United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
CERTIFY CLASS 
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class.
The plaintiff wishes to add 106 delivery drivers to the
class, who were employed by three different Hungry
Howie's Pizza stores. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will grant Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class.
Chad McFarlin filed a complaint against The Word Enterprises,
LLC et al. on July 6, 2016. See Dkt. No. 1.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants paid him below the Federal
and Michigan minimum wage during his time as a delivery
driver for Hungry Howie's pizza. Id. Plaintiff
brings the action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the
Michigan Minimum Wage Law, and the Michigan Workforce
Opportunity Wage Act to recover unpaid wages owed to him and
similarly situated Hungry Howie's delivery drivers
employed by Defendants. Id. Defendants filed an
answer on August 31, 2016 denying the allegations and
asserting affirmative defenses. Dkt. No. 19. Plaintiff and
Defendants entered into a stipulation for conditional
certification pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) on March
21, 2017. Dkt. No. 31. On June 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Motion to Certify Class. Dkt. No. 38. Plaintiff moves for
class certification of the state minimum wage claims. Dkt.
No. 38, pg. 9 (Pg. ID 190). Defendants opposed the motion and
filed a response on July 11, 2017. Plaintiff replied on July
31, 2017. Dkt. No. 40.
Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)-(b) contains the requirements
for class certification. To be certified, “a proposed
class must satisfy all four prerequisites of Rule 23(a) and
fall within one of the three types of class actions described
in Rule 23(b).” Bridging Comms. Inc. v. Top Flite
Fin. Inc., 843 F.3d 1119, 1124 (6th Cir. 2016). Rule
23(a) requires “numerosity, commonality, typicality,
and adequate representation.” Young v. Nationwide
Mut. Ins. Co., 693 F.3d 532, 537 (6th Cir. 2012). In
addition, Plaintiff asserts that the proposed class meets the
requirement of 23(b)(3): questions of law or fact predominate
over any questions affecting only individual members, and a
class action is the superior method to bring this action.
Dkt. No. 38, pg. 27 (Pg. ID 208).
To satisfy the numerosity requirement, a class must be
“so numerous that joinder of all members is
impracticable.” Young v. Nationwide Mut. Ins.
Co., 693 F.3d 532, 541 (6th Cir. 2012). A
“substantial” number of affected individuals is
enough to satisfy this requirement. Id.
“Impracticability of joinder must be positively shown,
and cannot be speculative.” Id.
is no exact number that must be met for a class to be
certified. Calloway v. Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd.,
287 F.R.D. 402, 406 (E.D. Mich. 2012). The Sixth Circuit has
certified a class with as few as thirty five people. Afro
Am. Patrolmen's League v. Duck, 503 F.2d 294, 298
(6th Cir. 1974). This Court and courts in general consider a
variety of factors when determining numerosity, including the
type of action, the size of the individual claims, the
location of the members, and the ability to easily ascertain
identities of proposed class members. See Calloway v.
Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd., 287 F.R.D. 402, 406 (E.D.
Mich. 2012); see also 7a The Late Charles Alan
Wright et al., Federal Practice and
Procedure § 1762 (3d ed. 2017). However, the
Sixth Circuit has held that the “sheer number of
potential litigants in a class, especially if it is more than
several hundred, can be the only factor needed to satisfy
[numerosity].” Bacon v. Honda of Am. Mfg.,
Inc., 370 F.3d 5665, 570 (6th Cir. 2004). However, a
class is not required to have several hundred members in
order for this Court to find numerosity based on numbers
alone. See Davidson v. Henkel Corp., 302 F.R.D. 427,
437 (E.D. Mich. 2014) (noting that Sixth Circuit precedent
indicates that this Court may, but is not required, to
consider other factors when determining numerosity). This
Court has held that numerosity was satisfied where there were
forty nine class members who were dispersed throughout the
United States. Id.
case, the proposed class members worked for one of three
companies that owned a Hungry Howie's Pizza Store:
TWE-Perry; TWE Haslett; or TWE St. Johns. Plaintiff contends
that the total number of drivers for each company should be
combined when considering numerosity. Defendants contend that
the Court should view each company separately when
determining numerosity, which appears to be similar to
treating each company as a sub-class. If the Court combines
the drivers for each company, the class will include
approximately 106- 117 delivery drivers in total. Dkt. No.
38, pg. 23 (Pg. ID 204) (Plaintiff contends the proposed
class consists of at least 117 total members); Follman Aff.
Ex. 13, at 3 (Defendant contends the proposed class consists
of 106 total members). If the class is divided into
subclasses based on the three different companies that the
delivery drivers worked for, the sub-class totals are: forty
three drivers for TWE-Perry; thirty eight drivers for TWE
Haslett; and twenty five drivers for TWE St. Johns. Follman
Aff. Ex. 13, at 3.
Sixth Circuit recognizes the single employer doctrine. Under
this doctrine, courts can treat multiple interrelated
companies as a single employer. Swallows v. Barnes &
Noble Book Stores, Inc., 128 F.3d 990, 993 (6th Cir.
1997). Courts evaluate the following factors to determine
interrelatedness: (1) interrelation of operations, i.e.,
common offices, common record keeping, shared bank accounts
and equipment; (2) common management, common directors and
boards; (3) centralized control of labor relations and
personnel; and (4) common ownership and financial
control.” Id. at 994. Here, Plaintiff has
demonstrated that each of the companies in question are
interrelated enough to constitute a single employer. Each
store has common ownership in Mr. Kevin Dittrich, Mr.
Dittrich is president of each company, each company has the
same area director, and the same ...