United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
KYLE R. ROBERTS AND JOHNY L. SMITH, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
PATCO Electrical Services, Inc., Defendant.
the Court is plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Class
Certification, filed January 3, 2017. On January 24, 2017,
defendant filed its response, and on January 31, 2017,
plaintiffs filed their reply. Based upon the parties'
submissions, the Court makes its determination.
PATCO Electrical Services, Inc. (“PATCO”) is an
electrical contractor that provides electrical installation
and maintenance services to commercial and industrial
customers, including oilfield servicing companies. Plaintiff
Kyle R. Roberts (“Roberts”) worked for PATCO as
an apprentice electrician from approximately July 2015
through February 25, 2016. Plaintiff Johny L. Smith
(“Smith”) worked for PATCO as an apprentice
electrician from March 2015 until March 2016. Plaintiffs were
both hired as apprentice electricians to work in the field
surrounding Devon Energy's Calumet, Oklahoma storage
filed the instant action to recover unpaid compensation from
PATCO on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated
under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29
U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Specifically, plaintiffs
allege that PATCO only paid them overtime compensation for
the hours they worked in excess of 50 hours per week.
Plaintiffs also allege that PATCO did not pay plaintiffs for
all hours they worked; particularly, each work day, PATCO
deducted one hour for lunch from plaintiffs' pay, despite
the fact they were not afforded a full hour for lunch each
to § 216(b) of the FLSA, plaintiffs now move this Court
to conditionally certify the requested class, order PATCO to
produce a list of names, last known addresses, and last known
email addresses and telephone numbers for all current and
former hourly paid electricians who worked for PATCO during
the relevant time period, authorize dissemination of the
suggested notice to potential members of this collective
action, and order a 60-day notice period following complete
production of the employee contact information.
proceed as a collective action under the FLSA, plaintiffs
must show that they and the other putative collective action
members are “similarly situated.” 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b). Although § 216(b) does not define the
term “similarly situated, ” the Tenth Circuit has
endorsed the ad hoc method of determination. See
Thiessen v. Gen. Elec. Capital Corp., 267 F.3d 1095,
1105 (10th Cir. 2001).
the ad hoc method, “a court typically makes an
initial ‘notice stage' determination of whether
plaintiffs are ‘similarly situated.'”
Id. at 1102 (internal citations omitted). This
initial determination “require[s] nothing more than
substantial allegations that the putative class members were
together the victims of a single decision, policy, or
plan.” Id. (internal quotations and citations
omitted). After the parties have completed discovery, and
often prompted by a motion to decertify, “the court
then makes a second determination, utilizing a stricter
standard of ‘similarly situated.'”
Id. at 1103. During the second determination, the
court reviews several factors, including: “(1)
disparate factual and employment settings of the individual
plaintiffs; (2) the various defenses available to defendant
which appear to be individual to each plaintiff; (3) fairness
and procedural considerations; and (4) whether plaintiffs
made the filings required by the [FLSA] before instituting
suit.” Id. (internal quotations and citation
their First Amended Collective Action Complaint, plaintiffs
define the proposed class as follows:
all current and former hourly-paid electricians, including
journeymen and apprentice electricians as well as all other
electricians who were employed by PATCO during the three-year
period preceding the filing of this Complaint.
Amended Collective Action Complaint [docket no. 8] at ¶
Plaintiffs allege that the proposed class members have
similar job duties and responsibilities - these other
electricians performed various maintenance-related electrical
work for customers located in and around Oklahoma and Texas.
Plaintiffs further allege that similar to plaintiffs, these
other electricians were required to expend a significant
amount of time traveling to their different jobsites and
traveling to pick up parts and equipment en route to other
job sites. Plaintiffs also allege that these other
electricians work schedules similar to plaintiffs and are
compensated by PATCO in a manner similar to plaintiffs.
contends that plaintiffs cannot meet the lenient requirements
for conditional certification of their collective action.
Specifically, PATCO asserts that the allegations made by
plaintiffs regarding the lunch time deductions are clearly
not a single policy, plan or decision which affected all of
the members of the putative class; only one of PATCO's
supervisors made the decision to use shorter lunch breaks
when a specific job required that he do so. PATCO further
asserts that plaintiffs cannot show that they were
similarly-situated to the putative class as defined.
contends that plaintiffs were part of a unique limited group
of employees - the apprentice electricians at the Calumet
location, and that due to the unique nature of the Calumet
facility, PATCO decided to provide a per diem payment/travel