Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Szalczyk v. CBC National Bank

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 10, 2017

STEVEN SZALCZYK, JR., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CBC NATIONAL BANK, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge

         Named plaintiff Steven Szalczyk and opt-in plaintiffs Tekesha Austin, Minka Wright, Hilda Cornutt, and Audrey Veitch (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, have filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 28) against defendant CBC National Bank alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”).

         Currently pending before this Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Certification of a Collective Action under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) of the FLSA (“Plaintiffs' Motion”) (ECF No. 45). The parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons described herein, Plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Certification (ECF No. 45) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Specifically, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED as to the “Inside Loan Officers” and DENIED as to the “Outside Loan Officers, ” as set forth in detail below.

         BACKGROUND

         CBC National Bank (“CBC”) is a nationally chartered bank with headquarters located in Fernandina Beach, Florida. (ECF No. 28 at ¶ 3.) CBC operates a mortgage division that sells residential mortgage loan products in several states, including Maryland. (Id.) The mortgage division employs two types of loan officers to market and sell its mortgage products: “Inside Loan Officers” (“ILOs”) and “Outside Loan Officers” (“OLOs”). (ECF No. 45 at 4.) ILOs work at CBC office locations and are provided sales leads by CBC. (Id.) CBC's Compensation Overview states that ILOs are treated as “non-exempt” employees for purposes of the FLSA, and these employees are paid on an hourly basis through the submission of weekly timesheets.[1] (ECF No. 45-1 at 36-39.) OLOs, by contrast, work largely outside of CBC offices and are expected to generate their own sales leads. (ECF No. 45 at 4.) CBC treats its OLOs as “exempt” employees for purposes of the FLSA, and CBC “admits it does nothing to monitor how much time, if any, [OLOs] perform sales activity outside of offices.” (ECF No. 45 at 4; ECF No. 45-1 at 38-39.) OLOs are not required to submit timesheets to CBC and are compensated on a commission-only or commission-plus-salary basis, depending on their sub-classification.[2] (ECF No. 45-1 at 38-39.)

         Named plaintiff Steven Szalczyk worked for CBC as an ILO in its Parkville, Maryland office for just over three months, from November 5, 2012 through February 15, 2013. (ECF No. 45 at 7.) At the start of his employment, Mr. Szalczyk was told that he would earn $15 per hour, plus commissions. (Id. at 8.) During his deposition, Mr. Szalczyk testified that “he, along with all other loan officers in his office, were told in a meeting by CBC management to only report forty hours per week on the timekeeping system, but were then told to work as much as they could to get sales.” (Id.) Plaintiff also testified that he typically worked fifty-five (55) hours per week, but was not paid overtime wages. (Id.)

         The Amended Complaint alleges that CBC failed to pay its employees the legal minimum wage and failed to pay its employees overtime wages to which they were entitled. (ECF No. 28 at ¶¶ 40-47.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under the FLSA, a plaintiff may bring an action on behalf of himself and other employees so long as the other employees are “similarly situated” to the plaintiff. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b); see also Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 771 (D. Md. 2008). As this Court has previously noted, Section 216 “establishes an ‘opt-in' scheme, whereby potential plaintiffs must affirmatively notify the court of their intentions to be a party to the suit.” Quinteros, 532 F.Supp.2d at 771 (citing Camper v. Home Quality Mgmt., Inc., 200 F.R.D. 516, 519 (D. Md. 2000)). Section 216(b) provides, in relevant part, that:

An action . . . may be maintained against any employer . . . in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated. No employee shall be a party plaintiff to any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in which such action is brought.

29 U.S.C. § 216(b).

         Furthermore, this Court has employed a two-step inquiry when deciding whether to certify a collective action under the FLSA. Syrja v. Westat, Inc., 756 F.Supp.2d 682, 686 (D. Md. 2010); Banks v. Wet Dog Inc., No. CIV.A. RDB-13-2294, 2015 WL 433631, at *1 (D. Md. Feb. 2, 2015). First, upon a minimal evidentiary showing that a plaintiff can meet the substantive requirements of 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), the plaintiff may proceed with a collective action on a provisional basis. Second, following discovery, the court engages in a more stringent inquiry to determine whether the plaintiff class is “similarly situated” in accordance with the requirements of § 216. Rawls v. Augustine Home Health Care, Inc., 244 F.R.D. 298, 300 (D. Md. 2007) (internal citations omitted). The Court then renders a final decision regarding the propriety of proceeding as a collective action. Id. The second, more “stringent” phase of collective action certification under the FLSA is often prompted by a defendant's filing of a motion to decertify, and thus is referred to as the “decertification stage.” Syrja, 756 F.Supp.2d at 686.

         Whether to grant conditional certification is a matter of the court's discretion. Syrja, 756 F.Supp.2d at 686 (stating that “[d]eterminations of the appropriateness of conditional collective action certification . . . are left to the court's discretion[]”); see also Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 169 (1989). As the Court has explained, the “paramount issue in determining the appropriateness of a conditional class certification is whether plaintiffs have demonstrated that potential class members are ‘similarly situated.'” Williams v. Long, 585 F.Supp.2d 679, 684 (D. Md. 2008).

         Plaintiffs bear the burden of showing that their claims are “similarly situated, ” but courts have ruled that “similarly situated” need not mean “identical.” See, e.g., Hipp v. LibertyNat. Life Ins. Co.,252 F.3d 1208, 1217 (11th Cir. 2001). This Court has held that a group of FLSA plaintiffs is similarly situated if they can show they were victims of a common policy, scheme, or plan that violated the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.