United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
JOANN L. KENNEDY, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
LTI TRUCKING SERVICES, INC., Defendant.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant LTI Trucking Services
Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 38].
Plaintiff filed her Response in Opposition on July 23, 2019
[Doc. No. 43]. On August 2, 2019 Defendant filed its Reply to
Response [Doc. No. 48]. For reasons set forth below, the
Motion to for Summary Judgment is granted.
Joann L. Kennedy is a truck driver and a former employee of
Defendant LTI Trucking Services. Defendant is an interstate
freight motor carrier that coordinates the movement of
freight for its customers.
May 2015 to February 2016, Plaintiff was an employee of LTI.
Plaintiff re-joined LTI as an employee in October 2016 and,
in November 2016, became a Lease Owner Operator with LTI,
having signed an Independent Contractor Agreement
(“ICA”) and Equipment Lease Agreement
(“Lease”). Plaintiff worked as a Lease Owner
Operator for a short time before transitioning back to
employee status with Defendant.
alleges that Both as a Lease Owner and as an official
employee of LTI, Defendant failed to pay her minimum wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206 et seq.
(Count I) and Missouri's Labor and Industrial Relations
laws, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 290.500-290.530 (Count II).
Specifically, Plaintiff claims that under United States
Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations, she was
“on duty” for 24 hours a day in a seven-day
period, and that DOL regulations dictate that 16 of those 24
hours (or, 112 hours in the seven-day period) must be paid.
Plaintiff alleges that when her total pay for the seven days
in question is divided by 112, her hourly rate comes to $7.14
per hour, which is less than the both the federal and
Missouri minimum wages. She also claims that Defendant did
not compensate her for time or miles driven to mandatory
clean-ups of her truck, or for time she spent at docks
waiting while her truck was offloaded.
also alleges that the ICA was unconscionable under Missouri
statutory and common law (Count III) because Defendants
misrepresented the nature of the ICA, and because the ICA was
“one-sided and unduly harsh.” In support of this
claim, Plaintiff states that the ICA was an adhesion
contract, that it was unilaterally terminable by Defendant
and imposed severe financial consequences upon Plaintiff for
termination, that it forced Plaintiff's continued
employment with Defendant, and that it shifted business
expenses and risks to Plaintiff.
alleges that Defendant was unjustly enriched by its
unconscionable agreements (Count IV) and seeks declaratory
judgment (Count V). Plaintiff also makes class allegations
with respect to her claims. Because summary judgment will be
entered as to Defendant as to each Count, the class
allegations are moot.
judgment is proper where the evidence, when viewed in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party, indicates that no
genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Davison v. City of Minneapolis, Minn., 490 F.3d 648,
654 (8th Cir. 2007); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
Summary judgment is not appropriate if there are factual
disputes that may affect the outcome of the case under the
applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material
fact is genuine if the evidence would allow a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id.
“The basic inquiry is whether it is so one-sided that
one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Diesel
Machinery, Inc. v. B.R. Lee Industries, Inc., 418 F.3d
820, 832 (8th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). The moving party has the initial burden of
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031,
1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Once the moving
party has met its burden, “[t]he 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. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Mere conjecture and speculation is unacceptable.
survive a motion for summary judgment, the “nonmoving
party must ‘substantiate his allegations with
sufficient probative evidence [that] would permit a finding
in [his] favor based on more than mere speculation,
conjecture, or fantasy.'” Putman v. Unity
Health System, 348 F.3d 732, 733-34 (8th Cir. 2003)
(quoting Wilson v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 62
F.3d 237, 241 (8th Cir. 1995)). The nonmoving party may not
merely point to unsupported self-serving allegations, but
must substantiate allegations with sufficient probative
evidence that would permit a finding in his or her favor.
Wilson, 62 F.3d 237, 241 (8th Cir. 1995). “The
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the [nonmovant].” Anderson, 477 U.S. 242 at
252; Davidson & Associates v. Jung, 422 F.3d
630, 638 (8th Cir. 2005). It is axiomatic that “[m]ere
allegations, unsupported by specific facts or evidence beyond
the nonmoving party's own conclusions, are insufficient
to withstand a motion for summary judgment.” Thomas
v. Corwin, 483 F.3d 516, 526-7(8th Cir. 2007).
“Simply referencing the complaint, or alleging that a
fact is otherwise, is insufficient to show there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Kountze ex rel. Hitchcock
Foundation v. Gaines, 2008 WL 2609197 at *3 (8th Cir.
I and II - Minimum wage claims
I and II of Plaintiff's Complaint state claims based on
the FLSA and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law
(“MMWL”). The MMWL is interpreted in accordance
with the FLSA and the regulations promulgated thereunder; the
following discussion applies fully to both the FLSA and MMWL
claims. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 290.505(4); Tolentino v.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., 437
S.W.3d 754, 757 n.3 (Mo. banc 2014).
establish a violation of the minimum wage requirements of the
FLSA, a plaintiff . . . must demonstrate that [s]he was
engaged in compensable activity within the meaning of the
statute and that the wages received for that activity, if
any, were below the statutory minimum wage.”
Hensley v. MacMillan Bloedel Containers, Inc., 786
F.2d 353, 355 (8th Cir.1986). The meaning of compensable
activity was summarized by the Eighth Circuit as follows:
[A]n employee's time is “work” for the
purposes of the FLSA if it is spent “predominantly for
the benefit of the employer.” Armour [& Co. v.
Wantock], 323 U.S. [126, ] 133. The [Supreme] Court
noted that in some such cases “facts may show that the
employee waited to be engaged” and therefore was not
working. Skidmore [v. Swift & Co.], 323 U.S.
[134, ] 137-38. The Court stressed that the lower courts
should take a “practical approach based on the
realities of each case....” Armour, 323 U.S.
at 133, 65 S.Ct. 165.
Reimer v. Champion Healthcare Corp., 258 F.3d 720,
725 (8th Cir. 2001) (original alterations omitted). Whether
some activity is compensable is case dependent, and courts
must rely on Department of Labor regulations and case law,
when applicable, in making its determination. Id.
alleges minimum wage violations based on the theory that she
was “‘on duty' (per United States Department
of Labor Regulations) continually for days and weeks on end,
” and therefore, 16 of the 24 hours per day she was
purportedly on-duty must be compensated as work time.
Plaintiff claims that she worked in excess of 16 hours a day
at the required tasks of:
(1) driv[ing] the truck; (2) wait[ing] for cargo to be loaded
and unloaded while in the truck or its immediate vicinity;
(3) fuel[ing] up the truck and perform[ing] routine
maintenance to same; (4) remain[ing] in the vicinity of the
truck to help protect Defendant and its customers'
property; and (5) remain[ing] inside the truck when stopped
to log time in the sleeper berth and to help protect
Defendant and its customers' property.
minimum wage claims are based on the week ending December 4,
2015. Plaintiff claims she “was on the road for
Defendant seven days that week and spent, according to DOL
regulation, a total of 112 hours ‘on duty.'”
She alleges she received $800.00 in gross pay for that week,
resulting in an average hourly wage of $7.14 - less than the
federal minimum wage of $7.25 and the 2015 Missouri minimum
wage of $7.65.
argues that Plaintiff is not entitled to a presumption that
she worked 24-hour days, that she worked no more than 14
hours per day, and that her off-duty time is not compensable.
Plaintiff responds that even if the Court does not find that
over-the-road truck drivers are presumptively on duty 24
hours or more, ...