United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Debra Clark, Brooksey Irvine, Reginald Morrissette, Melba Pearson, and Ezell Williams, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
Royal Transportation Co., et. al., Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
F. Cox United States District Judge.
an employment case. Plaintiffs Debra Clark, Brooksey Irvine,
Reginald Morrissette, Melba Pearson, and Ezell Williams
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) are all former
employees of Defendants Royal Transportation Company, Donald
Fitzsimmons, Debra Fitzsimmons, and Shannon Fitzsimmons
(collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs filed
this collective action, on behalf of themselves and other
similarly situated employees, under the Fair Labor Standards
Act (“FLSA”). Plaintiffs claim that Defendants
have violated the FLSA by failing to pay such employees
overtime for actual overtime hours worked.
matter is currently before the Court on Defendant's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 26, Def.s'
Mo.). Defendants maintain that Plaintiffs, and members of the
collective class, are exempt from overtime coverage under the
FLSA. Defendants therefore seek summary judgment as to
liability. This motion has been fully briefed by the parties.
The Court heard oral argument as to this motion on August 3,
reasons stated below, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs had
a reasonable expectation of travel in interstate commerce and
are therefore exempt from overtime coverage. As such,
Defendants' partial motion for summary judgment is
Royal Transportation Company (“Royal”) is engaged
in the business of providing charter passenger transportation
services to businesses and individuals. (Def.s' Stmt.
¶ 1; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 1). Defendant Donald
Fitzsimmons is the president and owner of Royal. (Def.s'
Stmt. ¶ 2; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 2). Defendant Debra
Fitzsimmons is the vice president of Royal and is responsible
for payroll, accounting, receivables and booking/arranging
charter orders. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 4; Pl.'s Stmt.
¶ 4). Defendant Shannon Fitzsimmons is the Operations
Manager of Royal and is responsible for scheduling
Royal's drivers and arranging charter services for
various customers. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 6; Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶ 6).
markets itself as a full service, tri-state operator serving
Michigan, Ohio, and northern Indiana. (Def.s' Stmt.
¶ 20; Pl.s' Stmt. ¶ 20). Royal currently
maintains a fleet of approximately 75 passenger bus vehicles
including: three full-size motor coaches, that seat 55-57
passengers; eight mid-size bus vehicles, that seat between
35-44 passengers; and approximately 60 mini-buses, that seat
between 20 and 25 passengers. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 14;
Pl.s' Stmt. ¶ 14).
provides both charter and shuttle passenger services.
Royal's charter routes provide service to locations
outside of Michigan and to and from airports in the Detroit
area. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶¶ 18, ; Pl.'s Stmt.
¶¶ 18, ). The parties agree that Royal's
charter services constitute travel in interstate commerce.
addition to its charter service, Royal offers an
“employee shuttle service” to various businesses
located in the Detroit area, including Quicken Loans, General
Motors, and Volkswagen. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 22;
Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 22). This service involves the
transportation of a client's employees from nearby
parking lots to the client's place of business.
(Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 23; Pl.s' Stmt. ¶ 23). The
employee shuttle portion of Royal's business typically
involves routes in the metropolitan Detroit area. (Def.s'
Stmt. ¶ 24; Pl.s' Stmt. ¶ 24).
large majority of Royal's services consist of intra-state
shuttle trips. In 2012, Royal made a total of 4, 818 trips,
28 of which were out-of-state or airport assignments.
(Def.s' Ex. 29). In 2013, Royal assigned a total of 18,
080 trips, 95 of which were out-of-state or airport
assignments. (Id.). In 2014, Royal made 17, 889 trip
assignments, 53 of which were out-of-state or airport
assignments. (Id.). And in 2015, Royal assigned a
total of 21, 005 total trips, 44 of which were out-of-state
or airport assignments. (Id.).
Royal is a “common carrier by motor vehicle”
authorized to engage in interstate commerce, it is undisputed
that it is subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (“FMCSA”) regulations.
Accordingly, Royal possess a Department of Transportation
(“DOT”) registration number and requires its
drivers to possess a Commercial Drivers License
(“CDL”), with at least a Passenger
(“P”) endorsement. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 25;
Pl.s' Stmt. ¶ 25).
drivers are also required to possess a valid United States
Department of Transportation Interstate Medical Card, which
requires that they successfully complete a physical
examination and drug test. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 29;
Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 29). These requirements are consistent
with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
regulations. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶¶ 27, 29; Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶¶ 27, 29).
the years, the FMCSA has periodically conducted compliance
reviews of Royal's operations, the latest occurring in
May 2016. (Def.s' Stmt. ¶ 46; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶
46). The May 2016 compliance review resulted in a proposed
Safety Fitness Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”
(Id.). Donald Fitzsimmons subsequently petitioned
the FMCSA requesting that the rating be changed based upon
certain remedial efforts undertaken by Royal. (Def.s'
Stmt. ¶ 47; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 47). As a result of
Royal's petition for review, the FMCSA upgraded
Royal's fitness ...