United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY E. WEST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Docket Entry #71). Plaintiffs commenced
this action on December 6, 2017. Plaintiffs contend in this
action that they were employed by Defendants at gas stations
operated as Defendant Zainab Petroleum, Inc.
(“Zainab”) and Defendant Gondal Petroleum, Inc.
(“Gondal”) and at a hotel operated as Budget Inn,
Inc. (“Budget”) by Defendant Ahmad Zulfiqar
(“Zulfiqar”). Plaintiffs alleged that they were
hired by Defendants to clean rooms, manage the front desk, do
the laundry at the hotel, complete accounting work, and close
the gas stations nightly. The three entities, Zainab, Gondal,
and Budget, shared employees and are alleged to be joint
contend that Sarah Zeeshan worked an average of 84 hours
weekly but was not compensated for overtime. Zeeshan Choudhry
is also alleged to have worked an average of 84 hours per
week as a convenience store clerk but was not compensated for
allege Defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act of
1938, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
(“FLSA”) in failing to pay overtime for work
performed by Plaintiffs in excess of 40 hours. Plaintiffs
further allege for the jurisdictional basis of the action
that Defendants engaged in interstate commerce by selling
goods to customers throughout the United States, providing
goods that are transported across state lines, use telephonic
communications over state lines to accomplish their
businesses, and transmit funds outside of Oklahoma.
Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants' annual gross
sales are not less than $500, 000.00 per year while engaging
in interstate commerce.
make the further allegation that Zainab, Gondal, and Budget
knew or showed reckless disregard for the provisions of the
FLSA in failing to pay overtime and minimum wage payments.
They also allege Defendants failed to post any notice to
their employees regarding their rights under the FLSA. As a
result, they seek “double damages”.
is alleged to be the owner of Zainab, Gondal, and Budget with
equal operational control over the businesses. As such,
Plaintiffs seek joint liability against this individual.
second count, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the
FLSA's minimum wage requirements. They state that
Defendants failed to compensate them for “a substantial
amount or hours at least at the minimum rate established by
law.” Plaintiffs seek compensation for the minimum wage
violations from Defendants from the date of their hiring
and/or three years from the date of the filing of the
again allege the violations of the minimum wage provisions of
the FLSA were done willfully or with reckless disregard by
Defendants, thereby entitling them to liquidated damages.
third count, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants retaliated
against them for exercising their rights under the FLSA in
violation of 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). Plaintiffs contend
Defendants filed a frivolous lawsuit in the District Court in
and for Wagoner County, Oklahoma against them for breach of
contract, tortious interference, conversion, civil
conspiracy, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiffs seek damages
for the allegedly retaliatory acts.
filed for summary judgment, asserting Plaintiffs (1) failed
to provide evidence of a violation of the minimum wage
provisions of the FLSA through their deposition testimony;
(2) failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction in this
Court by demonstrating enterprise and for individual
coverage; (3) failed to establish that their work in the
hotel fell outside of the exemption provided by the FLSA; and
(4) failed to prove their damages. Defendants also
affirmatively assert that Plaintiffs were independent
contractors rather than employees. They also conclude that if
the Court dismisses the first two claims asserted, the
retaliation claim represented in the third count would be
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Universal
Money Centers v. A.T. & T., 22 F.3d 1527, 1529 (10th
Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1052, 115 S.Ct. 655,
130 L.Ed.2d 558 (1994). The moving party bears the initial
burden of showing that there is an absence of any issues of
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553-54, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A
genuine issue of material fact exists when "there is
sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury
to return a verdict for that party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
2510-11, 91 L.Ed 2d 202 (1986). In determining whether a
genuine issue of a material fact exists, the evidence is to
be taken in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157,
90 S.Ct. 1598, 1608, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). Once the moving
party has met its burden, the opposing party must come
forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or
denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a
genuine issue for trial. Applied Genetics v.
Fist Affiliated Securities, 912 F.2d 1238, 1241 (10th
Cir. 1990); Posey v. Skyline Corp., 702 F.2d 102,
105 (7th Cir. 1983).
do not provide a statement of material facts which are not in
dispute nor do they provide any evidence in support of their
request for summary judgment. As such is the case, any issue
put forward by them which relies upon factual findings for
resolution must necessarily be denied. Namely, Defendants
first contend that Plaintiffs failed to provide evidence of
damages for minimum wage violations, while not providing any
evidence of compliance with the minimum wage provisions of
the FLSA. For their part, Plaintiffs have stated in their
affidavits supporting their response to Defendants'
summary judgment motion that the wages that they were paid
did not comply with the statute. See Affidavit of
Sarah Zeeshan, Docket Entry #80, ¶ 7; Affidavit of
Zeeshan Choudhry, Docket Entry #79, ¶ 7. Consequently,
Defendants motion as it pertains to the claim for minimum
wage compensation is denied.
next challenge the subject matter jurisdiction of this Court
on two fronts - as an “enterprise” and
individually. The FLSA establishes, in pertinent part
relevant to this action:
(s)(1) “Enterprise engaged in commerce or in the
production of goods for commerce” means an ...