United States District Court, D. Colorado
TYELER COOPER, on behalf of himself and all similarly situated persons, Plaintiff,
NOBLE CASING, INC., a North Dakota corporation, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION
William J. Martínez United States District Judge
action, Plaintiff Tyeler Cooper (“Cooper”) claims
that his former employer, Defendant Noble Casing, Inc.
(“Noble”) failed to pay him overtime wages in
breach of his employment agreement and in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201 et seq., and similar Colorado
statutes. (ECF No. 1.) The Court previously granted
Cooper's unopposed motion for conditional certification
of this action as an opt-in collective action under 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b). (ECF No. 39.) Currently before the Court is
Cooper's Motion for Class Certification under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 23. (ECF No. 37.) As described in
more detail below, this motion is denied because
individualized issues about every potential class
member's duties on a week-to-week basis will overwhelm
is an oilfield services company headquartered in Colorado.
(ECF No. 43 at 2.) As its full name suggests, Noble provides
“casing” services, “which consist of
running pipe or ‘casing' into pre-drilled holes to
extract oil.” (Id.) Cooper claims he worked
for Noble “from approximately November 2011 to October
2014.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 16.) While employed at Noble,
Cooper was paid by the hour in some circumstances and by the
foot of installed casing in other circumstances.
(Id. ¶ 7.) He claims that this system required
him and his co-workers to work more than forty hours in a
week, but they were not paid time-and-a-half for those hours
in excess of forty. (Id.) Cooper now seeks to
certify a class of casing services employees.
party seeking class certification, Cooper must first
demonstrate that all four prerequisites of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23(a) are clearly met. Shook v. El Paso
Cnty., 386 F.3d 963, 971 (10th Cir. 2004); see also
Tabor v. Hilti, Inc., 703 F.3d 1206 (10th Cir. 2013).
These threshold elements consist of the following: (1) the
class is so numerous that joinder of all members is
impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common
to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the
representative party are typical of the claims or defenses of
the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and
adequately protect the interests of the class. Fed.R.Civ.P.
Cooper proves he has met these threshold requirements, he
must then demonstrate that the action falls within one of the
three categories set forth in Rule 23(b). Shook, 386
F.3d at 971. Here, Cooper seeks certification pursuant to
party seeking to certify a class, Cooper bears the strict
burden of proving the requirements of Rule 23. Trevizo v.
Adams, 455 F.3d 1155, 1162 (10th Cir. 2006). In
determining the propriety of a class action, the question is
not whether a plaintiff has stated a cause of action or will
prevail on the merits, but rather whether the requirements of
Rule 23 are met. Anderson v. City of Albuquerque,
690 F.2d 796, 799 (10th Cir. 1982). When deciding whether the
proposed class meets the requirements of Rule 23, the Court
accepts the plaintiff's substantive allegations as true,
though it need not blindly rely on conclusory allegations and
may consider the legal and factual issues which the complaint
presents. Shook, 386 F.3d at 968; see also
Vallario v. Vandehey, 554 F.3d 1259, 1265 (10th Cir.
2009). The Court should not pass judgment on the merits of
the case, but must conduct a “rigorous analysis”
to ensure that the requirements of Rule 23 are met. D.G.
ex rel. Stricklin v. Devaughn, 594 F.3d 1188, 1194 (10th
decision whether to grant or deny class certification
“involves intensely practical considerations and
therefore belongs within the discretion of the trial
court.” Tabor, 703 F.3d. at 1227.
proposes the following class definition: “All current
and former casing services employees who worked for Noble in
Colorado at any time from September 2, 2012 to
present.” (ECF No. 37 at 2.) Noble states no objection
specif ically to this proposed definition.
Court's first task is to ensure that the Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23(a) requirements are satisfied as to the
proposed Class: (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of
all members is impracticable (“numerosity”); (2)
there are questions of law or fact common to the class
(“commonality”); (3) the claims or defenses of
the representative parties are typical of the claims or
defenses of the class (“typicality”); and (4) the
representative parties will ...