United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
MICHELLE RASBERRY, individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated; KUMESHA WARD; JACOB CAIN; and JOHNNY HAYNES PLAINTIFFS
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ARKANSAS DEFENDANT
O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. ECF No. 46. Plaintiffs have filed a response. ECF
No. 50. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
Michelle Rasberry filed her Complaint on August 4, 2016. ECF
No. 1. Plaintiff Rasberry sought 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
Rasberry claimed 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
Rasberry alleged that Defendant had “misclassified
[Plaintiff Rasberry and all those similarly situated] as
exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA . . . and
the AMWA[.]” ECF No. 1, ¶ 9. Plaintiff Rasberry
claimed 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 a FLSA collective action on January
31, 2017. ECF No. 25. Upon completion of the FLSA opt-in
period, six individuals, including Plaintiff Rasberry, had
consented to be part of the FLSA collective action. ECF Nos.
11, 12, 27, 28, 29. On July 31, 2017, the Court denied
Plaintiff Rasberry's motion for class certification
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. ECF No. 35.
March 7, 2018, Plaintiff Rasberry was given leave to file an
amended complaint adding individual AMWA claims for
Plaintiffs Kumesha Ward, Jacob Cain, and Johnny Haynes. On
March 8, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended and
Substituted Complaint-Collective Action (hereinafter
“Amended Complaint”). ECF No. 45. In the Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff Rasberry again asserts individual and
collective FLSA claims, and all Plaintiffs assert individual
AMWA claims. In regard to Plaintiff Rasberry's individual
and collective FLSA claims, Plaintiffs state that Defendant
misclassified Rasberry and those similarly situated as exempt
from FLSA overtime provisions and failed to pay Rasberry and
those similarly situated for all hours worked, including
overtime. ECF No. 45, ¶¶ 48, 59, 60. In regard to
Plaintiffs' individual AMWA claims, they state that
“[d]espite the entitlement of Plaintiffs to minimum
wage and overtime payments under the AMWA, Defendant failed
to pay Plaintiffs for all hours worked including overtime. .
. . Defendant willfully failed to pay overtime wages to
Plaintiffs[.]” ECF No. 45, ¶¶ 53, 54.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party
moves for summary judgment “[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). The
Supreme Court has issued the following guidelines for trial
courts to determine whether this standard has been satisfied:
The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining
whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words,
there are genuine factual issues that properly can be
resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably
be resolved in favor of either party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826
F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wis. Paper Corp. v.
Paper Indus. Union-Mgmt. Pension Fund, 800 F.2d
742, 746 (8th Cir. 1986). A fact is material only when its
resolution affects the outcome of the case.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is genuine if
the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to
return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.
Court must view the evidence and the inferences that may be
reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Enter. Bank v. Magna
Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party
bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Id. The nonmoving party must then
demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record
that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik v. Cnty. of
Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995). A party
opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may
not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. The non-moving
party “must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsuhita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “A case founded on
speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a motion
for summary judgment.” Nat'l. Bank of Comm. of
El Dorado, Ark. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 610 (8th
Cir. 1999). The non-moving party “must come forward
with sufficient evidence to support their claims and cannot
stand on their complaint and unfounded speculation.”
Id. (internal citations omitted). “When
opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is
blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable
jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version
of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380
instant motion, Defendant asserts that it is entitled to
summary judgment concerning “any and all claims brought
by Separate Plaintiff Kumesha Ward[.]” ECF No. 46,
¶ 2. Defendant asserts that Plaintiff Ward's claims
(1) fail as a matter of law and (2) are barred by the
applicable statutes of limitation. The Court will address
each of these assertions in turn.
Defendant's Assertion That Plaintiff Ward's Claims
Fail as a Matter of Law
states that, like the other plaintiffs in this action,
Plaintiff Ward was a salaried employee. ECF No. 47, pp. 1-2.
However, Defendant claims that, unlike the other plaintiffs,
Plaintiff Ward was a part-time employee. ECF No. 47, p. 2.
Defendant further asserts that when deposed, Plaintiff Ward
stated that she worked approximately thirty-eight ...