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Cargill v. Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

April 15, 2014



DANIEL P. JORDAN, III, District Judge.

This employment dispute is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [32]. Plaintiff responded in opposition. The Court, having fully considered the parties' memoranda and applicable authorities, finds that Defendant's motion should be granted as to the conceded age-discrimination claim but denied as to the wage-and-hour claim.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Defendant Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company (Valley) employed Plaintiff Barbara M. Cargill from December 1975 to September 1979 and again from March 1992 to October 2012. Pl.'s Resp. Mem. [37] at 1. In her most recent position, Cargill prepared residential-loan closings for Valley's Escrow Department. Id. In October of 2012, Valley terminated Cargill, stating that budget cuts forced departmental reorganization. Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. [33] at 3. As part of this reorganization, Valley no longer provides document services to its agents and attorneys. Id.

Cargill filed this action against her former employer seeking unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Pl.'s Compl. [1] ¶¶ 17-23. She contends that, while her time sheets may indicate otherwise, she worked an average of 50 hours per week without receiving overtime pay. Pl.'s Resp. Mem. [37] Ex. A, Cargill Aff. ¶¶ 11-12. Her time sheets notwithstanding, Cargill argues that management knew or should have known that she was working more than a 40-hour workweek. Pl.'s Resp. Mem. [37] at 6. Valley seeks summary judgment on this claim, and Plaintiff has responded in opposition. The Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction and is prepared to rule.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is warranted under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The rule "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings and designate "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324. Conclusory allegations, speculation, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic arguments are not an adequate substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002); SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1997); Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc).

When reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be resolved in favor of the nonmovant, "but only when... both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts." Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. If such contradictory facts exist, the court may "not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods. Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

III. Analysis

A. Relevant Time Period

Cargill admits she was an exempt employee prior to August 1, 2011, and not entitled to overtime pay for that period. Pl.'s Resp. Mem. [37] at 3. As such, the only remaining claim is that for overtime pay from August 1, 2011, to October 31, 2012.

B. Overtime Pay

Cargill alleges that Valley failed to compensate her for overtime that amounted to, on average, 10 hours per week. Pl.'s Resp. Mem. [37] Ex. A, Cargill Aff. ¶¶ 11-12. Cargill admits she recorded only 40 hours per week on her time sheet, but states "[she] would never put down that [she] worked more than 40 hours because [she] knew [she] wasn't going to get paid for it." Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. [32] Ex. A, Cargill Dep., Jan. 27, 2014, at 34:9-16. Yet Cargill also says that ...

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