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Resch v. Krapf's Coaches, Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 29, 2013

JOSEPH RESCH, et al., Plaintiffs,


WILLIAM H. YOHN, District Judge.

This is an action brought by plaintiffs against their employer, defendant Krapf's Coaches Inc., ("KCI"), for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968 ("PMWA"), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 260.1 et seq., for failure to compensate them at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 15-19.) KCI admits that it does not pay its transit drivers premium overtime rates, and instead moves for summary judgment on plaintiffs' FLSA claim arguing that plaintiffs are exempt from FLSA's overtime requirements based on the "motor carrier exemption." (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts, as to Which No Genuine Issues Exist, in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Def.'s Facts") ¶ 4.) See 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1).[1] After careful consideration of the parties' arguments and the evidence presented, I will grant KCI's motion for summary judgment for plaintiffs' FLSA claims.

I. Background[2]

On November 3, 2011, plaintiff Joseph Resch brought this action under FLSA and the PMWA, on behalf of himself and other employees and former employees of defendant, KCI. On June 28, 2012, I granted conditional certification to "all individuals who were employed by defendant as Transit Route drivers who worked over 40 hours during any workweek within the past three years." See Order, June 28, 2012, ECF No. 16. Notice was sent to 129 potential class members, [3] and 34[4] current or former employees opted into the action. (Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Statement of Facts ("Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts") ¶ 11.)

KCI is a bus company that operates a transit division and a charter division. KCI's transit division operates shuttle services for private companies, local colleges, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ("SEPTA"). (Compl. ¶ 10; Def.'s Facts ¶ 3; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 3.) The majority of KCI's transit routes are intrastate; however, some routes cross state lines. During the relevant time period, KCI has operated two routes that transport passengers interstate: KCI SEPTA 306, a route that transported passengers from Pennsylvania to Delaware until November 2010; and the Arkema Woodcrest Route, a shuttle that transports Arkema, Inc. employees from various locations including the PATCO station in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to the Arkema facilities in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 19, 22; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 19, 22.) Additionally, KCI operates two routes where the drivers cross state lines with the buses in order to transport passengers intrastate: the KCI Capital One line in Wilmington, Delaware, which began service on December 3, 2012; and the Ready Pac route in Swedesboro, New Jersey, which began service in August 2012. (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 28, 31; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 28, 31.) Transit drivers also on occasion drive charter trips, and some charter trips are interstate. (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 53-54; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 54.)[5]

Finally, defendant operates what it calls "continuum trips"-KCI routes that transported passengers to other transportation lines where KCI believes the passengers continued their travels interstate. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 37.) Specifically, defendant asserts that Route A, Coatesville Link, SCCOOT, Beeline, Parkway, Parktown, Wyeth, Pfizer, SEPTA 205, SEPTA 204, Rambler, Conshohocken Rambler, Villanova Shuttle, Arkema routes, the Wyndham route, and the Navy Yard route are all continuum routes because they connected with other transit lines such as Amtrak, Greyhound, SEPTA, and the airport. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 35.)[6]

In 2009 and 2010 the only route that crossed state lines was the SEPTA 306 route, which went through Delaware until November 2010. (Def.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. Summ. J. ("Def.'s Br.") at MSJ-1.); (Def.'s Facts ¶ 66; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 66.) The SEPTA 306 route earned $397, 673 in revenue in 2009, which was 8.4% of the transit revenue for that year. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 66; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 66.) In 2010, the SEPTA 306 route earned $485, 170 in revenue, which was 9.7% of the transit division's revenue. (Def.'s Facts ¶67; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 67.) In 2011, the only transit route that drove interstate was the Arkema Woodcrest service and that generated $50, 526 in revenue, or 1% of the transit division's revenue. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 68; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 68.) In 2012, the Arkema Woodcrest line generated $101, 052 in revenue, or 2.5% of the transit divisions revenue. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 69; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 69.) In 2012 the Ready Pac line generated $112, 188, or 2.8% of the transit division's revenue. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 69; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 69.) Accordingly, in 2012, the Arkema Woodcrest line and the Ready Pac line accounted for 5.3% of the transit division's revenue. KCI believes that based on the revenue generated from the Capitol One, Ready P. and Arkema Woodcrest routes, routes that travel interstate in - will exceed any year from 2009 through 2012. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 71; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 71.)

On September 28, 1983, the Interstate Commerce Commission (predecessor of the Department of Transportation) issued KCI a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, No. MC-164984, Sub. 1 and 2, which gives KCI the authority to operate in interstate commerce as a motor carrier. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 8; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 8.) The certificate remains in effect. (Dep. of Kevin Pierce (Feb. 25, 2013) ("Pierce Dep.") 34:1-5.) Since October 6, 1998, KCI's Transit and Charter divisions have operated under United States Department of Transportation ("DOT") registration number 774388. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 6; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 6.)

Because KCI is an interstate carrier, it is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA")[7] regulations. In its employee handbook, KCI details all the federal regulations by which drivers must abide, including: "holding a Commercial Driver License (CDL'); passing a pre-employment physical, drug test, and bi-annual physical; and satisfying, among other things, a prior Safety Performance History Record in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR')." (Def.'s Facts ¶ 72; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 72.) KCI drivers receive a copy of the handbook upon beginning employment with KCI. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 73; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 73.) Additionally, KCI maintains a Driver Qualification File, as detailed by FMCSA. (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 76-78; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 76-78.) See 49 C.F.R. pt. 391.01. Finally, since April 2012, all drivers have been required to complete a "Self Certification Form" promulgated by Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation, and they are all required to check the box that says "NI-Non-Excepted Interstate Transportation: Interstate Drivers Who are Subject to the Federal Physical Qualifications and Examination Regulations." (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 83-84; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 83-84.)

FMCSA audits KCI's compliance with FMCSA regulations approximately every two years. FMCSA last audited KCI in August 2012 and reviewed, among other things, driver qualification files for transit and charter drivers, driver logs, KCI's drug testing records, and other documents. (Aff. of Gary Krapf (Apr. 22, 2013) ("Krapf Aff.") ¶ 6; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 87-89.) The FMCSA has specifically cited KCI for transit drivers' violations. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 89; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 89.)

Generally, transit drivers are assigned their weekly route assignments on the Wednesday of the preceding week by a scheduler. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 41; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 41.) Once a transit driver has trained on a particular route, he or she may be assigned to that route at any time, as KCI's need presents. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 42; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 42.) Cythia Metivier, a scheduler at KCI, testified that KCI generally tries to train drivers on most routes so the company can utilize the drivers on the routes;[8] however, plaintiffs claims that some transit drivers only drive a few of the routes. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 43; Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 45, 47.)

In this case, sixteen of the thirty-four opt-in plaintiffs never traveled outside of Pennsylvania.[9] (Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 49.) Of the eighteen plaintiffs who did travel interstate, eight traveled interstate once, and five traveled interstate on five or fewer occasions.[10] (Pls.' Resp. to Def.'s Facts ¶ 49); (Def.'s Br. at MSJ-4.).

II. Standard of Review

A motion for summary judgment will be granted only "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)."Material facts are those that could affect the outcome of the proceeding, and a dispute about a material fact is genuine if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Roth v. Norfalco LLC, 651 F.3d 367, 373 (3d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). "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 ...

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