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Lucy Mendoza v. Addar

May 11, 2012

LUCY MENDOZA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ADDAR, INC. AND SHUJAH KHAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge

ORDER DENYING PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiff, Lucy Mendoza, moves for partial summary judgment and claims that she should be awarded damages on her Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim because there is no genuine dispute in material fact that she was not paid minimum wage and overtime. Docket 38. Defendants, ADDAR, Inc. and Shujah Khan,*fn1 resist that motion and allege that summary judgment should be denied because there are genuine issues of material fact in dispute as to the number of hours Mendoza worked and whether her claimed work hours are compensable. Docket 42. For the following reasons, Mendoza's motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

The pertinent facts viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving parties, ADDAR, Inc. and Shujah Khan, are:

ADDAR, Inc. is a South Dakota corporation that owns and operates two small hotels in South Dakota. One of those hotels is the Broadway Inn located in Yankton. Yankton is also the location of ADDAR's principal place of business. Khan is the sole shareholder, officer, and director of ADDAR.

Mendoza began working at the Broadway Inn as a housekeeper in August of 2008. Docket 39 at 1. Defendants initially paid Mendoza $6.50 per hour. Docket 41 ¶ 2. While at work, Mendoza was supervised by Khan and manager Kristin Martin. Mendoza eventually began working at the Broadway Inn front desk in addition to her housekeeping duties. Khan allowed Mendoza to live on the premises of the Broadway Inn for a portion of time prior to and during the period of November 1, 2009, to January 30, 2010. While Mendoza was living on the premises of the motel, Martin was physically attacked. After the attack, Mendoza began spending time with Martin both at the motel and at Martin's home.

During Mendoza's employment, the motel used a punch clock and time cards to record employee work hours. Time stamps from the punch clock are visible on Mendoza's time cards from the period prior to November 8, 2009. Docket 45 at 1. For an ADDAR employee's hours to be paid, his or her time cards had to be reviewed and approved by one of the managers. Khan or Martin would either initial their approval of that time card or make a "paid" notation on the card that indicated the date of payment. Docket 45 at 1. Near the end of Mendoza's employment with ADDAR, her time cards from November 1, 2009, to January 30, 2010, went missing. Defendants now dispute the authenticity of the time cards as they were found.

On June 25, 2010, Mendoza filed this claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Docket 1. Mendoza moves for partial summary judgment solely on the issue that there is no genuine dispute in material fact that defendants failed to pay her minimum wage and overtime for the hours she worked at the motel. Docket 38.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

"One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses[.]" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment is proper "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); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323 ("[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of . . . demonstrat[ing] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." (internal quotations omitted)). The moving party must inform the court of the basis for its motion and also identify the portion of the record that shows that there is no genuine issue in dispute. Hartnagel v. Norman, 953 F.2d 394, 395 (8th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted).

Once the moving party has met its initial burden, the nonmoving party must establish "that a fact . . . is genuinely disputed" either "by citing to particular parts of materials in the record," or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). "The nonmoving party may not 'rest on mere allegations or denials, but must demonstrate on the record the existence of specific facts which create a genuine issue for trial.' " Mosley v. City of Northwoods, Mo., 415 F.3d 908, 910 (8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Krenik v. Cnty. of Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995)). For purposes of summary judgment, the facts, and inferences drawn from those facts, are "viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)).

DISCUSSION

Mendoza argues that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that she was paid at a rate less than minimum wage and no dispute that she was not paid for overtime hours worked. Mendoza asserts that because there is no dispute that the FLSA applies to her and her employer, the court should grant her motion for partial summary judgment and award her back pay, overtime pay, and attorney's fees. Defendants claim that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment as to whether Mendoza's time cards are authentic and whether she worked all hours claimed. Defendants also argue that there is a dispute as to whether the type of hours allegedly worked are covered hours under the FLSA.

The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates the hours, wages, and working conditions of employees in the United States. 29 U.S.C. ยง 201 et seq. The FLSA was intended "to protect the rights of those who toil, of those who sacrifice a full measure of their freedom and talents to the use and profits of others." Specht v. City of Sioux Falls, 639 F.3d 814, 819 (8th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). "The FLSA generally requires that all employers compensate their employees at the rate of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of a 40-hour week." Id. (citation omitted). The party seeking compensation ...


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