Koren v. Martin Marietta Services, Inc., Civil No. 96-1696(JP).

Decision Date06 March 1998
Docket NumberCivil No. 96-1696(JP).
PartiesAlfred KOREN, Plaintiff, v. MARTIN MARIETTA SERVICES, INC., Martin Marietta Corporation, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico

Peter John Porrata, San Juan, PR, Carlos M. Vergne Vargas, Limeres, Vergne, & Durán, Santurce, PR, for Plaintiff.

Alfredo M. Hopgood, McConnell Valdés, San Juan, PR, Víctor M. Comolli, Schuster Usera Aguiló & Santiago, San Juan, PR, for Defendants.


PIERAS, District Judge.


The Court has before it the Defendants' Brief in Compliance with this Court's Initial Scheduling Conference Order (docket No. 31); Plaintiff's Reply (opposition), which was never docketed; Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Brief (docket No. 39); and Plaintiff's Motion in Reply to the Reply of Defendant's [sic] Reply to Plaintiff's Brief (sur-reply), which also has not yet been docketed.1 The Clerk of the Court is hereby instructed to docket Plaintiff's submissions.

Plaintiff initially filed this action on June 10, 1994 in Commonwealth Court asserting that the Defendants, his former employer and its owner, violated Puerto Rico wage-and-hour laws.2 After appeal to the Puerto Rico Circuit Court of Appeals, Region I, the complaint was amended in 1996 to state a cause of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219. The Defendants opted to remove the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441-1452, based on federal question jurisdiction. Codefendant Martin Marietta Services ("MMS"), now known as Lockheed Martin Services, is a subsidiary of codefendant Martin Marietta Corporation, which is now known as Lockheed Martin Corporation (collectively, "Defendants").

Plaintiff worked for MMS and its corporate predecessors from 1969 to 1992. In 1980, his position was re-classified to Planning and Installation ("P & I") engineer. The Plaintiff asserts that from the moment he was reclassified, MMS (1) failed to pay him for overtime and meal breaks in accordance with Puerto Rico's Law 379, P.R.Laws Ann. tit. 29, §§ 271-299 (1985), and/or (2) failed to pay him overtime in accordance with the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(2). Koren claims that MMS incorrectly classified him as exempt from Law 379's and the FLSA's provisions to avoid paying him the claimed amounts. See P.R.Laws Ann. tit. 29 §§ 246e, 299; 29 U.S.C. § 213 (exempting employees employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity). Koren seeks compensation for the years from 1980 to 1992, in accordance with P.R.Laws Ann. tit. 29, § 282 (1985) (providing for claims for sums unpaid plus an equal sum as liquidated damages). He claims $540,000 in back pay for meal breaks that he worked and $1,430,000 in back pay for overtime, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages under Puerto Rico law, for a total of $3,940,000. He also states that he was not paid overtime in compliance with the FLSA, without specifying the amount sought.

The Court ordered the parties to brief several legal issues that were brought up during the Initial Scheduling Conference. The purpose was to dispose of such issues as a matter of law, thereby narrowing the scope of this litigation to only legally valid claims. In essence, the Court wished the Defendants to provide either a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(c) or, where matters outside the pleadings needed to be considered, a Motion for Summary Judgment.

The Defendants have presented the following arguments: first, the Plaintiff is exempt from both Puerto Rico and federal wage-and-hour laws because he is an administrator and/or a professional; second, as a matter of federal law, Puerto Rico's employment laws have no application to the Plaintiff with respect to his work for MMS because his work was conducted within a federal enclave; third, as a matter of Puerto Rico law, Puerto Rico's laws have no extraterritorial effect in a federal enclave, in the Virgin Islands, or at sea; fourth, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico cannot regulate and/or interfere with federal activities and/or installations that are immune; and fifth, the Federal Service Contract Act establishes the regulatory system that governed the Plaintiff's wages and benefits for his work at MMS. The Court will attempt to address each argument using the items supplied by the parties. In doing so, the Court believes prudence requires the determination of applicable law be undertaken first. Additional relevant facts will be brought out as necessary, along with the source of those facts.


In his Complaint, Alfred Koren asserts that he "worked for [MMS] at different parts of the Roosevelt Roads Base, Vieques and El Yunque." Roosevelt Roads is a United States naval base on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico's mainland. Vieques is a small island several miles off of the coast where Roosevelt Roads is located; the Navy owns and occupies two-thirds of Vieques. El Yunque, also known as the Caribbean National Forest, is a national forest owned by the United States government and administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service. Pico del Este, or East Peak, is a mountain in El Yunque on which a communications facility is located. Pursuant to a memorandum of understanding, the United States Navy uses the communications facility to house a Guided Missile Control Center. Defendants contend these locations are "federal enclaves," sites where local law, including Puerto Rico's wage-and-hour laws, does not apply.


The United States Constitution endows Congress with:

Power to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the States in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.

U.S. Const. Art. I § 8. "The Clause has been broadly construed, and the acquisition by consent or cession of exclusive or partial jurisdiction over properties for any legitimate governmental purpose beyond those itemized is permissible." Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529, 542 n. 11, 96 S.Ct. 2285, 49 L.Ed.2d 34 (1976) (citing Collins v. Yosemite Park Co., 304 U.S. 518, 528-30, 58 S.Ct. 1009, 82 L.Ed. 1502 (1938)). Pursuant to the Clause, "Congress may acquire derivative legislative power from a State ... by consensual acquisition of land, or by nonconsensual acquisition followed by the State's subsequent cession of legislative authority over the land." Kleppe, 426 U.S. at 542. "In either case, the legislative jurisdiction acquired may range from exclusive federal jurisdiction with no residual state police power [citations omitted], to concurrent, or partial federal legislative jurisdiction, which may allow the State to exercise certain authority." Id. (citations omitted).

In 1903, the Puerto Rico legislature passed the following law:

That consent be and is hereby given, to the United States to acquire for naval, military or other public purposes, by purchase or condemnation, any lands within the island of Porto Rico, and when so acquired and possession thereof shall have been taken by the United States, all jurisdiction over such lands by the People of Porto Rico shall cease and determine [terminate]; Provided, however, that upon the subsequent alienation by the United States of any land so acquired, the People of Porto Rico shall again have jurisdiction thereover."

Act of Feb. 16, 1903, 1903 P.R.Laws, p. 110 § 5 (hereinafter "Act of 1903"). This law was repealed in 1955, Act of June 10, 1955, 1955 P.R.Laws, p. 228, at which time it was superseded by the Act now codified at P.R.Laws Ann. tit. 28 §§ 44, 46. In 1940, the United States' Congress codified the longstanding rule that federal ownership of land within a state does not, without more, imply either a total or partial corresponding transfer of jurisdiction:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the obtaining of exclusive jurisdiction in the United States over lands or interests therein which have been or shall hereafter be acquired by it shall not be required; but the head or other authorized officer of any department or independent establishment or agency of the Government may, in such cases and at such times as he may deem desirable, accept or secure from the State in which any lands or interests therein under his immediate jurisdiction, custody, or control are situated, consent to or cession of such jurisdiction, exclusive or partial, not theretofore obtained, over any such lands or interests as he may deem desirable and indicate acceptance of such jurisdiction on behalf of the United States by filing a notice of such acceptance with the Governor of such State or in such other manner as may be prescribed by the laws of the State where such lands are situated. Unless and until the United States has accepted jurisdiction over lands hereafter to be acquired as aforesaid, it shall be conclusively presumed that no such jurisdiction has been accepted.

Act of Feb. 1, 1940, ch. 18, 54 Stat. 19 (1940) (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. § 255). See Collins v. Yosemite Park & Curry Co., 304 U.S. 518, 522-24, 58 S.Ct. 1009, 82 L.Ed. 1502 (1938); Silas Mason Co. v. Tax Comm. of WA, 302 U.S. 186, 197-99, 58 S.Ct. 233, 82 L.Ed. 187 (1937); James v. Dravo Contracting Co., 302 U.S. 134, 141-42, 58 S.Ct. 208, 82 L.Ed. 155 (1937).

By these statutes, the Puerto Rico legislature appears to have ceded legislative jurisdiction over any lands acquired by the United States, but the United States legislature, reiterating long established jurisprudential precedent, refused to take such control where it did not actually accept legislative jurisdiction. Before the United States acquires...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 cases
  • Amaya v. Power Design, Inc., 15–1691
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • August 15, 2016
    ...Glynn v. Capeletti Bros., Inc., 621 F.2d 1309, 1316–17 (5th Cir. 1980) (concluding the same); Koren v. Martin Marietta Servs., Inc., 997 F.Supp. 196, 217 & n.28 (D.P.R. 1998) (noting the lack of case law discussing a private right of action under the CWHSSA but concluding that, based on Sup......
  • Colon v. United States, Case No.: GJH–17–775
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • March 13, 2018
    ...1234, 1235 (10th Cir. 2012) ; Cooper v. S. Cal. Edison Co. , 170 Fed. Appx. 496, 497 (9th Cir. 2006) ; Koren v. Martin Marietta Servs. , 997 F.Supp. 196, 202 (D.P.R. 1998). In this case, the parties agree that the Maryland legislature ceded both Fort Meade and the Walter Reed Medical Center......
  • Lebron Diaz v. General Sec. Services Corp., CIV A 95-2595.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • April 24, 2000
    ...15. In reaching this decision the court is aware of the apparently contrary decisions in Koren v. Martin Marietta Services, Inc., 997 F.Supp. 196 (D.Puerto Rico 1998), and Roberts v. U.S.O. Council of Puerto Rico, 1998 WL 199576 (P.R.). Both these decisions held that Puerto Rico's employmen......
  • Kelly v. Lockheed Martin Services Group, Civ. 97-2265(DRD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • August 31, 1998
    ...a federal enclave. These events are well described in Judge Pieras's recent decision in Koren v. Martin Marietta Services., Inc., 997 F.Supp. 196, 199-202 (D.P.R.1998), and need not be repeated by this Court. See also People of Puerto Rico v. Koedel, 927 F.2d 662, 664-666 (1st Cir.1991) (re......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • The Federal Enclave Doctrine: A Potentially Powerful Defense To State Employment Laws
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • March 15, 2013
    ...(addressing whether the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was a federal enclave). 8 Koren v. Martin Marietta Servs., 997 F. Supp. 196, 202 (D.P.R. 1997) (state law existing at the time of cession still applies within the enclave until a federal law abrogates the state 9 C......

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