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Stargel v. Lewaro Constr., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

August 17, 2017

SCOTT STARGEL, Plaintiffs,
v.
LEWARO CONSTR., INC., et al., Defendants.

         DECISION AND ENTRY SUSTAINING PLAINTIFF SCOTT STARGEL'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. #21); JUDGMENT SHALL ULTIMATELY ENTER IN FAVOR OF PLAINTIFF AND AGAINST DEFENDANTS LEWARO CONSTRUCTION, INC., PHILIP MOORE AND MARK PARKS, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, IN AN AMOUNT TO BE DETERMINED AT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING

          WALTER H. RICE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Scott Stargel ("Plaintiff') claims that, while serving as an employee of Defendants Lewaro Construction, Inc. ("Lewaro"), Philip Moore ("Moore") and Mark Parks ("Parks") (collectively "Defendants"), he was not paid overtime compensation, and that Defendants did not pay him for all the hours he had worked. Doc. #1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' conduct violated the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §201 et seq, Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act ("OMFWSA"), Ohio Rev. Code §4111.01 et seq., and Ohio's Prompt Pay Act. Ohio Rev. Code §4113.15. Id. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on each of those claims. Doc. #21.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Court SUSTAINS Plaintiff's motion.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff was a Lewaro employee from June 14, 2014, through February 24, 2015, when he was terminated due to lack of available work. Doc. #21-1, ¶¶ 2-3, PAGEID #105. He was paid bi-weekly at a rate of $35.00 per hour. Id., ¶ 5. While Plaintiff was not initially working full-time for Lewaro, Parks, Lewaro's Chief Administrative Officer, and George Weber ("Weber"), Stargel's direct supervisor, later directed him to work in excess of forty hours per week. Id.¶ 9, PAGEID #106. Plaintiff was informed that he would not be paid at 150% of his normal hourly rate for any time in excess of forty hours that he worked in a given week. Id., ¶ 10. Rather, "these overtime hours would be 'banked' for future weeks when I would not work a full 40 hours." Id. Plaintiff reported his hours to Lewaro on a weekly basis. "In weeks that I reported more than [forty] hours, those hours were either applied to the other week in the pay period, or if I had worked more than [eighty] hours in the pay period, all hours in excess of [eighty] were 'banked.'" Id., ¶ 11. Plaintiff subsequently compiled a summary "of what I should have been paid, what I was paid, and the difference between the two." Id., ¶ 13 (citing Doc. #21-3).

         Upon termination, Plaintiff was informed that he would not be paid at all for the banked overtime hours because Moore, Lewaro's Chief Executive Officer, did not personally authorize Plaintiff's overtime. Doc. #21-1, ¶ 14, PAGEID #106; Doc. #21-3. After he was terminated, Plaintiff completed at least eight hours of "wind-down" work at Parks's request. Despite Lewaro's human resources representative informing Parks that Plaintiff needed to be compensated for those eight hours, Defendants refused to pay Plaintiff. Id., ¶ 15, PAGEID #106-07.

         On December 19, 2016, Defendants moved for an extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment until thirty days after the depositions of all parties could be completed. Doc. #25, PAGEID #117. On December 21, 2016, the Court, in a Notation Order, sustained Defendants' motion. On January 9, 2017, Defendants' counsel moved for leave to withdraw, stating that Defendants "have failed to communicate promptly in accordance with the terms of the fee agreement and comply with their financial obligations thereunder[.]" Doc. #27, PAGEID #123. In a telephone conference that same day, counsel for Plaintiff and for Defendants indicated to Magistrate Judge Michael J. Newman that: (1) Defendants had not responded to discovery requests propounded upon them in August 2016; and (2) it was unlikely that Defendants would appear at their depositions, which were scheduled for January 10, 2017. Doc. #28, PAGEID #125. On January 10, 2017, the Magistrate Judge sustained the motion for leave to withdraw, id., and issued an Order directing the Defendants to undertake five actions within thirty days of the Order's entry, including but not limited to "[f]il[ing] a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment." Id., PAGEID #126. Defendants did not comply with any portion of the Magistrate Judge's Order; specifically, they never filed a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiff's properly authenticated Motion for Summary Judgment.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment shall be granted "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). Summary judgment must be entered "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323; see also Boretti v. Wiscomb, 930 F.2d 1150, 1156 (6th Cir. 1991).

         Once the moving party has met its initial burden, the nonmoving party must present evidence that creates a genuine issue of material fact making it necessary to resolve the difference at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Once the burden of production has so shifted, the party opposing summary judgment cannot rest on its pleadings or merely reassert its previous allegations. It is not sufficient to "simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Rule 56 requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and present some type of evidentiary material in support of its position. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. "The plaintiff must present more than a scintilla of evidence in support of his position; the evidence must be such that a jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Michigan Prot. & Advocacy Sen/., Inc. v. Babin, 18 F.3d 337, 341 (6th Cir. 1994).

         "Summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is 'genuine, ' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In determining whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a court must assume as true the evidence of the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Id. at 255. If the parties present conflicting evidence, a court may not decide which evidence to believe. Credibility determinations must be left to the fact-finder. 10A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure Civil 3d, 2726 (1998).

         In determining whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a court need only consider the materials cited by the parties. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). "A district court is not. . . obligated to wade through and search the entire record for some specific facts that might support the nonmoving party's claim." InterRoyal Corp. v. Sponseller, 889 F.2d 108, 111 (6th Cir. 1989), cert, denied, 494 U.S. 1091 (1990). If it so chooses, however, the court may consider other properly presented materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

         B. ...


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