United States District Court, D. Kansas
LYNNETTE MAYHEW, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ANGMAR MEDICAL HOLDINGS, INC., d/b/a ANGELS CARE HOME HEALTH, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
KENNETH G. GALE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. (Doc.
40.) After reviewing the submissions of the parties,
Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED in part
and DENIED in part as more fully set forth
brings this action for allegedly unpaid and improper wages
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §
201, et seq. Plaintiff alleges that she
worked as an hourly, non-exempt LPN from 2017 until the end
of her employment. At all relevant times, Defendant employed
Plaintiff as an hourly employee. Plaintiff alleges that her
job duties routinely required her to work in excess of forty
(40) hours per workweek, and that she was often denied
overtime premiums and/or not paid for the entirety of the
compensable straight time or overtime hours she worked per
Plaintiff alleges that she (and all similarly situated
hourly, non-exempt employees) kept her hours of work using
the company-wide timekeeping practices and policies put in
place by Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that she and other
similarly situated hourly, non-exempt employees were required
to work off the clock. This work occurred before the
beginning of their shifts, following the end of their shifts,
and during their shifts.
As hourly, non-exempt employees, Plaintiff and other
similarly situated hourly, nonexempt employees are and were
entitled to overtime premiums for hours worked in excess of
forty (40) each week. See 29 U.S.C. § 213. The
unpaid work time that Defendant required Plaintiff and other
similarly situated hourly, non-exempt employees to work off
the clock often put Plaintiff and other similarly situated
employees at a total number of hours exceeding forty (40) in
a workweek. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's policies
and practices willfully deny hourly, non-exempt employees
overtime pay for all hours worked including hours worked
beyond forty (40) in a workweek.
(Doc. 40, at 1-2; see also generally Doc. 1.)
Plaintiff has plead her case as a collective action and
recently filed a brief seeking conditional certification,
which is currently pending before the District Court. (Doc.
40, at 10; Doc. 43.)
generally denies Plaintiff's allegations. Defendant
contends that it was never Plaintiff's employer. (Doc.
48, at 2-3.) Rather, according to Defendant, Plaintiff was
employed by E Medical Group of Kansas, Inc. and E Medical
Group NO. 4, LLC and during that employment, “the named
defendant, AngMar Medical Holdings, Inc. provided certain
payroll and Human Resources services to those
entities.” (Id., at 3.) Defendant contends
that it “was not plaintiff's employer, and indeed,
has not employed any LPNs at any time material hereto.”
alleges that Defendant “owns and operates multiple
subsidiary entities, including but not limited to, E Medical
Holdings of Kansas, E Medical Holdings of Kansas No. 4,
Angels Care Home Health, and other entities.” (Doc. 1,
at 3.) According to Plaintiff,
[e]vidence gathered to date indicates that Angmar was a
co-employer pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §201, which states
that under the FLSA, an ‘employer' subject to the
Act is defined as ‘any person acting directly or
indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an
employee.' Under a Department of Labor (‘DOL')
regulation interpreting the FLSA, joint employers exist
‘where the employee performs work which simultaneously
benefits two or more employers.' 29 U.S.C. § 201. A
joint employment relationship generally exists in situations:
(1) where employers arrange to share the employee's
service; (2) where one employer acts in the interest of the
other employer in relation to the employee; or (3) where
employers are not entirely dissociated with respect to a
particular employee and may share control of the employee,
either directly or indirectly, because of the fact that one
employer is controlled by or under common control with the
other employer. To determine the existence of joint
employers, courts generally look to whether the alleged joint
employers ‘exercise[d] significant control over the
same employees.' Courts recognize independent entities as
joint employers if the entities ‘share or co-determine
those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of
employment.' Creech v. P.J. Wichita, L.L.C., No.
16-CV-2312-JAR-GEB, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33340, at *13-14
(D. Kan. Mar. 8, 2017). Plaintiff seeks evidence through this
discovery to refute Defendant's assertion that it was not
a Plaintiff's employer.
(Doc. 40, at 2-3.)
issue are certain requests contained in Plaintiff's
second set of written discovery to Defendant. In addition to
objections based on not being Plaintiff's employer,
Defendant objects that the discovery requests at issue -
including definitions used (or omitted) by Plaintiff therein
- are vague, ambiguous, confusing, overly broad, unduly
burdensome, and not proportional to the needs of the case.
(Doc. 48, at 4-6.)
Legal Standard for Motion to Compel.
are given broad discretion to control and place appropriate
limits on discovery.” Semsroth v. City of
Wichita, No. 06-2376-KHV-DJW, 2007 WL 2287814, at *1 (D.
Kan. Aug. 7, 2007) (citing Kutilek v. Gannon, 132
F.R.D. 296, 297 (D. Kan. 1990)) (in context of whether to
stay discovery). Magistrate Judges are “afforded broad
discretion in the resolution of non-dispositive discovery
disputes.” In re Urethane Antitrust Litig.,
No. 04-1616-JWL, 2014 WL 61799, at *1 (D. Kan. Jan. 8, 2014)
(citing A/R Roofing, L.L.C. v. Certainteed Corp.,
2006 WL 3479015, at *3 (D. Kan. Nov. 30, 2006)) (other
internal citations omitted).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) states that
[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at state in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
such, the requested information must be nonprivileged,
relevant, and proportional to the needs of the case to be
discoverable. Holick v. Burkhart,
No.16-1188-JTM-KGG, 2018 WL 372440, at *2 (D. Kan. Jan. 11,
is “broadly construed” at the discovery stage.
Kimberly Young v. Physician Office Partners, Inc.,
No. 18-2481-KHV-TJJ, 2019 WL 4256365, at *1 (D. Kan. Sept. 9,
2019) (citation omitted). “Relevant information is
‘any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could
lead to other matter that could bear on' any party's
claims or defenses.” Id. (quoting Rowan v.
Sunflower Elec. Power Corp., No. 15-cv-9227-JWL-TJJ,
2016 WL 3745680, at *2 (D. Kan. July 13, 2016) (quoting
Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351
When the discovery sought appears relevant, the party
resisting discovery has the burden to establish the lack of
relevancy by demonstrating that the requested discovery (1)
does not come within the scope of relevancy as defined under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), or (2) is of such marginal relevancy
that the potential harm occasioned by that discovery would
outweigh the ordinary presumption in favor of broad
Id. at *2 (quoting General Elec. Cap. Corp. v.
Lear Corp., 215 F.R.D. 637, 640 (D. Kan. 2003)). A party
asserting objections as to breadth, burdensomeness,
vagueness, and ambiguity has the burden of supporting such
objections unless the requests are facially objectionable.
Id., at 3-4. Within these parameters, the Court will
address the various objections raised.
response to Requests Nos. 2-4, 6, 8-9, 12-13, and 15,
Defendant objects that only two years of documents should be
produced, rather than the three years requested by Plaintiff.
“Plaintiff requested three years of documents because
that is the applicable statute of limitations if a willful
violation is found.” (Doc. 40, at 7 (citing 29 U.S.C.
255(a).) Defendant contends that “[t]he statute of
limitations applicable to plaintiff's claims is two
years, unless she can prove a willful violation.” (Doc.
40-1, at 2 (citing 29 U.S.C. § 255(a).) Defendant
continues that because “[t]here has been no finding of
willfulness with regard to any act by defendant, which did
not employ plaintiff, ” the three year time period is
“too long.” (Id.)
of whether the violation is willful or not, the Court finds
the temporal limitation proposed by Plaintiff to be
appropriate and not overly broad. The Court overrules
Defendant's temporal objection as to the discovery
requests at issue. Because this is the only objection
Defendant raised in response to Requests Nos. 8, 12, and 13,
the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion as to these requests
and ORDERS Defendant to ...