David et al v. Signal International LLC et al, No. 2:2008cv01220 - Document 1982 (E.D. La. 2014)

Court Description: ORDER AND REASONS- IT IS ORDERED that Signal's 1845 Motion is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs move for certification within 30 days of this Order. Because Plaintiffs have already opted in and substantial discovery has occurred, t he Court will not entertain a motion for conditional certification but instead will proceed directly to final certification and impose a heightened evidentiary burden. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Signal respond to Plaintiffs' motion within 15 da ys of service. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court will DEFER a decision on 1847 Plaintiffs' FLSA merits motion until after it has ruled on certification. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that no FLSA claims will be adjudicated at the January 12, 2015 jury trial. Signed by Judge Susie Morgan on 12/14/2014. (bwn)
Download PDF
David et al v. Signal International LLC et al Doc. 1982 U N ITED STATES D ISTRICT COU RT EASTERN D ISTRICT OF LOU ISIAN A KU RIAN D AVID , e t al. Plain tiffs CIVIL ACTION VERSU S N o . 0 8 -12 2 0 SIGN AL IN TERN ATION AL, LLC, e t al., D e fe n d an ts SECTION “E” EQU AL EMPLOYMEN T OPPORTU N ITY COMMISSION , Plain tiff CIVIL ACTION VERSU S N o . 12 -557 SIGN AL IN TERN ATION AL, LLC, e t al., D e fe n d an ts SECTION "E" LAKSH MAN AN PON N AYAN ACH ARI, e t al., Plain tiffs CIVIL ACTION VERSU S N o . 13 -6 2 18 ( c/ w 13 -6 2 19 , 13 -6 2 2 0 , 13 -6 2 2 1, 14 -73 2 , 14 18 18 ) SIGN AL IN TERN ATION AL, LLC, e t al., D e fe n d an ts SECTION "E" Ap p lie s To : D a v id v . Sig n a l ( N o . 0 8 -12 2 0 ) 1 Dockets.Justia.com ORD ER 12 Plaintiffs have asserted claims on behalf of them selves and others sim ilarly situated for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").1 372 Plaintiffs have opted in. Although the FLSA claim s have been pending for years, Plaintiffs never m oved for conditional certification to proceed as a collective action. Defendants Signal International, LLC, Signal International Inc., Signal International Texas, G.P., and Signal International Texas, L.P. ("Signal") now m ove for partial sum m ary judgm ent, arguing the failure to m ove for conditional certification requires the opt-in Plaintiffs be dism issed without prejudice.2 The weight of authority establishes that conditional certification is m erely a "useful case m anagem ent tool for district court to em ploy in appropriate cases," not a procedural requirem ent for FLSA collective actions.3 Accordingly; IT IS ORD ERED that Signal's Motion is D EN IED . IT IS FU RTH ER ORD ERED that Plaintiffs m ove for certification within 30 days of this Order. Because Plaintiffs have already opted in and substantial discovery has occurred, the Court will not entertain a m otion for conditional certification but instead will proceed directly to final certification and im pose a heightened evidentiary burden.4 1 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). R. Doc. 1845. 3 My ers v. Hertz Corp., 624 F.3d 537, 555 n.10 (2d Cir. 20 10 ) (internal quotation m arks om itted); accord Zavala v. W al Mart Stores, Inc., 691 F.3d 527, 536 (3d Cir. 20 12); Thuy Uy en Nguy en v. Portable Prod. Servs., LP, No. H-13-0 0 880 , 20 14 WL 843249, at *5 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 4, 20 14); Hickson v. U.S. Postal Serv., No. 5:0 9CV83, 20 10 WL 3855887, at *5 (E.D. Tex. J uly 22, 20 10 ) 4 See Nieddu v. Lifetim e Fitness, Inc., 977 F. Supp. 2d 686, 692 (S.D. Tex. 20 13) ("A number of courts have held that if substantial discovery occurs before the first, conditional certification stage, the court m ay bypass the first stage and proceed directly to the second stage of certification analysis.") (internal quotation m arks om itted). 2 2 IT IS FU RTH ER ORD ERED that Signal respond to Plaintiffs' m otion within 15 days of service. IT IS FU RTH ER ORD ERED that the Court will D EFER a decision on Plaintiffs' FLSA m erits m otion until after it has ruled on certification.5 IT IS FU RTH ER ORD ERED that no FLSA claim s will be adjudicated at the J anuary 12, 20 15 jury trial. N e w Orle an s , Lo u is ian a, th is 14 th d ay o f D e ce m be r, 2 0 14 . ______________ _______ _ _______ SU SIE MORGAN U N ITED STATES D ISTRICT JU D GE 5 R. Doc. 1847. 3