Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Martinez v. Funsan K. Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 26, 2018

MARCOS NARCISO MARTINEZ, et al., Plaintiffs,
FUNSAN K. CORP. (d/b/a BEACON WINES & SPIRITS), et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER


         Marcos Narciso Martinez (“Martinez”), along with seven others who opted-into this action (together, “Plaintiffs”) move to certify their New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) claims as a class action. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' motion for class certification is denied.


         Martinez is a former stocker, cashier, and deliveryman for Defendants' two Manhattan liquor stores: (1) Beacon Wine & Spirits (“Beacon”) and (2) Mitchell's Wine & Liquor Store (“Mitchell's”). (Amended Class & Collective Action Complaint, ECF No. 41 (“Amended Compl.”), ¶ 1.) Beacon and Mitchell's are jointly owned and operated. (Amended Compl. ¶¶ 17-18.) Martinez alleges minimum wage and unpaid overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and various wage-related claims under the NYLL. (Amended Compl. ¶ 2.) Seven other former and/or current employees have opted into the FLSA collective action. (See Consent to Become Party Plaintiff Under the FLSA, ECF Nos. 27-31, 71, 89.)

         In June 2017, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint, alleging that their NYLL claims were brought on behalf of a proposed class of “all persons employed by Defendants in New York at any time since July 21, 2010 and through the entry of judgment in this case . . . who worked as stockers, floor workers, delivery employees, cashiers or other non-management employees . . . .” (Amended Compl. ¶ 26.)

         Plaintiffs seek to certify a class for six of their NYLL claims: (1) failure to pay minimum wage, (2) failure to pay overtime premiums, (3) failure to pay “spread-of-hours” premiums, (4) unlawful withholding and retention of gratuities, (5) failure to provide proper wage statements, and (6) failure to provide wage notices.[1] Plaintiffs allege that “there are likely in excess of forty (40) individuals who would be included in the Class” and the Class Members would have “numerous common factual and legal questions” regarding Defendants' pay practices. (Memo. of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Mot. for Class Certification, ECF No. 78 (“Plaintiffs' Memo.”) at 13, 16.)


         In a FLSA collective action, a federal court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over related state-law class action claims. Shahriar v. Smith & Wollensky Rest. Grp., Inc., 659 F.3d 234, 248 (2d Cir. 2011). Class actions are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 23. Rule 23(a) imposes four requirements for class certification: (1) the class must be “so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable”; (2) there must be common “questions of law or fact” to the class; (3) the representative party's claims must be “typical of the claims or defenses of the class”; and (4) the representative party must be able to “fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a). Here, Plaintiffs seek a Rule 23(b)(3) class, which requires that “questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only class members, ” making a class action “superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3).

         “The party seeking class certification bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that each of Rule 23's requirements has been met.” Myers v. Hertz Corp., 624 F.3d 537, 547 (2d Cir. 2010). A class action “may only be certified if the trial court is satisfied, after a rigorous analysis, that the prerequisites of Rule 23(a) have been satisfied.” Gen. Tel. Co. of SW v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 161 (1982). “[F]ailure to prove any element [of Rule 23] precludes certification.” Ansari v. N.Y. Univ., 179 F.R.D. 112, 114 (S.D.N.Y. 1998).


         Plaintiffs' motion for class certification flounders on Rule 23(a)'s first requirement-numerosity. “[N]umerosity is presumed when a putative class has forty or more members.” Shahriar, 659 F.3d at 252. While numerosity is not strictly determined on No. alone, “[c]ourts will generally decline to certify classes comprising fewer than approximately 25 members absent extraordinary circumstances.” Sanchez v. N.Y. Kimchi Catering, Corp., 320 F.R.D. 366, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 2017) (quoting Joseph M. McLaughlin, McLaughlin on Class Actions § 4:5 (13th ed. 2016)).

         Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate that the proposed class would be sufficiently numerous as to warrant class certification. First, Plaintiffs' submit a list of twenty-six employees provided by Defendants and compiled from Defendants' records from July 21, 2013 through December 2016. (Decl. of Brent E. Pelton, Esq. in Supp. of Plaintiff's Mot. for Class Certification, ECF No. 79 (“Pelton Decl.”) ¶ 23; see Pelton Decl. Ex. 10.)

         However, two employees listed-Felipe Jaramillo and Christopher Rudney-are managers, and thus exempt from the Class. (See Aff. of Christopher Rudney, ECF No. 85-2 (“Rudney Aff.”), at *4; Christopher Rudney Deposition, ECF No. 85-3 (“Rudney Deposition”) 5:18-19 (“I am the manager of Beacon Wine & Spirits.”); Felipe Jaramillo Deposition, ECF No. 85-4, at 6:2-4 (Q: And are you currently the general manager of Mitchell's Wines? A: Yes.”).) And two others-Carlos Ortega and Eduardo Maldonado-already settled a FLSA case with Defendants. (See Ortega v. Beacon Wine & Spirits, No. 15-cv-257, ECF No. 62 (“Prior Settlement”).) Under that settlement, Ortega and Maldonado agreed to “release, and forever discharge and covenant not to sue any Defendant . . . with respect to any and all claims . . . which Plaintiffs now have, or any claim whatsoever which may hereafter arise or accrue on account of . . . their employment with any Defendant . . . .” (Prior Settlement ¶ 4.) That settlement was approved by a district judge. (Order, No. 15-cv-257, ECF No. 63.)

         Finally, Defendants represent that three individuals were paid on an hourly basis, a claim Plaintiffs do not rebut. (See Rudney Deposition 41:20-23.) Plaintiffs make clear they seek a class of employees who were paid on a “salary basis.” (Reply Memo of Law in Further Supp. of Plaintiffs' Mot. for Class Certification, ECF No. 87 (“Reply Memo”), at ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.