United States District Court, D. Minnesota
YAN MING WANG on behalf of himself and other similarly situated employees, Plaintiff,
JESSY CORPORATION d/b/a China Buffet, JOHN DOE CORPORATION d/b/a China Buffet, CHANG QIN LIN a/k/a Jim Lin, NGAI FAT MEI, and JOYCE ZHENG Defendants.
Rachhana T. Srey, NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP, John Troy and Aaron
B. Schweitzer, TROY LAW, PLLC, for plaintiff.
Parker and Jordan W. Anderson, PARKER & WENNER, P.A., for
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S SECOND MOTION FOR
CONDITIONAL CLASS CERTIFICATION
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Yan Ming Wang brings this action against his former employer,
Defendant Jessy Corp., d/b/a China Buffet (“China
Buffet”), alleging violations of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”) and various Minnesota wage
and overtime laws. Before the Court now is Ming Wang's
second motion seeking to certify the case as a collective
action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Because Wang has
not adequately shown that there exist opt-in plaintiffs
interested in joining his case, the Court will deny the
motion without prejudice.
Court previously summarized Wang's allegations in its
Order denying Wang's first motion to certify a
conditional class and incorporates that factual background
here. See Yan Ming Wang v. Jessy Corp., 2018 WL
5617567, at *1-*2 (D. Minn. Oct. 30, 2018). Wang alleges that
he and other China Buffet employees worked more than 40 hours
per week and that China Buffet did not provide overtime pay
for those overtime hours.
Court denied Wang's first motion because Wang had not
provided sufficient evidence that similarly situated
employees existed, i.e. that other employees had also been
denied overtime pay. Therefore, the Court found that
Wang's case was not appropriate for collective action.
Although the Court denied Wang's first motion, the Court
noted that the motion had been brought at an early stage of
discovery, and that it was possible that Wang would develop a
stronger factual basis for certification with more time.
Accordingly, the Court denied the motion without prejudice.
now brings a second motion to certify a conditional class.
(2nd Mot. to Certify, Feb. 15, 2019, Docket No.
48.) Most of the facts and allegations supporting the second
motion are the same as those that supported the first motion.
Wang does, however, submit the deposition transcript of Chang
Qin Lin, the owner and operator of China Buffet. (Decl. of
John Troy ¶ 3, Ex. D (“Lin Dep.”), Feb. 15,
2019, Docket No. 49-4.) As relevant to the present motion,
Lin testified in his deposition on topics such as how he pays
his employees and how many hours his employees work. (See
Id. at 12-14.) While Lin did not state that his
employees work eleven-hour days, as Wang alleges, he did
admit that the employees work eight hours a day for six days
a week. (Id. at 13-14.) Lin also admitted that he
does not provide overtime pay. (Id. at 14-15.)
Additionally, Lin corroborated other aspects of Wang's
complaint, including that China Buffet pays employees in
cash, that Lin drives all of the employees to and from work,
and that all of the employees live in Lin's house.
(Id. at 10- 12.)
now argues that the Lin deposition, when combined with the
complaint's allegations and the affidavits he previously
provided, satisfy the standard for conditional certification.
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT
FLSA permits an employee alleging wage and hour violations to
assert claims on behalf of himself “and other employees
similarly situated” by starting a collective action. 29
U.S.C. § 216(b). The FLSA collective action process
allows individuals to “opt-in” to a lawsuit
started by someone else, but unlike class actions the outcome
is not binding on those who do not opt-in. Bouaphakeo v.
Tyson Foods, Inc., 564 F.Supp.2d 870, 887 (N.D. Iowa
2008) The purpose of the FLSA collective action is to provide
plaintiffs with “the advantage of lower individual
costs to vindicate rights [through] the pooling of
resources.” Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v.
Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 170 (1989).
notice to potential plaintiffs of the collective action is a
vital part of the FLSA collective action process. See
Id. at 170. Because of this, courts are encouraged to
“monitor preparation and distribution of the
notice” to “ensure that it is timely, accurate,
and informative.” Id. at 172.
providing court authorization for any notice, however, courts
in this District must look at the facts of the case and
determine whether to conditionally certify it for collective
action treatment. To determine whether a case should be
certified under the FLSA, courts typically employ a two-step
process. Burch v. Qwest Commc'ns Int'l,
Inc., 500 F.Supp.2d 1181, 1186 (D. Minn. 2007).
“First, the court determines whether the class should
be conditionally certified for the purposes of notification
and discovery.” Dege v. Hutchinson Tech.,
Inc., Civ. No. 06-3754, 2007 WL 586787, at *1 (D. Minn.
Feb. 22, 2007). At this stage, a plaintiff need only
establish that his or her proposed class is similarly