United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD J. SULLIVAN. District Judge.
Daniel Krupinski ("Krupinski") brings claims for
unpaid overtime wages under the New York Labor Law
("NYLL") and for statutory damages under New
York's Wage Theft Prevention Act ("WTPA")
against his former employer, Defendant Laborers Eastern
Region Organizing Fund ("LEROF"). Now before the
Court are (1) LEROF's motion for summary judgment (Doc.
No. 11), and (2) Krupinski's cross-motion for partial
summary judgment on the WTPA claim (Doc. No. 17). For the
reasons set forth below, LEROF's motion is granted and
Krupinski's motion is denied.
Krupinski's second attempt to persuade the Court that he
was not a "bona fide administrative employee"
exempt from statutory overtime requirements when he worked as
an Organizer for LEROF. The Court rebuffed his first attempt
several months ago, granting summary judgment for LEROF after
finding that Krupinski was indeed an exempt administrative
employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act
("FLSA"), the NYLL's federal analog.
Krupinski v. Laborers E. Region Org. Fund, No.
15-cv-982 (RJS), 2016 WL 5800473 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 2, 2016)
(Krupinski I). In that case, the Court
found that Krupinski met the FLSA's three-part test for
exempt administrative employees: he was compensated on a
salary basis, his “primary duty [was] the performance
of office or non-manual work directly related to the
management or general business operations of [his] employer,
” and his primary duties also “include[d] the
exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect
to matters of significance.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.200;
Krupinski I, 2016 WL 5800473, at *4-9. On the
supposition that the parties were not diverse, the Court
declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Krupinski's state law claims after dismissing his federal
claim. Id. at *9-10. Krupinski thereafter brought
his NYLL and WTPA claims in New York state court.
(See Doc. No. 1.) On December 23, 2016, LEROF
removed the state court action to this Court, asserting for
the first time federal jurisdiction based on diversity of
citizenship, since LEROF is a citizen of New Jersey and
Krupinski is a citizen of Pennsylvania. (Id.)
Because Krupinski I and the present case concern the
same parties and rely on the same factual record, the Court
will assume the parties' familiarity with most of the
facts and procedural history of both cases and limit its
discussion to those facts most relevant to these motions.
is a non-profit labor management organization that serves as
a regional organizing fund for the Laborers International
Union of North America (“LIUNA”). (Def. 56.1
¶¶ 1, 4.) LEROF's “core mission is to
organize non-union workers to increase membership for the
local unions [in its geographical territory] and thus
increase market share for LIUNA as a whole.”
(Id. ¶ 5; see also Id. ¶ 6.) To
carry out its mission, LEROF “educat[es] workers about
the benefits of union membership and campaign[s] to have
workers elect to join LIUNA.” (Id. ¶ 8.)
employs a staff of about fifty Organizers to run its
organizing campaigns. (Id. ¶ 10; see also
Id. ¶ 9 (“The power of LEROF rests in the
skills and talents of members who actively participate in
organizing campaigns.”).) Organizers' duties
“generally include, but are not limited to: house
calling non-union workers; house calling union workers;
[performing] committee work; assisting in setting up
campaigns; conduct[ing] meetings with workers; mobiliz[ing]
and empower[ing] workers; participat[ing] in corporate
campaign activities; public speaking; information gathering;
rallying; picketing; and leafleting.” (Id.
a graduate of Berkeley College with a bachelor's degree
in international business, was employed by LEROF as an
Organizer from approximately June 2010 to April 2014, when he
was terminated. (Doc. No. 16, Ex. A (“Pl. Depo.”)
48:1-3, 11; Def. 56.1 ¶¶ 28-29, 75.)
Krupinski's duties generally corresponded with those
listed in LEROF's job description for Organizers.
(Def. 56.1 ¶ 44; Pl. Depo. 23:21-24:23.) His
primary objective was to “[m]otivate, ”
“[e]ducate, ” and “[t]rain”
construction workers and convince non-union workers to join
LIUNA. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 45 (quoting Pl. Depo. 24:11-16);
see also Pl. Depo. 29:7-8 (trying to improve the
market share was Krupinski's “job almost . . .
every day”).) Krupinski's day-to-day duties
consisted mainly of “fieldwork” that included
demonstrating at non-union worksites (Def. 56.1 ¶¶
56-59), educating both union and non-union workers about the
benefits of union membership (id. ¶¶ 45,
55, 57), speaking with the public about LIUNA's goals
(id. ¶ 59), conducting house calls to recruit
non-union workers (id. ¶ 49), and assessing
targets for house calls (id. ¶¶ 50, 66).
required by LEROF, Krupinski attended a number of training
sessions both before and during his employment as an
Organizer. For his initial training, he participated in
LEROF's “Voice 1” and “Voice 2”
classes, in which “[O]rganizers are taught labor
history, economics, politics[, ] and ‘house calling,
' with an emphasis on simulations and role
playing.” (Id. ¶ 69.) Krupinski later
attended LEROF's “Two Day Training, ” an
“intensive training in labor history, economics,
politics, immigration, basic labor law and picketing,
house-calling, and organizing techniques.”
(Id. ¶ 70; see also Pl. Depo.
44:16-45:12, 47:19-22 (indicating that Krupinski attended
this training “a dozen” times and eventually
served as an assistant teacher).) In addition, LEROF sent
Krupinski and other Organizers to outside conferences to
learn more about union market share and techniques for
job-site demonstrations. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 71; Pl. Depo.
45:13-47:15.) LEROF also offered further training through
LEROF University and Cornell University's Industrial
Labor Relations School, but Krupinski was terminated before
he was able to take advantage of those opportunities. (Def.
56.1 ¶¶ 73-74; Pl. Depo. 47:23-25.) Krupinski
suggested, however, that he had less need for further
training than some other Organizers, since he already held a
bachelor's degree in international business. (Pl. Depo.
noted above, Krupinski initiated this action in New York
State Supreme Court, New York County, on November 17, 2016,
asserting claims under New York state law. (See Doc.
No. 1.) On December 23, 2016, LEROF removed the case to
federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and
1446. (Id.) After a pre-motion conference on January
19, 2017, LEROF filed its motion for summary judgment on
January 27, 2017, asserting that Krupinski was an exempt
administrative employee under the NYLL and was not entitled
to statutory damages under the WTPA. (Doc. Nos. 11-16.)
Thereafter, Krupinski filed his opposition and cross-motion
for partial summary judgment on February 27, 2017 (Doc. Nos.
17-21), and LEROF filed its reply and opposition to the
cross-motion on March 6, 2017 (Doc. No. 23).
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows 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). There is “no genuine
dispute as to any material fact” where (1) the parties
agree on all facts (that is, there are no disputed facts);
(2) the parties disagree on some or all facts, but a
reasonable fact-finder could never accept the nonmoving
party's version of the facts (that is, there are no
genuinely disputed facts), see Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986); or (3) the parties disagree on some or all facts, but
even on the nonmoving party's version of the facts, the
moving party would win as a matter of law (that is, none of
the factual disputes are material), see Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
determining whether a fact is genuinely disputed, the court
“is not to weigh the evidence but is instead required
to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party
opposing summary judgment, to draw all reasonable inferences
in favor of that party, and to eschew credibility
assessments.” Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845,
854 (2d Cir. 1996). Nevertheless, to show a genuine dispute,
the nonmoving party must provide “hard evidence,
” D'Amico v. City of New York, 132 F.3d
145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998), “from which a reasonable
inference in [its] favor may be drawn, ” Binder
& Binder PC v. Barnhart, 481 F.3d 141, 148 (2d Cir.
2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Conclusory
allegations, conjecture, and speculation, ” Kerzer
v. Kingly Mfg., 156 F.3d 396, 400 (2d Cir. 1998), as
well as the existence of a mere “scintilla of evidence
in support of the [nonmoving party's] position, ”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, are insufficient to
create a genuinely disputed fact. A moving party is
“entitled to judgment as a matter of law” on an
issue if (1) it bears the burden of proof on the issue and
the undisputed facts meet that ...