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Hoops v. Roth

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 31, 2017

LISA HOOPS, Plaintiff,
ROBERT ROTH, MD, Defendant.


          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 18), filed by Defendant Robert Roth, MD (“Defendant”). Plaintiff Lisa Hoops (“Plaintiff”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 21), and Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 23).[1] For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of an overtime compensation dispute between Plaintiff and her former employer. (Compl., ECF No. 1). Defendant is a corporation that transacts business under the trade name of Box Canyon Primary Care (“Box Canyon”). (Id. ¶ 9). Box Canyon is a medical practice offering patient care in the area of general medicine. (Pl.'s Resp. 3:5-7, ECF No. 21). Plaintiff worked at Box Canyon from 2007 to 2015 and was paid an hourly rate of $18.00. (Compl. ¶¶ 7, 9).

         During this time, Defendant started a 24/7 hotline, wherein certain MGM Direct Care Plan and Humana Gold patients could call at any time to speak to a representative of Box Canyon (the “24/7 Hotline”). (See Cagnina Decl. ¶ 2, Ex. 1 to Def.'s MSJ, ECF No. 18-1). As the “Patient Coordinator, ” Plaintiff was responsible for answering telephone calls that came in on the 24/7 Hotline after ordinary business hours. (Pl.'s Resp. 3:14-19). While Plaintiff does not dispute that Defendant paid her for overtime hours worked in the office, she alleges that Defendant failed to compensate her for any hours worked outside of the office involving the 24/7 Hotline. (Compl. ¶ 20). In contrast, Defendant argues that it compensated Plaintiff through agreed upon “surplus” payments stemming from the 24/7 Hotline Program. (See Cagnina Decl. ¶ 4, Ex. 1 to Def.'s MSJ).

         On July 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging two causes of action: (1) violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 207; and (2) violation of N.R.S. 608.040. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-22). Defendant filed an Answer on August 24, 2015, denying that it owes Plaintiff any overtime compensation. (Answer, ECF No. 7). On May 5, 2016, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on both of Plaintiff's claims. (ECF No. 18).


         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary adjudication when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “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). Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the case. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Id . “Summary judgment is inappropriate if reasonable jurors, drawing all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, could return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor.” Diaz v. Eagle Produce Ltd. P'ship, 521 F.3d 1201, 1207 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Shumway, 199 F.3d 1093, 1103-04 (9th Cir. 1999)). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. “When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). In contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the nonmoving party's case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323- 24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159-60 (1970).

         If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987). In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by producing competent evidence that shows a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324.

         At summary judgment, a court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The evidence of the nonmovant is “to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id. at 255. But if the evidence of the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id . at 249-50.


         1. The FLSA Claim

         The FLSA was created to provide a uniform national policy of guaranteeing compensation for all work or employment covered by the act. Barrentine v. Arkansas-Best Freight Sys., Inc., 450 U.S. 728, 741 (1981). The FLSA grants individual employees broad access to the courts and permits an action to recover minimum wages, overtime compensation, liquidated damages, or injunctive relief. Id. at 740. Under the FLSA, an employer must pay overtime compensation to its employees unless one or more of the “exemptions” apply. See 29 U.S.C. ยง 213. Overtime compensation ...

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