) 3 Frito–Lay sells and delivers its products to customers in Pennsylvania primarily through route salesman representatives (“RSRs”). ( Id. ¶ 3.) At all relevant times, plaintiffs were RSRs. ( Id. ¶ 6.) Nine plaintiffs drove Frito–Lay's trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (“GVWR”) under 10,001 pounds. ( Id.) One plaintiff—Cerutti—drove a Frito–Lay's truck with a GVWR over 10,001 pounds. ( Id.)

Frito–Lay compensated plaintiffs through a base salary and commissions on sales, pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) negotiated between the RSRs' union and Frito–Lay. (SF ¶ 4.) Under the CBA, plaintiffs were entitled to OT compensation for all time worked over forty hours in a workweek. Frito–Lay pays plaintiffs OT at one-half their regular rate of pay using the FWW method described in the federal code of regulations, 29 C.F.R. § 778.114. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Frito–Lays' handbook explains the OT compensation method applicable to plaintiffs as follows:

Any week in which you work more that forty (40) hours, you will receive, in addition to your base salary, extra pay for overtime hours. This overtime is calculated as follows:

                ¦Base Salary + any Commissions      ¦=   ¦TOTAL WEEKLY COMPENSATION          ¦
                ¦Divide Total Weekly Compensation by¦=   ¦HOURLY RATE OF PAY                 ¦
                ¦Total hours worked for that week   ¦    ¦                                   ¦
                ¦Take Hourly Rate of Pay, multiply  ¦    ¦                                   ¦
                ¦this number by .5, then multiply by¦=   ¦OVERTIME PAID FOR THAT WEEK        ¦
                ¦the number of overtime hours       ¦    ¦                                   ¦

(SF ¶ 5, ECF No. 34; Def.'s RSR Handbook, App. Ex. B, ECF No. 29.)III. Summary Judgment Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides in relevant part:

(a) Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment. A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense—or the part of each claim or defense—on which summary judgment is sought. The 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. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion....

(c) Procedures.

(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or

(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A), (B).

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”

Marten v. Godwin, 499 F.3d 290, 295 (3d Cir.2007) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)).

An issue of material fact is in genuine dispute if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); see Doe v. Abington Friends Sch., 480 F.3d 252, 256 (3d Cir.2007) (“A genuine issue is present when a reasonable trier of fact, viewing all of the record evidence, could rationally find in favor of the non-moving party in light of his burden of proof.”) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248–52, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322–23, 106 S.Ct. 2548).

[W]hen the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts .... Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.”

Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586–87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)).

In deciding a summary judgment motion, a court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all doubts in favor of the nonmoving party. Doe v. Cnty. of Centre, PA, 242 F.3d 437, 446 (3d Cir.2001); Woodside v. Sch. Dist. of Phila. Bd. of Educ., 248 F.3d 129, 130 (3d Cir.2001); Heller v. Shaw Indus., Inc., 167 F.3d 146, 151 (3d Cir.1999). A court must not engage in credibility determinations at the summary judgment stage. Simpson v. Kay Jewelers, Div. of Sterling, Inc., 142 F.3d 639, 643 n. 3 (3d Cir.1998).

IV. Discussion

Plaintiffs argue that Frito–Lay violated the PMWA because it failed to record accurately all the hours worked by plaintiffs and failed to compensate them for all hours they worked. Plaintiffs contend they were entitled to be paid straight time at their regular rate of pay for all hours worked up to forty hours in a workweek, and OT compensation at not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in a workweek, pursuant to 43 Pa.Stat.Ann. §§ 333.104(c). Plaintiffs allege that Frito–Lay willfully failed to pay them properly, in violation of the PMWA. “The question of how Plaintiff[s] spent [their] time is a question of fact, while whether those particular activities exclude [them] from the overtime benefits of the FLSA is a question of law.” Morrison v. Quality Transps. Servs., Inc., 474 F.Supp.2d 1303, 1308 (S.D.Fla.2007) (citing Icicle Seafoods, Inc. v. Worthington, 475 U.S. 709, 714, 106 S.Ct. 1527, 89 L.Ed.2d 739 (1986)).

Frito–Lay contends that the PMCE applies to all plaintiffs for the entire limitations 4 period, or,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
29 cases
  • Alers v. City of Phila.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • January 24, 2013
    ...719, 721 n. 1 (3d Cir.2003) (characterizing the standards of liability under PMWA and FLSA as identical); Cerutti v. Frito Lay, Inc., 777 F.Supp.2d 920, 925–26 (W.D.Pa.2011) (“Generally, the PMWA and the FLSA each require an employer to pay overtime to employees for hours worked over forty ......
  • Poe v. IESI MD Corp., 559, Sept. Term, 2018
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 20, 2019
    ...703-05 (E.D. Pa. 2014) ; Foster v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc. , 285 F.R.D. 343, 345-46 (W.D. Pa. 2012) ; Cerutti v. Frito Lay, Inc. , 777 F. Supp. 2d 920, 945 (W.D. Pa. 2011) ; see also Chevalier v. General Nutrition Ctrs., Inc. , 177 A.3d 280 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal granted , 189 A.3d 386 ......
  • Chevalier ex rel. Situated v. Gen. Nutrition Ctrs., Inc., 22 WAP 2018
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 20, 2019
    ...F.Supp. 3d 702 (E.D. Pa. 2014) ; Foster v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc. , 285 F.R.D. 343, 347 (W.D. Pa. 2012) ; and Cerutti v. Frito Lay , 777 F.Supp. 2d 920, 944-45 (W.D. Pa. 2011) ). The trial court concluded that these federal cases were inapposite because they addressed the Basic Rate Provi......
  • Chevalier v. Gen. Nutrition Ctrs., Inc., 1437 WDA 2016
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 22, 2017
    ...many respects mirrors the FLSA, was "designed to protect employees who do not have real bargaining power." Cerutti v. Frito Lay, Inc. , 777 F.Supp.2d 920, 925 (W.D.Pa. 2011) (quoting Pa. Dep't of Labor & Indus. v. Stuber , 822 A.2d 870, 873 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2003), aff'd , 580 Pa. 66, 859 A.2d 12......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT