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Walden v. Sanitation Salvage Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 30, 2015

JEFFREY H. WALDEN, individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
SANITATION SALVAGE CORP., ANDREW SQUITIERI, JOHN SQUITIERI, and STEVE SQUITIERI, jointly and severally, Defendants. KELVIN GARCIA, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
SANITATION SALVAGE CORPORATION and STEVEN SQUITIERI, individually, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

EDGARDO RAMOS, District Judge.

This is a consolidated putative collective and class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"). Plaintiffs Jeffrey H. Walden and Kelvin Garcia allege that their former employers, Sanitation Salvage Corp. ("Sanitation Salvage"), Andrew Squitieri, John Squitieri, and Steven Squitieri (collectively, "Defendants") failed to pay them certain overtime wages in violation of the FLSA and the NYLL, and failed to comply with the NYLL's recordkeeping requirements. Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 13. Defendants brought the instant motion prior to the commencement of discovery in this action. Plaintiff Walden has submitted a declaration pursuant to Rule 56(d), claiming that he is unable to present facts essential to his opposition of the instant motion without certain limited discovery.[1] Plaintiff Garcia does not request discovery in order to oppose the instant motion, but instead claims that Defendants have not demonstrated the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. Procedural Background

Plaintiff Walden commenced the instant action on January 8, 2014. Doc. 1. On March 7, 2014, Defendants filed their Answer. Doc. 8. A pre-motion conference was held on April 3, 2014, and the instant motion was filed on April 24, 2014. Doc. 13.

On January 28, 2014, Plaintiff Garcia filed an action against Sanitation Salvage and Steven Squitieri in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Doc. 1. The two defendants answered the Complaint on March 31, 2014. Doc. 9. On June 6, 2014, Hiram Arocho filed notice of his consent to join that action as an opt-in plaintiff. Doc. 12. Then, on September 23, 2014, upon stipulation of the parties, the case was ordered transferred to this Court.

On January 20, 2015, pursuant to Rule 42(a) and with consent of the parties, the two actions were consolidated. Doc. 30. Then, on March 10, 2015, Garcia filed his opposition to the instant motion.

II. Factual Background

Defendant Sanitation Salvage is a New York corporation engaged in interstate commerce. Declaration of Steven Squitieri ("Squitieri Decl."), ¶ 2; see also Walden Compl. ¶ 8. Sanitation Salvage is in the business of carrying and disposing of cardboard and garbage from residential and commercial establishments in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Westchester County. Id. ¶ 29; Squitieri Decl. ¶ 2. Sanitation Salvage ships the waste it collects to locations throughout the United States and abroad. Walden Compl. ¶ 2. The individual defendants own, operate, and/or control the day-to-day operations of Sanitation Salvage and jointly employed Walden and Garcia. Id. ¶¶ 9, 11, 13.

Plaintiff Walden worked as a "helper" at Sanitation Salvage from June 17, 2011 to February 16, 2013. Id. ¶ 32; Squitieri Decl. ¶ 4. In this role, Walden's primary duties were to collect garbage and recyclable materials from the street and place them into Defendants' trucks. Walden Compl. ¶ 33. According to Walden, he worked 16-hour shifts five days per week for a total of 80 hours per workweek. Id. ¶ 41. The parties agree that Walden was paid his regular rate of $14.50 per hour for 40 hours per week, and that he was paid one and a half times his hourly rate for ten hours of overtime per week. Id. ¶¶ 44-48; Squitieri Decl. ¶ 4. And while Walden maintains that he was not paid anything for the remaining 30 hours worked, Defendants claim that all helpers, including Walden, received at least one and a half times their hourly rate for each overtime hour worked in a given workweek. Walden Compl. ¶¶ 46-48; Squitieri Decl. ¶ 4.

Plaintiff Garcia was employed at Sanitation Salvage from approximately January 28, 2008 to September 13, 2013 as a "garbage and recycling pick-up driver." Garcia Decl. ¶¶ 4-5. According to Garcia, he "just threw the garbage and recycling in the back of the truck" and did not exercise judgment or discretion relating to the pick-up or loading of the items on the street. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Garcia contends that he worked five to six days per week in shifts of at least 11 hours, and was improperly paid a daily wage regardless of the number of hours he worked. Id. ¶¶ 6-7; Garcia Compl. ¶ 16.

III. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "An issue of fact is genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Senno v. Elmsford Union Free Sch. Dist., 812 F.Supp.2d 454, 467 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing SCR Joint Venture L.P. v. Warshawsky, 559 F.3d 133, 137 (2d Cir. 2009)). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the litigation under the governing law. Id. The party moving for summary judgment is responsible for demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party meets its burden, "the nonmoving party must come forward with admissible evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of fact for trial in order to avoid summary judgment." Saenger v. Montefiore Med. Ctr., 706 F.Supp.2d 494, 504 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Jaramillo v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 536 F.3d 140, 145 (2d Cir.2008)).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must "construe the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the movant.'" Brod v. Omya, Inc., 653 F.3d 156, 164 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Williams v. R.H. Donnelley, Corp., 368 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2004)). However, in opposing a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party may not rely on unsupported assertions, conjecture or surmise. Goenaga v. March of Dimes Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995). The non-moving party must do more than show that there is "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." McClellan v. Smith, 439 F.3d 137, 144 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, "the non-moving party must set forth significant, probative evidence on which a reasonable fact-finder could decide in its favor." Senno, 812 F.Supp.2d at 467-68 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986)).

If the party opposing a summary judgment motion shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may deny the motion or allow time to take discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). The affidavit or declaration must describe: (1) what facts are sought and how they are to be obtained, (2) how such facts are reasonably expected to raise a genuine issue of material fact, (3) what efforts the affiant has made to obtain them, and (4) why the affiant's efforts were unsuccessful. Robinson v. Allstate Ins. Co., 508 F.Appx. 7, 10 (2d Cir. 2013). The grant of relief ...


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