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Benton v. Labels Direct, Inc.

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

September 23, 2014

JOHNNIE BENTON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
LABELS DIRECT, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

E. RICHARD WEBBER, Senior District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on "Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment" [ECF No. 21].

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Johnnie Benton, individually and as representative of a class of similarly situated persons, initiated this action by filing a petition in the Circuit Court of the County of St. Louis, Missouri, on January 27, 2014 [ECF No. 1-3]. Subsequently, on March 3, 2014, Plaintiffs Johnnie Benton and Sean Marre, individually, and as representatives of a class of similarly situated persons, filed a First Amended Petition in the Circuit Court of the County of St. Louis, alleging Defendant Labels Direct, Inc., ("Labels Direct") violated the Missouri Minimum Wage Law ("MMWL"), Missouri Revised Statutes §§ 290.500 et seq. [ECF No. 11].

On July 22, 2014, Labels Direct filed a Notice of Removal, on grounds of federal question jurisdiction, because Plaintiffs' unruled state "Motion for Class Certification" [ECF No. 16] alleged they and the purported class had been harmed by Labels Direct's violation of 29 C.F.R. § 785.18 [ECF Nos. 1, 7, 16, 16-1]. Thus, Labels Direct asserted this Court had original jurisdiction over this matter because it arises under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.

After the Court directed Labels Direct to respond to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification, Labels Direct filed its Response [ECF Nos. 18, 30, 30-1], and Plaintiffs filed "Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendant's Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification" [ECF No. 35]. This Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification on September 17, 2014. [ECF No. 47].

On July 28, 2014, this Court entered a Docket Text Order that granted Plaintiffs leave to add two more individuals, Ryan Piel and Adam English, as plaintiffs in this matter, and to file a Third Amended Complaint [ECF Nos. 17, 19]. Thereafter, Plaintiffs Benton and Marre filed their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF Nos. 21-27]. Defendants filed a joint Response [ECF Nos. 36 through 37-9], and Plaintiffs filed their Reply [ECF Nos. 43-45].

The Court granted Plaintiffs leave to file their Fourth Amended Complaint ("FAC"), and to add Labels Direct's President Christopher Budde ("Budde"), and Vice-President Kimberly Chaney ("Chaney"), as defendants on August 8, 2014 [ECF Nos. 28, 31, 33]. In addition to its MMWL claims, Plaintiffs' FAC specifically asserts claims under the FLSA, alleging two categories of overtime violations: 1) failure to pay for 15-minute rest periods taken twice each day; and 2) failure to pay wages for time worked after the scheduled end of a shift, and for time spent attending meetings [ECF No. 33]. Plaintiffs' FAC requests compensatory and liquidated damages, interest for unpaid overtime wages, attorneys' fees and costs, and injunctive relief. Labels Direct, Chaney, and Budde filed their separate Answers to Plaintiffs' FAC on August 22, 2014 [ECF Nos. 38-40].

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that 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). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that "[a] party asserting that a fact cannot be, or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, ... or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). "All matters set forth in the statement of the movant shall be deemed admitted for purposes of summary judgment unless specifically controverted by the opposing party." E.D. Mo. L.R. 7-4.01(E).

"Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Summary judgment will not lie if a genuine dispute about a material fact is shown; "that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court may not make credibility determinations, weigh the evidence, or draw inferences from the facts. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011).

To satisfy his initial responsibility, the summary judgment movant must inform the court of the basis for his motion and must identify those portions of the record that he believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 1042. Once the moving party party has discharged the requisite evidentiary burden, the nonmovant must respond by submitting evidentiary materials that set out "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. (citations omitted). If the nonmovant fails to produce such evidence, summary judgment in favor of the moving party is proper. Olson v. Pennzoil Co., 943 F.2d 881, 883 (8th Cir. 1991).

III. STATEMENT OF UNCONTROVERTED MATERIAL FACTS

The following statement of undisputed or uncontroverted material facts is derived from Plaintiffs' Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts in Support of Their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and supporting exhibits [ECF Nos. 23 through 27-3], Defendant Labels Direct's Response to Plaintiffs' Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts in Support of Their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF Nos. 37 through 37-9], Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendant Labels Direct, Inc.'s Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary ...


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