Edmund v. City of Fort Myers, Case No. 2:10-cv-474-FtM-29SPC

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
Writing for the CourtJOHN E. STEELE
PartiesROY F. EDMUND, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF FORT MYERS, Defendant.
Docket NumberCase No. 2:10-cv-474-FtM-29SPC
Decision Date05 January 2012

ROY F. EDMUND, on behalf of himself
and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF FORT MYERS, Defendant.

Case No. 2:10-cv-474-FtM-29SPC

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA FORT MYERS DIVISION

Dated: January 5, 2012


OPINION AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant City of Fort Myers's (defendant or the City) Rule 56 Dispositive Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum of Law (Doc. #34) filed on October 13, 2011. Plaintiff, Roy F. Edmund (plaintiff or Edmund), filed a response on October 27, 2011. (Doc. #41.) Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. #37) filed on October 14, 2011. The City filed a response on November 15, 2011. (Doc. #45.) For the reasons discussed below, defendant's motion is denied and plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I.

Summary judgment is appropriate only when the Court is satisfied that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue is "genuine" if there is sufficient evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a

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verdict for either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if it may affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Id.

The moving party bears the burden of identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and/or affidavits which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Rice-Lamar v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 232 F.3d 836, 840 (11th Cir. 2000). In order to avoid the entry of summary judgment, a party faced with a properly supported summary judgment motion must come forward with extrinsic evidence, i.e., affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and/or admissions, which are sufficient to establish the existence of the essential elements to that party's case, and the elements on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. at 322; Hilburn v. Murata Elecs. N. Am., Inc., 181 F.3d 1220, 1225 (11th Cir. 1999).

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court is required to consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Johnson v. Booker T. Washington Broad. Serv., Inc., 234 F.3d 501, 507 (11th Cir. 2000); Jaques v. Kendrick, 43 F.3d 628, 630 (11th Cir. 1995). The Court does not weigh conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations. Hilburn

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v. Murata Elecs. N. Am., Inc., 181 F.3d at 1225. "If the record presents factual issues, the court must not decide them; it must deny the motion and proceed to trial." Tullius v. Albright, 240 F.3d 1317, 1320 (11th Cir. 2001)(citing Clemons v. Dougherty Cnty., 684 F.2d 1365, 1369 (11th Cir. 1982)). However, "[t]he mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case." McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor. Id.

II.

The following facts are undisputed: Edmund was employed by the City and performed his duties on the Eastwood Golf Course ("Eastwood"), a golf course owned and operated by the City.1 Although plaintiff initially misstated his work schedule, as is discussed in more detail infra, the parties ultimately agree that plaintiff's regular schedule was a forty (40) hour work week as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 5:00 AM

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through 1:00 PM, Wednesday, from 5:00 AM through 10:30 AM, and either Saturday or Sunday, from 5:00 AM through 7:30 AM. The City of Fort Myers required employees working at the Eastwood Golf Course to clock in and clock out for their shifts. The parties agree that plaintiff typically clocked in every morning at approximately 4:30 a.m. They disagree, however, as to whether Edmund was engaged in work activities prior to his regular start time of 5:00 a.m.

Plaintiff filed a one-count Complaint on his behalf and those similarly situated (Doc. #1) against the City alleging defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19, by failing to properly compensate him for overtime hours worked in excess of his 40 hour per week schedule. He seeks compensation, liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney's fees.

III.

Congress enacted the FLSA to ensure a "minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well being . . . ." for workers in the United States. 29 U.S.C. § 202(a). The FLSA mandates that an employee who is "engaged in interstate commerce" must be paid an overtime wage of one and one-half times his regular rate for all hours he works in excess of forty hours per week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). If a covered employee is not paid the statutory wage, the FLSA creates for that employee a private cause of action against his employer for the recovery of unpaid

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overtime wages and back pay. Id. § 216(b). Before a plaintiff may recover for uncompensated overtime work under the FLSA, he or she must prove that (1) they worked overtime hours without compensation, and (2) the defendant had knowledge, or should have had knowledge, of the plaintiff's overtime work. Reich v. Dep't of Conservation & Natural Res., 28 F.3d 1076, 1082 (11th Cir. 1994). An employee who brings suit for overtime wages under the FLSA has the burden of proving that uncompensated work was performed. Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 687 (1946). Since April 15, 1986, a municipality has been an "employer" for purposes of the FLSA. Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit Auth., 469 U.S. 528, 533 (1985); Wethington v. City of Montgomery, 935

F.2d 222, 224-25 (11th Cir. 1991)(citing Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1985, Pub. L. No. 99-150 § 2(c), 99 Stat. 787, 788).

IV.

A. The City's Motion for Summary Judgement (Doc. #34)

The City seeks summary judgment because Edmund initially misstated his work schedule (Doc. #34.) In support, the City provided an affidavit of Kathy Musa (Musa), the Administrative Manager2 for the City of Fort Myers, in which she attests to plaintiff's regularly scheduled work week.3 (Doc. #34-1.)

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Edmund acknowledges his initial misstatement regarding his work schedule, but contends he has since amended his statement and the misstatement is irrelevant. (Doc. #41.)

On January 7, 2011, Edmund filed his Responses to the Court's Interrogatories (Doc. #25) in which he described his regular work schedule as follows: "Monday through Saturday, from 5:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. I worked, and was expected to work from 4:30 through 1:30 p.m. I was scheduled to have a half-hour lunch, but I was not able to take my lunch due to the work load." (Doc. # 25-1, p.1.) In response to interrogatory 7, which sought an accounting of plaintiff's claim, Edmund responded that in addition to his regular schedule of 40 hours per week, he worked 14 hours of overtime. Id.

On October 14, 2011, plaintiff filed an Amended response to the Court's Interrogatories (Doc. #36) in which he described his regular work schedule as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 5:00 AM through 1:00 PM, Wednesday, 5:00 AM through 10:30 AM, and Saturday OR Sunday, 5:00 AM through 7:30 AM. However, I regularly and customarily began work before the 5:00 AM (between

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4:30 AM and 4:40 AM) scheduled start time and continued to work after the scheduled end time (i.e. after 1:00 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, after 10:30 AM on Wednesdays, and after 7:30 AM on weekends.

(Doc. # 36-1, p. 1.) This amended statement comports with defendant's account of Edmund's schedule. The accounting of plaintiff's claim in his amended response indicates that he worked "approximately" 14 overtime hours per week. In both his first and amended response to the court's interrogatories, plaintiff claims he is owed $24,328.34 in overtime compensation.

Although plaintiff initially misstated his work schedule, plaintiff has always maintained that, in addition to his regularly scheduled 40 hour work week, he regularly worked overtime for which he was not compensated. The Court is not persuaded that plaintiff's initial failure to correctly report the exact times he was expected to work warrants summary judgment in favor of defendant, nor does defendant cite to any case law which would support such a finding. Plaintiff's misstatement has been cured by plaintiff's amended response, and summary judgment as a sanction would simply be far too severe. Defendant's motion for summary judgment is denied.

B. Edmund's Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #37)

Plaintiff's motion seeks summary judgment that: (1) defendant violated, and is liable under, the FLSA for unpaid wages; (2) plaintiff is entitled to an award of liquidated damages; and (3) plaintiff's affirmative defenses lack...

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