United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
HEATHER DYSE, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
HEALTHALL CONSULTING, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Honorable Patti B. Saris United States District Judge
Heather Dyse brings this action against HealthAll Consulting,
LLC under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C.
§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”) seeking
payment of unpaid overtime wages. She alleges she was
misclassified as an independent contractor. Dyse has moved to
conditionally certify a nationwide collective action under
the FLSA (Dkt. No. 28). After hearing, the Court
ALLOWS IN PART Dyse's motion
for conditional certification and issuance of a notice.
April 12, 2019, Dyse filed a collective action complaint
seeking payment of unpaid overtime wages. HealthAll moved to
dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), and Dyse opposed. In August 2019, Dyse moved for
Conditional Certification. HealthAll opposed. Dyse further
filed a motion for an emergency protective order requesting
that HealthAll be prohibited from distributing a contract
addendum to its consultants which required them to assure
HealthAll that they were not and would not be a part of any
lawsuit against HealthAll regarding the payment of overtime
Court held a hearing on December 6, 2019 in which it denied
HealthAll's motion to dismiss and granted Dyse's
motion for an emergency protective order.
are three basic elements to an FLSA claim: (1) the plaintiffs
were employed by the defendant; (2) the work involved
interstate activity; and (3) the plaintiffs performed work
for which they were under-compensated. Manning v. Bos.
Med. Ctr. Corp., 725 F.3d 34, 43 (1st Cir. 2013). A
claim for unpaid overtime wages must also “demonstrate
that the plaintiffs were employed ‘for a workweek
longer than forty hours' and that any hours worked in
excess of forty per week were not compensated ‘at a
rate not less than one and one-half times the regular
rate.'” Id. (quoting 29 U.S.C. §
FLSA allows employees to band together to enforce their
rights by initiating or joining a collective action. See
Cunha v. Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC, 221 F.Supp.3d 178,
181 (D. Mass. 2016); see also U.S.C. § 216(b).
Unlike a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
23, collective actions under the FLSA “require
similarly situated employees to affirmatively opt-in and be
bound by any judgment.” Id. (quotation
omitted). To facilitate this opt-in mechanism, courts have
developed a certification process for plaintiffs seeking to
bring FLSA collective actions. See Kane v. Gage Merch.
Servs., Inc., 138 F.Supp.2d 212, 214 (D. Mass. 2001)
(citing Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S.
165, 169 (1989)). Although the First Circuit has not
prescribed a specific certification procedure, “most
courts-including most district courts in this circuit-follow
a two-step approach....” Cunha, 221 F.Supp.3d
at 182 (citing Trezvant v. Fidelity Emp'r Servs.
Corp., 434 F.Supp.2d 40, 43 (D. Mass. 2006)).
“the court makes an initial determination of whether
the potential class should receive notice of the pending
action.” Trezvant, 434 F.Supp.2d at 42.
“[T]his determination is made using a fairly lenient
standard, which typically results in conditional
certification.” Id. at 43. The plaintiff must
show only “that there is ‘some factual
support'-as opposed to mere allegations-that the
potential plaintiffs are similarly situated.”
Cunha, 221 F.Supp.3d at 182 (quotation omitted).
“after discovery is complete, the court makes a final
‘similarly situated' determination.”
Trezvant, 434 F.Supp.2d at 42. Pertinent factors at
this stage include: (1) any disparate factual and employment
settings-for example, whether plaintiffs were employed in the
same corporate department, division, and location; (2) the
various defenses available to the defendant which appear to
be individual to each plaintiff; and (3) fairness and
procedural considerations. Id. at 45 (citations
omitted). This case is only at the first step.