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Garcia v. Western Waste Servs., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 3, 2013

JUAN GARCIA, an Individual, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTERN WASTE SERVICES, INC., and Idaho Corporation, AAA RENTAL & SERVICE COMPANY, INC., an Idaho Corporation, and WITHERS WASTE, LLC, an Idaho Limited Liability Company, Defendants

Page 1253

For Juan Garcia, Plaintiff: Erika Birch, LEAD ATTORNEY, Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC, Boise, ID; Jonathan Kent Thorne, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Strindberg & Scholnick LLC, Salt Lake City, UT.

For Withers Waste, LLC, Western Waste Services Inc., AAA Rental & Service Co., Inc., Defendants: D. John Ashby, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP, Boise, ID; Jeffrey J Hepworth, LEAD ATTORNEY, Twin Falls, ID.

Page 1254

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. Lynn Winmill, Chief United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 15) and Defendant's Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 33). The Court heard oral argument on July 30, 2013, and took the motion under advisement. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny both motions.

BACKGROUND

Juan Garcia was hired as a mechanic at Western Waste Services, Inc. (" Western Waste" ) in December 2007. Western Waste is an Idaho Corporation that provides transportation of trash and other waste material for compensation. As a mechanic, Garcia's primary objective was to repair Western Waste's trash collection trucks and other heavy equipment.

Western Waste hired Garcia as a salary employee. Garcia's initial weekly salary was $769.50. In June 2009, Garcia's weekly salary was increased to $965.20, and it remained the same throughout his employment. Garcia's salary was never adjusted for overtime if he worked over 40 hours a week.

On February 3, 2010, Garcia filed a suit against his former employer for national origin and race discrimination. In late June 2012, a jury returned a verdict in Garcia's favor. Shortly thereafter, Garcia was demoted from his position as Lead Mechanic at Western Waste. Within a month, on August 1, 2012, Garcia's employment with Western Waste was terminated.

Garcia then brought this suit claiming: (1) retaliation in violation § 1981; (2) failure to pay overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act; (3) retaliation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act; (4) wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and (5) retaliation in violation of Title VII and the IHRA. Garcia now seeks partial summary judgment on

Page 1255

Western Waste's failure to pay overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Western Waste has filed a cross-motion for summary judgment seeking to have Garcia's overtime claim dismissed.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to any claim or defense, " there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). 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, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (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." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). There must be a genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact " that may affect the outcome of the case." Id. at 248.

The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. at 255. 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).

When cross-motions for summary judgment are filed, the Court must independently search the record for factual disputes. Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. v. Riverside Two, 249 F.3d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 2001). The filing of cross-motions for summary judgment - where both parties essentially assert that there are no material factual disputes - does not vitiate the court's responsibility to determine whether disputes as to material fact are present. Id.

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute as to 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. Devereaux, 263 F.3d at 1076. 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 dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

Statements in a brief, unsupported by the record, cannot be used to create a factual dispute. Barnes v. Independent Auto. Dealers, 64 F.3d 1389, 1396 n.3 (9th Cir. 1995). The Circuit has " repeatedly held that documents which have not had a proper foundation laid to authenticate them cannot support a motion for ...


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