United States District Court, D. Minnesota
DAVID LE ROY GAMBLE, JR., CYRUS PATRICK GLADDEN, II, DAVID JAMES JANNETTA, JERRAD WILLIAM WAILAND, CLARENCE ANTONIA WASHINGTON, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
MINNESOTA STATE-OPERATED SERVICES, MINNESOTA STATE INDUSTRIES, MINNESOTA SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, STATE OF MINNESOTA, EMILY JOHNSON PIPER, SHELBY RICHARDSON, LUCINDA JESSON, DENNIS BENSON, NANCY A. JOHNSTON, SHIRLEY JACOBSON, CHARLIE HOFFMAN, and JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-20, Defendants.
Charlie R. Alden, for plaintiffs.
Kathryn Iverson Landrum, for defendants.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
David Le Roy Gamble, Jr., Cyrus Patrick Gladden, II, David
James Jannetta, Jerrad William Wailand, and Clarence Antonia
Washington (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) bring
this civil action against Minnesota State-Operated Services,
Minnesota State Industries, the Minnesota Sex Offender
Program (“MSOP”), the Department of Human
Services, the State of Minnesota, Emily Johnson Piper, Shelby
Richardson, Luncinda Jesson, Dennis Benson, Nancy A.
Johnston, Shirley Jacobson, Charlie Hoffman, and twenty John
and Jane Does (collectively, “Defendants”) for
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), the Thirteenth and Fourteenth
Amendments, and the Rehabilitation Act. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 125-54, June 14, 2017, Docket No. 79.)
Plaintiffs are individuals civilly committed to, and in the
custody of MSOP. (Id. ¶¶ 12-16.)
Plaintiffs participate in, or previously participated in
MSOP's Patient Pay Program (the “Program”), a
vocational work program. (Id. ¶¶ 12-16,
33.) MSOP is authorized by statute to retain fifty percent of
an individual's earnings through this Program to offset
the cost of operating MSOP. Minn. Stat. § 246B.05, subd.
6 (2018). MSOP has retained such earnings since September
2009. (Id. ¶ 95.) Plaintiffs allege this
violates the FLSA's minimum wage provision, the
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Rehabilitation
Act. (Id. ¶¶ 125-54.)
of action must generally be brought within two years of an
FLSA violation. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a) (2018). However, the
statute of limitations may be extended to three years where
the violation is willful. Id.
moved for conditional class certification and approval of the
proposed notice and opt-in period. Magistrate Judge Kathryn
Menendez issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) recommending the Court grant
Plaintiffs' motion subject to certain modifications. (R.
& R. at 4-5, Nov. 14, 2018, Docket No. 188.) Presently
before the Court is Defendants' Objection to the R&R.
Defendants object to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation that the statute of limitations period should
be extended to three years to allow notice of the collective
action to Program participants dating back to August 12,
2013-three years prior to the commencement of the instant
action. Because the recommendation is not clearly erroneous
or contrary to law, the Court will adopt it and deny the
standard of review applicable to an appeal of a Magistrate
Judge's recommendation on nondispositive pretrial matters
is extremely deferential. Roble v. Celestica Corp.,
627 F.Supp.2d 1008, 1014 (D. Minn. 2007). The Court will
decline to adopt such a recommendation only if it is clearly
erroneous or contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); D. Minn. LR 72.2(a).
argue that the Magistrate Judge's recommendation is
contrary to law for two reasons: (1) the statute of
limitations in an FLSA case runs from the date of opt-in and
not the date the complaint is filed, contrary to what the
Magistrate Judge found in her recommendation; and (2) the
statute of limitations in this case, as a matter of law, is
two years, and not three as recommended by the Magistrate
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the
conditional class comprise of workers who worked in the
Program within three years of the filing of the complaint-
August 12, 2013 to the present-is not contrary to law. While
it is true that under the FLSA the statute of limitations is
only tolled for individual plaintiffs when they opt-in to the
class and not when the complaint was filed, 29 U.S.C. §
256(b) (2018); Redman v. U.S. West Business Resources,
Inc., 153 F.3d 691, 695 (8th Cir. 1998), this
principle does not affect which potential class members
should be notified of the collective action. Indeed, if this
rule controlled who was notified of the collective action,
then no one would be eligible to receive notification until
they were already part of the collective action and the
statute of limitations was tolled as to them. Furthermore,
the fact that persons working in the Program on August 12,
2013 to the present should be notified does not extend their
claims back to that date. This date is merely the earliest
possible date that an opt-in plaintiff may have last suffered
a violation of the the minimum wage provision of the FLSA and
still have a compensable injury should they prevail in this
case. See In re RBC Dain Rauscher Overtime
Litigation, 703 F.Supp.2d 910, 966 (D. Minn. 2010);
Kumar v. Tech Mahindra (Americas) Inc., Case No.
4:16-cv-00905-JAR, 2017 WL 3168531 *3 (E.D. Mo. July 26,
2017). Thus, the Court will overrule Defendants'
objection regarding the commencement of the statute of
limitations and adopt the R&R.
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation as to willfulness
is not contrary to law. The Magistrate Judge correctly
refrained from making any determinations regarding
willfulness at this stage. Maseck v. TAK Commc'ns,
Inc., Civ. No. 10- 965, 2011 WL 1190579, at *3 (D. Minn.
Mar. 28, 2011) (“At the initial [certification] step,
‘[t]he court does not make any credibility
determinations or findings of fact with respect to contrary
evidence presented by the parties . . . .'”
(quoting Dege v. Hutchinson Tech., Inc., Case No.
06-3754, 2007 WL 586787, at *2 (D. Minn. Feb. 22, 2007))).
Although it may be difficult for Plaintiffs to prove
willfulness in light of Martin v. Benson-holding
that Program participants are not covered under the FLSA, and
the retention of fifty percent of participant earnings was
therefore not a violation of the FLSA, 827 F.Supp.2d 1022 (D.
Minn. 2011)-they should still have the opportunity to develop
that theory of their case, and related potential class
members should be notified. Thus, the Court will overrule
Defendants' objection regarding the Magistrate
Judge's non-determination of willfulness and adopt the
on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings
herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendants' Objection to the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation ...