Saleem v. Corporate Transportation Group, Ltd., 041217 FED2, 15-88-cv

Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Attorney:Rachel M. Bien, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, N.Y. (Michael N. Litrownik, Michael J. Scimone, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, N.Y.; Stephen H. Kahn, Kahn Opton LLP, Fort Lee, N.J., on the brief), for Plaintiffs-Appellants. Evan J. Spelfogel, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., New York, N.Y., (Samuel E...
Judge Panel:Before: Leval, Livingston, and Carney, Circuit Judges.
Opinion Judge:Debra Ann Livingston, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Mazhar Saleem, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Jagjit Singh, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Anjum Ali, Malook Singh, Carlota Briones, Jairo Bautista, Jose Cabrera, Marlene Pinedo, Miriam Solorzano, Mohammad Mian, Mohammad Siddiqui, S. Pedro Duman, Rajan Kapoor, Wilman Martinez, Jose ...
Case Date:April 12, 2017
Docket Nº:15-88-cv
 
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Mazhar Saleem, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Jagjit Singh, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Anjum Ali, Malook Singh, Carlota Briones, Jairo Bautista, Jose Cabrera, Marlene Pinedo, Miriam Solorzano, Mohammad Mian, Mohammad Siddiqui, S. Pedro Duman, Rajan Kapoor, Wilman Martinez, Jose Solorzano, Luis A. Perez, Ranjit S. Bhullar, Luis M. Sanchez, Anwar Bhatti, Avneet Koura, Maher Maqsood, Atif Razaq, Bhavesh Shah, Khushwant Singh, Jamshed Choudhry, Aziz Urrehman, Hasan Khalbash, Peter Panzica, Robinson Mata, Hilario A. Sanchez, Mansor Ahmed Rana, Baudwin Kouri, Alexis S. Gacia-Alberto, Muhammad I. Choudhry, Ana M. Herra, Marisol Espinal, Walid Hameho, Alexander Schwallb, Eric Jarmon, Keith Daniel, Rafael Rijo, Babab Hafeez, Norman Levine, Mario Guerrero Batanta, Liang Hua Ma, William Martinez, Mohammed A. Musa, Kerry Bobb, Harjar Rahman, Elpidio Helena, Tamer Rashdan, Mena Michael, Felix L. Caraballo, Mark Shinder, John M. Hidalgo, Odishi, Inc., Kirk Hayden, Bartolome Rosario, Luis Vasquez, Irfan Shafi, Mohammad A. Siddiqui, Wade Quashie, Jimmy Chen, Jeff M. Gravesande, Edisson Barros, Andrzej Olechnowicz, Nick Wijesinghe, (Point to Point Car & Limo Inc.), Jack Golden, Firoz Ahmed, Paul Glibauskas, Felix A. Paulino, Juan De Los Santos, Chowdhury Anowar, Zong Rong Zhu, Mohammed Gazi Ali, Mei Yao Liu, Katelyn Santos, Jose Jaimes, Ibrahim Desooki, Dongsedg Yoo, Jorge Monaks, Malik Hussain, Marcos Mendez, Luis Aucapina, Anderson Gonzalez, Towon Stewart, Feras Issa, Lenkin Pantaleon, Edgar Aucapina, Celstino Montero, Mikhail Gerber, Zydan Elnahar, Dexter Pusey, Rangdeu Multani, Satnam Singh, Xiangbo Li, Huang Xiong Jie, Rafael A. Riso, Ismael Mejia, Kuldip Singh, Jan A. Kalda, Jeewan Sinah, Wilson A. Santos, Sohan Singh Gill, Euclides Pena, Lester C. Mcdonald, Norman Ho, Gennadi Petrovski, Satnam Singh, Zenxin Wang, Noble Young, Francois Fan-Fan, Muhammad I. Choudhry, Fabian Martinez, Konstantin Katz, Rafael Osoria, Nwala Gabriel, Jose M. Solorzano, Ubaldo De Los Santos, Harrikissoon Seejattan, Harjar Rahman, Adel Elkazaz, Pedro M. Piasencia, Khorshed Alam, Garnell Wrighten, Refat Bhuiyan, Leo K. Stewart, Jeff M. Gravesande, Ahmed Nisar, Danjit Singh, Humayun Kabir Hussain, Mohammed A. Musa, Harnek Singh Whar, Shashi Bhatia, Goginder Singh, Abdelilah Elkarhat, Maninder Singh, Jo Ginder-singh, Wilman Martinez, Harvinder Khamra, David A. Sanchez, Syed Firozuddin, Dariusz Rydzewski, Yasar Kahraman, Ali Gazi Mohammed, Ahmed M. Bakier, Onris De La Rosa, Harvinder S. Bhamra, Imtiaz H. Quereshi, Damir, Ahmed Ismail, Munish Kumar, Paul Gladkevitch, Tarlocman Pal Singh, (T.P), Adam Klag, Al Wong Zhang, Mustapha Rahmouwi, Mahammad Ali Siddique, Sheng Zhang Lu, Gustavo Garcia, Ashwin Kumar, Inderjit Singh, Man Cheng, Balwinder Singh, Jawaid Kayani, Sukhdev Singh, Fernando Avendano, Xiong Wei Mi, Mohammad Islam, Dongseog You, Taojochan Sihgh, Ratic Shivionov, Jagdish Kal, Gabriel Pizha, Anomwar I. Chowdhury, Samson Liau, Nestor Teran, Rajan Dodeja, Socrates Gregoriadis, Saad Attia, Anthony Khan, Ramon A. Almonte, Badlani Prakash, Juan A. Soto, Munjed Shabaneh, Jose Solore, Jose M.S., Roxana A. Zetino, Irfan Shafi, Arcelia Barros, Cheung Yeung, Point to Point Car & Limo, Inc., Vishamber Tukrel, Ying Tian Lei, Mikhail Zemko, Tahir Aziz, Wen Zhong Li, Ke Geng Shi, N. Wesesinghe, Christina Sanchez Montero, Kulyk Oleg, Ariel Restituyo, Shuhrat Khakberdiyer, Angel M. Gaya, Bayram Onbasi, Jorge Contreras, Juan C. Mogrovejo, Xun Li Fan, Sameh S. Basily, Jose Pinto, Ramadan S. Kenawi, Donavan James, Ibrahim Onbasi, Amanda Singh, Suleyman Issi, Wazir Mughal, Etienne Tchitchui, Diogenes Pion, Ijaz Mahboob, Pedro Pazmino, Jing Jing Wang, Azid Riaz, Gurmail Singh, Asand Fara, Lawrence Calliste, Guo Bao Xuam, Jeetu Multani, King Wah Yiu, Anjum Ali, Gurmail Singh, Ahmed Aljahmi, Buo Xuan Guo, American Car Limo Tours, Inc., Mohamed Abdelaal, Khemlhand Kalika, Munish Kumar, Shahidullah Dulal, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

Corporate Transportation Group, Ltd., Corporate Transportation Group International, Corporate Transportation Group Worldwide, Inc., NYC 2- Way International, Ltd., Allstate Car & Limousine, Inc., Arista Car & Limousine, Ltd., TWR Car & Limousine Service, Ltd., Excelsior Car and Limousine, Inc., Hybrid Limo Express, Inc., Eduard Slinin, Galina Slinin, Defendants-Appellees.[*]

No. 15-88-cv

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

April 12, 2017

          Argued: February 5, 2016

         Plaintiffs-Appellants, black-car drivers in the greater New York City area affiliated with Defendants-Appellees, owners of black-car "base licenses" and related entities, appeal from the September 24, 2014 judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Furman, J.) granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment, rejecting Plaintiffs' claim that they are "employees, " rather than "independent contractors, " within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. For the reasons stated below, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

          Rachel M. Bien, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, N.Y. (Michael N. Litrownik, Michael J. Scimone, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, N.Y.; Stephen H. Kahn, Kahn Opton LLP, Fort Lee, N.J., on the brief), for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          Evan J. Spelfogel, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., New York, N.Y., (Samuel Estreicher, New York, N.Y., on the brief), for Defendants-Appellees.

          Jesse Zvi Grauman (M. Patricia Smith, Jennifer S. Brand, Paul L. Frieden, on the brief), U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae the Secretary of Labor.

          Shannon Liss-Riordan, Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.; Catherine K. Ruckelshaus, National Employment Law Project, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae The National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers' Association, Legal Aid Society of New York, The Urban Justice Center, and Make the Road New York.

          Richard H. Dolan (Wayne I. Baden and Elizabeth Wolstein, on the brief), Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP, New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae Black Car Assistance Corporation.

          Steven G. Mintz, Jeffrey D. Pollack, Mintz & Gold LLP, New York, N.Y., for Amici Curiae Mark Malchikov, Pavel Borisov, Anton Sirouka, Alex Borden, Vleriy Vishin, Michael Baier, and Josef Nusenvaum.

          Warren Postman, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, Inc., Washington, D.C., (Michael J. Gray, Brent D. Knight, Jones Day, Chicago, Ill., on the brief), for Amicus Curiae the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.

          Before: Leval, Livingston, and Carney, Circuit Judges.

          Debra Ann Livingston, Circuit Judge.

         Plaintiffs-Appellants ("Plaintiffs"), black-car drivers in the greater New York City area, brought this action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asserting claims against Defendants-Appellees ("Defendants"), owners of black-car "base licenses" and affiliated entities, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the New York State Labor Law ("NYLL"), N.Y. Lab. Law § 650 et seq., for, inter alia, unpaid overtime. The district court (Furman, Judge), after conditionally certifying a collective action under the FLSA, granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on both the FLSA and NYLL claims as to both the named and opt-in Plaintiffs, concluding that "as a matter of law, Plaintiffs are properly classified as independent contractors rather than employees" for purposes of both statutes. Saleem v. Corp. Transp. Grp., Ltd., 52 F.Supp.3d 526, 543, 545 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). We agree with the district court that, "even when the historical facts and the relevant factors are viewed in the light most favorable" to Plaintiffs, they constitute independent contractors for FLSA purposes as a matter of law.1 Barfield v. N.Y.C. Health & Hosps. Corp., 537 F.3d 132, 144 (2d Cir. 2008). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

         Background

         I. Facts2

         Plaintiffs are black-car drivers in the tri-state area who owned or operated black-car franchises and were affiliated with Defendants.3 Six Defendants (collectively, "Franchisor Defendants") each own a "base license" that allows them to operate a black-car dispatch base in New York City, and to sell franchises to individual drivers.4 See 35 R.C.N.Y. § 59A-03(c). The remaining three Defendants are various incarnations of the "Corporate Transportation Group" (collectively, "CTG"), which provides administrative support for the operation of the Franchisor Defendants' dispatch bases (as well as for 126 other for-hire vehicle enterprises) by handling, inter alia, billing, referral, payment, bookkeeping, accounting, voucher processing, and dispatching.5 The Franchisor Defendants and CTG operate out of a single facility in Brooklyn and constitute "a single integrated enterprise and/or joint employer for the purposes of the [FLSA]." Joint Appendix ["J.A."] 1317. Among the approximately 70 people employed in CTG's dispatch unit at the time relevant here, 40 were in billing, six or seven were in customer service, five were in driver relations, and at least two were in sales.6 There were roughly 700 black cars affiliated...

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