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Richardson v. Regeis Care Center, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 30, 2017

LOREN RICHARDSON, on behalf of himself, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly-situated Plaintiff,
v.
REGEIS CARE CENTER, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Loren Richardson brings this action alleging that Defendants Regeis Care Center, LLC, Chaim Sieger and Abraham Sieger violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay him proper overtime. Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and attached numerous exhibits in support of their motion. On October 11, 2016, Defendants' motion was converted into a motion for summary judgment, and the parties were afforded the opportunity to submit supplemental briefing and evidence. On consideration of the parties' submissions, Defendants' motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are drawn from the evidence submitted by the parties in connection with the present motion. For purposes of this motion, all factual disputes are resolved, and all reasonable inferences are drawn, in favor of Richardson. See Wright v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr., 831 F.3d 64, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2016).

         Loren Richardson is a Registered Professional Nurse who is licensed and registered to practice in the State of New York. On September 21, 2012, Richardson was hired as a Registered Nurse Supervisor by Regeis Care Center. Richardson signed a notice and acknowledgement of his salary, overtime rate and designated payday on August 30, 2012. The notice and acknowledgement states his rate of pay as $88, 500 per year and lists him as exempt from overtime pay. On September 21, 2012, and again on January 1, 2013, Richardson signed a form specifically for exempt employees which states that Richardson's pay is a weekly salary of $1, 701.9240. On January 1, 2014, and January 30, 2015, Richardson signed otherwise identical forms which list his weekly salary as $1, 701.9275.

         From September 21, 2012, through December 2013, Richardson generally worked 35 hours per week, consisting of five shifts of seven hours per week. In or about December 2013, Richardson requested that he be permitted to work two additional shifts of seven hours each in order to supplement his income. Regeis Care Center granted Richardson's request, and on certain weeks, Richardson worked extra shifts as a Registered Nurse Supervisor, for which he received extra payment.

         On October 26, 2015, Richardson was suspended without pay for three days, from October 27, 2015, through October 29, 2015. A Regeis Care Center employee counseling document signed by both Richardson and his supervisor states that the suspension was the result of Richardson's failure to update the plan of care for a resident following a doctor's appointment and his failure to initiate a care plan for another resident. Richardson states that the suspension occurred because he complained to his supervisors that he had too much work. The written Regeis Care Center discipline policy permits suspension for “[i]nefficiency, incompetence, insubordination or negligence in the performance of duties” and “[r]efusal to accept reasonable and proper assignments from authorized supervisors, ” among other policy violations.

         According to Regeis Care Center's payment reports from April 29, 2013, through December 30, 2015, Richardson never made less than his weekly salary of $1, 701.92 per week except for the week of November 5, 2015, which reflected his three-day suspension in the week prior. For weeks when Richardson worked more than 35 hours per week, he was paid $48.62 per hour on top of his weekly salary, which is equivalent to the prorated hourly amount of his $88, 500 annual salary. In some weeks, Richardson took vacation, personal, sick or holiday time, and was paid at least his weekly salary of $1, 701.92 despite working fewer than 35 hours in those weeks.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

          A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate where the record before the court establishes that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to a material fact exists “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for the summary judgment motion and identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute as to any material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); see, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Victory v. Pataki, 814 F.3d 47, 58-59 (2d Cir. 2016). Courts must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-moving party's favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. “[A] party may not rely on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment.” Hicks v. Baines, 593 F.3d 159, 166 (2d Cir. 2010) (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Instead, a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed “must support the assertion” by citing to the record or showing that “the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).

         B. FLSA Overtime Requirements

         Subject to certain exceptions, “FLSA requires employers to pay all employees . . . overtime of time and one-half for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week.” Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., 811 F.3d 528, 533 (2d Cir. 2016); see also 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). An employee who is “employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity, ” is exempt from FLSA's overtime requirement. 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1). “To qualify for this exemption[, ] an employee's work must satisfy both a duties ...


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