United States District Court, D. Maryland
MARK COULSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Eric Wiest brings this action seeking overtime benefits under
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”), 29
U.S.C. § 201 et seq, against Defendant Delaware
Valley Floral Group, Inc. Pursuant to Standing Order 2018-4 and
28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the case was assigned directly to a
magistrate judge and the parties consented to proceed before
that magistrate judge. (ECF No. 13). Now pending before the
Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and/or for Summary
Judgement. (ECF No. 14). The Court has reviewed all the
filings and finds that no hearing is necessary. See
Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons that follow,
Defendant's Motion is DENIED.
is a wholesale flower and floral supply corporation formed
under the laws of New Jersey and operating out of a
headquarters in Sewell, New Jersey. (ECF No. 1 at 2).
Defendant's business involves the import and delivery of
flowers across the United States. (ECF No. 14-1 at 2). From
May of 2002 to April 30, 2018, Plaintiff worked for Defendant
as a delivery driver transporting product from a distribution
center in Jessup, Maryland to various locations throughout
the western panhandle of Maryland. (ECF Nos. 1 and 14-1).
Plaintiff filed suit with this Court on November 6, 2018
alleging that Defendant has failed to properly compensate
Plaintiff for overtime as mandated by the FLSA. (EFC No. 1 at
4-5). Defendant now moves to dismiss the claim or,
alternatively, for summary judgment. (ECF No. 14).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
defendant seeks dismissal or, in the alternative, summary
judgment, the Court may use its discretion, under Rule 12(d),
to determine whether to consider matters outside the
pleadings. See Kensington Volunteer Fire Dep't., Inc.
v. Montgomery Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D. Md.
2011), aff'd sub nom., 684 F.3d 462 (4th Cir.
2012). Pursuant to Rule 12(d), “[w]hen matters outside
the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court,
the 12(b)(6) motion shall be treated as one for summary
judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56.”
Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d
253, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d)).
Here, both parties supply and reference matters outside of
the pleadings and therefore the Court will review the motion
as one for summary judgment.
56(a) requires the Court to “grant summary judgment if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” The moving party bears the burden
“to demonstrate the absence of any genuine dispute of
material fact.” Jones v. Hoffberger Moving Servs.
LLC, 92 F.Supp.3d 405, 409 (D. Md. 2015) (internal
citations omitted). A nonmoving party “opposing a
properly supported motion for summary judgment ‘may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [his]
pleadings,' but rather must ‘set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football
Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003). The court
is “required to view the facts and draw reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to” the
nonmoving party, Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 230
(4th Cir. 2008) (citing Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 377 (2007)), but must do so while also balancing the
“affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent
factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to
trial.” Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79
(4th Cir. 1993).
primarily argues that summary judgment is appropriate because
Plaintiff was exempt from the FLSA overtime mandates under
the Motor Carrier Act. (ECF No. 14-1 at 4). The FLSA
generally “requires employers to pay employees
one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for time worked
in excess of 40 hours during a week.” Hill v. B.
Frank Joy, LLC, CV TDC-15-1120, 2016 WL 4194189, at *2
(D. Md. Aug. 9, 2016). There are, however, exceptions.
Id. One such exception is the Motor Carrier Act
exception which applies to “any employee with respect
to whom the Secretary of Transportation has the power to
establish qualifications and maximum hours of service
pursuant to the provisions of section 31502 of Title
49[.]” Id. (quoting 29 U.S.C. §
213(b)(1)). Under 49 U.S.C. § 31502, “the
Secretary of Transportation's authority to set
qualifications and maximum hours extends to employees of
‘motor carriers' and ‘motor private
carriers' operating in interstate commerce whose work
affects the safety of operation of those carriers.”
Id. at *3 (citing 49 U.S.C. § 31502(b)).
Defendant has met its burden in establishing that there is no
dispute over whether the Motor Carrier Act exception applies.
First, neither party dispute's Defendant's status as
a motor private carrier. (See ECF Nos. 14-1 at 5-6,
17 at 4-5). Second, neither party disputes that the operation
constituted interstate commerce. (See Id.); see
also Buckner v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 2012 WL
1596726 at *5 (E.D. N.C. May 7, 2012), aff'd,
489 Fed.Appx. 709 (4th Cir. 2012) (finding that intrastate
commerce within a larger interstate operation satisfies the
interstate requirement under the Motor Carrier Act
exception). And lastly, neither party disputes that the
Plaintiff's work affects the safe operation of the
carriers. (See ECF Nos. 14-1 at 6-7, 17 at 4-5);
see also Levinson v. Spector Motor Serv., 330 U.S.
649, 678 (1947) (A “driver's work more obviously
and dramatically affects the safety of operation of the
carrier during every moment that he is driving . . .
analysis does not end here because there is an exception to
the Motor Carrier Act exception. The SAFTEA-LU Technical
Corrections Act of 2008 (“Technical Corrections
Act”), Pub. L. 110-244 § 306, 122 Stat. 1572, 1620
(2008), “relaxed the strict separation between the
Secretary of Transportation's jurisdiction and the ambit
of the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime guarantee by
establishing that the FLSA overtime pay requirement applies
to any covered employee.” Hill, 2016 WL
4194189, at *3 (internal citations omitted). A “covered
employee” is defined as an individual:
(1) who is employed by a motor carrier or motor private
carrier . . .;
(2) whose work, in whole or in part, is defined -
(A) as that of a driver, driver's helper, loader, or