United States District Court, D. Maryland
David Copperthite, United States Magistrate Judge
Ian Chado, Nancy Nguyen, and William Rush
("Plaintiffs"), move this Court to add multiple
plaintiffs and defendants by granting their Motion for Leave
to File an Amended Complaint Without Consent ("Motion to
Amend") (ECF No. 64). Plaintiffs also move this Court
for class certification of the claims alleged in this matter
(the "Motion for Class Certification") (ECF No.
72). After considering each of the motions and the responses
thereto (ECF Nos. 68. 73-75), the Court finds that no hearing
is necessary. See Loc.R. 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the
reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs'
Motion to Amend and GRANTS Plaintiffs* Motion for Class
are all former employees of Defendant, National Auto
Inspections, LLC, t/a CARCHEX ("Defendant"), and
Plaintiffs seek to add thirty-six additional plaintiffs
(collectively with Plaintiffs. "Amended
Plaintiffs") and two additional defendants, CARCHEX. LLC
("CARCHEX") and Jason Goldsmith (collectively with
Defendant and CARCHEX, "Defendants"). See
ECF 64-14 at 6-7. Defendants are in the business of selling
vehicle insurance products, including Extended Vehicle
Protection Plans ("EVPP"). Id. at 18. All
Amended Plaintiffs were employed as Vehicle Protection
Specialists ("'Specialists"). Id. at
7. 13-17. As Specialists. Plaintiffs made and received calls
to and from Defendants' prospective customers, following
a script to sell vehicle insurance. Id. at 19.
Defendants paid Amended Plaintiffs through a "complex
piece-rate structure" primarily based on the number of
EVPPs that each Specialist sold as well as sales-based
bonuses. Id. at 20. When the piece-rate and bonus
payments did not rise to a certain threshold. Plaintiffs
would receive a guaranteed minimum commission. Id.
contend that they "consistently" worked a minimum
of forty-five to fifty-four hours per week as a result of
their regular schedules, which included some weekend shifts,
and the competitive atmosphere Defendants fostered among the
Specialists. Id. at 23-24. Plaintiffs allege,
however, that their pay did not provide any additional
compensation or overtime wages during weeks when they worked
more than forty hours in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA"), the Maryland Wage and Hour
Law ("MWHL"), and the Maryland Wage Payment and
Collection Law C'MWPCL"). Id. at 23, 32.
facts are included in the Discussion.
October 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against
Defendant, their employer, seeking allegedly unpaid overtime
wages. ECF No. 1. In its December 4, 2017 answer. Defendant
denied Plaintiffs' claims. ECF No. 7. On December 27,
2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Conditional Certification
of a Collective Class and to Facilitate Identification and
Notice to Similarly Situated Employees. ECF No.
Upon reviewing the motion and the responses thereto. ECF Nos.
23-24, on February 6, 2018. the Court granted Plaintiffs'
Motion for Conditional Certification. ECF No. 25.
April 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Amend. ECF
No. 64. Defendant filed a response on May 4, 2018, ECF No.
68, and Plaintiffs replied on May 18, 2018, ECF No. 73.
Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Class Certification on May
9, 2018, ECF No. 72, and Defendant opposed the motion on May
23, 2018, ECF No. 74. On June 6. 2018, Plaintiffs filed a
reply. ECF No. 75. Accordingly, the Motion to Amend and the
Motion for Class Certification are fully briefed.
Motion To Amend
plaintiff files a motion to amend a complaint after the
defendant files a responsive pleading, "a party may
amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written
consent or the court's leave." Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)-(2); see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
182 (1962); CSX Techs., Inc. v. GCC Techs., LLC, No.
JKB-10-2112, 2012 WL 3038639, at *3 (D.Md. July 24, 2012)
(stating that the "good cause" standard of Rule
16(b)(4) becomes the starting point in this Court's
analysis after the deadline for amending pleadings has
passed), ajfd, 533 Fed.Appx. 182 (4th Or. 2013).
Pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2), "[t]he court should freely
give leave [to amend] when justice so requires." The
decision to grant a motion for leave to amend falls within
this Court's discretion. Foman, 371 U.S. at 182.
Reasons to deny leave to amend include "undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of
allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of
amendment.'" Id.; see also Laber v. Harvey,
438 F.3d 404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006) ("We have interpreted
Rule 15(a) to provide that "leave to amend a pleading
should be denied only when the amendment would be prejudicial
to the opposing party, there has been bad faith on the part
of the moving party, or the amendment would have been
futile.""). Otherwise, "fi]f the underlying
facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a
proper subject of relief." and the plaintiff moves to
amend, the Court should grant the motion so that the
plaintiff has the "opportunity to test his claim on the
merits." Foman, 371 U.S. at 182.
whether amendment would be futile does not involve "an
evaluation of the underlying merits of the case."
Next Generation Grp. v. Sylvan Learning Ctrs., LLC,
No. CCB-11-986, 2012 WL 37397, at *3 (D.Md. Jan. 5, 2012).
Rather, "the merits of the litigation" are only
relevant to the Court's ruling on a motion for leave to
amend if "a proposed amendment may clearly be seen to be
futile," Davis v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 615
F.2d 606, 613 (4th Cir. 1980), such as "if the proposed
amended complaint fails to state a claim under the applicable
rules and accompanying standards," Katyle v. Penn
Nat'l Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 (4th Cir.
Motion for Class Certification
maintain a class action, a party moving for class
certification bears the burden of demonstrating that the
proposed class meets the two-step inquiry outlined in Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 23. See Gunnells v. Healthplan
Serws., Inc.,348 F.3d 417, 423 (4th Cir. 2003). First,
the movant ...