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Flood v. Carlson Rests., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 20, 2015

JAMEL FLOOD, IRA HEASTON, ISAAC HEASTON, TASHAUNA REID, and AMY COURTEMANCHE, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CARLSON RESTAURANTS INC., CARLSON RESTAURANTS WORLDWIDE INC., and T.G.I. FRIDAY'S INC., Defendants

For Jamel Flood, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Isaac Heaston, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Josephine Diaz, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs: Brian Scott Schaffer, Frank Joseph Mazzaferro, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY; Joseph A. Fitapelli, Fitapelli & Schaffer, New York, NY; Justin Mitchell Swartz, Outten & Golden, LLP (NYC), New York, NY; Sally Jasmine Abrahamson, PRO HAC VICE, Outten & Golden, New York, NY.

For Ira Heaston, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff: Arsenio David Rodriguez, Fitapelli & Schaffer LLP, New York, NY; Brian Scott Schaffer, Frank Joseph Mazzaferro, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY; Joseph A. Fitapelli, Fitapelli & Schaffer, New York, NY; Justin Mitchell Swartz, Outten & Golden, LLP (NYC), New York, NY; Sally Jasmine Abrahamson, PRO HAC VICE, Outten & Golden, New York, NY.

For Adage Gomez, Sherie DeMonte, Plaintiffs: Brian Scott Schaffer, Frank Joseph Mazzaferro, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY.

For Samaya Cotto, Plaintiff: Brian Scott Schaffer, Frank Joseph Mazzaferro, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY; Justin Mitchell Swartz, Outten & Golden, LLP (NYC), New York, NY.

For Nicholas LaBrie, Gabor Sztancsik, Alysa Guinta, Sara Rabuffetti, Ebony Autry, Jeanette Collins, Thomas Monteiro, Salim Blake, Christopher Molina, Stacey Reay, Abraham Reay, Daniel Guinta, Jennifer Palmisciano, Barbara Mastro, Catherine Collins, Jessica Terranova, Michael McBrien, Plaintiffs: Brian Scott Schaffer, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY.

For Carla Bowen, Danielle Woodward, Mercedes Lockley, Charles Ortiz, Cassandra Iglesia, Zennie Piedad, Plaintiffs: Frank Joseph Mazzaferro, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY.

For Amy Courtemanche, Tashauna Reid, Plaintiffs: Brian Scott Schaffer, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, New York, NY; Justin Mitchell Swartz, Outten & Golden, LLP (NYC), New York, NY.

For Carlson Restaurants Inc., Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., Defendants: Jeffrey W. Brecher, Roger H. Briton, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jackson Lewis P.C. (Melville N.Y.), Melville, NY; Felice B. Ekelman, Jackson Lewis P.C. (NY), New York, NY; Gerald Leonard Maatman, Jr, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL; Gina Renee Merrill, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, New York, NY.

For T.G.I. Friday's Inc., Defendant: Jeffrey W. Brecher, Roger H. Briton, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jackson Lewis P.C. (Melville N.Y.), Melville, NY; Felice B. Ekelman, Jackson Lewis P.C. (NY), New York, NY.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

ANALISA TORRES, United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, allege that Defendants, Carlson Restaurants Inc., Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., and T.G.I. Friday's Inc., violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the New York Labor Law.[1] Plaintiffs move for conditional collective action certification, court-authorized notice, and expedited discovery. Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED in accordance with the conditions set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Carlson Restaurants Inc. and Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc. are among the world's largest private companies, employing more than 175, 000 people. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 5, 7, ECF No. 73. T.G.I. Friday's Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carlson entities. Id. ¶ 99. Together, Defendants operate 920 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in 60 countries and territories. Id. ¶ ¶ 7, 96. Plaintiffs are former and current tipped employees at T.G.I. Friday's. See Compl. ¶ ¶ 47-67, ECF No. 2; Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 48-73.

On April 17, 2014, Plaintiffs commenced this action " on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated current and former tipped workers" --including servers, bussers, runners, bartenders, barbacks, and hosts--employed at T.G.I. Friday's restaurants nationwide. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 106; see also Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 112. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the FLSA because Defendants paid tipped employees less than the full statutory minimum hourly wage by availing themselves of the federal " tip credit." Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 267-68. Plaintiffs argue that Defendants were not permitted to take the " tip credit" because Defendants: (1) failed to properly notify tipped workers of the FLSA's " tip credit" provisions; (2) required tipped workers to spend a substantial amount of time performing non-tip producing " side work"; and (3) distributed tips to tip-ineligible employees. Id. ¶ ¶ 268-69. Plaintiffs ...


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