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Simmons v. Valspar Corporation

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

May 16, 2013

Shane Simmons, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Valspar Corporation, Defendant.

Christopher B. Hall, Patrick J. Hannon, P. Andrew Lampros, Cook Hall & Lampros, LLP, Atlanta, Georgia, Edward S. Cook, Edward S. Cook P.C., Atlanta, Georgia, William Kvas, Hunegs, LeNeave & Kvas, PA, Wayzata, Minnesota, for Plaintiffs.

Joan B. Tucker Fife, Emilie C. Woodhead, Gregory F. Jacob, Winston & Strawn LLP, San Francisco, California, Ryan E. Mick, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RICHARD H. KYLE, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs are current and former employees of Defendant Valspar Corporation ("Valspar"). In this action, they allege that Valspar failed to pay them for overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. ("FLSA"). The Court conditionally certified Plaintiffs' collective action under § 216(b) and permitted Plaintiffs to proceed jointly for the purpose of discovery. Now that discovery is complete, Valspar asserts that Plaintiffs' claims are not sufficiently similar and moves to decertify the collective action. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Valspar's Motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Plaintiffs' Jobs as Territory Managers

Job Duties

Valspar is a paint manufacturer that sells its products through Lowe's and other home-improvement retailers. Plaintiffs were employed by Valspar as Lowe's Team Territory Managers ("TMs") from 2007 through 2012, to promote and oversee Valspar's products in Lowe's home-improvement stores. Each TM is responsible for an assigned territory, which encompasses an average of six Lowe's stores. A TM's job duties are split into seven general categories:

1. In-store "sales, " which includes attending to Lowe's customers, answering their questions, helping them select paint products, and mixing paints for them;
2. Maintaining the appearance of Valspar products in the stores, which includes cleaning and fixing displays and stock, replenishing brochures and color samples, and moving product to the easy-to-reach shelves;
3. Training and educating Lowe's associates on Valspar's products and selling techniques, both formally and informally;
4. Analyzing Lowe's paint sales and inventory data using the Business Intelligence system ("BI");
5. "Sets, resets, and remerchandises" in stores, which includes setting up new stores and setting ...

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