Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., No. Civ.A.SA-04-CA-0120-XR.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
Writing for the CourtRodriguez
Citation361 F.Supp.2d 608
PartiesRobert D. MARTINEZ, Jr., Plaintiff, v. BOHLS BEARING EQUIPMENT CO. and Bohls Bearing Service Co., Defendants.
Decision Date11 April 2005
Docket NumberNo. Civ.A.SA-04-CA-0120-XR.
361 F.Supp.2d 608
Robert D. MARTINEZ, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
BOHLS BEARING EQUIPMENT CO. and Bohls Bearing Service Co., Defendants.
No. Civ.A.SA-04-CA-0120-XR.
United States District Court, W.D. Texas San Antonio Division.
February 28, 2005.
As amended April 11, 2005.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Robert D. Martinez, Jr., San Antonio, TX, pro se.

Malinda A. Gaul, San Antonio, TX, pro se.

Mark Anthony Sanchez, Beverly West Stephens, Gale, Wilson & Sanchez, P.L.L.C., San Antonio, TX, for Plaintiff.

Frederick Richard Zlotucha, Law Office of Frederick R. Zlotucha, San Antonio, TX, for Defendants.

ORDER

RODRIGUEZ, District Judge.


Plaintiff's motion to amend the Court's February 28, 2005, summary judgment Order granting in part and denying in part summary judgment is GRANTED (docket no. 54). That Order is amended as follows to certify it for interlocutory appeal.

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 33). Plaintiff has filed claims for various causes of action, including violations of the Thirteenth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act

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("FLSA"), and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants have moved for summary judgment arguing that the incorrect defendant was named as a party, that no adverse employment action was taken against Plaintiff, that the FLSA claim is subject to an accord and satisfaction, and that the evidence does not create a genuine issue of material fact as to any claim. The Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' motion. Summary judgment is granted in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff's Thirteenth Amendment, § 1981, and Title VII discrimination and retaliation claims, as well as Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim under Texas law. Genuine issues of material fact remain as to Plaintiff's Title VII harassment and FLSA retaliation claims.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff is a Hispanic male who was employed by Defendants from April 1996 to July 7, 2003 as a warehouseman and driver. According to testimony by Plaintiff and other employees, Defendants' president, Louis Bohls, made numerous and ongoing racial slurs directed at his Hispanic workers. These slurs included phrases such as: "Do it like a white man, not like a Mexican;" "Do your work like a white man would, not like a dumb Mexican;" "You dumb Mexican, do it right like a white man;" and "The only things Mexicans are good for are having babies and getting welfare, and that comes out of my pocket." Plaintiff asserts that these comments were made on a continuous, near-daily basis. Plaintiff states that he complained of this treatment, but to no avail.

According to the affidavit of Allen Shuler, Defendants' computer analyst and apparent controller, Plaintiff began his employment on April 7, 1997 at a rate of $5.50 per hour. Beginning in December of 2001, Plaintiff was scheduled to work every other Saturday for five hours, with an agreed payment of $50 per Saturday worked. Shuler states that after a number of raises, Plaintiff's wage as of August 9, 2002 was $8.13 per hour, plus the $50 for each Saturday worked. In May 2002, Plaintiff informed the company vice-president that he had not been paid for his Saturday work. The company vice-president informed Shuler to increase Plaintiff's pay by an additional $45 to cover Saturday work. Shuler, thinking that Plaintiff's pay would now be incorrect, informed Mr. Bohls that Plaintiff was then to receive $95 for Saturday work. Mr. Bohls informed Shuler that the additional $45 should not be paid. No records have been put forward to verify Plaintiff's wages and none were put forward to support Shuler's affidavit. In June 2003 Defendants eliminated all Saturday work for driver/warehouse employees.

At some point prior to June 2003, Plaintiff went to the Department of Labor1 and complained about not receiving overtime pay for Saturday work. Shortly after this, Mr. Bohls received a phone call from an individual at the Texas Workforce Commission ("TWC") regarding a complaint filed either by Plaintiff or Plaintiff's son as to the failure to pay overtime. During this conversation with the TWC, Mr. Bohls was apparently informed that the company was not in compliance with the law. Mr. Bohls asked for information as to how he should structure salaries and overtime payments in order to be in compliance with the law. According to Mr. Bohls, the TWC informed him of the law and also informed him that he could informally settle the overtime claim with Plaintiff by paying him and obtaining a release. After this conversation, Mr. Bohls apparently instituted

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a change in the payroll system and all employees were informed on June 2, 2003 that they were to receive a pay stub each pay period and that all work would be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday, with no work on Saturdays.

On June 2, 2003 Plaintiff was called into a meeting with Mr. Bohls. During this meeting Mr. Bohls offered Plaintiff $1000 to compensate him for Saturday work that Plaintiff maintained he had not been paid for. Plaintiff signed a notarized memorandum that stated "I Robert D. Martinez on this 2nd day of June 2003, accept $1000.00 in full payment for all overtime accumulated and unpaid during the period from 06/01/01 to 06/01/03. I consider this amount as full settlement for all overtime in question and reported." Plaintiff states that he signed this memorandum and took $1000, even though he believed he was owed nearly $3500, because he needed money to fix his vehicle and because his wife was sick.2 Sometime after the June 2, 2003 meeting, Plaintiff received his next paycheck. According to Plaintiff, at some point prior to this he had been told by the company vice-president and by Shuler that his salary was to be $9.00 per hour. In the paycheck following the June 2, 2003 meeting, however, Plaintiff found that his salary was listed as $8.13 per hour.

On June 20, 2003 Plaintiff filed a Wage Claim with the TWC. In this Wage Claim, Plaintiff complained that he had not been fully paid overtime benefits and that his salary had been reduced from $9.00 per hour to $8.13 per hour because he had filed a complaint with the Department of Labor. On July 2, 2003 Plaintiff received notice from the TWC that his Wage Claim had been received by the Labor Law Department of the TWC and that Defendants had been notified of the claim. On July 7, 2003 Plaintiff was called into Mr. Bohls's office where he met with Mr. Bohls and Irma Booher, a collections and accounts receivable clerk.3 At this meeting Plaintiff was asked to explain his position as to his salary. Plaintiff told Mr. Bohls that he thought his salary was $9.00 per hour and that he expected to be paid that amount. Plaintiff also told Mr. Bohls that he would accept $1500 to finally settle the overtime claim. Mr. Bohls told Plaintiff that the company did have any "$9 jobs." At this point Plaintiff apparently asked when he could pick up his final check. Plaintiff asserts that he was fired at this meeting. Defendants assert that Plaintiff quit because his salary demands would not be met. Booher testified that her feeling was that Mr. Bohls "terminated" Plaintiff at this meeting.4

On August 25, 2003, a Preliminary Wage Determination Order was entered by the TWC denying Plaintiff's Wage Claim. After Plaintiff appealed the order, the TWC denied the Wage Claim on November 6, 2003. The TWC found that the June 2, 2003 release memorandum and the $1000

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payment settled the issue of overtime payments. The TWC did not address Plaintiff's complaint that his salary had been reduced.5 No appeal was taken of this ruling.

Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on July 18, 2003. Plaintiff complained that he had been harassed and discriminated against on the basis of his race and national origin and that he had been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination. Plaintiff was issued a right to sue letter on December 5, 2003 and filed his federal Complaint on February 6, 2004. In Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges violations of the Thirteenth Amendment, § 1981, Title VII, the FLSA, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under Texas law. Defendant has now moved for summary judgment.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). The moving party has the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Willis v. Roche Biomedical Lab., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995). Once the movant carries its initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to show that summary judgment is inappropriate. Fields v. City of S. Houston, 922 F.2d 1183, 1187 (5th Cir.1991). All justifiable inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). In making this determination, the court will review the evidence in the record and disregard the evidence favorable to the moving party that the jury is not required to believe. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 135, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). In order for a court to conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact, the court must be satisfied that no reasonable trier of fact could have found for the nonmovant, or, in other words, that the evidence favoring the nonmovant is insufficient to enable a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmovant. See Anderson...

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74 practice notes
  • Almond v. Tarver, Civil Action No. 1:05-CV-009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • August 15, 2006
    ...S05-CA-106-XR, 2006 WL 1280943, at *5 (W.D.Tex. May 8, 2006); Johnson, 375 F.Supp.2d at 549-50; Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equip. Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 632-33 (W.D.Tex.2005). Therefore, summary judgment is proper as to this 3. Official Immunity Finally, DeLord maintains that Almond's tort ......
  • Dees v. Hydradry Inc, Case No. 8:09-cv-1405-T-23TBM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • April 19, 2010
    ...at first glance, requiring a district court to approve each FLSA compromise appears unnecessary, Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equip. Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608 (W.D.Tex.2005), illustrates the problem with permitting unsupervised, private compromise. In Martinez, an employee sued his employer for o......
  • Archer v. TNT U.S. Inc., No. 12–CV–1297 (SLT)(RML).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...16(c) to be the exclusive manner by which to settle claims does not have a clear answer.” Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 626 (W.D.Tex.2005). For purposes of the memorandum and order, this Court need not resolve these questions. Rather, this Court will focus sole......
  • Archer v. TNT USA Inc., No. 12–CV–1297 SLTRML.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...16(c) to be the exclusive manner by which to settle claims does not have a clear answer.” Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 626 (W.D.Tex.2005). For purposes of the memorandum and order, this Court need not resolve these questions. Rather, this Court will focus sole......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
75 cases
  • Almond v. Tarver, Civil Action No. 1:05-CV-009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • August 15, 2006
    ...S05-CA-106-XR, 2006 WL 1280943, at *5 (W.D.Tex. May 8, 2006); Johnson, 375 F.Supp.2d at 549-50; Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equip. Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 632-33 (W.D.Tex.2005). Therefore, summary judgment is proper as to this 3. Official Immunity Finally, DeLord maintains that Almond's tort ......
  • Dees v. Hydradry Inc, Case No. 8:09-cv-1405-T-23TBM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • April 19, 2010
    ...at first glance, requiring a district court to approve each FLSA compromise appears unnecessary, Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equip. Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608 (W.D.Tex.2005), illustrates the problem with permitting unsupervised, private compromise. In Martinez, an employee sued his employer for o......
  • Archer v. TNT U.S. Inc., No. 12–CV–1297 (SLT)(RML).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...16(c) to be the exclusive manner by which to settle claims does not have a clear answer.” Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 626 (W.D.Tex.2005). For purposes of the memorandum and order, this Court need not resolve these questions. Rather, this Court will focus sole......
  • Archer v. TNT USA Inc., No. 12–CV–1297 SLTRML.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...16(c) to be the exclusive manner by which to settle claims does not have a clear answer.” Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., 361 F.Supp.2d 608, 626 (W.D.Tex.2005). For purposes of the memorandum and order, this Court need not resolve these questions. Rather, this Court will focus sole......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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