Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., Civ. A. No. 83-2553.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
Writing for the CourtSHAW
Citation619 F. Supp. 1513
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 83-2553.
Decision Date18 October 1985
PartiesC.M. ROUSSEAU, Jr. v. TELEDYNE MOVIBLE OFFSHORE, INC.

619 F. Supp. 1513

C.M. ROUSSEAU, Jr.
v.
TELEDYNE MOVIBLE OFFSHORE, INC.

Civ. A. No. 83-2553.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette-Opelousas Division.

October 18, 1985.


619 F. Supp. 1514

Wendell G. Lindsay, Jr., Lindsay & Marcel, Baton Rouge, La., for plaintiffs.

Greg Guidry, Onebane, Donohoe, Bernard, Torian, Diaz, McNamara & Abell, Lafayette, La., for defendants.

OPINION

SHAW, District Judge.

Plaintiffs have filed this lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act claiming entitlement to pay for all time not reasonably allocable to eating and sleeping and other personal time when they were off duty but not allowed to leave the barges that they worked on.

In addition to this claim, twenty-four of the original plaintiffs amended their complaint to add a second cause of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This cause of action alleges that Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., the defendant, laid off these particular plaintiffs on March 1, 1984 in retaliation for their filing of the lawsuit.

The trial was bifurcated, resulting in the claims for overtime being tried by the Judge while the retaliatory discharge claims were tried by a jury. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs and the defendant has filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or in the alternative a new trial.

Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc. is a company engaged in the business of fully servicing the oil and gas industry offshore. Its construction department consists of two divisions, the fabrication yard at Amelia, Louisiana and the offshore division, the division of the company involved in this litigation. In the offshore division, the company owns three derrick barges.

The derrick barges are used to lift offshore structures from cargo barges and place them in position on the Gulf of Mexico

619 F. Supp. 1515
floor. They are also used to perform maintenance and repair work to fixed offshore structures, for fighting blowouts, for laying pipelines, and for engaging in other similar activities concerning fixed offshore structures. These derrick barges are not self-propelled and must be towed to offshore locations by tug boats

All sixty-three plaintiffs in this matter were employed on defendant's derrick barges in connection with the barges' activities in offshore construction. Individual plaintiffs were engaged in various jobs on the derrick barges, including rigger foreman, rigger leaderman, rigger first class, crane operator, barge engineer, crane engineer, barge clerk, barge welder, and cook. All plaintiffs in this matter were paid an hourly rate, ranging from $7.25 per hour to $13.10 per hour.

The plaintiffs, at all relevant times, worked and work for defendant on a "hitch" basis, spending seven days working and living on defendant's derrick barges, and then spending seven days not working or living on defendant's derrick barges. The seven-day hitch begins on Thursday and ends on the following Thursday.

Defendant's seven-day "workweek" runs from midnight Wednesday to the midnight of the following Wednesday. The first 40 hours worked by the employee after he begins his hitch on Thursday are compensated at the regular hourly rate. All hours worked in excess of forty, between Thursday and midnight Wednesday, are compensated at a rate of one and one-half times the hourly rate. All time worked on the last Thursday of the hitch, since it is in a new workweek (and the employee's eighth day), is compensated at the regular hourly rate.

All plaintiffs, at all material times, were regularly assigned a daily schedule of hours within which to perform their various job functions. Prior to October 1, 1982, this regular daily schedule had always been twelve hours, regardless of whether the derrick barges were engaged in income-producing work or not, and whether or not they were docked. The one exception to the twelve-hour schedule was that of the cook, whose normal daily schedule was fourteen hours. In October of 1982, in an effort to reduce costs because of drastically declining derrick barge utilization, representatives of defendant made a decision to reduce the derrick barge crews' regular daily work schedule when the derrick barges were on non-income-producing jobs. For most employees, this meant a reduction of the normal twelve-hour day to an eight-hour day. The cooks were reduced to a daily work schedule of nine and one-half hours. Except for the reduced daily schedule, there was absolutely no change in the company's pay system or policies. This reduced regular schedule on non-income-producing jobs was the practice from October 1, 1982 until the time of this lawsuit. At times when the derrick barges were "working" during this period, the employee reverted to a twelve and twelve schedule.

Sometimes, some derrick barge employees would work in excess of the daily schedule of hours. These times were normally when the barges were working and were normally limited to situations involving special jobs, such as rig moves, and in emergencies. All employees and plaintiffs were paid for all time worked in excess of the regular daily schedule. Employees considered this extra work desirable, because of increased earnings. The opportunities for the "extra time" became less and less as derrick barge utilization on income-producing jobs decreased. When the derrick barges are not working and are docked, the derrick barge employees seldom or never exceeded or exceed the regular daily schedule.

After the derrick barge employees are released from the day's active or physical labor, normally in the form of the daily regular schedule, they are completely released from all job duties and are free to engage in such activities as are available in the living quarters aboard the derrick barges, including watching television and VCR movies, listening to music, reading, eating, playing cards and similar games, sleeping, playing pingpong (on at least two of the three derrick barges), playing darts

619 F. Supp. 1516
(on at least two of the three derrick barges), fishing and generally attending to personal needs

The living quarters of the derrick barges are similar to those found on many offshore drilling platforms, with recreation rooms, sleeping quarters and large galleys (in which derrick barge employees are allowed to have access to food and drink at any time during their off-duty periods).

The meal period taken during the employee's work shift is generally paid time. Off-duty meal periods are before and after the regular daily schedule, or after the day's work was completed, and employees could take generally as much time as they wanted to in eating these meals, depending on their own off-duty schedule, their own eating habits, and their own personal desires. Additionally, they could and did spend time snacking in their off-duty hours.

During their off-duty periods, each derrick barge employee was in fact subject to being called to work, if circumstances required. However, the experiences of individual plaintiffs demonstrate that they were either never, seldom, or infrequently called upon to perform job duties after they had been released from the day's work and before their next day's work began, particularly when the barges were docked and are not working. When the derrick barges are working, derrick barge employees are divided into two separate crews, with one working the day shift, and the other working the night shift. Most employees alternate or rotate the day and night shifts, working a day shift one seven-day shift, and the night shift the next seven-day hitch. When the barges are not working, however, all crew members typically work the day shift only, there being no need for two shifts.

Given normal business conditions, the normal location of the derrick barges was somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1977, the derrick barges had an 88% utilization rate for the year, meaning they were being utilized on income-producing jobs 88% of the time. Even when not working, the barges typically stayed in the Gulf. Subsequent years indicate the following utilization rates: In 1978, the utilization was 66%, in 1979 it was 51%, in 1980 it was 50%, in 1981 it was 32%, in 1982 it was 27%, and in 1983, the year that this lawsuit was filed, it was 14%.

As a result of these drastically declining percentages, the company was forced to make several cost-cutting changes. On January 30, 1980, it released the first tug boat that was under contract to tow the barges from location to location. On February 28, 1981, it released its other contract tug boat. Rather than keep the derrick barges in the Gulf of Mexico when not working, the company began to have them towed in to various sites. One such site is the construction departments' fabrication yard at Amelia, Louisiana. At other times, the derrick barges were tied up at various sea buoys in the Gulf, several miles offshore. Another site that the derrick barges were brought to when there were no income-producing jobs was inside Belle Passe. Belle Passe is the name for the place where the mouth of an inland waterway meets the Gulf of Mexico, on the coast of Louisiana between Leeville and Grand Isle, Louisiana, and near Fourchon City, Louisiana. When the derrick barges were "inside" Belle Passe, meaning in the inland navigable waterway, as opposed to the sea buoy one or two miles in the Gulf "outside" of the Passe, they would normally be anchored to one side of the navigable waterway. If the barge was located at Belle Passe in the navigable waterways, derrick barge employees would be bused from Amelia to the docks at Fourchon City, a two to two and one-half hour bus ride, and then transferred to the derrick barge by some form of marine transportation.

At all relevant times to this lawsuit, the Company has for numerous years had a policy of requiring derrick barge crews to reside on the derrick barges during the seven-day hitch, even at times when the derrick barge was docked at...

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14 practice notes
  • Intern. Ass'n of Firefighters v. Rome, Ga., Civ. A. No. 4:86-cv-351-HLM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • 21 Marzo 1988
    ...676, 787, 98 L.Ed. 1097, 1115 (1954); Shepler v. Crucible Fuel, 140 F.2d 371 (3d Cir.1944); Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp. 1513 (W.D.La.1985), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 805 F.2d 1245 (5th Cir.1986), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 108 S.Ct. 95, 98 L.Ed.2d 56 All of......
  • Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass'n v. Aubry, No. 89-55379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 13 Noviembre 1990
    ...with employment contract fully complies with the federal admiralty law); C.M. Rousseau, Jr. v. Teledyne Movable Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp 1513, 1518-19 (D.La.1985) (maritime employees held bound by employment agreement with respect to overtime claim). As Justice Story stated in the histori......
  • Seymore v. Metson Marine, Inc., No. A127489.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 27 Julio 2011
    ...work began, particularly when the barges were docked and are not working.” ( Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc. (W.D.La.1985) 619 F.Supp. 1513, 1516.) The evidence also established that “[t]he reasons for the [no-leave] policy at dockside were several, including liability and safet......
  • Caryk v. Coupe, Civ. A. No. 84-0730.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Febrero 1987
    ...is spent predominately for the employer's benefit or the employee's." Id. at 1137; see also Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp. 1513, 1520 The waiting time agreement here is controlling as to compensable waiting hours, particularly in the absence of any evidence that pl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Intern. Ass'n of Firefighters v. Rome, Ga., Civ. A. No. 4:86-cv-351-HLM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • 21 Marzo 1988
    ...676, 787, 98 L.Ed. 1097, 1115 (1954); Shepler v. Crucible Fuel, 140 F.2d 371 (3d Cir.1944); Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp. 1513 (W.D.La.1985), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 805 F.2d 1245 (5th Cir.1986), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 108 S.Ct. 95, 98 L.Ed.2d 56 All of......
  • Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass'n v. Aubry, No. 89-55379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 13 Noviembre 1990
    ...with employment contract fully complies with the federal admiralty law); C.M. Rousseau, Jr. v. Teledyne Movable Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp 1513, 1518-19 (D.La.1985) (maritime employees held bound by employment agreement with respect to overtime claim). As Justice Story stated in the histori......
  • Seymore v. Metson Marine, Inc., No. A127489.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 27 Julio 2011
    ...work began, particularly when the barges were docked and are not working.” ( Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc. (W.D.La.1985) 619 F.Supp. 1513, 1516.) The evidence also established that “[t]he reasons for the [no-leave] policy at dockside were several, including liability and safet......
  • Caryk v. Coupe, Civ. A. No. 84-0730.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Febrero 1987
    ...is spent predominately for the employer's benefit or the employee's." Id. at 1137; see also Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., 619 F.Supp. 1513, 1520 The waiting time agreement here is controlling as to compensable waiting hours, particularly in the absence of any evidence that pl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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