United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
MICHELLE RASBERRY, individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated PLAINTIFF
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ARKANSAS DEFENDANT
O. Hickey United States District Judge.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Rule 23 Class
Certification. ECF No. 18. Defendant has filed a response.
ECF No. 20. Plaintiff has filed a reply. ECF No. 23.
Defendant has further filed a supplemental response. ECF No.
32. Plaintiff has, likewise, filed a supplemental
reply. ECF No. 34. The Court finds this matter
ripe for consideration.
filed her Complaint on August 4, 2016. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff
seeks relief pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et
seq., and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act
(“AMWA”), Ark. Code Ann. §§ 11-4-201,
et seq. ECF No. 1, ¶ 1. Plaintiff claims that
Defendant failed to pay her, and others similarly situated,
overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of 171
hours in a twenty-eight consecutive day work period. ECF No.
1, ¶ 1. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
has “misclassified [Plaintiff and all those similarly
situated] as exempt from the overtime requirements of the
FLSA . . . and the AMWA[.]” ECF No. 1, ¶ 9.
Plaintiff claims that she was a salaried employee employed by
Defendant and “was routinely required to work
off-the-clock in excess of 171 hours in a 28-day work period
and was not allowed to report all hours worked, including
overtime.” ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 15, 18. The Court
conditionally certified Plaintiff's FLSA collective
action on January 31, 2017. ECF No. 25. Upon completion of
the FLSA opt-in period, only six individuals, including
Plaintiff, had consented to be part of Plaintiff's FLSA
collective action. ECF Nos. 11, 12, 27, 28, 29.
Plaintiff's AMWA claim, Plaintiff seeks recovery
individually and collectively, proposing to “represent
the class [of] salaried jailors who are/were employed by
Defendant within the relevant time period.” ECF No. 1,
¶ 51. In the present motion, Plaintiff asks the Court to
certify a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
(“FRCP”) 23 AMWA class with the following
All of Defendant's salaried jailors (or similar
positions) who worked in the State of Arkansas at the
Columbia County Jail at any time after August 04, 2013.
ECF No. 18, ¶ 5.
certification is governed by Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23 (“Rule 23”) states, in relevant
One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as
representative parties on behalf of all members only if: (1)
the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is
impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common
to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the
representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses
of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly
and adequately protect the interests of the class.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). These requirements for class
certification under Rule 23(a) are commonly referred to as
“numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of
representation.” Gen. Tel. Co. v. EEOC, 446
U.S. 318, 330 (1980). In order to be certified under Rule 23,
the class must satisfy all four requirements of Rule 23(a)
and one of the three subsections of Rule 23(b). In
re St. Jude Med., Inc., 425 F.3d 1116, 1119
(8th Cir. 2005). In the present action, Plaintiff asserts
that she has met the requirements of Rule 23(b)(3). ECF No.
19, p. 14. Rule 23(b)(3) states:
A class action may be maintained if Rule 23(a) is satisfied
and if . . . the court finds that the questions of law or
fact common to class members predominate over any questions
affecting only individual members, and that a class action is
superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy. The matters
pertinent to these findings include: (A) the class
members' interests in individually controlling the
prosecution or defense of separate actions; (B) the extent
and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy
already begun by or against class members; (C) the
desirability or undesirability of concentrating the
litigation of the claims in the particular forum; and (D) the
likely difficulties in managing a class action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3).
motion for class certification, the movant has the burden to
affirmatively demonstrate that the requirements of Rule 23
are met. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S.
338, 350 (2011) (“A party seeking class certification
must affirmatively demonstrate his compliance with the
Rule-that is, he must be prepared to prove that there are
in fact sufficiently numerous parties, common
questions of law or fact, etc.” (emphasis in
original)). A court considering a Rule 23 motion must conduct
a rigorous analysis to determine whether the movant has
satisfied the requirements of Rule 23. Id. at
350-51. In order to make this determination, the court may
find it necessary to “probe behind the
pleadings.” Id. at 350. The decision whether
to certify a class action is within the broad discretion of
the district court. In re Milk Prods. Antitrust
Litig., 195 F.3d 430, 436 (8th Cir. 1999). In
determining whether to certify a class action, “the
question is not whether the plaintiff or plaintiffs have
stated a cause of action or will prevail on the merits, but
rather whether the requirements of Rule 23 are met.”
Eisen v. Carlisle & Jacquelin, 417 U.S.
156, 178 (1974) (internal citations omitted).
Court will address each of the requirements of Rule 23 in
turn, first discussing whether Plaintiff has satisfied the
requirements of Rule 23(a) and then moving on to Rule
Requirements of Rule 23(a)