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Montoya v. Crst Expedited, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 6, 2019

JUAN CARLOS MONTOYA, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CRST EXPEDITED, INC. and CRST INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          PATTI B. SARIS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Juan Carlos Montoya, a long-haul truck driver, alleges that Defendants CRST Expedited, Inc. and CRST International, Inc. underpaid their drivers, misled drivers regarding the costs of driver training, and imposed excessive charges to recoup those costs in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (“FLSA”), and Iowa law. Montoya brings claims under the FLSA (Count I), Iowa wage law (Count II), the Iowa Consumer Frauds Act (Count III), and Iowa usury law (Count IV). The Court has certified a collective action under the FLSA and three Rule 23 classes for the state-law claims (Docket No. 131). The parties now cross-move for partial summary judgment. Defendants seek summary judgment in part on Counts II, III, and IV, and move to narrow the scope of Count I. Montoya moves for summary judgment as to liability on Counts I, II, and III. After hearing, the Court ALLOWS IN PART and DENIES IN PART CRST's motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 146) and ALLOWS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Montoya's motions for summary judgment (Docket Nos. 150 and 153).

         BACKGROUND

         Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed.

         I. CRST's Business Model

         CRST Expedited, Inc., CRST International, Inc., and the North American Driver Training Academy (“NADTA”) are part of a family of companies that provide trucking services across North America. CRST International, Inc. is a shared services company which provides management services to other CRST companies, while CRST Expedited, Inc. is a long-haul truck carrier which trains people who have never driven a truck before (collectively, “CRST”). NADTA is CRST's own truck driver training school. CRST is incorporated in Iowa and headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. CRST's human resources and payroll functions are conducted out of Cedar Rapids. CRST is a profitable company.

         CRST uses a team-driving approach in which two drivers are assigned to each truck. The United States Department of Transportation (“DOT”) regulations specify that a driver may only drive during a period of fourteen consecutive hours after coming on duty following ten consecutive hours off duty. See 49 C.F.R. § 395.3(a). A driver may drive a total of eleven hours during the fourteen-hour period. Id. Under a team-driver approach, driver A drives or performs other work duties while driver B is off duty and resting in the sleeper berth or passenger seat. After driver A has exhausted his on-duty or driving time, the drivers switch and this cycle continues until the truck gets from its origin to its destination. Thus, the team-driver approach allows CRST “to run goods all the way across the country in half the time it takes either a solo team . . . or a company that only assigns one driver to the truck” without violating DOT regulations. Docket No. 151-5 at 12:12-25.

         Team driving is “very arduous.” Docket No. 151-2 at 65:5. Drivers are in close contact with another person for a long period of time, they do not have much privacy, the truck is in close-to-continuous motion, and the drivers typically go home only once every three weeks or so (whereas, for other trucking companies, drivers can be home at least every week). CRST has difficulty recruiting experienced truck drivers. CRST also has a high employee turnover rate of approximately 160% per year, i.e., for every one hundred truck driving jobs CRST needs to fill each year, it must hire one hundred and sixty drivers. Docket No. 151- 2 at 73:12-73:24. To ensure that it has a sufficient supply of drivers, CRST operates a driver training program. This program only trains drivers who have the intention of becoming employees with CRST. Without the driver training program, CRST likely could not operate as currently configured because it would not have a large enough supply of experienced drivers willing to do team-driving.

         II. Recruitment

         CRST recruits drivers from across the country. CRST's advertisements and recruiting materials advertise “sponsored” or “covered” truck driver training to receive a commercial driver's license (“CDL”) and job placement. One advertisement states: “No experience? No. Problem! Get paid to train. In as little as three weeks of sponsored training at an approved CRST facility, you'll be on the road, traveling the country, as a professional truck driver.” Docket No. 151-7 at 1. Another states: “See the country on our dime. And we'll even cover training.” Docket No. 151-7 at 6. In 2013, Montoya received a handwritten postcard from a CRST recruiter which stated in part: “Free CDL training & sign on bonuses!” Docket No. 148-4.

         When a potential driver expresses interest in the CRST program, the company sends the individual a welcome packet. The welcome packet states that CRST “has opportunities for everyone, including: Individuals who need training in order to obtain a Class A CDL.” Docket No. 151-9 at 1. Under the heading “Summary of Benefits of Driving for CRST Expedited” the packet states, “CRST will pay the fee for your CDL license - CDL A permit and CDL A License.” Id. at 4. Additionally, it states:

CRST will pre-pay all your school expenses - CRST will pre-pay your tuition and as long as you work for CRST for 10 months, you will not have to repay that tuition! CRST will also prepay your transportation, lodging, physical, and drug-screen. After you have been employed for 6 weeks, you repay these expenses over time as a payroll deduction of $40 per week.

Id. The packet does not disclose the cost of tuition, repayment terms, or the required non-competition provision if a student does not drive with CRST for ten months.

         Under the heading “How to Get Your Class A CDL With CRST, ” the welcome packet lays out two ways for new drivers to pay for training: (1) “Company-sponsored training to get your CDL with an [sic] 10-month contract” or (2) “Prepayment plan to get your CDL with no contract and a higher starting rate of pay.” Id. at 5. The packet describes the first option as follows:

If you need to obtain your class A CDL, but lack the funds to do so, we offer an outstanding company-sponsored training program. With no credit checks! In return, we ask that you work for CRST Expedited for ten months. At the end of ten months, you are free to stay or leave, it's that simple. You will sign an [sic] 10-month contract and be what we call a “contract” student. CRST will not deduct the cost of your training from your paychecks.

Id. The packet proceeds to list payroll deductions drivers should expect if they choose this option, including the cost of the bus ticket to school, the DOT-required physical and drug screen, lodging, and a $50 processing fee. The packet explains that the items listed are “paid for by CRST up front, ” “[p]aycheck deductions will begin after your sixth week of employment with CRST, ” and “total payroll deductions will not exceed $40 per week for all of these items combined.” Id. With respect to the second, prepayment option, the packet explains that the student pays $6, 500 prior to starting driver school and “[i]n return, [the driver does] not have to sign any contract and . . . will start driving at a higher rate of pay than a contract student.” Id.

         III. Driver Training Program

         CRST requires most prospective hires to complete its four-phase driver training program.[1] As an overview, Phase 1 consists of a two-to-three day course for drivers to receive their commercial learner's permits (for those who do not already have one) and then approximately two-and-a-half more weeks of school to earn their CDLs. During Phase 2, drivers attend a CRST-run orientation at a CRST facility, conducted by CRST employees. The orientation, which lasts two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half days, covers CRST policies and procedures, including a road test. Drivers are not compensated for time spent in either Phase 1 or Phase 2. Upon successful completion of Phases 1 and 2, CRST puts the driver on payroll, which initiates Phase 3. Phase 3 consists of approximately twenty-eight days of team-driving where a new driver is matched with a “lead driver” who has at least six months of driving experience. When the lead driver determines that the student driver is ready, the student driver advances to Phase 4 and is matched with a co-driver. Phase 4 consists of an additional (approximately) nine months of team-driving under contract with CRST. Overall, from November 11, 2013 through March 31, 2017, 25, 796 drivers started Phase 1 and only 5, 360 drivers completed Phase 4 of the driver training program.

         A. Phase 1: Driver Training School

         Before a driver starts Phase 1, CRST initiates several hiring checks pursuant to DOT and internal hiring guidelines, including a motor vehicle check, an employment history check, and a criminal background check. Drivers then attend Phase 1 training at either the CRST-affiliated NADTA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or at an independent certified driver training school with whom CRST partners. Drivers are most frequently sent to NADTA.

         Regardless of whether the prospective drivers attend NADTA or the independent driver training schools, CRST recruiters arrange for and pay to transport drivers to Phase 1 training. CRST also provides and pays for drivers' housing during Phase 1. As explained in the CRST welcome packet, in order to go through a driver training program, whether NADTA or the independent driver training schools, prospective drivers must bring with them a driver's license, social security card, immigration documentation, if applicable, “employment documentation, ” a voided check for direct payroll transfers, and an original birth certificate or passport. Docket No. 151-9 at 6.

         1. Phase 1 Content

         To receive a CDL in any state, a driver must test for and obtain a commercial learner's permit, hold the learner's permit for a minimum of fourteen days, and then take the test for the CDL. Although states may develop their own tests for commercial learner's permits and licenses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets the minimum standards for testing requirements. The training provided to drivers during Phase 1 is designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the federal CDL testing requirements. Student drivers receive essentially the same training at any good driving school.

         CRST has developed its own curriculum for Phase 1 which is used at NADTA. The classroom training at NADTA includes lessons on federal and state regulations; compliance, safety, and accountability; safe operations; tractor and trailer knowledge; inspections; defensive driving; and personal safety. Phase 1 also includes behind-the-wheel training in which students practice the concepts learned in the classroom. This includes inspections; basic control of equipment; backing, proper setups, turns, shifting, coupling and uncoupling; defensive driving; and driving in rural, city, and interstate conditions. CRST shares this curriculum with the driver training schools and “strongly encourage[s]” them to use it. Docket No. 151-2 at 42:23-43:11.

         2. Independent Driver Training Schools

         Independent driver training schools provide training to any driver who wishes to obtain a CDL, not just those individuals seeking employment with CRST. However, CRST has entered into agreements with the schools that address payment, training requirements, hiring, and employment requirements for CRST-affiliated student drivers. CRST's standard agreement with the driver training schools states that the schools will provide a training program with “ [c]lassroom and skill facilities, including the training equipment, approved by CRST, ” and medical providers to administer the DOT-required drug tests and physical examinations. Docket No. 151-14 at 1. Under the heading “Non-Competition, ” the agreement provides that “[t]he School understands that upon completion of CRST's in-house orientation program, the graduating students will be subject to an [sic] 10-month employment contract.” Docket No. 151-14 at 3. The agreement states that the schools also “agree that Students referred to the School[s] by CRST will not be subject to solicitation by other motor carriers interviewing Students at the School[s] for potential truck driving jobs.” Docket No. 151-14 at 4. The agreement also provides that “Students not meeting the minimum hiring standards set by CRST shall be brought to the attention of the School Manager, who will dismiss the students from the School.” Docket No. 151-14 at 7.

         As to fees, CRST will only pay the driver training schools for “completed” students, i.e., those who have successfully completed the training program, obtained a Class A CDL, “[a]rrived at a CRST Orientation facility, ” and “[s]uccessfully passed the CRST road and written tests, drug test . . ., agility test, and, further, meet the CRST hiring standards and job description.” Docket No. 151-14 at 2. The amount that CRST pays driver training schools per “completed” student driver ranges from $1, 400 to $2, 500. Since December 2013, the amount CRST pays NADTA per student has ranged from $1, 450 to $2, 150.

         3. Pre-Employment Agreement

         At the beginning of Phase 1, at both NADTA and the independent driver training schools, student drivers sign a pre-employment driver training agreement, which governs Phases 1 and 2 of the program. The pre-employment agreement states that student drivers are not employees and will not be paid for Phases 1 and 2. It also states that if the driver satisfies the preliminary requirements for training, CRST will pay, on behalf of the driver, subject to repayment conditions, “(a) the tuition charged by the Educational Facility for Student to attend Phase 1, (b) Student's Lodging Cost, (c) Student's Transportation Cost; and (d) Student's DOT physical and drug screen.”[2] Docket No. 151-15 ¶ 9. Additionally, if the student driver successfully completes Phase 1, CRST will advance the lodging costs and transportation costs for the student driver to attend Phase 2. Student drivers are notified in the pre-employment agreement that the amount advanced by CRST in Phases 1 and 2 “will equal or exceed the sum of $2, 000.” Id. ¶ 11(a).

         The pre-employment agreement provides that if the driver is dismissed or withdraws from the training program during Phases 1 or 2, then he owes the costs advanced by CRST subject to an interest rate “equal to the lesser of 1.5% per month [18% per year] or the maximum rate permitted by applicable federal and state usury laws.”[3] Id. ¶ 11(b).

         Additionally, student drivers learn in the pre-employment agreement that they will be required to sign a driver employment contract before Phase 3 in order to be employed by CRST. The pre-employment agreement provides that if the driver does not complete the ten-month period of employment required by the driver employment contract (i.e., Phases 3 and 4 of the driver training program), then the driver will owe and immediately must pay to CRST: $6, 500 for the driver training school, [4] plus the amounts advanced by CRST on behalf of the driver for the DOT physical and drug screen, lodging costs, and transportation costs incurred during Phase 1.[5] This total sum owed is subject to the same interest provision in the pre-employment agreement. Prospective drivers do not appear to receive a copy of the actual driver employment contract at the time they have to sign the pre-employment agreement.

         Finally, the pre-employment agreement prohibits the driver training school from giving to any student or third party any information related to a student driver's grades, transcripts, or completion of the training until CRST gives the school written notification that the student driver fulfilled his obligations to CRST, including paying all debt owed. For example, if an employer calls to verify the education of a driver who has completed Phase 1 but has not paid CRST the amounts owed, then CRST will not verify their education. It also will not verify the education status of someone who has completed Phase 2 but has not yet signed a driver employment contract with CRST or paid off his debt to CRST. If the driver attends training at NADTA, one of the graduation requirements is that he sign the driver employment contract on the last day of Phase 1. NADTA will not provide a driver with a certificate of graduation unless he has either signed a driver employment contract with CRST or paid off the debt owed to NADTA for the driver training school.[6] The parties dispute how much time a student driver has to review the pre-employment agreement at the driver training school before he must decide whether to sign.

         4. Other Phase 1 Paperwork

         During Phase 1 student drivers must also sign an assignment of wages and payroll deduction agreement authorizing CRST to deduct $40 per week from future wages and a release agreement authorizing CRST to request background information from a consumer reporting agency.

         Student drivers who need to obtain commercial learner's permits begin Phase 1 in Iowa where they attend a Sunday night welcome meeting. At the meeting, permit students complete the pre-employment agreement and a change of domicile form, and must also sign a letter confirming, “that ___has accepted employment as a truck driver for CRST Expedited, Inc., subject to specific requirements outlined on the attached domicile form, ” which include obtaining a Class A CDL license, “ [successfully completing CRST's driver orientation course, ” and passing the DOT physical and drug test. Docket No. 151-20 at 1-2.

         B. Phase 2: CRST Orientation

         After Phase 1, drivers attend CRST's orientation, which is held at a CRST facility, in order to be hired by CRST. Nearly all drivers who complete Phase 2 are hired. For example, from November 11, 2013 through March 31, 2017, of the 13, 127 drivers who completed Phase 2 training, 13, 037 began employment with CRST. Drivers are not paid for the time they spend in orientation, but CRST advances the costs of housing and transportation for Phase 2.

         1. Phase 2 Content

         Phase 2 is held primarily in a classroom. The orientation program is always run by CRST employees who use the same materials at every training facility. The orientation is two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half days long depending upon the driver's experience. During the additional day of the three-and-a-half-day orientation, new drivers receive more extensive safety training on topics like hours of service, wellness, and whistleblowing. Approximately 70% of drivers attend the three-and-a-half-day version.

         The parties dispute how much of the Phase 2 content is CRST-specific as opposed to universally applicable in the trucking industry. Generally, the orientation consists of new hire paperwork; DOT physicals and drug screenings; information about pre-trip inspections and trip planning; the CRST-specific “Smith System” for driving; training on the Whistleblower Act; training on hours of service and use of the system employed by CRST to log hours; an agility test; briefings from CRST departments regarding hazardous materials, wage rates, safety, customer service, driver benefits and payroll, and student lead driver expectations; training on employment policies; and issuances of employee ID cards and other employment documents.

         During orientation, all drivers are also given a new hire packet with health insurance information and acknowledgements regarding CRST employment policies, including a document entitled “Employee Acknowledgements” requiring an “Employee Signature.” Docket No. 151-31. The driver handbook states: “You begin your career at CRST with an orientation program emphasizing safety.” Docket No. 151-32. It also states: “We are pleased you have become part of our corporation. It is our belief that you will find your employment/contracting with this company to be challenging and rewarding . . . .” Docket No. 151-32.

         2. Driver Employment Contract

         If a driver attends Phase 1 at NADTA, then he must sign a driver employment contract as a condition of graduation. Other drivers sign the contract at orientation. The term of employment under the contract is ten months.

         The contract contains the same payment provisions for amounts owed as the pre-employment agreement.[7] The contract states that the driver acknowledges CRST advanced, in accordance with the pre-employment agreement, “the payment of certain tuition, lodging, transportation and other expenses and fees incurred by” the driver during Phases 1 and 2. Docket No. 151-25 ¶ 7. CRST will deduct up to $40.00 per week from the driver's paycheck as repayment to CRST for these advances. These deductions will continue throughout the driver's employment term until the driver “pays in full the principal amount plus interest accruing at the rate equal to the lesser of 1.5% per month or the maximum rate permitted by applicable federal and state usury laws.” Id. at ¶ 7(a).

         Additionally, the driver employment contract states that if the driver breaches or is terminated, then the driver will owe and immediately must pay to CRST: (i) $6, 500, (ii) the amounts advanced by CRST not yet repaid via paycheck deductions, and (iii) interest “at a rate equal to the lesser of 1.5% per month or the maximum rate permitted by applicable federal and state usury laws.” Id. at ¶ 7(b).

         The driver employment contract signed by most students also contains a non-competition provision which prohibits drivers from working for any CRST competitor within the continental United States during the ten-month term of the contract, unless the driver pays off the full amount of his debt.[8] If the driver repays the debt, the covenant not to compete immediately lapses. When drivers who are still under contract to CRST attempt to find work with other trucking companies, CRST “notif[ies] carriers who are conducting DOT mandated employment verifications of the existence of the contract, ” and has commenced litigation against competing carriers who hire student drivers. Docket No. 151-13 at No. 56.

         3. Other Phase 2 Paperwork

         During orientation, drivers also sign a contingent offer of employment and complete standard employment paperwork, including a Form 1-9. The contingent offer reads: “CRST International offers to employ you as an Over-the-Road Driver provided the following conditions are met . . . .” Docket No. 151-26. Drivers also sign additional forms authorizing payroll deductions for amounts advanced by CRST. Drivers also sign international driver acknowledgements/authorizations forms and direct deposit forms for future paychecks.

         C. Phases 3 and 4: Team-Driving

         Upon successful completion of orientation, CRST puts drivers on payroll, which initiates Phase 3. Phase 3 is approximately twenty-eight days of team driving, where a student driver is matched with a “lead driver” who has at least six months of driving experience. When the lead driver determines that the student driver is ready to advance to Phase 4, the student driver is matched with a co-driver for the remainder of the employment term.

         1. Time Logs

         During Phases 3 and 4, drivers log their time in four different categories according to DOT regulations: (1) driving time, (2) on-duty time, (3) sleeper berth time, and (4) off-duty time. All time spent at the controls of a commercial motor vehicle is considered driving time. On-duty time is time a driver is working, or is required to be ready for work, except driving time. This includes waiting for dispatch, conducting pre- and post-trip inspections, fueling the truck, and loading and unloading it. On-duty time also includes time drivers spend attending mandatory safety events and taking DOT-required drug tests. Only time spent in the sleeper berth may be recorded as sleeper berth time. And a driver is off-duty when he is relieved of all duties and responsibilities, such as during meals, breaks, and showers. A driver may also log up to two hours in the passenger seat as off-duty time if it immediately precedes or follows eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth (other time spent in the passenger seat is considered on-duty). Drivers sometimes log more than eight hours in the sleeper berth during a 24-hour period.

         2. Wage Rates and Payroll

         CRST pays drivers during Phases 3 and 4 using a split-mileage formula. Under the formula, drivers are paid a certain rate-per-mile for half the total mileage covered by the team during a trip. For example, if a team drove 1, 000 miles, each driver would be paid for 500 miles at his specific mileage rate, regardless of whether one driver worked more on-duty and driving hours than his co-driver. The split-mileage rates vary based on a driver's length of experience and whether he is a student driver or not. A new student driver without driving experience starts Phase 3 at $0.25 per split mile and works his way up to $0.26 after three months and $0.32 after six months of driving experience.

         3. Deductions

         During Phases 3 and 4, CRST makes various deductions from drivers' paychecks. In Phase 3, CRST deducts $50 for each physical examination or drug screen test, a $50 processing fee, and approximately $27 if a driver chooses to purchase a “map pack” from CRST containing an atlas and a tire gauge.[9] During both Phases 3 and 4, drivers may request pay advances. CRST deducts a $4 wire charge from a driver's pay for each advance.

         Beginning in Phase 4, CRST makes deductions from drivers' paychecks for the costs of housing and transportation provided during Phases 1 and 2. These deductions can total hundreds of dollars. For example, opt-in plaintiff Hollingsworth had a total of $255 deducted for transportation and $500 for housing. Similar amounts were deducted from opt-in plaintiff Fogarty's paychecks. If a driver does not complete Phase 4, CRST deducts the remaining amounts owed even if the deductions exceed $40, including the $6, 500 training expenses, to the extent possible.

         IV. Debt Collection

         To the extent that amounts owed to CRST cannot be repaid via deductions from a driver's last paycheck, or if he drops out of the training program before Phase 3, CRST initiates a post- employment collections process.[10] The post-employment collection process for CRST and NADTA is handled by CRST International Inc.'s collections department in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. CRST sends two letters to drivers prior to sending their accounts to a third-party debt collector. The collection letters state that there are two ways to avoid further collection efforts: (1) return to work for CRST and fulfill the remainder of the contract or (2) pay the amount due.

         The first letter states that CRST will not release the driver's diploma and school records until it receives payment in full. The letter gives the driver two weeks, after which it states that CRST “may TURN THIS ACCOUNT OVER TO OUR COLLECTION AGENCY. This may affect your current and future credit rating.” Docket No. 151-42. Both letters state: “If you cannot pay off the full amount of the loan at this time, we would be willing to accept monthly payments at 18% interest if you comply with the Restrictive Term as stated in your Driver Employment Contract.” Docket No. 151-42.

         The pre-employment agreement, driver employment contract, and collection letters all reference interest accruing on the debts owed; however, a CRST employee responsible for collecting debt from student drivers states that he has never collected interest on any account he had worked on.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Montoya filed suit against CRST on January 21, 2016 on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated individuals. In March 2016, CRST moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or to transfer to the Northern District of Iowa under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (Docket No. 7). Defendants relied primarily upon a forum-selection clause in the driver employment contract which fixes venue in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After some discovery and a hearing, the Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss or transfer. See Montoya v. CRST Expedited, Inc., 285 F.Supp.3d 493, 501 (D. Mass. 2018).

         Montoya's first amended complaint raises four causes of action: violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (Count I); violation of the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law, Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq., the Iowa minimum wage law, Iowa Code § 91D.1, and Iowa Admin. Code § 875-35.2(91A) (Count II); violation of the Iowa Private Right of Action for Consumer Frauds Act, Iowa Code § 714H.1 et seq. (Count III); and violation of Iowa usury laws, Iowa Code § 535.2 (Count IV).

         Montoya moved for conditional certification of a collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) with respect to the FLSA claims (Count I). He also moved for class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 for the Iowa law claims (Counts II-IV). On May 24, 2018, this Court certified the following four classes:

Collective Action under the FLSA: all individuals who have participated as contract drivers in any phase of CRST's Driver Training Program, at any time since December 22, 2013.
Iowa Wage Law Class: all individuals who have participated as contract drivers in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of CRST's Driver Training Program in Iowa at any time since January 21, 2014.
Iowa Consumer Fraud Class: all individuals who have participated as contract drivers in any phase of CRST's Driver Training Program at any time since January 21, 2014 and faced training-related wage deductions and/or collections.
Iowa Usury Law Class: all individuals who have signed pre-employment contracts and/or driver employment contracts with CRST that provided for an interest rate on amounts owed at a rate higher than the maximum lawful rate of interest determined by the Iowa Superintendent of Banking (ranging between 3.5 percent and 7.25 percent per annum) at any time since January 21, 2006, who received a collection letter, and who did not complete Phase 4 of the Driver Training Program.

See Montoya v. CRST Expedited, Inc., 311 F.Supp.3d 411, 419-27 (D. Mass. 2018). The parties have completed fact discovery, other than discovery of FLSA opt-in plaintiffs, experts, and class damages, and now cross-move for partial summary judgment. CRST moves for summary judgment on Counts II, III, and IV, and to narrow the scope of the FLSA claim in Count I (Docket No. 146). Montoya moves for summary judgment as to CRST's liability for certain practices related to Counts I, II, and III (Docket Nos. 150 and 153).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “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). A factual dispute precludes summary judgment if it is both genuine and material. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). An issue is “genuine if the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in the favor of the non-moving party, ” and “[a] fact is material if it has the potential of determining the outcome of the litigation.” Farmers Ins. Exch. v. RNK, Inc., 632 F.3d 777, 782 (1st Cir. 2011) (quotation omitted). “[C]onclusory allegations, improbable inferences, and ...


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