United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARD EDWARDS, individually and on behalf of all similarly-situated persons, Plaintiff,
ALL-DRY, INC., and ALAN CHANDLER and NICK CHANDLER, individually, Defendants.
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion For Conditional
Certification, Approval of 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) Notice And
Consent Forms, And To Order Disclosure Of Contact Information
For Current And Former Employees (Doc. No. 13);
Defendants' Response To Plaintiff's Motion (Doc. No.
17); and Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. No. 19).
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion For
Conditional Certification, Approval of 29 U.S.C. §
216(b) Notice And Consent Forms, And To Order Disclosure Of
Contact Information For Current And Former Employees (Doc.
No. 13) is GRANTED in part, and
DENIED in part. The Magistrate Judge shall
set appropriate deadlines for the issuance of
court-supervised notice in accordance with this Memorandum
and accompanying Order.
Factual and Procedural Background
Richard Edwards, a former employee of Defendants All-Dry,
Inc., Alan Chandler, and Nick Chandler, has brought this
action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”)
individually and in a representative capacity as a collective
action on behalf of others “similarly situated”
under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff
alleges Defendants required and/or permitted non-exempt
employees to routinely work more than 40 hours per week
without payment of overtime compensation during the three
years prior to the date the Complaint was filed.
the pending motion, Plaintiff requests the Court issue an
order: (1) allowing this case to proceed as a collective
action under Section 216(b) on behalf of employees of
Defendants who worked as hourly-paid crew members or
installers (or those who performed similar duties, however
titled) from September 27, 2014 through the present; (2)
requiring Defendants to immediately provide a list of names,
last known addresses, last known telephone numbers, and email
addresses for all putative class members; (3) approving the
proposed Notice and Consent forms filed as exhibits to the
Motion; and (4) ordering the proposed Notice be prominently
posted at Defendants' office location, attached to
current employees' next scheduled paycheck, and mailed
and emailed to putative class members. (Doc. No. 13). To
support the Motion, Plaintiff has filed the declarations of
Michael Glaser and Trevor West, both of whom were employed
with Defendants during the relevant time period. (Doc. Nos.
FLSA provides a collective action may be maintained against
any employer by one or more employees for and on behalf of
themselves and other employees similarly situated. 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b). Unlike class actions under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23, FLSA collective actions require
similarly-situated employees to “opt-in” as party
Sixth Circuit has recognized a two-step process that is used
by most district courts to determine whether plaintiffs are
similarly situated. See, e.g., Monroe v. FTS USA,
LLC, 860 F.3d 389, 397 (6th Cir. 2017)
(citing Comer v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 454 F.3d
544, 546-47 (6th Cir. 2006)). For the first stage,
which occurs at the beginning of discovery, courts use a
“fairly lenient standard” that “typically
results in conditional certification of a representative
class.” White v. Baptist Memorial Health Care
Corp., 699 F.3d 869, 877 (6th Cir. 2012)
(citing Comer, 454 F.3d at 547)). A plaintiff need
only show her position is similar, not identical, to the
positions of the putative class members. Comer, 454
F.3d at 546-47. The court does not resolve factual disputes,
decide substantive issues, or make credibility
determinations. Bradford v. Logan's Roadhouse,
Inc., 137 F.Supp.3d 1064, 1072 (M.D. Tenn. 2015). If the
court determines conditional certification is warranted, it
may authorize the notification of similarly-situated
employees to allow them to opt into the lawsuit.
Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165,
167-68, 110 S.Ct. 482, 107 L.Ed.2d 480 (1989);
Monroe, 860 F.3d at 397.
second stage, the court reviews the evidence produced during
discovery and determines whether the class should be
decertified. Monroe, 860 F.3d at 397. Although the
court applies a “stricter standard” at the second
stage, the FLSA plaintiff faces a lower certification burden
than a plaintiff seeking certification under Rule 23. 860
F.3d at 397-98. In determining whether the plaintiffs are
similarly situated, the court may consider whether the
employees “suffer from a single, FLSA-violating
policy” or whether their claims are “unified by
common theories of defendants' statutory violations, even
if the proofs of these theories are inevitably individualized
and distinct.” Id. at 398 (citing
O'Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enterprises, Inc., 575
F.3d 567, 584-85 (6th Cir. 2009)).
their Response, Defendants state they do not oppose
Plaintiff's request for conditional certification.
Defendants do object, however, to the description of the
collective action to include the parenthetical phrase
“(or those who performed similar duties, however
titled).” Defendants argue the phrase is vague. The
Court is persuaded the parenthetical description is not
vague, however, because it is limited by reference to
“hourly-paid crew members or installers.”
Defendants are free, at an appropriate time, to challenge
whether particular employees who have opted in are properly
members of the collective action. Thus, the Court grants
Plaintiff's request for conditional certification of a
class consisting of employees of Defendants who worked as
hourly-paid crew members or installers (or those who
performed similar duties, however titled) from September 27,
2014 through the date the Complaint was filed.
Discovery and ...