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Arnold v. DirecTV, LLC.

United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division

April 21, 2015

JAMIE ARNOLD, CLINTON FEGER, STEVEN PARR, ARNOLD BRAGG, DENDRICK STOKES, ROBERT ELLENDORF, JOSEPH COLLINS and JULIENNE MERTENS, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DIRECTV, LLC, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Sever and to Transfer Claims. (Doc. Nos. 222, 224) The motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition.[1] For the following reasons, the motions will be denied.

Background

On May 5, 2010, Plaintiffs Jamie Arnold and Clinton Feger, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, filed their First Amended Complaint against DIRECTV, Inc. d/b/a DIRECTV Home Services ("DirecTV") and DTV Home Services II, LLC.[2] (First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Doc. No. 13) They alleged that their employer, Home Service Provider ("HSP") AeroSat USA, LLC, failed to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law ("MMWL") and sought to hold the DirecTV Defendants liable as alleged joint employers. (Id. at ¶¶ 2-4, 23) On September 28, 2012, the Court conditionally certified a class of:

Persons who (1) are currently working or previously worked as an Installation or Service Technician for DirecTV, Inc., Direct TV Home Services, a Direct TV Home Service Provider, or through one of their subcontractors, for any period of time after July 22, 2008; (2) exclusively installed and/or serviced DirecTV equipment; (3) were paid on a piece-rate basis, meaning they were paid specific amounts for certain tasks they completed; and (4) worked more than 40 hours per week.

(Doc. No. 121 at 17) The Court later modified the relevant time period to May 1, 2009 to the present. (Doc. No. 134 at 8-9)

Following conditional certification, over 3, 000 individuals opted-in to this case. By agreement of the parties, Plaintiffs dismissed those Opt-ins who signed arbitration agreements with either DirecTV or 180 Connect/Ironwood. (Doc. Nos. 180-1, 186) The claims of the MasTec and Multiband Opt-ins were stayed pending the outcome of arbitration proceedings. (Doc. No. 190) In addition, the Court dismissed without prejudice those Opt-in Plaintiffs who failed to respond to the parties' discovery questionnaire. (Doc. No. 214)

After a status conference with counsel, the Court entered an Amended Case Management Order on July 28, 2014 (Doc. No. 216), which led to the filing of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on September 11, 2014. (Doc. No. 220) Plaintiffs have since filed a Third Amended Complaint ("TAC") (Doc. No. 279) to clarify their claims and remove certain opt-in Plaintiffs from the various subclasses established by the Court's Amended CMO based on discovery conducted by the parties. The Court will, therefore, consider DirecTV's motions in relation to the allegations of the TAC for purposes of its ruling herein.

In the TAC, Plaintiffs Steven Parr, Robert Ellendorf, Robert Guice and Julienne Mertens are added as named Plaintiffs, in addition to the original named Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs Jaime Arnold and Clinton Feger. The named Plaintiffs were directly employed by four different entities: Arnold and Feger were employed by DTV Home Services II, LLC (AeroSat) (id. at ¶¶ 10-11); Parr was employed by Multiband, Inc. (id. at ¶ 12); Ellendorf was employed by MasTec, Inc. (id. at ¶13); Guice was employed by DirectSat USA, LLC (id. at 14); and Mertens was employed by DirecTV Home Services. (Id. at ¶15) Plaintiffs seek to hold the DirecTV Defendants liable for their FLSA and MMWL claims as joint employers of Plaintiffs and other similarly situated technicians. (SAC at ¶23)

The four FLSA subclasses defined in the SAC consist of W-2 employees vis a vis their HSP employer:

MasTec subclass
Persons listed on the attached Exhibit A who (1) filed a consent to join this lawsuit; (2) are currently working or previously worked as an Installation or Service Technician for MasTec, Inc. as a W-2 employee for any period of time within 3.5 years of the date of consenting to join the suit; (3) exclusively installed and/or serviced DirecTV equipment; (4) were paid on a piece-rate basis, meaning they were paid specific amounts for certain tasks they completed; and (5) worked more than 40 hours in a week.
Multiband subclass
Persons listed on the attached Exhibit A who (1) filed a consent to join this lawsuit; (2) are currently working or previously worked as an Installation or Service Technician for Multiband Corporation as a W-2 employee for any period of time within 3.5 years of the date of consenting to join the suit; (3) exclusively installed and/or serviced DirecTV equipment; (4) were paid on a piece-rate basis, meaning they ...

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