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Perkins v. Benore Logistic Systems, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 2, 2017

Stephanie Perkins, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Benore Logistics Systems, Inc., Defendant.

          David R. Grand, U.S. Magistrate Judge

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [8]

          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant Benore Logistic's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [8]. The Court has considered the parties' submissions and finds the motion suitable for determination without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(f)(2).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Defendant's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [8]. However, because both parties agree that removal of the link to the Getman & Sweeney[1] website would cure any issues with the witness communications moving forward, Plaintiff's counsel is hereby ordered to remove the link to Getman & Sweeney website from all future emails and/or messages sent to putative class members.

         Factual Background and Procedural History

         Plaintiff Stephanie Perkins has been employed by Defendant Benore Logistic, Inc., an interstate shipping and freight corporation, in South Carolina since January 2014. She currently works as a Transportation Coordinator (“TC”) and is responsible for communicating with truck drivers regarding their schedules, routes, trucks, and equipment, and reporting operational issues to supervisory staff. She claims that Benore Logistic violated the collective action provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), set forth at 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), when it failed to give overtime premium pay at the rate of a time and one-half of the regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek to herself and a nationwide class of transportation coordinators. Plaintiff filed her Complaint [1] on October 19, 2016, alleging violations of the FLSA and the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act, SC Code Ann. § 41-10-10 et seq. She seeks class certification, declaratory relief, equitable and injunctive relief, unpaid wages, and liquidated damages.

         Benore filed its Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [8] on December 16, 2016. It seeks an interim order restraining Plaintiff's counsel from communicating ex parte with its employees, putative members of the class action. Benore claims that several of its employees expressed concern after they received emails from Plaintiff's counsel regarding this lawsuit. The emails at issue state as follows:

Dear [Employee Name]:
Getman & Sweeney, PLLC has brought a case seeking to recover back overtime wages for Transportation Coordinators who worked for Benore Logistic Systems, Inc. We understand that you worked for the company and would like to talk to you about its practices. If you are willing to help, please either respond to this email or call Misty Emerick at Getman & Sweeney - (845) 255-9370. You can find out more about the case and Getman & Sweeney, PLLC on our website: http://getmansweeney.com/current-cases/benore-logistic-systems
Thank you.
Mike Sweeney

(Dkt. 8-2, Pg. ID 75).

         The link provided in the email leads to the Getman & Sweeney website, on which there is a description of this lawsuit and a link to a “Consent to Sue” form. (Dkt. 8-2, Pg. ID 77-79). If an employee felt inclined to explore the firm's website further - by clicking on the “Home” tab in the top left corner, for example - she would see the following statement on the firm's homepage:

Getman Sweeney represents employees working through the U.S. We regularly sue multinational and Fortune 500 companies. We are proud to have recovered tens of millions of dollars ...

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