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Iraheta v. Lam Yuen, LLC

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

December 18, 2013

KARLA PATRICIA IRAHETA, et al., Plaintiffs,
LAM YUEN, LLC, et al., Defendants.


CHARLES B. DAY, Magistrate Judge.

Before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Alternatively for Partial Summary Judgment ("Defendants' Motion") (Docket Item No. 32). The Court has reviewed Defendants' Motion, and the opposition thereto. No hearing is deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the following reasons, the Court hereby DENIES Defendants' Motion.

I. Background

On May 10, 2012, Plaintiffs' filed their Complaint alleging violations of wage hour and payment laws. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend they were employed by Defendants in the bakery and cooking operations at Defendants' Nebel Street location. Plaintiffs claim they were not paid minimum and overtime wages in compliance with state and federal law. They also contend they were always paid in cash, and never received documentation of pay as required by state law. Plaintiff Karla Iraheta contends that she was employed by Defendants from March 28, 2003 through April 3, 2012. Plaintiff Carolina Castillo contends that she was employed by Defendants from September 15, 2006 through November 14, 2012. Plaintiff Iraheta also contends that she was not paid for her last three days of work. Defendants now move for summary judgment.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is proper if there are no issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Francis v. Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc. , 452 F.3d 299, 302 (4th Cir. 2006). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass , 242 F.3d 179, 183 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute of material fact is only "genuine" if sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to return a verdict for that party. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248-49. However, the nonmoving party "cannot create a genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or the building of one inference upon another." Beale v. Hardy , 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1986). The Court may only rely on facts supported in the record, not simply assertions in the pleadings, in order to fulfill its "affirmative obligation... to prevent factually unsupported claims or defenses' from proceeding to trial." Felty v. Grave-Humphreys Co. , 818 F.2d 1126, 1128 (4th Cir. 1987) (citing Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323-24). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 255.

B. Defendants' Motion Does Not Have a Supporting Affidavit or Other Record Evidence.

Plaintiffs correctly note that Defendants have failed to submit supporting affidavits that comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). As stated more fully:

(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motions only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (c)(1)(A) and (B). The totality of Defendants attempt to satisfy the rule is the following statement, "I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that to the best of my knowledge the contents of the foregoing Motion are true and correct." Defs.' Mem. 15. This is insufficient.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the types of materials that may be submitted for the court's consideration, and they include: pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and any affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 323. Except for admissions, all of the materials Rule 56 allows in summary judgment are presented under oath.[1] The oath, and the penalty of perjury which gives the oath its true power, gives the Court strong reason to believe that the materials supporting the motion or the opposition are authentic.

The Rule 56 requirements for summary judgment "help assure the fair and prompt disposition of cases." Orsi, 999 F.2d at 91. "They also allow a district court to ascertain, through criteria designed to ensure reliability and veracity, that a party has real proof of a claim before proceeding to trial." Id. The rationale behind the Rule 56 requirements shines brightly in applying Rule 56. The Court is of the opinion that, in the ...

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