Boyer et al v. La Sher Oil Company et al
ORDER re 12 Notice of Bankruptcy filed by La Sher Oil Company, the Clerk is directed to administratively terminate without prejudice separate deft La Sher Oil Company as a party to this action; the case will proceed on pltf's claims against separate deft Roger Mason. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 9/27/12. (vjt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JEFF BOYER and JOHN MATTHEW
LAUREANO, Individually and on
Behalf of Others Similarly Situated
LA SHER OIL COMPANY and
ROGER MASON, Individually and as
Owner of La Sher Oil Company
NO: 4:12CV00431 SWW
Plaintiffs Jeff Boyer and John Matthew Laureano bring this putative collective action
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) against La Sher Oil Company (“La Sher”)
and Roger Mason (“Mason”). Plaintiffs allege that they worked for La Sher, a domestic
corporation, and Mason, the owner of La Sher, and frequently worked in excess of 40 hours a
week without receiving overtime compensation. Plaintiffs seek overtime pay due under the
FLSA, and they bring a supplemental claim for violation of the Arkansas Minium Wage Act.
A notice of bankruptcy filed in this case shows that on September 5, 2012, La Sher filed a
Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District
of Arkansas. By operation of 11 U.S.C. § 362, an automatic stay went into effect on September
5, 2012 with respect to proceedings in this case against separate defendant La Sher. La Sher
requests that the Court enter an order “dismissing or staying this cause pending further order of
the bankruptcy court.” Docket entry #12.
Plaintiffs have filed an objection, asserting that the automatic stay does not extend to
separate claims against Mason. Plaintiffs assert that a corporate officer with operational control
of the corporation’s day-to-day functions is an employer within the meaning of the FLSA, and
the automatic stay with respect to La Sher does not require dismissal of claims against Mason.
“The bankruptcy court can stay actions against any party, even a non-debtor, whenever
the objective of the action is to obtain possession or exercise control over the debtor's property.”
Ritchie Capital Management, L.L.C. v. Jeffries, 653 F.3d 755, 762 (8th Cir. 2011)(citing 11
U.S.C. § 362(a)(3)). “Unless a case involves unusual circumstances, however, the bankruptcy
court cannot halt litigation by non-debtors, ‘even if they are in a similar legal or factual nexus
with the debtor.’” Id.(quoting Croyden Assocs. v. Alleco, Inc., 969 F.2d 675, 677 (8th Cir.1992)).
Mason offers no information demonstrating that the automatic stay should be extended to him.
Accordingly, the case will proceed on Plaintiffs’ claims against Mason.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court is directed to
terminate separate defendant La Sher Oil Company as a party to this action. This administrative
termination is without prejudice to Plaintiffs’ right to reopen the proceedings against separate
defendant once the bankruptcy stay is lifted. The case will proceed on Plaintiffs’ claims against
separate defendant Roger Mason.
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 27TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2012.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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