United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis, United States District Judge
before the Court in this wage payment action is the Motion to
Certify Class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 filed
by Plaintiffs Talia Craighead, Verenesha Hutchinson, Vernice
Headen, and Pamela Ransom. (ECF No. 72.) Plaintiffs, on
behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, have
filed this action alleging that Defendant Full Citizenship of
Maryland, Inc. (“FCI”) and FCI's Executive
Director, Defendant Pansy Stancil-Diaz, violated the Fair
Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
(“FLSA”) and analogous Maryland law. The matter
has been fully briefed, and the Court rules pursuant to Local
Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. For the reasons
below, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED.
Procedural and Factual Background
case was the subject of the Court's previous Memorandum
Opinion and Order granting conditional certification under
the FLSA. As noted in that Opinion, Plaintiffs were employed
by FCI, a Maryland corporation, which provides residential,
rehabilitative, and vocational training services to adults
with cognitive disabilities. Plaintiffs worked as Residential
Coordinators, Residential Counselors, Vocational
Coordinators, and Vocational Counselors. ECF No. 72-1 at 1.
Plaintiffs group those positions together as
“residential and vocational staff, ” and assert
they perform overlapping duties and are subject to the same
compensation policies and practices. ECF No. 72-1 at 5.
initiated this suit on March 1, 2017. ECF No. 1. On August 4,
2017, Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint was filed. ECF No.
34. The parties then engaged in class and jurisdictional
discovery. See ECF Nos. 27, 61, 63. Following the
close of class and jurisdictional discovery, on February 12,
2018, Plaintiffs filed the pending motion, moving for class
certification pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
ECF No. 72.
their motion, Plaintiffs argue that classwide treatment of
this case is efficient and practical to adjudicate the claims
of those employees who were subjected to a uniform illegal
compensation scheme. The proposed class consists of all
persons who were, are, or will be employed by Defendants as
residential and vocational staff, who were paid by the hour,
and who allegedly were not paid the legal minimum wage and/or
overtime wage (one and one-half times their regular hourly
rate) for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, from
March 1, 2014, through the present. ECF No. 72 at 1.
Plaintiffs have provided 65 potential class members who
allegedly did not receive their full overtime wages, ECF No.
72-1 at 12-13, and 25 potential class members who allege
minimum wage violations, ECF No. 72-1 at 11. Some individual
putative class members have both minimum wage and overtime
claims. Plaintiffs have also provided a classwide damages
summary sheet for approximately 80 individuals who worked as
residential and vocational staff. ECF No.
oppose certification, arguing that Plaintiffs fail to meet
the requirements of Rules 23(a) and 23(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons below, the Court
agrees with Plaintiffs and will certify the proposed class.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs class
certifications. The Court's analysis begins with a
threshold inquiry as to whether the putative class is readily
ascertainable. See EQT Prod. Co. v. Adair, 764 F.3d
347, 358 (4th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). A putative class
must be readily identifiable without resort to fact-finding;
however a class is considered identifiable even if not every
class member can be named at the certification stage.
regard to certification, under Rule 23(a), the Court
considers whether: (1) the class is so numerous that joinder
of all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of
law or fact common to the class; (3) the claims of the
representative parties are typical of the claims of the
class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and
adequately protect the interests of the class. Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(a). If Rule 23(a) is satisfied, the Court then considers
whether the proposed class falls into one of three enumerated
categories set forth in Rule 23(b).
in this case maintain that certification is appropriate under
Rule 23(b)(3), which permits certification where common
questions of law or fact predominate over any questions
affecting only individual members, and where proceeding as a
class action is superior to other available methods of
adjudication. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3); see Lienhart v.
Dryvit Sys., Inc. 255 F.3d 138, 146-47 (4th Cir. 2001).
Although likelihood of success on the merits does not
directly implicate the propriety of class certification, the
“rigorous analysis” required to determine whether
to certify a class will often incidentally “entail some
overlap with the merits of the plaintiff's underlying
claim.” Wal Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564
U.S. 338, 351-52 (2011); see Gariety v. Grant Thornton,
LLP, 368 F.3d 356, 365 (4th Cir. 2004).
initial matter, the ascertainability requirement is met. The
FCI Employee List submitted in connection with this motion
demonstrates that indicates that the class is readily
identifiable. See EQT Prod. Co., 764 F.3d at 358.
The Court now turns to the requirements of Rule 23(a) and