United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
LOCAL 589, AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, PARTICK F. HOGAN, TIMOTHY C. BROWN, HERIBERTO CORA, ANDREW HUNTER, DAVID JORDAN, STEVEN MAHER, DENNIS PERRY, ALLEN R. LEE, TRACEY SPENCER, JEFFREY WILLIAMS, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
MASSACHUSETTS BAY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
ten named Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
(“MBTA”) employees and their union, claim that
they are owed compensation from defendant MBTA for after-work
and between-shift travel, pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act and Massachusetts wage and hour laws. Currently
pending is the Plaintiffs' motion for class certification
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 (“Rule 23”). [ECF No. 82].
For the reasons stated herein, the motion for class
certification is DENIED.
Factual and Procedural Background
initiated this putative class action on June 17, 2013, on
behalf of MBTA bus operators, train operators, train
attendants, streetcar operators, trackless trolley operators
and customer service agents who were allegedly required to
travel from one assigned location to another during their
workday without compensation. [ECF No. 1]. The named
Plaintiffs are ten MBTA employees, who are either full-time
bus operators or train operators/attendants, and Local 589,
Amalgamated Transit Union (“Local 589”), the
union that represents the affected MBTA employees.
Id. at ¶¶ 1-11.
their Amended Complaint, filed in November 2013 [ECF No. 31],
Plaintiffs claimed that they were not being adequately
compensated for after-work and between-shift travel. As
alleged, part-time and full-time MBTA employees often end
their work days in a place different from where they began,
or start shifts some place other than where their previous
shift ended. [ECF No. 31 ¶¶ 25-31]. According to
Plaintiffs, the employees are generally not compensated for
the time required at the end of the day to return to their
original starting point (“start-end” travel time)
or between shifts to change locations
(“split-shift” travel time). Id. In
their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs asserted that they are
owed compensation for this start-end and split-shift travel
time under the United States Portal to Portal Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 251 et seq., the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 201 et seq., and the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass.
Gen. L. ch. 151, § 1 et seq. Id. ¶¶
February 4, 2014 electronic order, Judge Woodlock, who was
then assigned to this case, denied without prejudice both the
MBTA's partial motion to dismiss and Plaintiffs'
motion to certify the class. [ECF No. 39]. Plaintiffs had
moved to certify a class of all persons who, during the
period covered by the lawsuit, were employed by the MBTA as
bus operators, rapid transit motorpersons, street car
motorpersons, customer service agents, train attendants, gate
persons, hub station monitors and hub station access clerks.
[ECF No. 29].
2014, the parties cross-moved for summary judgment and
Plaintiffs renewed their motion for class certification. [ECF
Nos. 44, 51]. At the December 2014 hearing, Judge Woodlock
denied the renewed motion for class certification without
prejudice. [ECF No. 61]. In a March 31, 2015 opinion, Judge
Woodlock granted the MBTA's motion for summary judgment
in part [ECF No. 65], holding that Plaintiffs' claims for
start-end travel compensation should be dismissed, but that
their claims for split-shift travel compensation could
proceed, pending further factual development. He found that
split-shift travel is generally compensable under the FLSA,
but that without additional information, such as the
individual travel time and break schedules of the employees,
he could not determine whether each individual plaintiff had
been undercompensated. Id. at 26-27. In his summary
judgment opinion, Judge Woodlock reiterated that this case
was “not ready to be framed for consideration of class
certification.” Id., at 1, n. 1. On June 9,
2015, while discovery was ongoing, this matter was randomly
reassigned to this Court after Judge Woodlock assumed senior
status [ECF No. 70].
October 15, 2015, Plaintiffs moved to amend the complaint to
add as named plaintiffs approximately 1, 600 MBTA operating
employees of various classes who had allegedly been affected
by the MBTA pay practices at issue. [ECF No. 73]. The Court
denied the motion on November 20, 2015, finding that the
Plaintiffs could not use a motion to amend, filed
two-and-a-half years in the case, to circumvent the
challenges of class certification. [ECF No. 77]. Given the
number and variety of employees the Plaintiffs sought to add,
the Court found that “[a]llowing the Motion to Amend
would thwart judicial efficiency and create substantial
logistical difficulties in an already fact-intensive,
protracted case.” Id. at 6-7.
denying the Motion to Amend, the Court entered a modified
scheduling order requiring the Plaintiff to move for summary
judgment by March 9, 2016. [ECF No. 79]. Rather than moving
for summary judgment, however, on March 4, 2016 the
Plaintiffs again moved for class certification under Rule 23,
seeking certification of a class “comprised of MBTA
workers who were compelled to travel from one place in the
MBTA service area to another, midday, without compensation in
order to resume duties operating MBTA vehicles.” [ECF
No. 83 at 5]. Defendants opposed the motion on March 18, 2016
[ECF No. 85], Plaintiffs replied on April 1, 2016 [ECF No.
87], and the Court held oral argument on August 12, 2016.
[ECF No. 98]. After oral argument, each party filed a
supplemental brief. [ECF Nos. 99 and 100].
obtain class certification under Rule 23, Plaintiffs must
first satisfy the four requirements of Rule 23(a). They must
(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is
impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common
to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the
representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses
of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly
and adequately protect the interests of the class.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). These requirements “ensure
that the named plaintiffs are appropriate representatives of
the class whose claims they wish to litigate.”
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 3449
(2011). “The Rule's four requirements-numerosity,
commonality, typicality, and adequate
representation-'effectively limit the class claims to
those fairly encompassed by the named plaintiff's
claims.'” Id. (quoting General
Telephone Co. of Southwest v. Falcon, 457 U.S.
147, 156 (1982)).
the Plaintiffs seek money damages, they must also satisfy
Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance and superiority
requirements. Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, 136
S.Ct. 1036, 1053 (2016) (citing Comcast Corp. v.
Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1432 (2013)). Rule 23(b)(3)
requires a showing that “the questions of law or fact
common to class members predominate over any questions
affecting only individual members, and that a class action is
superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(b). “In adding predominance and superiority to the
qualification-for-certification list, the Advisory Committee
sought to cover cases in which a class action would achieve
economies of time, effort, and expense, and promote . . .
uniformity of ...