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Scarpaci v. Lowe's Home Centers, LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 22, 2016



          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge

         This is a claim for overtime wages under the Massachusetts Wage Act brought by plaintiff Marc Scarpaci against his former employer, Lowe’s Home Center, LLC. Scarpaci contends that he is entitled to compensation under the statute for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. The complaint also brings claims for recovery under theories of conversion, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit.

         Lowe’s has moved for summary judgment as to all claims. For the reasons described below, the motion will be granted.

         I. Factual Background

         The following facts are either undisputed or presented in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.[1]

         Defendant Lowe’s Home Center, LLC is a home improvement retailer that operates several store locations in Massachusetts. Plaintiff Marc Scarpaci first began working at Lowe’s in June 2002, when he was hired as a “receiver/stocker.” (Def. App’x. 10). Eventually, Scarpaci was promoted to the position of operations manager of the Lowe’s store in Haverhill, Massachusetts, which he held until February 2010. (Id.).

         Scarpaci was then transferred to a Lowe’s store in Saugas, Massachusetts, where he continued to serve as operations manager. In February 2011, his position as operations manager was eliminated, and he assumed the newly-created position of assistant store manager. (Id. at 125).

         As a receiver/stocker, Scarpaci was paid a rate of $12 per hour. (Id. at 10-11).[2] Once he was promoted to operations manager and then assistant store manager, Lowe’s classified him as an “exempt” employee. (Howland Aff. ¶ 18). Lowe’s payroll records show that after his promotion to operations manager, he was paid a consistent, fixed amount. (Def. App’x. 64-72). Those records also credit Scarpaci with 40 hours worked every week, although he contends that he frequently worked more than amount. (Id.). He did not receive any overtime pay while he was employed as a manager. (Howland Aff. ¶ 20).

         Lowe’s contends that Scarpaci was paid an annual salary of $50, 000 when he was first promoted to operations manager; a salary between $74, 303 and $78, 248 from December 2008 until February 2011; and a salary of $69, 474 from February 2011 until November 15, 2011. (Id. ¶ 7; Def. App’x. 10-11).[3] He also received management bonuses; those bonuses were paid based upon the overall performance of the store (as compared to the store’s sales goals) and were not dependent on the number of hours he worked. (Id. at 7; Howland Aff. ¶¶ 51-53).

         Throughout his employment at Lowe’s, Scarpaci’s paycheck was directly deposited into his bank account. (Def. App’x. 131). He downloaded his pay stubs from “Lowe’s Net.” (Scarpaci Dep. 62-63). Each pay stub that he received as an operations manager or assistant store manager reflected “80 hours” for each bi-weekly pay period, even though he regularly worked more than that amount. (Def. App’x. 123).

         In November 2011, Lowe’s informed Scarpaci that he would be transferred to a different location. (Howland Aff. ¶ 10). On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, he went on unpaid personal leave. His final paycheck was issued on that Friday, November 18, 2011. He did not perform any work for the company after November 15. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13). Lowe’s formally terminated his employment on November 14, 2012, one year after his personal leave began. (Id. ¶ 14).

         On October 21, 2013, Scarpaci filed a claim against Lowe’s with the Massachusetts Attorney General for alleged violations of the Massachusetts Wage Act. (Compl. Exs. C, D). On November 8, 2013, the Attorney General’s Office gave notice that it declined to pursue the claim and authorized him to bring his own action. (Compl. Ex. E). Scarpaci filed the complaint in this action on December 31, 2014.

         II. Procedural History

         The complaint alleges claims for (1) violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 150; (2) conversion; (3) breach of contract; (4) unjust enrichment; (5) quantum meruit; and (6) constructive trust. Lowe’s has moved for summary judgment on all counts.

         III. Legal Standard

         The role of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. General Elec. Co., 950 F.2d 816, 822 (1st Cir. 1991) (internal quotation marks omitted). Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows 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). “Essentially, Rule 56[] mandates the entry of summary judgment ‘against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.’” Coll v. PB Diagnostic Sys., 50 F.3d 1115, 1121 (1st Cir. 1995) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). In making that determination, the court must view “the record in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing reasonable inferences in his favor.” Noonan v. Staples, Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2009). When “a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party ‘must set forth ...

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