In re Enter. Rent-A-Car Wage & Hour Emp't Practices Litig.. Nickolas Hickton, MDL No. 2056

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtCONTI
Citation735 F.Supp.2d 277
PartiesIn re ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR WAGE & HOUR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LITIGATION. Nickolas Hickton, et al. v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, et al., Defendants. This Document Relates to: All Actions.
Decision Date13 August 2010
Docket NumberCiv. 2:09-cv-01321-JFC,Misc. No. 2:09-mc-00210-JFC,Civ. Nos. 2:07-cv-01687-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-00816-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-01188-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-00824-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-00832-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-00815-JFC,Civ. 2:09-cv-00833-JFC,MDL No. 2056
735 F.Supp.2d 277

In re ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR WAGE & HOUR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LITIGATION.
Nickolas Hickton, et al.
v.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, et al., Defendants.
This Document Relates to: All Actions.


MDL No. 2056.
Misc. No. 2:09-mc-00210-JFC.
Civ. Nos. 2:07-cv-01687-JFC, 2:09-cv-00815-JFC, 2:09-cv-00816-JFC, 2:09-cv-00824-JFC, 2:09-cv-00832-JFC, 2:09-cv-00833-JFC, 2:09-cv-01188-JFC, 2:09-cv-01321-JFC.

United States District Court,
W.D. Pennsylvania.


Aug. 13, 2010.

735 F.Supp.2d 281

Alfred G. Yates, Jr., Law Offices of Alfred G. Yates, Jr., Pittsburgh, PA, Michelle A. Coccagna, Peter Muhic, Robert Biela, Robert J. Gray, James A. Maro, Jason Conway, James A. Maro, Jason Conway, Joseph H. Meltzer, Peter Muhic, Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check LLP, Radnor, PA, Gregg I. Shavitz, Hal B. Anderson, Shavitz Law Group, P.A., Boca Raton, FL, Jeffrey Brooks Kent, Bryman Clerke & Kent, Marietta, GA, Joseph A. Schreiber, Robert J. Camp, The Cochran Firm, P.C., Birmingham, AL, Marion V. Cruz, Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Montgomery LLC, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs.

James R. Wyrsch, Daniel M. O'Keefe, James R. Wyrsch, Bryan Cave LLP, St. Louis, MO, Jason C. Schwartz, Melanie L. Katsur, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Washington, DC, John R. Gotaskie, Jr., Patrick L. Abramowich, Fox Rothschild LLP, Pittsburgh, PA, Steven A. Siegel, Fisher & Phillips, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Mitchell Scott Allen, Bryan Cave Powell Goldstein, Atlanta, GA, Christian M. Poland, Bryan Cave LLP, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CONTI, District Judge.

Pending before this court are two motions filed by defendant Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company 1 ("ERAC-Missouri" or "defendant parent"). The first is a motion to dismiss the amended master complaint with respect to claims asserted against defendant parent. (Docket No. 65, Misc. No. 09-210.) The second is a motion seeking summary judgment in favor of defendant parent on joint employer issues. (Docket No. 124.)

I. Procedural Background

The issues raised in the motion to dismiss the amended master complaint were briefed in connection with two motions to dismiss, stay, or transfer, which, on November 6, 2009, were dismissed without prejudice due to the filing on September 18, 2009 of the amended master complaint (Docket No. 35).

The first motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer (Docket No. 12, Civ. No. 07-1687) was filed by defendants ERAC-Missouri and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company of Pittsburgh 2 ("ERAC-Pittsburgh," and together with ERAC-Missouri, "Hickton defendants"). The movant sought to dismiss, stay, or transfer the claims set forth in the complaint (Docket No. 1) filed by Nickolas C. Hickton ("Hickton"), on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated. The motion alleged, inter alia, that this court lacks personal jurisdiction over ERAC-Missouri and asked for the claims against ERAC-Missouri to be dismissed. After a hearing on April 23, 2008, the court ordered a stay, among other things, of all claims against ERAC-Missouri, due to a prior pending action against ERAC-Missouri in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri,

735 F.Supp.2d 282
Zabady v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., No. 4:07-CV-04494 (E.D.Mo.). (Docket No. 39.)

In a letter submitted on September 15, 2008, Hickton informed the court that all collective action claims were dismissed in Zabady. ( See Docket No. 48.) In response, Hickton defendants submitted a letter on October 10, 2008. (Docket No. 48.) In the letter, Hickton defendants argued that the stayed portions of the lawsuit cannot proceed because the court lacks personal jurisdiction over ERAC-Missouri and that the claims against ERAC-Missouri should be dismissed or transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. ( Id.) Following a status conference on October 15, 2008, this court ordered the parties to brief the issue whether personal jurisdiction exists over ERAC-Missouri. On April 10, 2009, Hickton submitted a memorandum of law in support of this court's exercise of personal jurisdiction. (Docket No. 63.) On May 8, 2009, Hickton defendants filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the exercise of personal jurisdiction and in further support of ERAC-Missouri's motion to dismiss. (Docket No. 80.) On May 27, 2009, Hickton filed a reply memorandum of law. (Docket No. 93.)

The second motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer (Docket No. 18, Civ. No. 09-832) was filed on September 29, 2008 in Averill v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., No. 1:08-cv-04191 (N.D.Ill.), by defendant ERAC-Missouri. The motion sought to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, stay, or transfer to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri the complaint of plaintiff Michael Keith Averill ("Averill," and together with Hickton and the other plaintiffs in the consolidated actions, "plaintiffs"). (Docket No. 6.) On November 3, 2008, Averill filed a response to ERAC-Missouri's motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer (Docket No. 32), raising arguments similar to those raised in the Hickton case. ERAC-Missouri filed a reply memorandum in support of the motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer on December 1, 2008. (Docket No. 40.)

On June 10, 2009, 626 F.Supp.2d 1325 (U.S.Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit.2009), the Hickton and Averill cases, among others, were consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation for pretrial purposes in this court. This court heard oral argument on the two pending motions to dismiss on August 12, 2009. The court ordered subsequent briefing on several issues. On September 14, 2009, ERAC-Missouri filed a supplemental brief on personal jurisdictional matters (Docket No. 30), and plaintiffs filed a supplemental memorandum of law in support of this court's exercise of jurisdiction (Docket No. 31). On October 5, 2009, ERAC-Missouri filed a reply to plaintiffs' supplemental memorandum of law (Docket No. 50), and plaintiffs filed a response to ERAC-Missouri's supplemental jurisdictional brief (Docket No. 51).

Hickton and Averill each filed separate collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. ("FLSA"), among other claims. Hickton's action was brought against ERAC-Missouri, its operating subsidiary, ERAC-Pittsburgh, and Does 1 through 10. Hickton's complaint was filed December 11, 2007 in this district. (Docket No. 1, Civ. No. 07-1687.) Averill's action was brought only against ERAC-Missouri. Enterprise Leasing Company of Chicago 3 ("ELC-Chicago")

735 F.Supp.2d 283
was ERAC-Missouri's operating subsidiary at issue in that case. Averill's complaint was originally filed on July 23, 2008 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (Docket No. 1, Civ. No. 09-832.) Hickton and Averill filed notices of adoption of the amended master complaint with respect to their actions. ( See Docket Nos. 38, 39, Misc. No. 09-210.) The amended master complaint names as defendants, among others: ERAC-Missouri, ERAC-Pittsburgh, and ELC-Chicago. (Docket No. 35.) Averill's action is now proceeding against ERAC-Missouri and ELC-Chicago. ( See Docket No. 38.)

The motion for summary judgment was filed on February 26, 2010 (Docket No. 124, Misc. No. 09-210). In that motion, ERAC-Missouri argues that, although plaintiffs allege that ERAC-Missouri is a joint employer of plaintiffs under the FLSA, the undisputed facts show that it did not employ plaintiffs. On March 15, 2010, ERAC-Missouri filed a brief in support of the motion (Docket No. 147), an appendix of exhibits (Docket No. 150), and a statement of facts (Docket No. 148). On March 29, 2010, plaintiffs filed a memorandum in opposition to ERAC-Missouri's motion (Docket No. 154), an appendix of exhibits (Docket No. 155), and a reply statement of facts (Docket No. 153). On April 12, 2010, ERAC-Missouri filed a reply memorandum in support of its motion (Docket No. 162), an additional exhibit (Docket No. 164), and a reply and consolidated statement of facts (Docket No. 163). On May 10, 2010, ERAC-Missouri filed a notice of supplemental authority (Docket No. 168). Plaintiff responded to notice of supplemental authority on May 13, 2010. (Docket No. 170.)

The court originally scheduled oral argument to take place on May 21, 2010 with respect to the motion for summary judgment on joint employer issues, but at that hearing the court ordered additional briefing on several topics. On May 27, 2010, ERAC-Missouri filed a supplemental brief (Docket No. 177), and on May 28, 2010, plaintiffs filed their brief (Docket No. 179) and a declaration of counsel Peter Muhic to which exhibits were attached (Docket No. 180). On June 7, 2010, the court heard oral argument on the issues raised in the motion for summary judgment.

For the reasons explained more fully in this memorandum opinion, the court will deny without prejudice ERAC-Missouri's motion to dismiss and grant ERAC-Missouri's motion for summary judgment on joint employer issues.

II. Factual Background

A. ERAC-Missouri

ERAC-Missouri is incorporated under Missouri law and maintains a principal place of business in St. Louis, Missouri. (Ex. 1 ¶ 3 to Hickton defendants' memorandum of law in opposition to the exercise of personal jurisdiction and in further support of ERAC-Missouri's motion to dismiss (Docket No. 80, Civ. No. 07-1687) ("Def.'s Br. Hickton").) At the time these actions were commenced, ERAC-Missouri was the sole shareholder of thirty-eight subsidiaries in the United States that rent and sell vehicles.4 (Consolidated statement

735 F.Supp.2d 284
of facts (Docket No. 163) ("C.S.F.") ¶ 1; appendix of exhibits in support of motion for summary judgment on joint employer issues (Docket No. 150) ("Def.'s App."), Ex. 1 ¶ 5.) ERAC-Missouri is a subsidiary of The Crawford Group, Inc. (the "Crawford Group"). (Ex. A ¶ 3 to ERAC-Missouri's reply memorandum in support of the motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer (Docket No. 40, Civ. No. 09-832) ("Def.'s Reply Averill").)

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71 practice notes
  • Koresko v. United States, Civil Action No. 13–4131
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • August 19, 2015
    ...(West 1954 ed.), Ch. 27, § 242, p. 510)); Enterprise Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Empl. Practices Litig. v. Enter. Rent–A–Car Co., 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 330, fn. 18 (W.D.Pa.2010) ("A judicial admission is binding upon the party making it; it may not be controverted at trial or on appeal. In......
  • Gorton v. Air & Liquid Sys. Corp., Civ. Action No. 1:17–1110
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 19, 2018
    ...Bane v. Netlink, Inc., 925 F.2d 637, 640 (3d Cir. 1991) ; In re Enter. Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig., 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 310 (W.D. Pa. 2010), aff'd, 683 F.3d 462 (3d Cir. 2012). Pursuant to section 5301(a), "registration by a foreign corporation [in Pennsylvani......
  • Garcia v. Peterson, CIVIL ACTION H-17-1601
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • July 20, 2018
    ...joint employer analysis is irrelevant to personal jurisdiction." In re Enter. Rent-a-Car Wage & Hour Emp't Practices Litig. , 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 326 (W.D. Penn. 2010) (discussing cases). The court finds that whether MidCap was considered the plaintiffs' "employer" is not ......
  • Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Pittsburgh & W. Va. R.R., 2:11-cv-1588-TFM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • December 29, 2015
    ...corporation to liability for its subsidiary's acts.”); see also In re Enter. Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig. , 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 322–23 (W.D.Pa.2010) (“The sharing by the corporations 153 F.Supp.3d 810 of directors and the ownership by defendant parent of one-hundred......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
71 cases
  • Koresko v. United States, Civil Action No. 13–4131
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • August 19, 2015
    ...(West 1954 ed.), Ch. 27, § 242, p. 510)); Enterprise Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Empl. Practices Litig. v. Enter. Rent–A–Car Co., 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 330, fn. 18 (W.D.Pa.2010) ("A judicial admission is binding upon the party making it; it may not be controverted at trial or on appeal. In......
  • Gorton v. Air & Liquid Sys. Corp., Civ. Action No. 1:17–1110
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 19, 2018
    ...Bane v. Netlink, Inc., 925 F.2d 637, 640 (3d Cir. 1991) ; In re Enter. Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig., 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 310 (W.D. Pa. 2010), aff'd, 683 F.3d 462 (3d Cir. 2012). Pursuant to section 5301(a), "registration by a foreign corporation [in Pennsylvani......
  • Garcia v. Peterson, CIVIL ACTION H-17-1601
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • July 20, 2018
    ...joint employer analysis is irrelevant to personal jurisdiction." In re Enter. Rent-a-Car Wage & Hour Emp't Practices Litig. , 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 326 (W.D. Penn. 2010) (discussing cases). The court finds that whether MidCap was considered the plaintiffs' "employer" is not ......
  • Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Pittsburgh & W. Va. R.R., 2:11-cv-1588-TFM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • December 29, 2015
    ...corporation to liability for its subsidiary's acts.”); see also In re Enter. Rent–A–Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig. , 735 F.Supp.2d 277, 322–23 (W.D.Pa.2010) (“The sharing by the corporations 153 F.Supp.3d 810 of directors and the ownership by defendant parent of one-hundred......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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