Esparza v. C&J Energy Services, Inc.
ORDER Administratively Closed. Signed by Judge David A. Ezra. (aej)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SAN ANTONIO DIVISION
JACOB ESPARZA, individually
and on behalf of all others similarly
C&J ENERGY SERVICES, INC. and
C&J SPEC-RENT SERVICES, INC.
ORDER STAYING CASE DUE TO SUGGESTION OF BANKRUPTCY
Before the Court is a Suggestion of Bankruptcy filed by Defendants
C&J Energy Services, Inc. (“C&J”) and C&J Spec-Rent Services, Inc. (“SpecRent”) (collectively, “Defendants”). (Dkt. # 51.)
On September 30, 2015, Plaintiff Jacob Esparza filed a collective
action complaint against C&J, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act
(“NMMWA”). (Dkt. # 1.) On January 14, 2016, Esparza amended his complaint
to add Spec-Rent as a defendant.
On April 1, 2016, Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad granted in part a
motion to conditionally certify a class of similarly situated employees, and
authorized notice of suit to be sent to “all current and former wireline engineers . . .
paid on a salaried basis during the last three years.” (Dkt. # 25 at 6.) Defendants
filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and this Court affirmed Judge Bemporad’s
order on May 2, 2016 (Dkt. # 29). The parties submitted a joint proposed notice to
the Court on May 6, 2016 (Dkt. # 30), and the Court approved the notice on May
11, 2016 (Dkt. # 32). Twenty-six individuals have opted into the suit as of July 25,
2016. (See Dkts. ## 11, 14, 20, 33–39, 41, 45–50.)
On July 21, 2016, Defendants filed a Suggestion of Bankruptcy,
notifying this Court that on July 20, 2016, C&J and Spec-Rent each filed
Voluntary Petitions for Relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy
Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.
(Dkt. # 51; Bankruptcy Case Nos. 16-33596 and 16-33598, respectively.)
Defendants moved the Bankruptcy Court for joint administration of these cases
under Case No. 16-33590, before United States Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones.
(Dkt. # 51.)
Section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code requires that “a
petition filed under section 301, 302, or 303 of this title . . . operates as a stay,
applicable to all entities, of . . . any act to collect, assess, or recover a claim against
the debtor that arose before the commencement of the case under this title.”
11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(6). The objective of Esparza’s Amended Complaint is to find
Defendants liable for failure to pay unpaid overtime wages, and to obtain
compensation of wages, reasonable costs, and attorney’s fees. Because the
liabilities at issue arose before the commencement of the case under the
Bankruptcy Code, and are asserted against debtors involved in bankruptcy
proceedings, this Court finds that the action must be STAYED pursuant to Section
362(a)(6) of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
Where a suit is stayed pursuant to a bankruptcy proceeding, an
administrative closure is appropriate. See Mire v. Full Spectrum Lending Inc., 389
F.3d 163, 167 (5th Cir. 2004). An administrative closure is “a postponement of
proceedings,” rather than “a termination.” S. La. Cement, Inc. v. Van Aalst Bulk
Handling, B.V., 383 F.3d 297, 302 (5th Cir. 2004). A case that is administratively
closed “may be reopened upon request of the parties or on the court’s own
motion.” Mire, 389 F.3d at 167.
The Clerk’s office is DIRECTED to administratively close this case
pending further order of the Court. Though administratively closed, this case will
remain on the docket of this Court and may be reopened upon request of any party
or on the Court’s own motion.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: San Antonio, Texas. July 26, 2016.
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