United States District Court, D. Colorado
JOSEPH SANCHEZ, on behalf of himself and all similarly situated persons, Plaintiff,
Q'MAX SOLUTIONS, INC., Q'MAX AMERICA, INC., PATRIOT SOLIDS CONTROL, and PATRIOT DRILLING SOLUTIONS, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Joseph Sanchez's
(1) Motion for Class Certification of State Law Claims (Doc.
# 46); and (2) Motion for Conditional Certification of under
the Fair Labor Standards Act (Doc. # 24.) For the following
reasons, the Court denies both motions.
Defendants own and operate oil and gas
industry service companies that provide individuals to work
at their client's oil and gas facilities. (Doc. # 18 at
¶ 15.) Plaintiff worked as a Consultant for Defendants
for approximately three months. (Id. at 23.)
Plaintiff alleges that, during that time, Defendants violated
the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201;
the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA), Colo. Rev. Stat. §
8-4-101, et seq.; and the Colorado Minimum Wage Order by
misclassifying Plaintiff and failing to pay him overtime
compensation. (Id. at ¶¶ 38-47.) Plaintiff
adds that Defendants misclassified numerous employees as
non-employee consultants, contractors, or independent
contractors (Consultants, collectively) and improperly paid
them day rates without overtime compensation. (Id.
at ¶ 28.) As a result, Plaintiff commenced this action
seeking compensation for himself and on behalf of other
allegedly misclassified and underpaid Consultants.
(Id. at ¶ 47.) He now seeks to certify a
collective class to pursue the FLSA claim and a Rule 23 class
to pursue his Colorado wage claims.
Court first turns to Plaintiff's request to certify a
collective action under the FLSA. Defendants oppose
certification because, they allege, the proposed collective
class was already certified in Pennsylvania and certifying
the same class twice would be a waste of judicial resources.
The Court agrees with Defendants.
216(b) of the FLSA provides a unique procedural mechanism
allowing “collective” actions for minimum wage
and/or overtime violations. Such actions “may be
maintained against any employer . . . by any one or more
employees for and on behalf of himself or themselves and
other employees similarly situated.” 29 U.S.C. 216(b).
Unlike class actions under Rule 23, a “collective
class” under the FLSA includes only those individuals
who expressly opt into the class in writing. Id.
Tenth Circuit has approved of the use of a two-step process
for determining whether putative employees are
“similarly situated” to the named plaintiff(s)
for purposes of Section 216(b). See Thiessen v. Gen.
Elec. Capital Corp., 267 F.3d 1095, 1102-1105 (10th Cir.
2001). Only the first stage is applicable here. At this
stage, the Court makes an initial, so-called
“Notice” determination of whether the named
plaintiff(s) and the proposed opt-in class are
“similarly situated.” Id. at 1102-03.
This “‘require[s] nothing more than substantial
allegations that the putative class members were together the
victims of a single decision, policy, or plan.'”
Id. at 1102.
seeks conditional certification of the following class:
All individuals who, during any time within the past three
years, worked for some or all of the Defendants in the United
States and were classified as non-employees pursuant to
either any version of the attached Master Service Agreement
(Exhibit C) or any similar contract.
(Doc. # 24 at 7.)
Pennsylvania the following FLSA collective class has already
been conditionally certified:
All current and former mud engineers/drilling fluid
consultants and solids control operators of the
Q'Max/Patriot who were classified as independent
contractors and paid a day-rate during the last three (3)
does not dispute that the Pennsylvania collective class
covers the same individuals that would be included in
Plaintiff's proposed collective. (Doc. # 55 at 2.) Nor
does Plaintiff dispute that the Defendants are the same in
both actions (despite being named differently) and the FLSA
claims are identical. (Id.) Instead, Plaintiff urges
this Court to certify a duplicative FLSA collective class
pursuant to Yates v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 58
F.Supp.2d 1217 (D. Colo. 1999). The circumstances present in
Yates, however, are not applicable here. There, the
Court permitted a second collective action under the FLSA
brought by plaintiffs who had received notice of the first
collective action but failed to timely opt ...