Wells v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc.

Citation979 F.Supp.2d 1006
Decision Date27 September 2013
Docket NumberCase Nos. 4:10–CV–2080–JAR, 4:06–CV–00422–JAR.
PartiesDavid WELLS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., Defendant. Reginald Gray, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Fedex Ground Package System, Inc., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Missouri

979 F.Supp.2d 1006

David WELLS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., Defendant.

Reginald Gray, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Fedex Ground Package System, Inc., Defendant.

Case Nos. 4:10–CV–2080–JAR, 4:06–CV–00422–JAR.

United States District Court,
E.D. Missouri,
Eastern Division.

Sept. 27, 2013.


[979 F.Supp.2d 1009]


John E. Toma, Jr., John E. Toma, LLC, St. Louis, MO, Stacy A. Burrows, George A. Barton, Law Offices of George A. Barton PC, Kansas City, MO, for Plaintiffs.

Bryan D. Lemoine, John B. Renick, McMahon and Berger, St. Louis, MO, Bernard Aidan Flanagan, Caroline H. Cochenour, James C. Rehnquist, Goodwin and Proctor, Boston, MA, for Defendant.


MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment as to Employment Status [ Gray ECF No. 209; Wells ECF No. 113], Defendant FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.'s Consolidated Motion for Summary Judgment [ Gray ECF No. 212; Wells ECF No. 122], and Plaintiffs' Consolidated Objections to and Motions to Strike Defendant's Consolidated Response to Plaintiffs' Omnibus Statements of Uncontroverted Facts [ Gray ECF No. 309; Wells ECF No. 188] and Plaintiffs' Individual Statements of Uncontroverted Material Facts. [ Gray ECF No. 310; Wells ECF No. 189] The Motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition. Oral argument on the motions for summary judgment was held on January 10, 2013. For the following reasons, the Plaintiffs' motions for partial summary judgment as to employment status will be granted and their motions to strike will be denied. FedEx's motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background and Procedural History

FedEx Ground Package System (“FedEx”) provides small package pick-up and delivery services in the United States, including the State of Missouri, through a network of pick-up and delivery drivers. Plaintiffs are former drivers/contractors. Each Plaintiff executed a “Pickup and Delivery Contractor Operating Agreement” (“OA”) 1 with FedEx which they allege misclassified them as independent contractors when they were in fact employees of

[979 F.Supp.2d 1010]

FedEx. Plaintiffs contend that as employees they are entitled to reimbursement of business expenses and back pay for overtime.

A. Gray, et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.2

On March 6, 2006, seven current and former drivers from Missouri filed a putative class action complaint against FedEx challenging their status as independent contractors under Missouri law. The complaint alleged claims for illegal deductions, fraudulent misrepresentations, rescission, and declaratory relief. The case was transferred to the Multi–District Litigation (the “MDL”) in which similar cases against FedEx were consolidated in the Northern District of Indiana for discovery and class certification purposes. In re FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., No. 3:05–MD–527–RM (N.D.Ind.).

On April 2, 2007, the Gray Plaintiffs moved for class certification of their statutory claim for unauthorized wage deductions, Mo.Rev. Stat. § 290.010, their common law claims for rescission and unjust enrichment, and their claim for declaratory relief. The MDL court denied class certification on March 25, 2008, finding that under Missouri law, the question of employment status could not be decided on a class-wide basis. In re FedEx Ground Package System., Inc., Employment Practices Litigation, 273 F.R.D. 424, 475 (N.D.Ind.2008). In September 2008, following denial of class certification, the Gray Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint, naming sixteen additional plaintiffs. Four more plaintiffs were added in a Third Amended Complaint, which was filed in April 2010. After the case was remanded back to this Court, the Fourth Amended Complaint adding one additional Plaintiff was filed on October 30, 2011, and a Fifth Amended Complaint was filed on November 9, 2011.

On December 15, 2011, this Court granted FedEx's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Fifth Amended Complaint as to the declaratory judgment claim, construed the illegal deductions claim to include a claim for overtime pay, and granted Plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint. ( Gray Doc. No. 136) Plaintiffs' Sixth Amended Complaint alleges causes of action for fraudulent misrepresentation (Count I) and overtime (Count II) under Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 290.527 and 290.505. (Gray Sixth Amended Complaint (“Gray Compl.”), Gray Doc. No. 142) On FedEx's motion, this Court dismissed the wage claims of four Plaintiffs as time-barred. ( Gray Doc. No. 157).3

B. Wells, et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.4

On November 3, 2010, 24 current and former drivers from Missouri filed suit against FedEx challenging their status as independent contractors under Missouri law and asserting claims for illegal deductions/overtime (Count I); fraudulent misrepresentation (Count II); rescission

[979 F.Supp.2d 1011]

(Count III); and declaratory judgment (Count IV).5 Three additional Plaintiffs subsequently joined the case on May 10, 2011. Wells was never part of the MDL.

Plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment on the issue of employment status. FedEx moves for summary judgment on all Counts of Plaintiffs' Sixth Amended Complaint in Gray: Fraudulent Misrepresentation (Count I) and Claims for Wages Under Sections 290.527 and 290.505, R.S.Mo. (Count II), and on all Counts of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint in Wells: Illegal Deductions from Wages (Count I), 1 Fraudulent Misrepresentation (Count II), Rescission (Count III), and Declaratory Judgment (Count IV).

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042–43 (8th Cir.2011) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The movant bears the initial burden of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and must identify those portions of the record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. If the movant does so, the nonmovant must respond by submitting evidentiary materials that set out specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. On a motion for summary judgment, facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a genuine dispute as to those facts. Id. Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge. Id. The nonmovant must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, and must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. Where the record taken as a whole could not permit a jury to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.

Where parties file cross-motions for summary judgment, each summary judgment motion must be evaluated independently to determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists and whether the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Husinga v. Federal–Mogul Ignition Co., 519 F.Supp.2d 929, 942 (S.D.Iowa 2007). “[T]he filing of cross motions for summary judgment does not necessarily indicate that there is no dispute as to a material fact, or have the effect of submitting the cause to a plenary determination on the merits.” Wermager v. Cormorant Township Bd., 716 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir.1983). In determining the appropriateness of summary judgment, “the relevant inquiry is whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.”

[979 F.Supp.2d 1012]

Bingaman v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 1 F.3d 976, 980 (10th Cir.1993) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251–52, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)).

III. DiscussionA. Plaintiffs' Consolidated Objections to and Motions to Strike Defendant's Consolidated Response to Plaintiffs' Omnibus Statements of Uncontroverted Facts and Plaintiffs' Individual Statements of Uncontroverted Material Facts.

As a threshold matter, Plaintiffs have moved to strike FedEx's consolidated responses to their statements of material facts on the grounds that they are non-responsive and supported by self-serving declarations, legal conclusions and improper statements of opinion. Plaintiffs point to declarations filed by various FedEx managers which they contend contradict their earlier deposition testimony concerning certain aspects of control FedEx exercised over Plaintiffs. In response, FedEx acknowledges that a disputed issue of material fact cannot be created through an affidavit that directly contradicts previous deposition testimony, see, e.g., Page v. Fifth Third Bank, 2009 WL 2252557 at *3 (E.D.Mo. July 29, 2009), but contends that is not the case here, where the kind of direct contradictions addressed in cases such as Page do not exist simply because one witness's testimony differs from another's. ( Gray Doc. No. 319; Wells Doc. No. 197, p. 3)

By way of example, FedEx points to the declaration of terminal manager Mark Kanter, wherein he states that “contractors had the option of using the scanner leased from FedEx Ground to code their packages.” ( Gray Doc. No. 320–4; Wells Doc. No. 198–2, Kanter Decl., ¶ 32) In his deposition, however, Kanter testified that every driver was required to have a scanner. ( Gray Doc. No. 320–3; Wells Doc. No. 198–2, Kanter Depo. 87:10–88:8) The fact that every driver was required to have a scanner is a separate matter from where the scanner was obtained. There is nothing contradictory about these statements. Likewise, Kanter stated that “scanners were not used by the managers to track the contractors.” (Kanter Decl., ¶ 6) In his...

To continue reading

Request your trial
10 cases
  • Childress v. Ozark Delivery of Mo. L. L.C., Case No. 6:09–cv–03133–MDH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • 5 Marzo 2015
    ...2004 definition of a ‘motor carrier,’ but retained the weight limitation for vehicles.” See Wells v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., 979 F.Supp.2d 1006, 1033 (E.D.Mo.2013).The TCA retained the 10,000 weight limitation established under the SAFETEA–LU by including an express provision that ......
  • Craig v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., 108,526.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 3 Octubre 2014
    ...and the California State Court of Appeals—determined that the FedEx drivers are employees. Wells v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 979 F.Supp.2d 1006, 1024 (E.D.Mo.2013) ; Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 154 Cal.App.4th 1, 9, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 327 (2007). In both Wells and Es......
  • Craig v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., 108,526.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 3 Octubre 2014
    ...and the California State Court of Appeals—determined that the FedEx drivers are employees. Wells v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 979 F.Supp.2d 1006, 1024 (E.D.Mo.2013); Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 154 Cal.App.4th 1, 9, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 327 (2007). In both Wells and Est......
  • Childress v. Ozark Delivery of Mo. L.L.C., Case No.: 6:09-cv-03133-MDH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • 5 Marzo 2015
    ...2004 definition of a 'motor carrier,' but retained the weight limitation for vehicles." See Wells v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., 979 F. Supp. 2d 1006, 1033 (E.D. Mo. 2013). The TCA retained the 10,000 weight limitation established under the SAFETEA-LU by including an express provision ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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