Bordies Montoya v. L.C. 1 Trucking Corp et al
ORDER denying 29 Defendant's Motion for Final Summary Judgment; denying 34 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Please see Order for details. Signed by Ch. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer on 9/12/2013. (kas)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 12-23816-CIV-SELTZER
GUILLERMO BORDIES MONTOYA,
L.C. 1 TRUCKING CORP. and LUIS PALMA,
ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion for Final Summary
Judgment with Incorporated Statement of Undisputed Material Facts and Supporting
Memorandum of Law (DE 29) and Plaintiff’s Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (DE 34)
and was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to the consent of the
Plaintiff Guillermo Bordies Montoya brings this action against Defendants L.C. 1
Trucking Corp. (“L.C. 1 Trucking”) and Luis Palma (“Palma”), under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Complaint alleges that Defendant L.C. 1 Trucking is a Florida
corporation “involved in all facets of the trucking industry” and that Defendant Palma “acted
and acts directly in the interests of [LC.1 Trucking] in relation to its employees.” Id. ¶¶ 6,
According to the Complaint, Plaintiff worked for Defendants from 2009 through
September 2011; his work duties (allegedly) included “both the maintenance of security in
the field and light mechanical maintenance duties associated with trucks and trailers,
namely tire related duties” Id. ¶ 10. The Complaint further alleges that “Plaintiff’s security
in the field duties involved around the clock, seven days a week, presence and work time.”
Id. According to the Complaint, Defendants paid Plaintiff $100 per week and provided him
shelter (a trailer on the property), id. ¶ 11, yet Defendants failed to pay him both a minimum
wage and overtime pay as required by the FLSA. Id. ¶ 14. Defendants have denied the
material allegations of the Complaint and have raised several affirmative defenses,
including lack of subject matter jurisdiction. More specifically, Defendants assert that they
were not Plaintiff’s employer within the meaning of the FLSA, and further that Defendants’
gross revenue was less than the $500,000 threshold for enterprise coverage under the Act.
See Defendants’ Answer and Affirmative Defenses (DE 9, 10).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes summary judgment
where the pleadings and supporting materials 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. A
fact is “material” if it must be decided to resolve the substantive claim or defense to which
the motion is directed; an issue is "genuine" if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Hairston
v. Gainesville Sun Publishing Co., 9 F.3d 913 (11th Cir. 1993).
The moving party has the burden to establish the absence of a genuine issue as to
any material fact. Adickes v. S.H. Kress and Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). Once the
movant has satisfied its initial burden, the non-moving party must then go beyond the
pleadings to rebut any facts properly presented; it may do so through affidavits or other
evidence showing the existence of genuine issues of material fact for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(e); Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87
(1986); Adickes, 398 U.S. at 160. To create a genuine issue, however, the non-moving
party must present more than just some evidence of a disputed fact. As the United States
Supreme Court has explained: “[T]here is not an issue for trial unless there is sufficient
evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. If the
[non-moving party’s] evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative,
summary judgment must be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations
omitted). Summary judgment is also appropriate when, after adequate time for discovery,
the non-moving party cannot establish an essential element on which it bears the burden
of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). "In such a situation, there
can be 'no genuine issue as to any material fact,' since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the non-moving party's case necessarily renders all
other facts immaterial." Id.
CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment place at issue whether Plaintiff
is covered by the FLSA. That statute requires “employers who meet its preconditions to
pay workers a minimum wage and to provide overtime pay where workers exceed forty
hours per week.” Polycarpe v. E&S Landscaping Serv., Inc., 616 F.3d 1217, 1220 (11th
Cir. 2010). Yet, to be eligible to recover a minimum wage and/or overtime pay an
employee must first establish he is protected by the FLSA, based on either enterprise
coverage or individual coverage. Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc., 662
F.3d 1292, 1298-1299 (11th Cir. 2011). Defendants argue that they are entitled to
summary judgment because the undisputed material facts establish that Plaintiff cannot
meet the requirements for enterprise coverage and that there exists no individual coverage.
Plaintiff counters that he is the party entitled to summary judgment on the issue of FLSA
An employee is subject to enterprise coverage if he is “‘employed in an enterprise
engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.” 29 U.S.C. §§ 206(a)
(minimum wage provision) and 207(a)(1) (overtime provision).
provides that an “enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for
commerce is one that:
(i) has employees engaged in [interstate] commerce or the
production of goods for commerce, or that has employees
handling, selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials
that have been moved in or produced for commerce by any
(ii) is an enterprise whose annual gross volume of sales made
or business done is not less that $500,000 (exclusive of excise
taxes at the retail level that are separately stated).
29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) (emphasis added).
In support of their summary judgment motion, Defendants have submitted the
Affidavit of Defendant Palma; attached to the Affidavit are the corporate defendant’s 2009,
2010, and 2011 income tax returns. Palma, who is L.C. 1 Trucking’s president, attests that
Plaintiff also argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on the issue of
whether he was Defendants’ employee. Although throughout this litigation Defendants
have repeatedly asserted that they did not “employ” Plaintiff, in their reply memorandum
in support of their summary judgment motion, Defendants acknowledge that “there is
sufficient evidence that Plaintiff was an ‘employee’ within the meaning of the FLSA.”
Reply at 4 (DE 40). Plaintiff, therefore, is entitled to summary judgment on this issue.
the corporation’s gross receipts were $46,979 for 2009, $51,316 for 2010, and $104,030
for 2011. Palma Aff. ¶ 5 (DE 29-1). Plaintiff has not proffered any evidence to counter
these amounts;2 rather, he argues that the individual defendant’s (Palma’s) income must
be combined with the corporate defendant’s (L.C. 1 Trucking’s) income to determine the
total gross receipts for each year. Although the individual and corporate defendants
dispute the propriety of aggregating their income to determine whether the enterprise
threshold has been met, they have submitted a second affidavit of Palma, in which he
attests that his total income was approximately $15,000 for 2009 and approximately $2,000
for 2010. Palma further attests that he had no income for 2011. Palma Second Aff. ¶ 2
(DE 41). Hence, aggregating L.C. 1 Trucking’s income and Palma’s income falls far short
of the $500,000 threshold for invoking enterprise coverage in any of the years in which
Plaintiff worked for Defendants. Because Plaintiff has failed to proffer any probative
evidence from which a jury (or this Court)3 could find that Defendants (together or
individually) grossed more than $500,000 in any year, Defendants are entitled to summary
According to Plaintiff, Defendants own trucks that travel in interstate commerce.
He contends that “it naturally follows that both Defendants were paid for such services.
Said income appears not to be reported in L.C. 1 Corp.’s tax returns.” Response at ¶ 3
(DE 33) (emphasis in original). Additionally, Plaintiff argues that because Defendants
failed to disclose any financial records relating to this endeavor, a genuine issue of material
fact exists as to Defendants “true, gross, and total incomes, so as to satisfy the gross
annual threshold requirement of $500,000"). The Court disagrees. Even if Defendants
own such trucks (which Defendants dispute), it is Plaintiff’s burden to establish enterprise
coverage. Further, in opposing Defendants’ summary judgment, Plaintiff must come
forward with some probative evidence to demonstrate that the earnings from owning and
operating the trucks, combined with the record evidence of Defendants’ earnings, would
push their total gross earnings above the $500,000 threshold. He has failed to do so.
Plaintiff has waived his right to a jury trial and has consented to a bench trial
before this Court. See Joint Scheduling Report ¶ 2 (DE 26) (“Plaintiff withdraws his request
for trial by jury. . . .”); Consent to Proceed before Magistrate Judge (DE 20).
judgment on the issue of enterprise coverage. Yet, Plaintiff could still maintain his FLSA
action, were he able to establish individual coverage.
An employee may claim individual FLSA coverage if he “regularly and ‘directly
participates in the actual movement of persons or things in interstate commerce.’”
Jesendis, 662 F.3d at 1298 (quoting Thorne v. All Restorations Servs., Inc., 448 F.3d 1264,
1266 (11th Cir. 2006)). As the Eleventh Circuit has explained:
[F]or an employee to be “engaged in commerce” under the
FLSA, he must be directly participating in the actual movement
of persons or things in interstate commerce by (i) working for
an instrumentality of interstate commerce, e.g., transportation
or communication industry employees, or (ii) by regularly using
the instrumentalities of interstate commerce in his work, e.g.,
regular and recurrent use of interstate telephone, telegraph,
mails, or travel.
Thorne, 448 F.3d at 1266 (citing McLeod v. Threlkeid, 319 U.S. 491, 493-98 (1943)).
Accordingly, “to survive summary judgment on this issue, Plaintiff must produce admissible
evidence that he (1) worked directly for an instrumentality of interstate commerce, or (2)
regularly used the instrumentalities of interstate commerce.” Quezada v. Sante Shipping
Lines, Inc., No. 11-23246-Civ, 2013 WL 1334516, at *9 (S.D. Fla., Mar. 29, 2013) (Torres,
M.J.) (citing Josendis, 662 F.3d at 1316).
Plaintiff contends that individual coverage exists because his work related to
instrumentalities of commerce, that is, trucks that travel in interstate commerce. In
support, Plaintiff relies on his own affidavit, in which he attests that Defendants’ business
hub in Medley, Florida, was utilized to park and secure approximately 40 “large 18-wheeler
trucks” that “drove, mostly, across state lines to and from destinations outside the state of
Florida. . . .” Montoya Controverting Aff. ¶¶ 2-4 (DE 33-1). Further, Plaintiff attests that
beyond providing a parking facility for trucks utilized in interstate commerce, Defendants
themselves owned “several 18 wheel trucks and trailers [that] shipped materials across this
country to New York, New Jersey and Illinois, specifically.” Id. ¶ 2. In addition to his own
affidavit, Plaintiff submits the affidavits of two interstate truck drivers – Jorge Luis Diaz and
Guillermo Bordie Navarro – who attest that in 2009 through 2011 (the relevant time period)
they (and other truckers) utilized Defendants’ lot to park, store, and repair their trucks and
that they (and the other truckers) traveled in interstate commerce. Diaz Controverting Aff.
¶ 1 (DE 33-3); Navarro Controverting Aff. ¶ 1 (DE 33-4). Navarro additionally attests that
Defendants “owned their own tractor trailers and shipped materials across this country
throughout the northeast.” Id.4
Whether Plaintiff “regularly and ‘directly participates in the actual movement of
persons or things in interstate commerce,’” such that individual coverage would exist,
requires an analysis of Plaintiff’s job duties. The parties, however, disagree as to the
duties Plaintiff was required to perform. Defendants contend that their “sole business is
the operation of the storage/parking lot where Plaintiff stayed and Plaintiff’s sole function
was to open the gate of the trucking yard in the morning and close the gate at night and
to call [Palma] if there were any problems.” Motion at 29 (DE 29) (citing Palma Aff. ¶ 6 (DE
According to Defendants, Plaintiff “performed no other services for L.C. 1
Plaintiff also submits the affidavit of Eddie Gonzalez (DE 33-2), the individual who
Plaintiff replaced. Gonzalez attested to the interstate travel of the trucks that utilized
Defendants’ lot and to Defendants’ ownership of trucks that shipped materials across the
country. Gonzalez’s affidavit, however, relates to a time-frame that precedes Plaintiff’s
Trucking”; Plaintiff “did not have a schedule and could come and go as he pleased.”
Palma Aff. ¶ 6 (DE 29-1). In exchange, Palma permitted Plaintiff to live in the trailer and
paid him $100 per week. Id.
By contrast, Plaintiff represents that “his primary work duty was to allow for the
entrance and [exit] from the hub 24 hours a day,5 in addition to protecting the 18 wheel
tractor trailers on the lot from theft and vandalism. This was a seven day a week, 24 hour
a day job.” Montoya Aff. ¶ 4 (DE 33-1). According to Plaintiff, he was required to live in
the mobile home on Defendants’ lot as a condition of his employment; he needed to be on
the property around the clock to provide security for the trucks. Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Plaintiff also
states that he was required to apprise Palma of any problems or disturbances on the lot
at any time that Palma was not present; Palma provided him a cellular telephone for this
purpose. Id. ¶¶ 1,7. Finally, Plaintiff attests that he “serviced the Defendants’ 18 wheelers
as well as the others’ 18 wheelers utilizing the lot,” id. ¶ 2, and he “checked the air level of
each tractor trailers’ tires and reported any deficiencies to the owners.”
Id. ¶ 7.
Defendants counter that if Plaintiff performed light maintenance and checked the 18wheelers’ tire air levels, he did not do so at Palma’s direction and that any such activities
“had nothing to do with what [Plaintiff] was doing for [him] or LC1 Trucking.” Second Palma
Aff. ¶ 3 (DE 41).
The parties’ conflicting affidavits with respect to Plaintiff’s job duties create genuine
issues of material fact as to whether individual coverage exists under the FLSA, which
preclude the entry of summary judgment for either party on the issue of individual
Plaintiff attests that the lot was kept locked from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. each day.
Montoya Aff. ¶ 2 (DE 33-1).
coverage. The Court will revisit the issue at the bench trial, when such factual disputes
may be properly resolved.
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (DE 29) is GRANTED to the
extent the Court finds that enterprise coverage does not exist and is DENIED in all other
Plaintiff’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED to the extent
the Court finds that Defendants were Plaintiff’s employer within the meaning of the FLSA
and is DENIED in all other respects; and
A bench trial will be set by further Order of the Court; at the trial, the Court
will decide whether there exists individual FLSA coverage.
DONE AND ORDERED in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this 12th day of September
All counsel of record
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