Trammell v. Amdocs Inc
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 7/6/2016. (AVC)
2016 Jul-06 AM 11:21
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SCOTT B. TRAMMELL,
Case No.: 2:15-cv-01473-RDP
As anyone who has tried it knows, coaching Little League baseball can be an adventure.
But the challenging aspects of that undertaking are not limited to teaching kids the fundamentals
of the game. There is also the matter of dealing with other coaches, particularly those who have
children playing in the league. For example, Little League coaches take different approaches to
draft day and all-star selection. When it is time to draft players at the beginning of a season, the
strategy of most coaches is to take their child as late in the draft as possible. (After all, selecting
a child in a later round allows the coach to draft other quality players with early picks, and thus
draft a better team). Of course, a coach is not permitted to unilaterally decide which round his
child is selected. So, the strategy is to convince the other coaches that one’s child is not
sufficiently skilled to be taken in an early round. However, by the end of the season, when it's
time to select an all-star team, the agendas shift. Coaches want their children to be chosen for allstars. For that to happen, they must lobby other coaches for their votes. Thus, contrary to the
views at the start of the year, by the time all-star selection rolls around, each coach’s child has
become an adolescent version of Henry Aaron. The lesson to all of this: timing is everything.
There are some parallels between this case and the Little League baseball phenomenon
described above. Plaintiff Scott Trammell worked for five years as a Project Management Office
Professional. During at least part of that time, he maintained a LinkedIn profile. Defendant
claims that Plaintiff's description of his own job duties is different now - while the parties are
battling over whether he fits within a wage our exemption - than the description was when he
proudly posted his profile on LinkedIn. Timing is everything.
This case is before the court on defendant Amdocs, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. # 8), filed October 19, 2015. The Motion is fully briefed, and the parties submitted
evidentiary submissions. (Docs. # 9, 10, 12 – 15). After careful review, the court concludes that
the Motion is due to be denied.
Relevant Undisputed Facts 1
Plaintiff Scott B. Trammell (“Plaintiff”) was employed with defendant Amdocs, Inc.
(“Defendant”) from March 2010 to February 2015. (Doc. # 9 at p. 1; Doc. # 13 at p. 1). He
brings this action against Defendant asserting a claim for overtime pay under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”). 29 U.S.C. § 207. In particular, he contends that Defendant failed to pay
Plaintiff at the appropriate overtime rate for each hour worked in excess of forty hours during
each workweek between August 2014 and January 2015. (Doc. # 1 at p. 4). Defendant denies
that it violated the FLSA and asserts that Defendant was exempt from the overtime rule because
he meets the highly-compensated employee provision of the FLSA. (Doc. # 9 at p. 4).
The facts set out in this opinion are gleaned from the parties’ submissions of facts claimed to be
undisputed, their respective responses to those submissions, and the court’s own examination of the evidentiary
record. All reasonable doubts about the facts have been resolved in favor of the nonmoving party. See Info. Sys. &
Networks Corp. v. City of Atlanta, 281 F.3d 1220, 1224 (11th Cir. 2002). These are “facts” for summary judgment
purposes only. They may not be the actual facts that could be established through live testimony at trial. See Cox v.
Admr. U.S. Steel & Carnegie Pension Fund, 17 F.3d 1386, 1400 (11th Cir. 1994).
Defendant is a computer software company that provides billing and customer
management services for communications service providers. (Id. at p. 1). It is undisputed that (1)
Defendant is an employer within the meaning of the FLSA and engaged in interstate commerce
within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 207, (Doc. # 1 at p. 3), and (2) Plaintiff was at all times
relevant to this case Defendant’s employee within the meaning of the FLSA. (Id. at p. 2).
Plaintiff worked as a Project Management Office Professional (“PMO Professional”) 2
from August 25, 2014 until he left Defendant’s employment. (Doc. # 1 at p. 3; Doc. # 12 at p. 5).
Defendant claims that Plaintiff’s duties as a PMO Professional included generating reports for
his supervisor, responding to e-mail correspondence, monitoring and coordinating team projects,
providing end to end project management, managing team workload, providing overall delivery
of multiple projects, and coordinating, tracking, and reporting IT releases. (Doc. # 9 at p. 2; Doc.
# 1 at p. 3). The records submitted by Defendant reflect that the job duties of a PMO Professional
include the duties listed above. (Doc. # 9-2 at p. 2). Plaintiff admits only that he generated
reports for his supervisor and responded to e-mail correspondence. (Doc. # 13 at p. 2). In his
Affidavit, he denies preforming the other functions. (Doc. # 14 at p. 4, ¶ 4) (“My position as
‘PMO Professional’ consisted almost exclusively of generating reports and responding to email
Plaintiff’s work as a PMO Professional consisted entirely of non-manual office work.
(Id.). As part of their summary judgment submission, Defendant submitted a printout of
Plaintiff’s LinkedIn profile as PMO Professional. That profile suggests that Plaintiff’s duties
included all of the above listed duties, and that he directly managed seven employees and two
applications. (Doc. # 9-4 at p. 2-3). A copy of Plaintiff’s resume, also submitted by Defendant,
According to the submitted exhibits, a PMO Professional is required to have a Bachelor’s Degree in
Industrial Engineering or Economics. (Doc. # 9-2 at p. 2).
indicates that Plaintiff’s primary duties were the coordination, tracking, and reporting of AT&T
IT wide releases, and delivery of multiple project releases (to include three major releases per
year as well as interim releases throughout the year). (Id. at p. 6).
Defendant also has submitted the affidavit of Tricia Reisinger, regional employee
relations lead for Defendant, detailing Plaintiff’s duties and responsibilities as a PMO
Professional. (Doc. # 9-1 at p. 2). Additionally, Defendant attaches the PMO Professional role
definition indicating the duties and responsibilities of, and requirements for, holding the PMO
Professional position. (Doc. # 9-2 at p. 2). Plaintiff earned $4,251.84 semi-monthly. (Doc. # 9 at
p. 2; Doc. # 13 at p. 2). Accordingly, Plaintiff earned more than $100,000.00 in salary in 2014
and would have done so again in 2015 had he continued his employment with Defendant. (Id.).
Summary Judgment Standard
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is proper “if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). The party asking for summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings or
filings which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323.
Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(c) requires the non-moving party to go
beyond the pleadings and – by pointing to affidavits, or depositions, answers to interrogatories,
and/or admissions on file – designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
See id. at 324.
The substantive law will identify which facts are material and which are irrelevant. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (“Anderson”). All reasonable doubts
about the facts and all justifiable inferences are resolved in favor of the non-movant. See Allen v.
Bd. of Pub. Educ. For Bibb Cty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1314 (11th Cir. 2007); Fitzpatrick v. City of
Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). A dispute is genuine, “if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If
the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted. See id. at 249.
When faced with a “properly supported motion for summary judgment, [the non-moving
party] must come forward with specific factual evidence, presenting more than mere
allegations.” Gargiulo v. G.M. Sales, Inc., 131 F.3d 995, 999 (11th Cir. 1997). As Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., teaches, under Rule 56(c) a plaintiff may not simply rest on her allegations
made in the complaint; instead, as the party bearing the burden of proof at trial, she must come
forward with at least some evidence to support each element essential to her case at trial. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. “[A] party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [her] pleading, but . . . must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’” Id. at 248 (citations omitted).
Summary judgment is mandated “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., 477 U.S. at 322. “Summary judgment may be
granted if the non-moving party’s evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative.”
Sawyer v. Southwest Airlines Co., 243 F. Supp. 2d 1257, 1262 (D. Kan. 2003) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 250-51).
“[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge’s function is not . . . to weigh the evidence
and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Essentially, the inquiry is ‘whether the evidence presents a
sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.” Sawyer, 243 F. Supp. 2d at 1262 (internal quotations
omitted) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52); see also LaRoche v. Denny’s, Inc., 62 F. Supp.
2d 1366, 1371 (S.D. Fla. 1999) (“The law is clear . . . that suspicion, perception, opinion, and
belief cannot be used to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”).
The FLSA mandates that a covered employer may not employ an employee for longer
than a forty-hour workweek unless that employee receives overtime compensation at a rate not
less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). However, an
employer may be exempt from the overtime rule if the employee is considered a highlycompensated employee. 29 C.F.R. § 541.601 (2016). 3 A FLSA plaintiff is classified as a highlycompensated employee if (1) he earns a total annual income of $100,000 and at least $455 per
week, (2) customarily and regularly performs any one of the exempt duties or responsibilities of
an executive, administrative or professional employee, and (3) primarily performs office or nonmanual work. Id.
Here, Plaintiff and Defendant agree that Plaintiff earned more than $100,000 total annual
income and that Plaintiff earned more than $455 per week. Further, it is undisputed that
Plaintiff’s duties consist primarily of office or non-manual work. Thus, the first and third prongs
of the three-part exemption test are met as a matter of law. The parties disagree as to the second
The FLSA regulations analyzed in this Opinion are current as of June 30, 2016, and with respect to 29
C.F.R. §§ 541.100 and 541.601 effective until December 1, 2016.
element—whether Plaintiff, while employed as a PMO Professional, performed any one of the
exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative, or professional employee as
listed in the FLSA.
An employee’s job title is insufficient to determine whether an employer is exempt from
FLSA requirements. 29 C.F.R. § 541.2 (2016). That is, regardless of job title, a plaintiff must
have actually performed one of the exempt executive, administrative, or professional duties
customarily and regularly. 29 C.F.R. § 541.601(a); Ale v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 269 F.3d 680, 68889 (6th Cir. 2001) (“[C]ourts must focus on the actual activities of the employee in order to
determine whether or not he is exempt from the FLSA's overtime regulations.”). “The phrase
‘customarily and regularly’ means a frequency that must be greater than occasional but which, of
course, may be less than constant.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.701 (2016). Specifically, it means “work
normally and recurrently performed every workweek,” but not “isolated or one-time tasks.” Id.
In support of its Rule 56 Motion, Defendant has provided Plaintiff’s resume and LinkedIn
profile. However, as the Fifth and Sixth Circuits have both indicated, a resume (and similarly a
LinkedIn profile) is not dispositive and should not be considered absent other supporting
evidence. See Allen v. Coil Tubing Servs., L.L.C., 755 F.3d 279, 305 (5th Cir. 2014); Schaefer v.
Ind. Mich. Power Co., 358 F.3d 394, 400-01 (6th Cir. 2004). Thus, the court must look at the
summary judgment record and determine whether there is a genuine dispute of fact about
whether Plaintiff performed exempt duties (i.e., executive, administrative, or professional duties)
while working as a PMO Professional.
Defendant has come forward with evidence that Plaintiff was responsible for, among
other things: “monitoring and coordinating team projects, providing end to end project
management, managing team workload, providing overall delivery of multiple projects, and
coordinating, tacking, and reporting IT releases.” (Doc. # 12 at p. 5, ¶ 5). Those job duties
certainly seem like the type an IT employee making over $100,000 might perform. But, here is
the problem. Plaintiff denies he performed those duties. He claims he only “generat[ed] reports
and respond[ed] to e-mail correspondence.” (Doc. # 14 at p. 4, ¶ 4). He denies monitoring and
coordinating team projects (id. at ¶ 5); providing end to end project management (Doc. # 14 at p.
5, ¶ 6); managing team workloads (id. at ¶ 7); providing delivery of multiple projects (id. at ¶ 8);
coordinating IT releases (id. at ¶ 9); managing any department of Defendant (id. at ¶ 10);
directing the work of other employees (id. at ¶ 11); or performing other executive,
administrative, or professional duties (id. at pp. 5-6, ¶¶ 12-16).
The court recognizes that Plaintiff’s denials raise a number of questions. Perhaps chief
among these inquiries is this: Would an employer really pay someone like him over $100,000 to
merely answer emails and generate reports? (If so, where can recent college graduates in the IT
field obtain an Amdocs application for employment?) It might even be said that his denial lacks
credibility. But it emphatically is the trier of fact who must say that, not this court ruling on a
motion for summary judgment.
Whether Defendant Customarily and Regularly Performed Any Exempt
The executive duties listed in the FLSA include management of a customarily recognized
department or subdivision of the employing enterprise, the direct management of two or more
employees, and control, or substantial influence, over the employment status of other employees.
29 C.F.R. § 541.100(2)-(4) (2016). Here, although Defendant has presented evidence that
Plaintiff directly managed seven employees while employed as a PMO Professional, (Doc. # 9-4
at p. 3), Plaintiff has filed an affidavit which, under oath, denies that fact. At the Rule 56 stage, it
is not for this court to assess the credibility of Plaintiff’s denial. For this reason, the court
concludes that Defendant has not met the burden of establishing that Plaintiff customarily and
regularly performed exempt executive duties or responsibilities.
Whether Defendant Customarily and Regularly Performed Any Exempt
An employee “who leads a team of other employees assigned to complete major projects
for the employer,” engages in administrative duties under the applicable regulations. 29 C.F.R. §
541.203(c) (2016). Certain examples of these administrative duties are provided by the
regulations: purchasing, selling, or closing all or part of the business, negotiating a real estate
transaction or a collective bargaining agreement, or designing and implementing productivity
improvements.” Id. Further, an employee engages in administrative duties “even if the employee
does not have direct supervisory responsibility over the other employees on the team.” Id.
Tricia Reisinger’s affidavit states that Plaintiff’s duties and responsibilities included tasks
such as monitoring and coordinating team projects as well as managing team workload. (Doc. #
9-1 at p. 3). Her descriptions are indicative of an employee “who leads a team of other
employees assigned to complete major projects for the employer.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.203(c). In
addition to that affidavit, Defendant points to the PMO Professional role definition, which
suggests someone holding that position would be called upon to perform those same duties and
responsibilities. (See Doc. # 9-2 at p. 2).
Again, the problem here is that Plaintiff has denied that he engaged in those job duties.
Indeed, Plaintiff has stated under oath that his duties consisted almost exclusively of generating
reports and responding to email correspondence. For these reasons, the court cannot on this Rule
56 record conclude that Plaintiff customarily and regularly conducted sufficient administrative
Whether Plaintiff Customarily and Regularly Performed Any Exempt
The FLSA provides a three part test for determining whether an employee’s position is
that of an exempt professional: (1) the employee must perform work requiring advanced
knowledge; (2) the advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and (3) the
advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized
intellectual instruction. 29 C.F.R. § 541.301(a) (2016). When evaluating what the specific job
requires, “the determinative factor is the job requirement and not the education in fact acquired
by the employee.” Dybach v. Fla. Dep't of Corrs., 942 F.2d 1562, 1565 (11th Cir. 1991).
Regarding the first prong of this test, "work requiring advanced knowledge means work
which is predominantly intellectual in character, and which includes work requiring the
consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, as distinguished from performance of routine
mental, manual, mechanical or physical work.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.301(b) (internal quotations
omitted). Again, in her affidavit, Tricia Reisinger states that Plaintiff performed these job duties
in his role as a PMO Professional. But Plaintiff has specifically denied that assertion. This
presents a disputed issue of fact for a jury to decide.
For all of these reasons, the court concludes that a question of material fact exists
concerning whether Plaintiff is a highly-compensated employee pursuant to the relevant FLSA
regulations. Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is due to be denied.
DONE and ORDERED this July 6, 2016.
R. DAVID PROCTOR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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