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Davis v. Patel

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

March 12, 2015

MICHAEL ANTHONY DAVIS and JANICE CARTER DAVIS, Plaintiffs,
v.
SAMUNKA PATEL, PINAL PATEL, and MANISH KUMAR PATEL, individually and d/b/a, REST HAVEN MOTEL, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JOE B. BROWN, Magistrate Judge.

To: The Honorable William J. Haynes, Jr., Senior United States District Judge

Before the court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment with a supporting memorandum and a statement of undisputed material facts filed October 22, 2014 (Docs. 20; 21; and 22). For the reasons explained below, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 20) be GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are Tennessee residents (Doc. 1, p. 1). From around August 2012 to February 2014, [1] Plaintiffs were tenants at the Rest Haven Motel (Motel) (Docs. 1, p. 2; 21, p. 1). Motel is a 15-room motel located in the Middle District of Tennessee and is an unincorporated, sole proprietorship owned and operated by the Patel family since 1992 (Doc. 21, p. 1). In August or September 2012, [2] Plaintiffs began to work at the Motel to help offset the cost of rent (Docs. 1, p. 2; 21, p. 3). Over the course of their tenancy, Plaintiffs performed various housekeeping and maintenance duties and at times staffed the front desk (Docs. 1, p. 2; 21, pp. 1, 3-5).

Plaintiffs bring this action under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, claiming that Defendants failed to sufficiently compensate Plaintiffs for their work at the Motel according to the minimum-wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 206-207. Plaintiffs sue to recover unpaid wages in the form of back pay and overtime pay, liquidated damages and/or prejudgment interest, attorneys' fees, and any other discretionary costs under FLSA (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). The District Judge referred this action to the Magistrate Judge on October 31, 2014 (Doc. 31). Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment because the FLSA is inapplicable. (Doc. 21, p. 6). Plaintiffs filed responses in opposition to Defendants' motion and to Defendants' statement of undisputed facts on November 26, 2014 (Docs. 34; 38), and Defendants filed responses to both of these additional documents on December 8, 2014 (Docs. 41; 42). Therefore, the matter is now properly before the Court.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 56.01, Defendants move the court for summary judgment in their favor on Plaintiffs' claims. A court must 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 party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing conclusively that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See CenTra, Inc. v. Estrin, 538 F.3d 402, 412 (6th Cir. 2008). Once the moving party has met its burden of production, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and present "significant probative evidence" of a genuine dispute, such as by citing to affidavits or declarations, in order to defeat the motion for summary judgment. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., 285 F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). When applying the summary judgment standard, the court must view all materials supplied in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). To the extent that there remain some factual disputes, "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment...." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

III. ANALYSIS

This action is before the court on the basis of federal-question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as Plaintiffs bring their claim under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219. In order to succeed under the FLSA, Plaintiffs must show that their claim is covered under the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions, 29 U.S.C. §§ 206-207. These provisions of the FLSA apply to every employee "who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce" or "is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." 29 U.S.C. §§ 206(a), 207(a). Hence, Plaintiffs must show either that the Motel is a covered enterprise under the FLSA (enterprise coverage) or that they are covered employees under the FLSA (individual coverage). See Tony & Susan Alamo Found. v. Sec'y of Labor, 471 U.S. 290, 295 n.8 (1985). This Report and Recommendation separately considers these theories of liability and finds that Defendants show an absence of evidence to support Plaintiffs' claims.

A. Enterprise Coverage Under the FLSA

Under the FLSA, an "[e]nterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce' means an enterprise that... has employees engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce...; and ... is an enterprise whose annual gross volume of sales made or business done is not less than $500, 000 (exclusive of excise taxes at the retail level that are separately stated)." 29 U.S.C. § 203s(1)(A) (emphasis added). Hence, in order to be a covered enterprise under the enterprise theory of liability, the Motel must have at least $500, 000 in gross annual revenue.

Defendants submit that the Motel did not have gross annual revenues of $500, 000 during 2012 or 2013 (the years of Plaintiffs' tenancy at the Motel) or in any year of its existence (Docs. 21, p. 7; 22, p. 5). Plaintiffs do not dispute this fact (Doc. 38, p. 5). There is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Motel is a covered enterprise under the FLSA; it is ...


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