Rose et al v. Computer Sciences Corporation
ORDER AND REASONS granting 47 Motion for Summary Judgment. The Plaintiffs' prescribed claims are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Susie Morgan on 7/7/2017. (clc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
STEVE ROSE, et al
SECTION "E" (4)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Defendant
Computer Sciences Corporation (“CSC”).1 The motion is unopposed.2 For the following
reasons, the motion for partial summary judgment is GRANTED.
This case involves 95 Plaintiffs who have brought suit against CSC seeking unpaid
wages pursuant to the terms of an offer letter they executed in connection with their
voluntary deployment in Southwest Asia. The Plaintiffs provided support services to the
United States Department of Defense in support of the CREW task order 009. 3 The
Plaintiffs also executed a Foreign Travel Letter (“FTL”) that governed the terms of their
employment. The offer letters quoted a salary of approximately $65,000, which amounts
to about $15 per hour based on the requirement that employees work 84 hours per week.4
The FTL described fringe benefits, such as discretionary pay for “uplifts” for hardships
R. Doc. 47.
R. Doc. 67.
3 R. Doc. 47-2 at 1.
4 R. Doc. 1 at 5.
and danger pay.5 The FTLs further provided that Plaintiffs’ “base weekly salary would not
change” as a result of their assignment.
The Plaintiffs contend they were paid a salary that provided less compensation
than they would have received if paid their hourly rate for all hours worked. The Plaintiffs
seek unpaid wages at the hourly rate stated in their respective offer letters for all hours
worked and for statutory penalties and legal fees pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statutes
On March 13, 2015, 66 plaintiffs filed suit alleging CSC breached their respective
employment contracts by failing to pay them for every hour that they worked pursuant to
the hourly rates that were provided in their offer letters.7 The Plaintiffs amended their
complaint on July 30, 2015 to add 14 new plaintiffs.8 On September 12, 2016, the Plaintiffs
filed their second amended complaint, adding 31 new plaintiffs to the suit.9
On March 27, 2017, CSC filed its motion for partial summary judgment, seeking
dismissal with prejudice of those of the Plaintiff’s whose claims have prescribed under
Louisiana Civil Code article 3494.10 The Plaintiffs do not oppose CSC’s motion for partial
summary judgment, but urge the Court to dismiss the prescribed claims without prejudice
so that the claims may be refiled in Virginia, where the statute of limitations period is
Id. at ¶¶ 39–41.
7 R. Doc. 1.
8 R. Doc. 15.
9 R. Doc. 35. The Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed 16 plaintiffs because the offer letters for those plaintiffs
stated they would be paid on a salary basis. R. Docs. 37, 40. On January 25, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed their
Third Amended Complaint, alleging the same causes of action on behalf of the 95 remaining plaintiffs. R.
10 R. Doc. 47.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Summary judgment is appropriate only “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.”11 “An issue is material if its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.” 12
When assessing whether a material factual dispute exists, the Court considers “all of the
evidence in the record but refrains from making credibility determinations or weighing
the evidence.”13 All reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. 14
There is no genuine issue of material fact if, even viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for the nonmoving
party, thus entitling the moving party to judgment as a matter of law.15
If the dispositive issue is one on which the moving party will bear the burden of
persuasion at trial, the moving party “must come forward with evidence which would
‘entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial.’” 16 If the
moving party fails to carry this burden, the motion must be denied. If the moving party
successfully carries this burden, the burden of production then shifts to the nonmoving
party to direct the Court’s attention to something in the pleadings or other evidence in the
record setting forth specific facts sufficient to establish that a genuine issue of material
fact does indeed exist.17
FED. R. CIV. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986).
DIRECTV Inc. v. Robson, 420 F.3d 532, 536 (5th Cir. 2005).
13 Delta & Pine Land Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398 (5th Cir. 2008); see also
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150–51 (2000).
14 Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
15 Smith v. Amedisys, Inc., 298 F.3d 434, 440 (5th Cir. 2002).
16 Int’l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally’s, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263–64 (5th Cir. 1991) (quoting Golden Rule Ins. Co.
v. Lease, 755 F. Supp. 948, 951 (D. Colo. 1991)).
17 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322–24.
If the dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will bear the burden
of persuasion at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production by either (1)
submitting affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmovant’s
claim, or (2) demonstrating there is no evidence in the record to establish an essential
element of the nonmovant’s claim.18 When proceeding under the first option, if the
nonmoving party cannot muster sufficient evidence to dispute the movant’s contention
that there are no disputed facts, a trial would be useless, and the moving party is entitled
to summary judgment as a matter of law.19 When, however, the movant is proceeding
under the second option and is seeking summary judgment on the ground that the
nonmovant has no evidence to establish an essential element of the claim, the nonmoving
party may defeat a motion for summary judgment by “calling the Court’s attention to
supporting evidence already in the record that was overlooked or ignored by the moving
party.”20 Under either scenario, the burden then shifts back to the movant to demonstrate
the inadequacy of the evidence relied upon by the nonmovant.21 If the movant meets this
burden, “the burden of production shifts [back again] to the nonmoving party, who must
either (1) rehabilitate the evidence attacked in the moving party’s papers, (2) produce
Id. at 331–32 (Brennan, J., dissenting); see also St. Amant v. Benoit, 806 F.2d 1294, 1297 (5th Cir. 1987)
(citing Justice Brennan’s statement of the summary judgment standard in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322–24 (1986), and requiring the movants to submit affirmative evidence to negate an essential
element of the nonmovant’s claim or, alternatively, demonstrate the nonmovant’s evidence is insufficient
to establish an essential element); Fano v. O’Neill, 806 F.2d 1262, 1266 (citing Justice Brennan’s dissent in
Celotex, and requiring the movant to make an affirmative presentation to negate the nonmovant’s claims
on summary judgment); 10A CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, ARTHUR R. MILLER & MARY KAY KANE, FEDERAL
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE §2727.1 (2016) (“Although the Court issued a five-to-four decision, the majority
and dissent both agreed as to how the summary-judgment burden of proof operates; they disagreed as to
how the standard was applied to the facts of the case.” (internal citations omitted)).
19 First National Bank of Arizona v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288–89 (1980);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249–50 (1986).
20 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332–33.
additional evidence showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial as provided in Rule
56(e), or (3) submit an affidavit explaining why further discovery is necessary as provided
in Rule 56(f).”22 “Summary judgment should be granted if the nonmoving party fails to
respond in one or more of these ways, or if, after the nonmoving party responds, the court
determines that the moving party has met its ultimate burden of persuading the court that
there is no genuine issue of material fact for trial.”23
LAW AND ANALYSIS
CSC seeks summary judgment on those of the Plaintiffs’ unpaid wages claims that
have prescribed under Louisiana Civil Code article 3494. 24 Article 3494 provides for a
three-year liberative prescription period for “[a]n action for the recovery of compensation
for services rendered, including payment of salaries, wages, commissions, tuition fees,
professional fees, fees and emoluments of public officials, freight, passage, money,
lodging, and board.”25
There are no facts in dispute. Further, the Plaintiffs do not contest that the threeyear liberative prescriptive period pursuant to article 3494 applies in this case, or that a
number of the Plaintiff’s claims have prescribed under Louisiana law.26 Instead, the
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332–33, 333 n.3.
Id.; see also First National Bank of Arizona, 391 U.S. at 289.
24 R. Doc. 47-1.
25 LA. CIV. CODE art. 3494. Louisiana law provides that even if claims are subject to the three-year
prescriptive bar, a case may nonetheless proceed in Louisiana when the substantive law of another state
would be applicable on the merits if (1) “it would not be barred in the state whose law would be applicable
to the merits,” and (2) “maintenance of the action in this state is warranted by compelling considerations
of remedial justice.” LA. CIV. CODE art. 3549(B)(1). Louisiana courts only find “compelling considerations of
remedial justice” to exist in “the most extraordinary circumstances.” Henry v. Duane Morris, LLP, 210 Fed.
App’x 356 at 358 (5th Cir. 2006). “In cases where plaintiffs have litigated their claims in Louisiana by choice,
not by necessity, claims of ‘compelling considerations’ warranting maintenance of the suit in Louisiana have
been consistently rejected.” Id. at 359. The Plaintiffs admit such “compelling considerations” do not exist
in this case, and as a result, article 3549(B)(1) is inapplicable. R. Doc. 67 at 3.
26 R. Doc. 67.
Plaintiffs request the prescribed claims be dismissed without prejudice to “reduce any
complication with [the Plaintiffs] refiling dismissed claims in Virginia.”27
In support of their argument that the prescribed claims should be dismissed
without prejudice, the Plaintiffs cite Seagrave v. Delta Airlines, Inc.28 In Seagrave, the
district count found that Louisiana’s prescriptive period barred the plaintiff’s claim in
Louisiana, and then transferred the case to Virginia, which had a prescriptive period that
had not yet expired.29 The court in Seagrave reasoned dismissal was not “in the interests
of justice, as it might create prescriptive problems for the plaintiff in Virginia, and it is
plain that the suit could have been filed in Virginia.” 30 The Seagrave court “recognize[d]
that Louisiana Civil Code article 3459 contemplates the dismissal of the action,” but found
that “a transfer comport[ed] with both the directive of article 3549 and the interests of
The Plaintiffs in this case ask the Court to rely on Seagrave’s rationale that
Louisiana has a “strong policy of providing remedies to tortiously injured plaintiffs and
deterring wrongful conduct,”32 and dismiss the prescribed claims without prejudice so
that the Plaintiffs may pursue their claims in Virginia.33
R. Doc. 67 at 3. The Plaintiff notes they do not seek to transfer the dismissed claims to Virginia pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). If this Court transferred the Plaintiffs’ cause of action to Virginia, a Virginia district
court would be bound to apply Louisiana’s article 3494, which would ultimately lead to the same result—
dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ claims. This solution is inefficient and inequitable to the courts and the parties.
28 848 F. Supp. 82 (E.D. La. April 6, 1994).
30 Id. at 85–86.
33 R. Doc. 67.
The Plaintiffs’ reliance on Seagrave is misplaced, as Seagrave has been explicitly
rejected by the Fifth Circuit.34 In Tigert v. American Airlines Inc., the Fifth Circuit
“decline[d] to adopt the approach used in Seagrave, a non-precedential district court
decision, and instead affirm[ed] the district court’s decision not to transfer [the plaintiff’s]
case . . . .”35 The Tigert court also expressly affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of the
plaintiff’s prescribed claims.36
In Tigert, the plaintiff appealed the dismissal with prejudice of her negligence suit
as time-barred under Louisiana’s laws on liberative prescription.37 The Tigert plaintiff
argued the district court should have transferred her case to an appropriate federal court
in California, or alternatively, should have dismissed the case without prejudice so that
she could pursue her action in California and escape Louisiana’s time bar. 38 The Fifth
Circuit affirmed the district court’s refusal to transfer the plaintiff’s action to California,
because a California transferee district court would have been bound to apply Louisiana’s
law with respect to the prescriptive period.39 The Tigert court further found that the
district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice was not error.
The fact that the Plaintiffs’ claims before this Court have prescribed under
Louisiana law precludes this Court from hearing the claims. However, the “expiration of
the applicable statute of limitations merely bars the remedy and does not extinguish the
Further, the Court notes that the issue in this case—whether the Plaintiffs’ prescribed claims should be
dismissed with or without prejudice—was not before the Seagrave court.
35 390 Fed. App’x 357, 362 (5th Cir. 2010).
36 Id. at 363.
37 Id. at 358.
38 Id. at 359. The plaintiff sought to take advantage of California’s two-year prescriptive period because her
negligence claim was barred under Louisiana’s one-year prescriptive period. Id.
39 Id. at 361.
substantive right, so that dismissal on that ground does not have claim-preclusive effect
in other jurisdictions with longer, unexpired limitations periods.”40 The Tigert court held
“a dismissal with prejudice does not necessarily bar a plaintiff from filing again in another
jurisdiction.”41 Thus, the dismissal with prejudice of the Plaintiffs’ claims does not
necessarily bar the Plaintiffs from seeking relief in Virginia.42 In the event the Plaintiffs
refile their claims in Virginia, a Virginia district court will determine whether this Court’s
dismissal on grounds of Louisiana’s prescriptive period bars refiling in Virginia.
The United States Supreme Court has held “[t]he primary meaning of ‘dismissal
without prejudice,’ we think, is dismissal without barring the plaintiff from returning
later, to the same court, with the same underlying claim. That will also ordinarily (though
not always) have the consequences of not barring the claim from other courts, but its
primary meaning relates to the dismissing court itself.”43 Black’s Law Dictionary defines
“dismissed without prejudice” as “removed from the court’s docket in such a way that the
plaintiff may refile the same suit on the same claim”44 and “dismissal without prejudice”
as a “dismissal that does not bar the plaintiff from refiling the lawsuit within the
applicable limitations period.”45 The Plaintiffs in this case are indeed barred from refiling
their claims in this Court within the applicable limitations period, as the limitations
period has already expired. Further, Louisiana courts consistently dismiss claims with
Id. at 504.
Id. at 362 (citing Semtek Int’l v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 531 U.S. 497, 506 (2001)).
42 Tigert, 390 Fed. App’x at 362 (finding that “the district court’s designation of its dismissal as with or
without prejudice is immaterial” to the question of whether a plaintiff may seek relief for prescribed claims
in another district court).
43 Semtek, 531 U.S. at 505.
44 BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (10th ed. 2014).
prejudice when the dismissal is on the basis of prescription. 46 Therefore, the Plaintiffs’
prescribed claims must be dismissed with prejudice.47
IT IS ORDERED that the motion for partial summary judgment filed by
Computer Sciences Corporation is GRANTED. The Plaintiffs’ prescribed claims are
dismissed with prejudice.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 7th day of July, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
See, e.g., Sours v. Kneipp, 923 So. 2d 981, 983 (“A judgment sustaining an exception of prescription is
not a mere interlocutory judgment deciding preliminary matters, but a final judgment on the merits that
terminates the action with prejudice.”); Paradise Village Children’s Home, Inc. v. Liggins, 886 So. 2d 562,
569 (La. Ct. App. 2 Cir. 10/13/04) (noting that Louisiana courts have held that dismissals based on
prescription are final judgments for purposes of res judicata).
47 The Court notes that if the Plaintiffs’ prescribed claims were dismissed without prejudice, CSC would
suffer clear legal prejudice—loss of its prescription defense.
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