United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Mark Coulson United States Magistrate Judge
suit arises out of claims of denial of overtime compensation
levied by Plaintiffs Faustino Sanchez Carrera, Jesus Davis
Muro, and Gervacio Magdaleno, (collectively, the
“Plaintiffs”) against Defendants E.M.D. Sales,
Inc. (“EMD”), Elda M. Devarie, and E&R Sales
and Marketing Services, Inc., (collectively, the
“Defendants”). The case has been referred to me
for resolution of all discovery and related scheduling
matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 301.
(ECF No. 28).
reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' requests (ECF Nos. 65
and 67) are GRANTED in part, DEFERRED PENDING HEARING in
part, and DENIED in part, and Plaintiffs' request for a
hearing is GRANTED in part.
provide a proper frame of reference, this case involves three
Plaintiffs alleging that their employer, EMD, violated the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) 29 U.S.C.
201-216(B) by misclassifying them as “exempt”
employees and, in so doing, failed to pay them overtime and,
in some instances, the applicable minimum wage beginning in
2014. Plaintiffs serviced various grocery store customers on
behalf of EMD, a food distributor. Defendants contend that
Plaintiffs acted as EMD's Sales Representatives for the
customers they serviced such that they were exempt from the
FLSA overtime and minimum wage requirements and could instead
be paid strictly on commission earned on the amount of sales
to each assigned grocery store. Plaintiffs claim that,
notwithstanding their title of “sales representative,
” their job duties did not include “sales”
to any appreciable degree, and instead involved merely
re-filling customer orders (based on existing agreements
negotiated by more senior EMD employees), and re-stocking
customer shelves as inventory was depleted.
on these issues in dispute, relevant discovery could be
expected to center on: (1) qualitative and quantitative
aspects of Plaintiffs' day-to-day activities to determine
whether they were properly classified as exempt sales
employees; (2) the number of hours Plaintiffs worked in
excess of 40 to assess any overtime claim in the event
overtime was determined to be applicable; and, (3) the amount
of compensation Plaintiffs received to determine damages in
the event they are found to be mis-classified and
overtime/minimum wage calculations needed to be
made. As importantly, discovery must be
proportional to the needs of the case, and must be
“construed, administered and employed” by the
court and the parties to secure the “just, speedy and
inexpensive determination of every action and
proceeding.” Fed. Rs. Civ. Proc. 1 and 26(b)(2).
the relatively straightforward nature of this claim,
Plaintiffs have propounded extensive and far-reaching written
discovery. For their part, until fairly recently,
Defendants' chief discovery response has been to object.
Not surprisingly given those dynamics, there have been many
discovery disputes in this case, as well as telephone
conferences and a hearing to attempt resolution of them.
extensive hearing was held on August 7, 2018 addressing what
the Court assumed were the remaining areas of disagreement.
(ECF No. 53). Additionally, the Court conducted a follow-up
telephone conference on those issues with the parties on
September 18, 2018, giving further guidance and instructing
the parties to meet and confer in light of that guidance.
(ECF No. 62). As stated by the Court at that time:
In the unlikely event that the parties cannot successfully
work through these issues on their own, the parties may
submit letters to the Court by October 12, 2018 of no more
than five pages, outlining any remaining areas of dispute.
(Id. at 3). The Court also ordered that no further
written discovery could be propounded absent mutual consent
or Court approval. (Id.).
that has proven to be wishful thinking. Now pending before
the Court is a letter from Plaintiffs outlining various
shortcomings in Defendants' promised production,
outlining remaining areas of disagreement, and, in the
Court's view, in some areas expanding previous
disagreements well beyond the Court's expectation. (ECF
No. 65). Defendants filed a response to that letter. (ECF No.
66). Plaintiffs filed a second letter, containing a rebuttal
to Defendants' position and adding yet more areas of
disagreement. (ECF No. 67). Plaintiffs also request an
another 90-day extension of the December 6, 2018 discovery
deadline to accommodate the production of the additional
information they seek, as well as to conduct depositions.
Plaintiffs have also requested a hearing.
MATTERS FOR WHICH NO HEARING IS NECESSARY
Court finds no hearing is necessary to address the issues set
Personnel Files/Evaluations; Paystubs; Stores Opened; and