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Laughlin v. Jim Fischer Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 16, 2019

JOSHUA LAUGHLIN, and GREG SCOTTO JUNIOR on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
JIM FISCHER, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND MOTION TO REOPEN DISCOVERY

          WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Joshua Laughlin and Greg Scotto, Jr., allege that their former employer, Defendant Jim Fischer, Inc., violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and Wisconsin's wage laws, Wis.Stat. § 109.01, et seq., by, among other things, failing to properly compensate them for hours worked in excess of forty per week. Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of a portion of the court's order denying-in-part and granting-in-part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Specifically, Plaintiffs ask the court to reconsider its conclusion that the overtime compensation Fischer paid Plaintiffs did not violate Section 207(g)(2) of the FLSA and Wisconsin law. Also before the court is Plaintiffs' motion to reopen discovery that was filed before the court ruled on Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the motions will be denied.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Motions to reconsider denials of summary judgment are governed by Rule 54(b), which provides that non-final orders “may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b); Galvan v. Norberg, 678 F.3d 581, 587 n.3 (7th Cir. 2012) (stating “Rule 54(b) governs non-final orders and permits revision at any time prior to the entry of final judgment, thereby bestowing sweeping authority upon the district court to reconsider a [summary judgment motion]”). “The ‘standard courts apply in reconsidering their decisions is generally the same under both Rule 59(e) and Rule 54(b).'” Cheese Depot, Inc. v. Sirob Imports, Inc., No. 14 C 1727, 2019 WL 1505399 at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 5, 2019) (quoting Morningware, Inc. v. Hearthware Home Prods., Inc., No. 09 C 4348, 2011 WL 1376920, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 12, 2011)).

         Motions for reconsideration serve a very limited purpose in federal civil litigation: “to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Rothwell Cotton Co. v. Rosenthal & Co., 827 F.2d 246, 251 (7th Cir. 1987) (quoting Keene Corp. v. Int'l Fidelity Ins. Co., 561 F.Supp. 656, 665-66 (N.D. Ill. 1976), aff'd 736 F.2d 388 (7th Cir. 1984)). “A ‘manifest error' is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is the ‘wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.'” Oto v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Sedrak v. Callahan, 987 F.Supp. 1063, 1069 (N.D. Ill. 1997)). “Such motions are disfavored and should be ‘rare.'” Acantha LLC v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., No. 15-C-1257, 2018 WL 2290715, at *1 (E.D. Wis. May 19, 2018) (quoting Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990)).

         ANALYSIS

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         On March 31, 2019, the court granted-in-part and denied-in-part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Relevant to Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration, the court denied summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on the issue of whether Fischer failed to pay Plaintiffs overtime in accordance with the requirements of the FLSA. In reaching its conclusion, the court relied on 29 U.S.C. § 207(g)(2) and the regulations interpreting that provision. Section 207(g)(2) provides:

No employer shall be deemed to have violated subsection (a) by employing any employee for a workweek in excess of the maximum workweek applicable to such employee under such subsection if, pursuant to an agreement or understanding arrived at between the employer and the employee before performance of the work, the amount paid to the employee for the number of hours worked by him in such workweek in excess of the maximum workweek applicable to such employee under such subsection-
. . .
(2) in the case of an employee performing two or more kinds of work for which different hourly or piece rates have been established, is computed at rates not less than one and one-half times such bona fide rates applicable to the same work when performed during nonovertime hours.

         The regulations interpreting this provision state that employees who are paid on the basis of a piece rate for the work performed during nonovertime hours or employees who perform two or more different kinds of work for which different straight time hourly rates are established may agree with their employer in advance of the performance of the work that they will be paid during overtime hours at a rate not less than one and one-half times the hourly nonovertime rate for the work being performed during the overtime hours. See 29 C.F.R. §§ 778.418, 778.419.

         This court denied Plaintiffs' motion because there was a factual issue as to whether an agreement was reached between Plaintiffs and Fischer:

Fischer's employee handbook informed employees that “[h]ours worked over forty-hours (40) per week will be paid at time and one-half (1 ½) of the job rate.” [Dkt] No. 83-5 at 3. As Fischer employees received this handbook prior to their first time on a jobsite and signed the handbook stating that they understood all of its terms, it was permissible for Fischer to calculate overtime premiums based on one and one-half times the rate applicable to the specific type of work. That appears to be what Fisher did here. If a bona fide ...

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