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Cuzco v. Orion Builders

May 26, 2010

SAUL MARCELO CUZCO, AND OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ORION BUILDERS, INC. ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimba M. Wood, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Saul Marcelo Cuzco brings this action, individually and on behalf of a certified class, against Defendant Jan Kvas, individually and d/b/a Orion Carpentry, and Defendant Orion Builders, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging various overtime and wage violations of both the Fair Labor Standards Act (the "FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the New York Labor Laws (the "NYLL"), § 190 et seq. Plaintiff, and members of the certified class, renew their motion for summary judgment on claims brought under the NYLL. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on their NYLL claims (Dkt. No. 105), and refers the case to Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz for an inquest into damages.

I. Background

The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the procedural history and underlying facts in this case, which are set forth in greater detail in the Court's September 30, 2009 Opinion and Order ("September 30 Order"). Cuzco v. Orion Builders, Inc., 262 F.R.D. 325, 327-29 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). They are summarized only to the extent they are relevant here.

A. Procedural History

On April 10, 2006, Plaintiff Cuzco filed a complaint in this action, alleging that Defendants failed to pay him, and other similarity situated workers, (1) overtime wages; (2) a minimum wage during certain workweeks, and (3) wages in a timely fashion, in violation of both the FLSA and the NYLL. The complaint also alleged that Defendants failed to pay "spread of hours" wages - an extra hour of pay at the state minimum wage for workdays exceeding ten hours - in violation of the NYLL.

The case was originally assigned to Judge Stephen C. Robinson. On March 12, 2007, Judge Robinson granted Plaintiff's motion to certify this action as a "collective action" under the FLSA, and only two additional employees, Claudia Figueroa and Bolivar Guiracocha, consented to join the FLSA collective action ("Opt-in Plaintiffs"; collectively, "Plaintiffs").

On October 26, 2007, Plaintiffs moved for class certification on their NYLL claims pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and Plaintiffs and Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment on both the FLSA and the NYLL claims.*fn1

On June 5, 2009, this case was transferred to the undersigned. In its September 30 Order, this Court (1) granted Plaintiffs' motion for class certification,*fn2 and (2) granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.*fn3 With respect to Plaintiffs' FLSA claims, the Court concluded that Plaintiffs were entitled to damages for

(1) unpaid overtime wages, and (2) unpaid minimum wages during certain workweeks (as a result of Defendants' failure to reimburse its employees for the cost of tools they were required to purchase). The Court found, however, that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to compensation for any late payment of wages under the FLSA.

With respect to Plaintiffs' NYLL claims, the Court stated that it would "consider the merits of Plaintiffs' NYLL class claims only after adequate notice has been sent to potential members of the NYLL class." Cuzco, 262 F.R.D. at 327. Accordingly, the Court denied without prejudice Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on behalf of the class, and granted Plaintiffs leave to re-file their motion after adequate notice had been sent to potential class members.*fn4

On January 29, 2010, Plaintiffs submitted this renewed motion for summary judgment on their NYLL class claims.*fn5 As of this date, Defendants have submitted nothing in opposition.

B. Factual ...


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