United States District Court, E.D. New York
DOUGLAYR LEIER, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
LINCOLN LIMOUSINE BROKERAGE INC., d/b/a LINCOLN LIMOUSINE, INC., LINCOLN LIMOUSINE LUXURY INC., LYNBROOK CAR AND LIMO INC., and MOHAMED M. ALMOGAZI, in his individual and professional capacities, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
K. CHEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Douglayr Leier filed this action pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law
(“NYLL”), on behalf of herself and similarly
situated employees and former employees of Defendants Lincoln
Limousine Brokerage Inc., d/b/a Lincoln Limousine, Inc.,
Lincoln Limousine Luxury Inc., Lynbrook Car and Limo Inc.
(collectively, “Lincoln Limousine”), and
Defendant Mohamed M. Almogazi (together with Lincoln
Limousine, “Defendants”). Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants are liable to Plaintiff and similarly situated
persons for violations of the minimum wage and overtime
provisions of the FLSA and NYLL, as well as additional
violations of the NYLL and New York common law. Before the
Court is Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment,
which seeks dismissal of Plaintiff Leier's claim for
unpaid overtime under the FLSA and the NYLL. For the reasons
stated below, Defendants' motion is denied.
operate a limousine transportation business in the New York
and New Jersey area using a mixed fleet of town cars, sport
utility vehicles, limousines, passenger vans, and buses that
accommodate between four and fifty-nine passengers, depending
on the type of vehicle. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., Dkt. 89-4,
¶¶ 1, 4; Pl.'s 56.1 Stmt., Dkt. 92,
¶¶ 8, 11, 15; Dkt. 91-6.) Plaintiff Leier worked
for Defendants as a limousine driver from the beginning of
August 2013 until the end of November 2013. (Defs.' 56.1
Stmt., ¶ 2.) During that time, Plaintiff drove a variety
of Defendants' vehicles, ranging from four-passenger town
cars to eight- or ten-passenger limousines, and regularly
transported clients to and from destinations throughout New
York and New Jersey. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶
3-6; Pl.'s 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 3-6,
The weight of each of the vehicles that Plaintiff drove was
under 10, 000 pounds. (Dkt. 91-6.)
filed this action on May 19, 2014, alleging that Defendants
were liable to her and similarly situated Lincoln Limousine
drivers for violations of various provisions of the FLSA and
NYLL. (Dkt. 1.) On December 4, 2015, the Court granted
Plaintiff's motion to conditionally certify this action
as a collective action for unpaid overtime under 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b). (Dkt. 65.) One person filed a written consent
to opt into this action pursuant to Section 216(b). (Dkt.
72.)In the instant motion, Defendants seek
summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff's claim for unpaid
overtime under the FLSA and the NYLL, arguing that Plaintiff
was at all relevant times exempt from the overtime
requirements of the FLSA and the NYLL pursuant to the
so-called “motor carrier exemption” set forth in
29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1).
judgment is appropriate where the submissions of the parties,
taken together, “show 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);
see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
251-52 (1986) (summary judgment inquiry is “whether the
evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law”). A dispute of
fact is “genuine” if “the [record] evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
initial burden of “establishing the absence of any
genuine issue of material fact” rests with the moving
party. Zalaski v. City of Bridgeport Police
Dep't, 613 F.3d 336, 340 (2d Cir. 2010). Once this
burden is met, however, the burden shifts to the nonmoving
party to put forward some evidence establishing the existence
of a question of fact that must be resolved at trial.
Spinelli v. City of N.Y., 579 F.3d 160, 166-67 (2d
Cir. 2009); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A mere “scintilla of
evidence” in support of the nonmoving party is
insufficient; “there must be evidence on which the jury
could reasonably find for the [non-movant].” Hayut
v. State Univ. of N.Y., 352 F.3d 733, 743 (2d Cir. 2003)
(quotation omitted; alteration in original). In other words,
“[t]he nonmoving party must come forward with specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Caldarola v. Calabrese, 298 F.3d 156, 160 (2d Cir.
2002) (quotation omitted).
determining whether a genuine issue of fact exists, the court
must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable
inferences against the moving party. Major League
Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d 290,
309 (2d Cir. 2008). The Court also construes any disputed
facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
157-59 (1970). However, “the mere existence of some
alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat
an otherwise properly supported motion for summary
judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.
FLSA requires all covered employers to pay overtime wages to
employees who work more than forty hours in a single
workweek, unless the employee is subject to one or more
exemptions set forth in the FLSA and related regulations.
Bilyou v. Dutchess Beer Distrib., Inc., 300 F.3d
217, 221-222 (2d Cir. 2002). The burden to prove an exemption
is on the employer, and the exemptions are “narrowly
construed against the employers seeking to assert them and
their application limited to those establishments plainly and
unmistakably within their terms and spirit.”
Id. at 222 (quoting Arnold v. Ben Kanowsky,
Inc., 361 U.S. 388, 392 (1960)).
Defendants assert that Plaintiff was exempt from the overtime
requirements of the FLSA by virtue of the motor carrier
exemption. Under the motor carrier exemption, 29 U.S.C.
§ 213(b)(1), the overtime requirements of the FLSA do
not apply to “any employee with respect to whom the
Secretary of Transportation has power to establish
qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the
provisions of [the Motor Carrier Act, ] section 31502 of
Title 49.” Section 31502 of Title 49 states that the
Secretary of Transportation “may prescribe requirements
for . . . qualifications and maximum hours of service of
employees of, and safety of operation and equipment of, a
motor carrier.” 49 U.S.C. § 31502(b)(1).
concedes that she was subject to the Secretary of
Transportation's jurisdiction to prescribe requirements
for qualifications and maximum hours of service. (Pl.'s
Br. at 8.) Nonetheless, Plaintiff argues that she does not
fall within the motor carrier exemption because she is a
“covered employee” under a 2008 amendment to the
Motor Carrier Act, the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act
of 2008 (“TCA”), PL 110-244, June 6, 2008, 122
Stat. 1572. In relevant part, Section 306 of the TCA provides
that “Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act . . .
[i.e., the overtime requirements of the FLSA] . ...