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OAKES v. PENNSYLVANIA

January 3, 1995

GLADYS OAKES; DALE HUSTON, on behalf of themselves and all other Capitol Police employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania similarly situated, plaintiff
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; DOROTHY E. THOMAS, Director of Police and Public Safety, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in her official capacity; MICHAEL DRISCOLL, Deputy Secretary for Central Services, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in his official capacity; DAVID JANNETTA, Secretary of the Department of General Services, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in his official capacity, defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM W. CALDWELL

 Pending is the Defendants' motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of willfulness. We exercise jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.

 I. Facts

 This case arises from the Plaintiffs' *fn1" employment as Capitol Police Officers by the Defendant, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("Commonwealth"). At all times relevant to this action, Defendant Thomas was Director of Police and Public Safety for the Commonwealth, Defendant Driscoll was Deputy Secretary for Central Services for the Commonwealth, and Defendant Jannetta was the Secretary of the Department of General Services of Commonwealth. All are sued in their official capacity only.

 During the years 1991-1994, Plaintiffs worked five 8 hour shifts per seven day workweek and during each shift received a thirty minute meal break for which they were not compensated. Thus, their shifts were scheduled on an 8.5 hour basis. Plaintiffs argue that they should have been paid for 8.5 hours each day for a total of 42.5 hours per week, and that all hours over forty should have been paid at one and one-half times their regular rate, as required by the FLSA when an employee works more than forty hours in a workweek. In this action, they seek restitution for the thirty minute meal breaks for which they were not compensated.

 II. Law and Discussion

 A. Standard for Summary Judgment

 Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). In reviewing the evidence, facts and inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., et al v. Zenith Radio Corp., et al, 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 553 (1986).

 When a moving party has carried his or her burden under Rule 56, the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial'", and summary judgment must be entered in favor of the moving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87, 106 S. Ct. at 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d at 552 (citations omitted).

 B. Meal Periods

 We must decide whether the thirty minute meal periods were compensable under the FLSA, which provides that

 
no employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is . . . employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce, . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half the regular rate at which he is employed.

 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). Although the term "work" is not defined in the FLSA, the Supreme Court has construed it to mean "physical or mental exertion . . . controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business." Tennessee Coal, Iron & R.R Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U.S. 590, 598, 64 S. Ct. 698, 703, 88 L. Ed. 949, 956 (1944). The Court also held that the test for whether compensation is required is whether the employee's time is spent predominantly for the employer's benefit or the employee's benefit. Armour & Co. v. Wantock, 323 U.S. ...


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