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Atkins v. Old River Supply, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 8, 2014

KEVIN M. ATKINS, MICHAEL BUTLER, PHILLIP CRAPPS, JAMES KELLY, JR., DENNIS HUFF AND BOBBIE WILLIAMS, APPELLANTS
v.
OLD RIVER SUPPLY, INC., APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/21/2013.

Page 977

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF APPELLEE ON APPELLANTS' CLAIM FOR OVERTIME WAGES.

FOR APPELLANTS: DANIEL DEWAYNE WARE.

FOR APPELLEE: ROBERT E. SANDERS.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. GRIFFIS, P.J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - OTHER

Page 978

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. While the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) creates an entitlement to overtime wages, it exempts from that entitlement mechanics and partsmen for nonmanufacturing establishments like Old River Supply, Inc.--a business primarily engaged in selling Volvo trucks.[1] The appellants in this case concede they were either mechanics or partsmen for Old River. Yet despite what the exemption says, they insist--based legislative history and the FLSA's undergirding social policy--they are entitled to overtime under the FLSA.

¶2. But when a statute is clear and unambiguous, we must apply the statute as written.[2] And applying the FLSA's exemption to the undisputed facts, we agree with the lower court that the employees' claim for overtime wages under the FLSA fails as a matter of law. Thus, we affirm the grant of summary judgment in Old River's favor.

Background

¶3. Kevin M. Atkins, Michael Butler, Phillip Crapps, James Kelly Jr., Dennis Huff, and Bobbie Williams (" the employees" ) are former employees of Old River. Old River is an authorized dealer of Volvo commercial trucks. In addition to selling trucks, Old River also services commercial trucks and trailers. The employees all worked as either mechanics or partsmen in the " trailer shop" --the service side of Old River's business.

¶4. The employees claim that, even though they consistently worked more than forty hours per week, they were only paid their regular hourly rate, never overtime. In November 2011, the employees sued Old River to recover overtime wages under the FLSA. The FLSA creates the right for " any one or more employees" to maintain an action " in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction." 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) ...


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