Melton v. Tippecanoe Cnty., No. 14–3599

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtKanne, Circuit Judge.
Citation838 F.3d 814
Docket NumberNo. 14–3599
Decision Date22 September 2016
Parties James Melton, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. Tippecanoe County, Defendant–Appellee.

838 F.3d 814

James Melton, Plaintiff–Appellant,
v.
Tippecanoe County, Defendant–Appellee.

No. 14–3599

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Argued March 31, 2016
Decided September 22, 2016


Ronald E. Weldy, Attorney, Barker Hancock Cohron, Noblesville, IN, for Plaintiff–Appellant.

Douglas J. Masson, Attorney, Hoffman, Luhman & Masson, Lafayette, IN, for Defendant–Appellee.

Before Manion and Kanne, Circuit Judges, and Pepper, District Judge.*

Kanne, Circuit Judge.

After he disregarded an order from his supervisor that he could not change his schedule to make up for missed time, Plaintiff James Melton was discharged from his job at the Tippecanoe County Surveyor's Office. Melton later filed suit against the County, alleging that during his time there, he had arrived early and worked through lunch every day and was not compensated for overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The district court granted summary judgment to the County because Melton had not designated sufficient evidence to find that he worked more than forty hours in a workweek. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Melton worked in the Tippecanoe County Surveyor's Office from July 6, 2009, through his termination on September 1, 2010. Regular work hours in the Surveyor's Office were from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a one-hour floating lunch break. On May 13, 2010, Melton asked his supervisor in an email if he could take a class during work hours and “make up the 4 hours a week by only taking 1/2hour [sic] lunches and coming in 1/2hour [sic] early on T,R,F.” His supervisor responded by email that Melton could take the class, but due to concerns about supervision and being able to keep track of time, he could not make up the missed time. Instead, he would have to treat the time as unpaid or as vacation time. Melton acknowledged his supervisor's answer, responding “[t]hat is fine with me.”

When his class began the week of August 23, 2010, Melton worked through lunch on one day and came in early three days that week. Melton was paid for the additional time worked, but he was also terminated for failing to follow his supervisor's

838 F.3d 817

order that he could not work extra time.

B. Procedural Background

Each week while he was employed at the Surveyor's Office, Melton would certify a timecard reporting the hours he worked. According to County records, Melton was paid for all of the hours that he certified he worked. Not so, according to Melton. Melton filed suit in state court alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 207(a), and the Indiana Wage Claim law, Ind. Code § 22–2–9–2(a). The County subsequently removed the case to federal court.

In his complaint, Melton alleged that his timecards did not accurately reflect the hours he worked because when he put his actual time worked on his timecard, the office secretary would reduce his hours to 37.5, telling him that he could not be paid for more than 37.5 hours in a workweek. Specifically, Melton claimed that he was not compensated for (1) time worked before 8 a.m. even though his supervisor told him to come to work early every day and (2) time worked through all or part of his floating lunch each day.

In support of his claim that he was not properly compensated, and in response to discovery requests, Melton produced a spreadsheet created from memory that purports to show the dates and times he worked during the whole of his employment with Tippecanoe County.

The County moved for summary judgment on several grounds. In particular, it argued that Melton “was paid for the time he certified ... , his recollection of uncertified time is demonstrably unreliable, and ... he did not take those steps available to him to put Tippecanoe County on notice of any allegedly inadequate compensation.” (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. 22.)

In response, Melton refused to address the County's argument that his “memory is unreliable,” calling it a “premature argument” that “concerns credibility to be decided at trial.” (Pl.'s Opp. to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. 7 n.2.) Instead, Melton addressed the County's argument that it did not have knowledge of Melton's additional work hours by designating the following testimony from his deposition as evidence that he worked hours for which he was not compensated: (1) that he submitted time sheets with more than 37.5 hours to the secretary; (2) that she would return a “corrected version” with 37.5 hours; (3) that she told him he would not be paid for hours worked beyond 37.5; (4) that Melton was told by his supervisor on three occasions that he was required to be at work before 8:00 a.m.; and (5) that he spoke with his supervisor three times about working hours that were not being paid. Melton did not point to any evidence regarding unpaid lunch hours nor did he rely on his spreadsheet as evidence of his unpaid hours.

In reply, the County noted that Melton had only designated evidence related to “about twenty unpaid minutes per day before work” and no evidence of working through lunch. Therefore, the County argued, Melton only had evidence upon which a reasonable juror could find, at the most, an additional one hour and forty minutes of time worked in a week. Because that additional time would only account for a workweek of 39.2 hours, the County argued that Melton could not establish a FLSA violation, which requires the plaintiff to show uncompensated hours in excess of forty per week.

The district court agreed, and it granted summary judgment to the County. The district court found that Melton had only designated an additional one hour and forty minutes of uncompensated time. That time, the district court found, was insufficient

838 F.3d 818

to establish a FLSA violation because Melton had not shown that he worked in excess of forty hours per week. The district court then declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Melton's state-law claim and dismissed it without prejudice. Melton appealed.

II. ANALYSIS

We review de novo a district court's grant of summary judgment. Peretz v. Sims , 662 F.3d 478, 480 (7th Cir. 2011). Because our review is de novo , “we may affirm on any ground supported in the record, so long as that ground was adequately addressed in the district court and the nonmoving party had an opportunity to contest the issue.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

Summary judgment is appropriate where “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In reviewing whether the movant is entitled to a grant of summary judgment, we take all facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Peretz , 662 F.3d at 480 ; see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). When opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must “cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record” or “show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the absence ... of a genuine...

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40 practice notes
  • Pietrzycki v. Heights Tower Serv., Inc., No. 14 C 6546
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • November 29, 2017
    ...bear the burden to prove that they performed overtime work for which they were not properly compensated. Melton v. Tippecanoe Cty. , 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016) ; Kellar , 664 F.3d at 173 ; Brown v. Family Dollar Stores of IN, LP , 534 F.3d 593, 594 (7th Cir. 2008). Only after Plainti......
  • Marski v. Courier Express One, Inc., 19 CV 4132
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • September 29, 2021
    ...inference, '” in the event the “employer kept inaccurate records.” Brown, 246 F.Supp.3d at 1220 (quoting Melton v. Tippecanoe Cty., 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016)). The employee must also show that her “employer had actual or constructive knowledge about her overtime work.” Id. In this c......
  • Ochadleus v. City of Detroit (In re City of Detroit), Nos. 15-2194/2337/2353/2371/2379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 3, 2016
    ...2013). The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit recently held that the doctrine applied to Chapter 9 solely because of the 838 F.3d 814finality and reliance concerns that a city's residents had in a case dealing with their city's bankruptcy, In re City of Stockton , 542 B.R. 261,......
  • Walsh v. Saline Cnty. Ambulance Serv., Inc., 3:20-CV-01284-NJR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • June 27, 2022
    ...to FLSA ‘has the burden of proving that he performed work for which he was not properly compensated.'” Melton v. Tippecanoe Cnty., 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 686-87 (1946)). “Where the employee alleges that his employer kept......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40 cases
  • Pietrzycki v. Heights Tower Serv., Inc., No. 14 C 6546
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • November 29, 2017
    ...bear the burden to prove that they performed overtime work for which they were not properly compensated. Melton v. Tippecanoe Cty. , 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016) ; Kellar , 664 F.3d at 173 ; Brown v. Family Dollar Stores of IN, LP , 534 F.3d 593, 594 (7th Cir. 2008). Only after Plainti......
  • Marski v. Courier Express One, Inc., 19 CV 4132
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • September 29, 2021
    ...inference, '” in the event the “employer kept inaccurate records.” Brown, 246 F.Supp.3d at 1220 (quoting Melton v. Tippecanoe Cty., 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016)). The employee must also show that her “employer had actual or constructive knowledge about her overtime work.” Id. In this c......
  • Ochadleus v. City of Detroit (In re City of Detroit), Nos. 15-2194/2337/2353/2371/2379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 3, 2016
    ...2013). The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit recently held that the doctrine applied to Chapter 9 solely because of the 838 F.3d 814finality and reliance concerns that a city's residents had in a case dealing with their city's bankruptcy, In re City of Stockton , 542 B.R. 261,......
  • Walsh v. Saline Cnty. Ambulance Serv., Inc., 3:20-CV-01284-NJR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • June 27, 2022
    ...to FLSA ‘has the burden of proving that he performed work for which he was not properly compensated.'” Melton v. Tippecanoe Cnty., 838 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 686-87 (1946)). “Where the employee alleges that his employer kept......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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