United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants Carl Edwards and
Casper Trailer Sales, Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. (Doc. # 65.) Defendants argue that (1) Plaintiff
Stephanie Lopez's claims for unpaid wages prior to May
24, 2015, are not covered under the Fair Labor Standard Act
(“FLSA”), and (2) Plaintiff's claim for
unpaid wages under the Colorado Wage Act (“CWA”)
must be limited to recovery of final wages. (Id.)
Defendants request that the Court therefore enter summary
judgment on Plaintiff's claims for unpaid wages prior to
May 24, 2015, and limit her recovery under the CWA.
(Id.) For the reasons stated below, the Court denies
Trailer Sales, Inc. (“Casper”) is a Colorado
corporation, doing business as JDL Trailer Sales. (Doc. # 60
at ¶ 6.) Defendant Carl Edwards (“Edwards”)
is the owner and manager of Casper Trailer Sales, Inc.
(Id. at ¶ 8.) Defendants and Plaintiff agree
that at all times relevant to the Complaint, Edwards acted
directly and indirectly in the interests of the employer in
relation to Plaintiff by setting her rate of pay, the method
of compensation, and determining her hours of work.
(Id. at ¶ 9.)
alleges that she began working for Casper in 2009 by cleaning
the shop. (Id. at ¶ 13.) She asserts that she
learned the trade of an RV technician by watching others and
that she worked as an RV technician for most of her
employment with Casper. (Id. at ¶ 15.)
Plaintiff claims that she worked without cash wages from 2009
until 2015 in reliance upon Edwards' promise to transfer
title to a home to her in exchange for her work.
(Id. at ¶ 16.) She also states that she
received room and board in exchange for her work during part
of this time period. (Id.) She contends that
throughout most of her employment, she worked no fewer than
ten hours a day and as many as seventy hours a week.
(Id. at ¶ 20.)
received her first paycheck from Casper in May 2015. (Doc. #
68 at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that she was not paid minimum
wage for the hours she worked in 2013 and 2014, nor was she
paid one and one-half times minimum wage for hours worked
over forty hours in a single work week during this time.
(Doc. # 60 at ¶ 22.) She also alleges she was paid for
some, but not all, of her hours worked in 2015 and 2016.
(Id. at ¶¶ 23, 24.) Plaintiff terminated
her employment on April 20, 2016, because she was allegedly
harassed at work and because Edwards refused to pay her.
(Id. at ¶¶ 48, 49.) On November 11, 2016,
Plaintiff demanded from Defendants payment of wages owed.
(Id. at ¶ 59.)
contest the majority of Plaintiff's allegations. (Doc. #
62.) Defendants refute Plaintiff's statement that she
began work for Casper in 2009. (Id. at ¶ 13.)
Defendants also assert that Plaintiff worked only as part of
the pit crew during her employment, and deny that Edwards
ever promised to transfer title to a house to Plaintiff in
exchange for her work. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-16.)
Most relevant here, Defendants deny all allegations regarding
any hours Plaintiff worked that were not compensated.
(Id. at ¶¶ 13-61.)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL
commenced this suit on January 4, 2017. (Doc. # 1.) She filed
an Amended Complaint on September 18, 2017 (Doc. # 36) and a
Second Amended Complaint on November 30, 2017 (Doc. # 60).
Plaintiff asserts three claims against Defendants: (1)
pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 206, Defendants' failure to
pay Plaintiff minimum wages for all weeks worked in 2014, and
some weeks in 2015 and 2016, is in violation of the FLSA; (2)
pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 207, Defendants' failure to
pay Plaintiff overtime wages constitutes an additional
violation of the FLSA; and (3) pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat.
§ 8-4-109, Defendants' failure to pay
Plaintiff's earned, vested, and determinable wages is in
violation of the CWA. (Id. at 1.)
January 17, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 65.) Defendants' Motion seeks
to separate Plaintiff's claims into two separate time
periods: prior to May 24, 2015, when Plaintiff was not a
payroll employee of Casper, and after May 24, 2015, when
Plaintiff was a payroll employee of the company.
(Id. at 2.) Defendants argue that because Plaintiff
cannot produce records of her employment with Casper prior to
May 24, 2015, her claim for employment can only extend to
Edwards individually, not his company. (Id.) Thus,
Defendants allege Plaintiff's claims during this time
period are not covered under the FLSA because the FLSA only
covers employees engaged in interstate commerce.
(Id. at 2-3.) Because Edwards, as an individual, is
not an employer as defined by the FLSA, Plaintiff's
employee-employer relationship with Edwards does not
implicate interstate commerce. (Id. at 3.)
addition, Defendants seek partial summary judgment on
Plaintiff's claim for wages owed under the CWA.
(Id.) Defendants assert that under Section 109 of
the CWA, Plaintiff's claim is limited to only unpaid
final wages and penalties related to final wages.
(Id. at 20.) Defendants' interpretation of
Section 109 of the CWA relies upon Judge Martinez's
recent opinion and certified question to the Colorado Supreme
Court, which asks:
Does Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-109(1)(a) permit a
terminated employee to sue for wages or compensation that
went unpaid at any time during the employee's employment,
even when the statute of limitations (Colo. Rev. Stat. §
8-4-122) has run on the cause of action the
employee could have brought for those unpaid wages under
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-103(1)(a)?
Hernandez v. Ray Domenico Farms, Inc., 250 F.Supp.3d
789, 801-02 (D. Colo. 2017). In Hernandez, Judge
Martinez considered the defendant's argument that Section
109 “pertains only to the sorts of payments that tend
to be due upon termination (e.g., hours worked since the
close of the last pay period, accrued vacation, unreimbursed
travel expenses, etc.).” Id. at 798.
Defendants in the case now before the Court similarly request
that the Court limit Plaintiff's ...