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Greg Goody v. Jefferson County

June 29, 2011

GREG GOODY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE OF IDAHO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Defendant's motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss all claims (Dkt. 37). The Court heard oral argument on June 6, 2011 and took the motion under advisement. For the reasons explained below, the motion is denied.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Jefferson County employed Greg Goody in its Probation Department from October 2006 through July 2009. During most of his employment Goody held a supervisory position. When Goody's schedule required him to work morethan eighty hours in a two-week period, his supervisor, Tammy Atkins, instructed him to count overtime hours as compensatory ("comp") time on a one-to-one basis. He received one hour of paid time off for each hour of overtime.

Goody asserts he was demoted from his supervisory position after reporting improper behavior between two of his co-workers. Shortly thereafter, the County terminated Goody.

Goody filed suit in this Court alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, Idaho's Minimum Wage Laws, I.C. §§ 44-1501 to -1510 and §§ 45-601 to -621, and Idaho's Protection of Public EmployeesAct, I.C. §§ 6-2101 to -2109.Goody also sought certification of a collective action for the County's alleged violation of § 207 of the FLSA. At issue was the County's practice of compensating employees for overtime work on a one-to-one instead of time-and-a-half basis.

On March 10, 2010, after the filing of this action, the County mailed Goody a check for $1,241.71. It represented the County's calculation of unpaid over-time due Goody for the two years immediately prior to September 4, 2009 ($568.40) multiplied by three for "treble" damages ($1,705.20) and offset by what the County asserted as erroneous payment to Goody for hours he did not work over the same period ($463.49). The County also requested that Goody withdraw Counts One and Two of the Complaint. Goody declined the check.

This Court conditionally granted Goody's Motion for Certification of a Collective Action on April 6, 2010 (Dkt. 19); however, the parties stipulated that the case be decertified on December 17, 2010 (Dkt. 33).The County has now moved for summary judgment seeking dismissal of all claims.

LEGAL STANDARD

One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . . ." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a disfavored procedural shortcut," but is instead the "principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, id. at 255, and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. Direct testimony of the non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence. McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir. 1988).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 532 (9th Cir. 2000).

This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor. Id. at 256-57. The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show "by her affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file" that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

ANALYSIS

There is no genuine issue of material fact surrounding the amount of "unpaid overtime compensation" due Goody for the immediately preceding two-years, 29 U.S.C. ยง 216(b) (2006), nor regarding his entitlement to a "reasonable attorney's fee . . . and costs of the action." Id. The County conceded violation of the FLSA. Def.'s Br. at 7, Dkt. 37-2. But there is a genuine issue of material fact on whether its ...


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