BAUGHMAN v. KILLION & SONS WELL SERVIE, INC.
ORDER. Class notice is APPROVED, as described herein. Counsel shall finalize the class notice document within three calendar days of the date of this Order, and it need not be submitted to the Court for final review. Furthermore, the Court ADOPTS t he parties' Proposed Joint Case Management Order (Doc. 52 ). Consistent with Paragraph 5 thereof, Plaintiff shall file a status report within the timeframe specified. Once the status report is received, and any outstanding issues are resolved, the Court will enter an order establishing a date-certain for the completion of discovery, as described in Paragraph 6. Id. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 6/2/17. (dcd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
KILLION & SONS WELL SERVICE,
Civil Action No. 15-1143
Judge Cathy Bissoon
As to collective action notice, Defendant has identified three areas of disagreement:
issues regarding the “flowback operator” employee-designation; when the collective-actionperiod should commence (September 1, 2012 versus January 1, 2013); and whether the notice
should include information regarding the statute of limitations. See Doc. 55 at 1. Plaintiff has
elected not to resist Defendant’s position regarding the statute of limitations language, so only
two issues remain.
As to the flowback-operator issue, Defendant’s positions cannot foreclose the possibility
that putative collective action members exist who, despite technically holding the job-position of
pumper or well tender (according to Defendant), reasonably believe they are employed and/or
carry the title of “flowback” operator. See Doc. 54-3 at pgs. 11 through 18 (Defendant’s
“Compensation Form[s],” in which employees’ job-designations are restricted to that of working
in the “flowback” department). Regardless of how, or by whom, imprecision of language has
been introduced, the Court will not countenance the exclusion of otherwise-qualified individuals
simply because they believed they were employed as “flowback” operators or workers,
as opposed to the more-precise job titles now identified by Defendant.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s proposed inclusion of “flowback operators” in the class notice
hereby is adopted. The Court hastens to add, though, that whether or not a given employee is,
in actuality, a pumper or well tender (as opposed to the seemingly broader classification of
“flowback”-department worker or operator) is eminently determinable; and, should the parties be
able to confer and review Defendant’s records to cause (or avoid) the sending (or omission)
of notice to affected individuals, as appropriate, doing so certainly would promote the interests of
efficiency and economy.1
Turning to the collective-action-period, Defendant has put forth evidence, unrefuted by
Plaintiff’s counsel, that the “standby” policy challenged in this case only went into effect
January 1, 2013. See Doc. 55 at 2-5 (citing record evidence). Although Plaintiff proposes that
the period commence September 1, 2012 (three years prior to the filing of this lawsuit), his own
proposed collective-action definition is limited to employees who “were subject to [Defendant’s]
‘standby time’ payroll policy.” See Doc. 54-2 at ¶ 1. Similar to the efficiency-concerns
highlighted regarding the flowback-operator title, the Court believes that inviting the
participation of individuals who ceased employment before the standby-policy was implemented
would be a waste of everyone’s time. Thus, Defendant’s position regarding the collectiveaction-period hereby is adopted, and the notice shall be adjusted accordingly.
Consistent with the foregoing, it hereby is ORDERED that class notice is APPROVED,
as described above. Counsel shall finalize the class notice document within three calendar days
of the date of this Order, and it need not be submitted to the Court for final review. Furthermore,
Should the parties jointly move for a brief, additional period to conduct such an analysis,
the Court will allow for a modest adjustment of their forthcoming deadlines.
the Court ADOPTS the parties’ Proposed Joint Case Management Order (Doc. 52). Consistent
with Paragraph 5 thereof, Plaintiff shall file a status report within the timeframe specified.
Once the status report is received, and any outstanding issues are resolved, the Court will enter
an order establishing a date-certain for the completion of discovery, as described in Paragraph 6.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
June 2, 2017
United States District Judge
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