United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkt. No. 31)
KATHERINE A. ROBERTSON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Nicholas Costello (“Plaintiff”) brings his wage
and hour claims under federal and state law against
Defendants Molari, Inc. (“Molari”) and Gail
Molari (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendants
seek summary judgment against Plaintiff, arguing, inter
alia, that Plaintiff has not shown that Defendants were
“engaged in commerce” within the meaning of the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(b), (s)
(“FLSA”). Plaintiff's FLSA claim, Count I in
the complaint, is the only federal claim he asserts. The
parties have consented to this court's jurisdiction (Dkt.
No 11). See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P.
73. Because the court agrees that Plaintiff has not shown
that Defendants are covered by the FLSA, the court grants
Defendants' summary judgment motion as to Count I of the
complaint and dismisses the pendent state law claims in
Counts II-IV without prejudice.
following facts are drawn from Defendants' and
Plaintiff's separate Statements of Facts (Dkt. Nos. 33,
36) and documents referenced therein. Molari is a temporary
employment agency (Molari Dep. 9:22-24 - 10:1-21, Dkt. No.
33-27 at 4-5), which, at the relevant time, employed some 150
people as home health aides, personal care assistants,
homemakers, and companions (Molari Dep. 16:10-24). The
company had an in-house staff that ran the business, and a
field staff comprised of the employees who worked in
Molari's employment services business or its health care
department (Sime Dep. 17:7-24, Dkt. No. 33-17 at 6). Molari
has its sole office in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Sime Aff.
¶ 3, Dkt. No. 33-16 at 1). The company operates and
markets its services exclusively in Massachusetts. All of the
company's clients are in Massachusetts, and it derives
all its revenue from these Massachusetts clients (Sime Aff.
¶¶ 9-16). Plaintiffs do not dispute these facts
(Dkt. No. 36 at 4-5, ¶¶ 18-26).
February 2014, Plaintiff was hired by Molari as a staffing
coordinator/recruiter (Dkt. No. 33 at 1, ¶¶ 2-3;
Dkt. No. 36 at 1, ¶¶ 2-3). About six months into
his job, Plaintiff transferred into a different position in
the health care division. The parties dispute whether, in
this position, Plaintiff functioned primarily as a supervisor
or did little more than arrange the schedules of Molari's
field staff. On October 28, 2016, Plaintiff resigned his
employment with Defendants (Costello Dep. 18:17-18, Dkt. No.
33-7 at 6). On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action
(Dkt. No. 1). In paragraphs 12 and 13 of his complaint,
respectively, Plaintiff alleged that “Defendants were
at all relevant times an ‘enterprise engaged in
commerce or in the production of goods for commerce' as
defined in defined in 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)” and that
“Plaintiff was at all relevant times an employee
‘engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for
commerce' as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)”
(Dkt. No. 1 at 2, ¶¶ 12, 13). In their answer (Dkt.
No. 6 at 2) and their amended answer (Dkt. No. 9 at 2), in
response to these allegations, Defendants objected to the use
of the term “relevant period” on the grounds that
the term had not been identified or defined with any
specificity and “[a]dmit[ted] to the remainder.”
Standard of Review
court shall grant summary judgment when “‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.'” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)).
“A ‘genuine' issue is one that could be
resolved in favor of either party, and a ‘material
fact' is one that has the potential of affecting the
outcome of the case.” Calero-Cerezo v. U.S.
Dep't of Justice, 355 F.3d 6, 19 (1st Cir. 2004).
The initial burden rests with the moving party to apprise the
court “‘of the basis for its motion, and [to]
identify those portions of [the record] which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact.'” Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R.
Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000) (quoting
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323). “Once the
moving party has properly supported [its] motion for summary
judgment, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, with
respect to each issue on which [it] has the burden of proof,
to demonstrate that a trier of fact reasonably could find in
[its] favor.” DeNovellis v. Shalala, 124 F.3d
298, 306 (1st Cir. 1997).
Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion
to § 16(b) of the FLSA, any employer who violates the
overtime compensation or minimum wage provisions of sections
6 or 7 is liable to the employee or employees affected in the
amount of their unpaid minimum wages or overtime
compensation, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated
damages.” Baystate Alternative Staffing, Inc. v.
Herman, 163 F.3d 668, 674 (1st Cir. 1998) (citing 29
U.S.C. § 216(b)).
In order for the [defendant's] commercial activities to
be subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, two conditions
must be satisfied. First, the [defendant's] businesses
must constitute an “[e]nterprise engaged in commerce or
in the production of goods for commerce.” 29 U.S.C.
§ 203(s). ...