United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GLASSER, Senior United States District Judge
Christie Williams (“Williams” or
“Plaintiff”) brings claims against Defendants
Preeminent Protective Services, Inc.
(“Preeminent”) and Lurline Bell, Preeminent's
chief executive officer (“Bell, ” together the
“Defendants”), for unpaid wages and retaliation
under New York Labor Law (N.Y.L.L.) §§ 190 and 215,
respectively, and for unjust enrichment. Jurisdiction is
proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. This Court denied
Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction and/or improper venue in Williams v.
Preeminent Protective Servs., Inc., 81 F.Supp.3d 265
(E.D.N.Y. 2015), familiarity with which is assumed.
Defendants now move for summary judgment.
following material facts, drawn from the parties' Local
Civil Rule 56.1 Statements and evidentiary submissions, are
undisputed unless otherwise noted.
of Preeminent and Hiring of Williams
Preeminent provides “physical security services”
in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and the state of
Nevada, primarily to federal and local government entities.
ECF 38, Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement of
Undisputed Facts (“Def. Rule 56.1 St.”) at ¶
1. When bidding on a contract, Preeminent submits proposals
to government agencies that are seeking a contractor for
security services, and the agency awards the contract based
on the most favorable bid. Id. at ¶¶ 2-3.
2013, Williams began working for Preeminent. Id. at
¶ 10; ECF 39-3, Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1
Counterstatement (“Pl. Rule 56.1 St.”) at ¶
8. Williams and Bell had met in 2001 and were personal
friends for a number of years. Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶
7. Williams worked primarily from her home in Brooklyn, New
York (id. at ¶ 12; Pl. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶
5), and Preeminent provided Williams with a company laptop,
cell phone and email address to perform her duties. Def. Rule
56.1 St. at ¶ 13.
Role at Preeminent
was responsible for Preeminent's communications and
marketing needs, which included creating a text message and
email alert system to communicate with Preeminent employees,
designing brochures and catalogues, and updating the
Preeminent website. Id. at ¶ 14; Pl. Rule 56.1
St. at ¶¶ 8, 14. The parties dispute the extent to
which Williams was also engaged in business development. The
record includes emails indicating that Williams' title
was “Corporate Communications and Business Development
Manager” (ECF 38-6, 38-10, 39-1 at Ex. C), and that, at
minimum, she was involved with coordinating the contract
proposal process, reaching out to and scheduling meetings
with potential business contacts (ECF 38-6, 39-1 at Ex. C),
and was a member of Preeminent's “Business
Development and Contract Management” team, engaged in
“proposal writing.” ECF 38-12; see also
ECF 39-2 at Ex. 1, 39-1 at Ex. B. Williams says that Bell
trained her to draft proposals, and that Preeminent paid for
Williams to attend business development training. Pl. Rule
56.1 St at ¶¶ 15, 55.
compensated Williams $1, 000 bi-weekly. Id. at
¶¶ 8, 14. According to Williams, this salary was
low in light of her responsibilities. ECF 39-2, Declaration
of Christie Williams (“Williams Aff.”), at ¶
9. To make up the difference, she says that Bell agreed to
pay her a commission on the contracts she was involved in
procuring. Id. The agreement was never committed to
writing, but Williams testified that she and Bell verbally
agreed that Preeminent:
was going to provide a lump sum commission on the first few
large contracts and that subsequent commission checks would
be distributed annually to supplement my annual salary . . .
and that that commission would be between .3 and .5 percent.
ECF 39-4, Ex. A, Deposition of Christie Williams
(“Williams Dep.”) at 226:2-9; see also
Id. 286:7-12; Pl. Rule 56.1 St at ¶ 8. Williams
testified that she and Bell discussed this arrangement during
a number of conversations, beginning in June 2013, but she
could not identify a specific date on which the agreement was
finalized. Williams Dep. at 228:2-5; 237:18-240:13. Williams
testified that “[i]f any contract that I was involved
in brought in revenue for the company, I was going to be
compensated for it.” Id. at 272:19-273:3.
Bell swears that she never offered to pay any commission to
Williams, and that Preeminent does not pay commissions on
contracts. ECF 38-3, Affidavit of Lurline Bell (“Bell
Aff.”) at ¶¶ 23, 26.
2013, Preeminent bid on a contract with the United States
Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) by submitting
a joint proposal with a subcontracting company, called
SecTek. Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 18; Williams Dep. at
163:10-16. The evidence indicates that the final proposal was
submitted to the USDA sometime between January 8 and January
parties dispute the role Williams played in generating the
USDA proposal. Williams claims that she researched the
“decision makers” at USDA and SecTek, that she
proactively reached out to SecTek to make an initial contact,
and then worked with SecTek to generate the final proposal.
Pl. Rule 56.1 St at ¶ 19; ECF 39-1 at Ex. C. The record
includes email correspondence corroborating her claims. ECF
38-6; 39-1 at Ex. C. Conversely, Defendants say that Williams
was not substantively involved with the USDA proposal;
instead, she only performed administrative tasks, such as
emailing the final proposal to the government agency. Def.
Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 20.
claims that by December 2013, Williams had been missing
deadlines and completing projects late, and that she was
preoccupied by other obligations, including caring for her
infant daughter and searching for other employment.
Id. at ¶¶ 26-28. Bell says she considered
terminating Williams at that time, but Williams agreed to
improve her performance. Id. at ¶ 28. There is
no evidence in the ...