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Martin v. Safe Haven Security Services, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

October 8, 2019

ISAIAH MARTIN, et al., o/b/o themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
SAFE HAVEN SECURITY SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

         ORDER AND OPINION (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE PARTIES' JOINT MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF NOTICE TO PUTATIVE CLASS, (2) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR REQUESTED METHOD OF DISSEMINATION OF NOTICE, (3) DIRECTING DEFENDANT TO PRODUCE INFORMATION, AND (4) DIRECTING THE PARTIES TO FILE A PROPOSED SCHEDULING ORDER

          ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Pending are the parties' Joint Motion for Approval of Notice to Putative Class (Doc. #44) and Plaintiff's Motion for Requested Method for Dissemination of Notice to Putative Class (Doc. #45). For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part the parties' request for approval of their joint proposed notice, and grants in part and denies in part Plaintiff's request for other methods of disseminating notice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 19, 2019, the Court conditionally certified a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective action consisting of all current and former sales representatives who worked for Defendant at any time from September 19, 2016, to the present, at Defendant's place of business in Kansas City, Missouri, who were not properly compensated for all time worked above forty hours in a workweek. Doc. #43. The Court directed the parties to jointly or individually propose the content of the notice and consent to join form, and the manner and timing of notice.

         On October 3, 2018, the parties informed the Court that they agreed on the contents of the notice and consent to join form but disagreed as to the method of disseminating the notice. Docs. #44-46. In addition to the parties' joint motion for approval of the notice (Doc. #44), Plaintiffs also filed a separate motion requesting approval of their proposal for dissemination of the notice (Doc. #45). That same day, Defendant filed its opposition to Plaintiff's motion. Doc. #46. The Court finds a reply is not necessary.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Content of Notice

         The proposed notice represents Plaintiffs allege they were not properly paid overtime for working beyond forty-five hours in a workweek. Doc. #44-1, at 2, 3. That representation, however, is not entirely accurate. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs allege (1) they were not paid “appropriate overtime” under the FLSA; (2) they “were required to perform work in excess of forty (40) hours per week, ” and Defendant “failed…to compensate [them] for this time”; and (3) similarly situated employees “were required to perform work in excess of forty (40) hours per week, ” and Defendant failed to properly compensate them the similarly situated employees. Doc. #1, ¶¶ 1, 47-55, 61-67. Moreover, Plaintiffs sought certification of a collective action of “[a]ll current and former salespeople employees of Defendant who worked at a Missouri facility and who were not paid adequate overtime compensation at any time during the last three years.” Id. ¶ 56; Doc. #2, at 1; Doc. #3, at 1, 7, 9-10.

         The Court conditionally certified an FLSA collective action of all current and former sales representatives who worked for Defendant at any time from September 19, 2016, to the present, at Defendant's place of business in Kansas City, Missouri, who were not properly compensated for all time worked above forty hours in a workweek. Doc. #43 (emphasis added). The conditionally certified collective action is not limited to employees who were not properly paid overtime beyond forty-five hours worked in a workweek, as the proposed notice suggests. Thus, the proposed notice does not fairly and accurately depict the conditionally certified collective action. See Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 171-72 (1989) (stating the trial court ensures notification to putative class members is “timely, accurate, and informative…”). While Plaintiffs' deposition testimonies indicate they were properly paid for overtime worked up to and including forty-five hours, the Court's decision was not based solely on their testimonies. Accordingly, the notice must be revised, and all references to “45 hours” must be changed to “40 hours.”

         In addition to the foregoing revision, the following changes must also be made:

• The proposed notice refers to the relevant position as “Inside Sales Representative” and “Sales Representative.” Doc. #44-1, at 2. To comply with the language of the Court's Order and avoid confusion, any reference to “Inside Sales Representative” must be revised to “Sales Representative.”
• On the first page of the notice, the FLSA is referenced for the first time but not spelled out. Id. “FLSA” must be spelled out.
• Under “How do I join?, ” the putative collective action member is told he or she needs to fill out “forms.” Id. at 4. But there is only one form the individual must execute. To avoid confusion, ...

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