Tinsley v. Covenant Care Services, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Conditional Certification Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ' 216(b) (Doc. 44) is granted. The parties' Agreed Order for Opt-In Procedure and Notice for the Conditionally Certified Class shall be entered separately on this date. Signed by Magistrate Judge Abbie Crites-Leoni on 3/27/2015. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
On behalf of himself and all
others similarly situated,
COVENANT CARE SERVICES, LLC,
Case No. 1:14CV00026 ACL
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Unopposed Motion for Conditional
Certification Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ' 216(b). (Doc. 44.)
Plaintiff alleges that he and the putative class comprise a group of current and former
employees who worked for Defendants, a care agency that provides services such as adult day care
for disabled adults. Plaintiff represents a group of Afull time Individualized Supported Living
(AISL@) Aides,@ who provide care services to Defendants’ clients.
The Second Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants violated the Fair Labor
Standards Act (AFLSA@), 29 U.S.C. ' 2010 et seq., by failing to pay them, and all other similarly
situated employees, for all hours worked in a workweek, including straight time and overtime
compensation. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants knowingly and willfully committed that violation
through its policy of paying hourly employees on an hourly basis yet failing and refusing to pay
overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.
Motion to Conditionally Certify Class
Under 29 U.S.C. ' 216(b), an employee may bring an action under the FLSA on his own
behalf as well as for those Asimilarly situated.@ The FLSA does not define Asimilarly situated,@
and the Eighth Circuit has not addressed what standard should be applied to the phrase. Huang v.
Gateway Hotel Holdings, 248 F.R.D. 225, 227 (E.D. Mo. 2008). District courts in this Circuit,
however, have conducted a two-step analysis to determine whether employees are Asimilarly
situated@ in collective action cases. Littlefield v. Dealer Warranty Servs., LLC, 679 F. Supp. 2d
1014, 1016-17 (E.D. Mo. 2010). The first step is the Anotice stage,@ in which plaintiffs seek early
conditional class certification and notify potential class members of the case.
Id. The second
step is the Amerits stage,@ which takes place after discovery and during which defendants may
move to decertify the class. Id. at 1017. We are in the first stage of that analysis.
Plaintiff=s burden at the Anotice stage@ is not onerous: conditional certification Arequires
nothing more than substantial allegations that the putative class members were together the victims
of a single decision, policy or plan.@ Id. Plaintiffs may satisfy this burden through affidavits,
supported by admissible evidence. Id. Plaintiffs may not meet this burden through unsupported
assertions of additional plaintiffs and widespread FLSA violations. Id. The Court does not need
to determine whether class members are actually similarly situated until the “merits stage” of the
litigation, when defendants typically move to decertify the class. Id.
Defendants concede that Plaintiff has met the “notice state” burden and agree to
conditional certification of Plaintiff’s FLSA claims. Defendants do not waive any argument
related to possible decertification of the conditionally certified class, Rule 23 class certification, or
any other argument in this action.
Plaintiffs comprise a group of current and former employees who worked for Defendants
as ISL Aides. (Plaintiff’s Ex. 1, Complaint.) Plaintiff has submitted the sworn statements of
Plaintiff Tyral Tinsley and Belinda Miller, in which they state that they were paid by the hour and
handled the client interaction on behalf of Defendants. (Plaintiff’s Exs. 2, 3.) Plaintiff and Ms.
Miller allege that they did not receive overtime compensation for all work performed in excess of
40 hours in a workweek, and that they were typically scheduled to work in excess of 40 hours per
week. (Id.) Plaintiff and Ms. Miller further state that, based on conversations with other aides,
the other employees did not receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40
The Court finds that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that the putative class members were
together the victims of a single decision, policy or plan. Thus, Plaintiff’s Unopposed Motion for
Conditional Certification Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ' 216(b) will be granted.
The Parties’ Proposed Notice Plan
“The FLSA requires that notice to potential plaintiffs be ‘accurate and timely,’ giving
potential plaintiffs the chance to make informed decisions about whether to participate.”
Littlefield, 679 F. Supp.2d at 1018 (quoting Martinez v. Cargill Meat Solutions, No. 4:09CV3079,
2009 WL 5034479, at *8 (D.Neb. Dec. 11, 2009)). The Court must approve “both the content and
method of disseminating notice to potential class members.” Id. The Court should not alter the
proposed notice unless changes are necessary. Id.
Here, the parties indicate that their proposed notice is heavily modeled on examples
provided on the Federal Judicial Center’s website. The parties state that their notice plan includes
the following forms of dissemination: notice and consent forms will be mailed first-class to all
employees who were subject to the policy described above. The parties have also submitted an
Agreed Order for Opt-In Procedure and Notice for the Conditionally Certified Class. (Plaintiff’s
The Court approves the parties’ proposed notice plan.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Unopposed Motion for Conditional
Certification Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ' 216(b) (Doc. 44) is granted.
The parties’ Agreed Order for Opt-In Procedure and Notice for the Conditionally Certified
Class shall be entered separately on this date.
Dated this 27th day of March, 2015
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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