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Prue v. Hudson Falls Post No. 574, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 31, 2015

JOY PRUE, Plaintiff,
v.
HUDSON FALLS POST NO. 574, INC., THE AMERICAN LEGION, DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK, and CHRIS FONTAINE, Defendants.

DALE J. MORGADO, ESQ., MICHAEL R. MINKOFF, ESQ., FELDMAN MORGADO, P.A., New York, New York, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

CHARLES G. MILLS, ESQ., OFFICE OF CHARLES G. MILLS, Glen Cove, New York, Attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, Jr., Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court are the following motions: (1) Plaintiff's motion to strike Defendants' Amended Answer and affirmative defenses pursuant to Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or, in the alternative, to order a more definite statement pursuant to Rule 12(e), see Dkt. No. 15; (2) Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, see Dkt. No. 16; (3) Plaintiff's motion for Summary Judgment on Defendants' liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), see Dkt. No. 27; and (4) Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment dismissing the complaint as to Defendant Chris Fontaine, see Dkt. No. 62

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Joy Prue ("Plaintiff") is a resident of New York State. Defendant Hudson Falls Post No. 574, Inc., The American Legion, Department of New York ("Post 574") is a domestic not-for profit corporation in Washington County, New York. Defendant Chris Fontaine is the Commander of Post 574.

Plaintiff, a former employee of Defendant Post 574, filed her Complaint in the Northern District of New York on October 16, 2013. In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants employed her as the "house custodian" or "house manager" from about April 27, 2011, until November 2012. Plaintiff alleged that she regularly worked as house manager in excess of 40 hours per week, but Defendants only paid her a fixed salary of $400 per week.

Based upon these allegations, Plaintiff sued Defendants for violation of the FLSA to recover unpaid wages in violation of overtime requirements, liquidated damages, interest, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action. Plaintiff seeks the following relief from this Court:

1. An order of judgment in Plaintiff's favor and against Defendants for violating the FLSA and holding them jointly and severally liable;
2. A finding that Defendants violated the overtime compensation provisions of the FLSA and that such violation was and is willful, in bad faith, and with reckless disregard for the law;
3. An award of overtime compensation for all the previous hours worked over forty hours in the amount of at least one and one-half time compensation and liquidated damages of an equal amount;
4. An order awarding attorney's fees and costs pursuant to ยง 216 of the FLSA; and
5. Any other legal or equitable relief that the Court deems just and appropriate.

Defendants denied that Plaintiff worked more than forty hours per week as house manager. Defendants alleged that, prior to and during her time as house manager, Plaintiff also served as Post 574's Adjutant. Defendants also asserted that, as the Adjutant, Plaintiff was a member of Post 574's executive committee, its chief administrative officer, its fifth-ranking officer, and its corporate secretary. Based on these allegations, Defendants asserted the defense that Plaintiff was exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements because she was an executive employee of Post 574. Finally, Defendants argued that Plaintiff was collaterally estopped from litigating the issue of whether she worked more than forty hours per week as house manager.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant Fontaine's liability

In Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, the Second Circuit provided several considerations for determining whether the chairman and chief executive officer ("CEO") of a chain of supermarkets was an "employer" for the purpose of determining whether that officer "would be held jointly and severally liable for damages along with the corporate defendants." 722 F.3d 99, 102 (2d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). The Court of Appeals first recognized the Supreme Court's requirement that courts look to the "economic reality" of an employment situation to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists. Id. at 104 (quoting Goldberg v. Whitaker House Coop., Inc., 366 U.S. 28, 33, 81 S.Ct. 933, 6 L.Ed.2d 100 (1961)). This economic ...


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