United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Thomas Marten, United States District Court Judge
Quinn Crookston filed this action against his former
employer, defendant Doctor's, Inc.
(“Doctor's”), and its owner, defendant Bruce
Doctor. Plaintiff alleges that defendants failed to pay
overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), and retaliated against him by
terminating his employment after he informed defendants that
he had contacted the United States Department of Labor
(“DOL”). This matter is before the court on
defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 32). For
the reasons provided below, the court denies defendants'
motion as to plaintiff's FLSA claims.
court finds the following facts to be uncontroverted for
purposes of summary judgment.
is a lawn service company based in Stilwell, Kansas, and
operates throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Plaintiff was employed with Doctor's as an irrigation
technician. His job consisted of installing and repairing
lawn sprinkler systems for Doctor's residential and
commercial clients. Plaintiff's duties included driving
and transporting Doctor's equipment on a truck and/or
trailer to various job sites in Kansas and Missouri using
public highways and roads.
regularly worked more than 40 hours a week. Defendants did
not pay plaintiff one and a half times his regular pay rate
for all work performed in excess of 40 hours during these
November 2015, plaintiff contacted the DOL and complained
about defendants' failure to pay overtime wages. On
December 9, 2015, plaintiff informed his supervisor, Mr. Dan
Knapp, about his complaint. Later that same day, Mr. Knapp
called plaintiff into his office and fired him. Mr. Knapp
told plaintiff that it was Bruce Doctor's decision, and
that “Bruce says he's looked into it, and he thinks
he's exempt [from paying overtime wages].” (Dkt. 1,
facts will be related, as necessary, in connection with the
court's analysis of defendant's motion.
Summary Judgment Standards.
judgment is appropriate if the moving party demonstrates 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). A fact is “material” when it
is essential to the claim, and the issues of fact are
“genuine” if the proffered evidence permits a
reasonable jury to decide the issue in either party's
favor. Haynes v. Level 3 Communs., 456 F.3d 1215,
1219 (10th Cir. 2006). The movant bears the initial burden of
proof and must show the lack of evidence on an essential
element of the claim. Thom v. Bristol-Myers Squibb
Co., 353 F.3d 848, 851 (10th Cir. 2004) (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986)). The nonmovant must then bring forth specific facts
showing a genuine issue for trial. Garrison v. Gambro,
Inc., 428 F.3d 933, 935 (10th Cir. 2005). The court
views all evidence and reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party. LifeWise Master
Funding v. Telebank, 374 F.3d 917, 927 (10th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff's FLSA claim.
claims that defendants violated the FLSA when it failed to
pay him time and a half for weeks he worked more than 40
hours. Subject to certain exemptions, the FLSA mandates that
employers provide overtime pay to employees who work longer
than forty hours in a week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a).
argue that they exempt from the FLSA's overtime
requirements due to the Motor Carrier Act (“MCA”)
exemption, under 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1). “Once a
court finds the employer is eligible to claim the exemption,
the factfinder reviews the disputed facts to determine if the
exemption is met”-a fact-bound and case-specific
inquiry. Deherrera v. Decker Truck Line, Inc., 820
F.3d 1147, 1154 (10th Cir. 2016).