United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Judge
before the Court is the Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment,
(ECF No. 128), filed by Defendant Briad Restaurant Group, LLC
(“Defendant”). Plaintiff Jeffrey Anderson
(“Anderson”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 142), and
Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 147). For the reasons
discussed below, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
case arises out of alleged violations of Nevada's Minimum
Wage Amendment, Nev. Const. art. XV, § 16 (the
“MWA”). Plaintiffs are employees at various
locations throughout Clark County, Nevada, of the fast food
restaurant chain, TGI Friday's. (Am. Compl. ¶ 14-21,
ECF No. 6). Plaintiffs allege that this action “is a
result of [Defendant's] failure to pay Plaintiffs and
other similarly-situated employees who are members of the
Class the lawful minimum wage, [sic] because [Defendant]
improperly claimed, eligibility to compensate employees at a
reduced minimum wage rate under [the MWA].”
(Id. ¶ 2).
example, Anderson worked as a server at TGI Friday's
restaurants owned and operated by Defendant between July 2009
and March 2013 and he allegedly earned an hourly wage below
the upper-tier hourly minimum wage under the MWA.
(Id. ¶¶ 16, 36). Moreover, Defendant
offered Anderson a health insurance plan, but Anderson
declined the insurance coverage. (Id. ¶ 37). As
a result, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant “does not
provide, offer, ” or “maintain qualifying health
insurance plan benefits for the benefit of Plaintiffs and
members of the Class[, ]” and therefore
“Defendant is not, and has not been, eligible to pay
Plaintiffs and members of the Class at the reduced minimum
wage rate.” (Id. ¶¶ 12-13).
filed the instant action on May 19, 2014. (See
Compl., ECF No. 1). Shortly thereafter, on May 23, 2014,
Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. (See Am.
Compl.). Subsequently, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss,
seeking dismissal of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint. (Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 14). The Court dismissed Plaintiffs'
second and third claims for relief with prejudice, and denied
Defendant's Motion as to Plaintiffs' first claim for
relief. (Feb. 24, 2015 Order, ECF No. 68).
September 15, 2015, in response to Anderson's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 114), the Court certified
the following question to the Nevada Supreme Court:
“Whether an employee must actually enroll in health
benefits offered by an employer before the employer may pay
that employee at the lower-tier wage under the [MWA].”
(Order for Certification of Question of Law, ECF No. 119).
The Nevada Supreme Court answered the question in MDC
Restaurants, LLC v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 383
P.3d 262 (Nev. 2016), by holding that “under the MWA,
health benefits need only be offered or made available for
the employer to pay the lower-tier wage.” 383 P.3d at
the parties filed a Joint Motion to Certify an additional
question to the Nevada Supreme Court. (ECF No. 130). The
parties specifically sought to certify the following
question: “What constitutes a qualified health
insurance plan under the MWA?” (Joint Mot. to Certify
3:13). The Court denied the parties' Motion finding that
the Nevada Supreme Court had answered the proposed question
in Western Cab Company v. Eighth Judicial District
Court, 390 P.3d 662 (Nev. 2017). See 390 P.3d
at 671 (“The MWA defines ‘health benefits' as
‘making health insurance available to the employee for
the employee and the employee's dependents at a total
cost to the employee for premiums of not more than 10 percent
of the employee's gross taxable income from the
instant Motion, Defendant seeks summary judgment on only
Anderson's remaining first cause of action because,
pursuant to the Nevada Supreme Court's decisions,
“Anderson was offered qualifying health insurance plans
and was paid at least $7.25 per hour.” (See
Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. (“MSJ”) 2:21, ECF No
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
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).
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.
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 ...