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Cabardo v. Patacsil

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2017



          Troy L. NunJey United States District Judge.

         This is a lawsuit asserting claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and several California wage-and-hour laws. The matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.[1] (ECF No. 44.) Defendants Marilyn Patacsil (“Marilyn”) and Ernesto Patacsil (collectively “Defendants”) oppose the motion. (ECF No. 49.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED in part.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs are former employees of Patacsil Care Homes, a group of residential care homes owned and operated by Defendants. Plaintiffs were “live-in” caregivers at the homes, which, as the name suggests, means they lived and worked onsite.

         The gravamen of Plaintiffs' complaint is straightforward: they contend that Defendants misclassified them as exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under both federal and California law. (ECF No. 21 at ¶ 26-28.) Plaintiffs brought a suite of claims in this lawsuit-alleging that Defendants violated several federal and state wage-and-hour laws for conduct like not paying Plaintiffs minimum wage or overtime, not providing meal periods or rest periods, not providing accurate and itemized wage statements, and not maintaining time records showing when Plaintiffs began and ended work or meal periods. (ECF No. 21 at ¶ 27.)

         The instant motion concerns only Plaintiffs' sixth and tenth claims. In their sixth claim, Plaintiffs contend that Defendants violated § 226 of the California Labor Code because Defendants did not provide Plaintiffs with wage statements accurately reflecting the number of hours Plaintiffs worked. (ECF No. 44-1 at 1:12-15.) In their tenth claim, Plaintiffs contend that Defendants' violation of § 226 is also a predicate that allows them to recover civil penalties pursuant to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code §§ 2698 et seq. (ECF No. 44-1 at 1:26-28.) Plaintiffs argue they are entitled to summary judgment on both claims.

         The relevant facts are not in dispute. Prior to 2012, Defendants paid Plaintiffs a salary rather than an hourly wage. (Sutton Decl., Ex. 1 (“Patacsil Dep. 1”), ECF No. 44-4 at 55:13-15.) Consequently, Defendants did not provide Plaintiffs with wage statements that recounted the hours Plaintiffs worked in any given pay period. (Sutton Decl., Ex. 2 (“Patacsil Dep. 2”), ECF No. 44-5 at 28:24-29:1.) Marilyn conceded the point in her depositions:

Q: Okay. And so [the] wage statements that [Plaintiffs] got didn't contain any reference to hours worked?
A: No.

(Patacsil Dep. 1, ECF No. 44-4 at 55:16-18.)

Q: Okay. So the wage statements that you gave [Plaintiffs], did they record the hours?
A: No, it's because it's salary.
Q: So there was no recounting of hours on the wage statements?
A: No.

(Patacsil Dep. 2, ECF No. 44-5 at 28:24-29:4.) Most of the wage statements Plaintiffs received simply had no reference to hours worked. (ECF No. 44-2 at No. 5.) Others listed “86.67” hours regardless of the Plaintiff or pay period. (ECF No. 44-2 at No. 5.) Defendants do not contend that any of these were accurate. Instead, they attribute the “86.67” hour entries to a bank error. (ECF No. 49 at 6:9-10.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The “threshold inquiry” is whether “there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). When the Court looks at the evidence presented by the parties, it must credit the non-moving party's evidence and draw all justifiable inferences in the non-moving party's favor. Id. at 255. But inferences are not drawn out of the air. It is the non-moving party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. Mayweathers v. Terhune, 328 F.Supp.2d 1086, 1092-93 (E.D. Cal. 2004).

         When the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, it must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could do anything but find in its favor. Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). If the moving party carries its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party, who “must establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585 (1986). The non-moving party cannot merely rely upon the pleadings. Estate of Tucker ex rel. Tucker v. Interscope Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008). Instead, it must produce evidence setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id.

         In resolving the merits of a party's motion for summary judgment, the Court's role is not to evaluate the evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (internal quotations omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their sixth claim (for violating Labor Code § 226) and tenth claim (for civil penalties pursuant ...

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