United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
TOM TOTTE, CODY HITCH and JOHN MERRELL, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
QUICK LANE OIL & LUBE, INC., a Michigan for-profit company, and TALHA HARES, its owner, Defendants.
DECISION GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR
CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION OF A COLLECTIVE ACTION UNDER THE
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT, (Doc. 7)
COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case. Plaintiffs Tom Totte,
Cody Hitch and John Merrell are former employees of Defendant
Quick Lane Oil & Lube, Inc. (Quick Lane), an oil change
business. Quick Lane operates two locations, each in
southeast Michigan. Plaintiffs are suing Quick Lane and its
owner Talha Hares for failure to compensate them properly for
all time worked.
first assert overtime violations. They say Totte and Hitch
received a weekly salary that was not equivalent to minimum
wage plus overtime pay for hours worked. Additionally, Totte
and Merrell received hourly wages that did not account for
all time worked including overtime. Second, plaintiffs assert
failure to pay minimum wage. They say Hitch and Merrell
received a weekly salary, and hourly wages, at a rate of pay
less than the minimum wage ($7.25) for hours
Procedural History and Motion
August 2, 2016, plaintiffs filed their complaint. (Doc. 1).
Attached were time sheets and/or paystubs of Quick Lane for
Totte, Hitch and Merrell.
October 4, 2016, plaintiffs filed a pre-discovery motion for
conditional certification of a collective action, defined
below, under the FLSA. (Doc. 7). In support, they attached
(1) declarations of Totte and Hitch regarding pay and hours
at Quick Lane; and (2) Quick Lane time sheets and/or paystubs
for Totte, Hitch and Merrell.
instructed by the Court, the parties have also submitted
matrices of hours worked and pay received, by week, for each
plaintiff. (See attached Exhibits A,
November 23, 2016, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint.
(Doc. 15). On February 8, 2017, each defendant answered
separately. (Docs. 24, 25, 26).
Disposition of Motion
the reasons explained below, plaintiffs' motion is
GRANTED. The Court will separately enter an order regarding
collective action procedures attached to which will be the
form of the opt-in notice to be sent to potential plaintiffs.
30 days of entry of this decision, plaintiffs, after
conferring with defendants, shall lodge with the Court a
draft of the proposed order and form of notice. If there are
objections, within 21 days of receipt, defendants shall lodge
with the Court a redlined version with additions, deletions
or modifications to the text in another color.
COMPLAINT AND ANSWER
complaint and answer the parties dispute key facts relating
to plaintiffs' pay and hours while working at Quick Lane.
They are summarized below, by plaintiff.
was employed as an oil change technician, i.e., an
hourly employee not exempt under the FLSA. (Doc. 15
¶¶ 16, 21). Defendants say he was a manager and
exempt. (Doc. 24 ¶ 7).
was paid a weekly salary of $450, by check, from 2013 to
December 2015. (Doc. 15 ¶ 17). Defendants say he was
paid $700 per week (excluding bonuses), $450 by check and the
rest in cash. (Doc. 24 ¶ 17).
December 2015, Totte was paid, by check, an hourly rate of
$8.15, and then $8.75 for January 2016 and on. (Doc. 15
¶¶ 18-20). Defendants say he “received a
check based on the number of hours he worked at minimum wage
and . . . the balance . . . in cash.” (Doc. 24 ¶
“regularly” was not paid for all hours worked, as
shown in his time sheets, including for overtime. (Doc. 15
¶¶ 24-27). Defendants “den[y] . . . Totte
worked any hours for which he was not compensated.”
(Doc. 24 ¶ 27).
Cody Hitch 1. Job Description
is an oil change technician. (Doc. 15 ¶ 8). Defendants
say he is a “greeter” of customers who does not
change oil. (Doc. 24 ¶ 8; see also Doc. 27 at
was paid a weekly salary of $350, all in cash, during his
employment. (Doc. 15 ¶ 31). Defendants say Hitch was
paid $450 per week (excluding bonuses), all in cash, during
his employment. (Doc. 24 ¶ 31).
was underpaid as he “regularly” worked over 40
hours per week. (Doc. 15 ¶¶ 32-33). Defendants deny
this. (Doc. 24 ¶¶ 32-33).