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Hively v. Allis-Chalmers Energy, Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 5, 2013

ALLEN HIVELY, KENNETH KNAUFF, and RANDALL SHAW, JR., individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLIS-CHALMERS ENERGY, INC., AIRCOMP, LLC, ARCHER UNDERBALANCED SERVICES, LLC, and ARCHER WELL COMPANY INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORA BARRY FISCHER, District Judge.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Facilitate Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). (Docket No. [62]). The matter having been fully briefed is now ripe for disposition. (Docket Nos. 63; 66; 67; 69, 72).

I. BACKGROUND

In this case, Plaintiffs Allen Hively, Kenneth Knauff, and Randle Shaw, Jr. (collectively, "Plaintiffs") seek to recover compensation for unpaid overtime work from Defendants Allis-Chalmers Energy, Inc., Aircomp, LLC, Archer Underbalanced Services, LLC, and Archer Well Company, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"). Their Amended Complaint sets forth four counts:

• Count I outlines a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., alleging that Defendants willfully misclassify supervisors as "exempt" and fail to pay these employees overtime compensation. (Docket No. 36, ¶¶ 1-2; 78-87).
• Count II sets forth that Defendants violated the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 34 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 231.41, 231.43(b). ( Id. ¶¶ 88-94).
• Count III advances a violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 260.3. ( Id. ¶¶ 95-101).
• Count IV charges unjust enrichment. ( Id. ¶¶ 102-07).

A. The Parties

Plaintiffs include thirteen individuals-the three named Plaintiffs and ten additional Plaintiffs who have opted-in to this litigation-who have worked as "Supervisors" for Defendants, either currently or in the past. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 67; Docket No. 47, ¶ 67). In total, Plaintiffs' putative class is estimated to include thirty (30) current or former Supervisors. (Docket No. 63, at 4).

Defendants in this case are related entities involved in oil and gas exploration and production. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 10; Docket No. 47, ¶ 10). Defendant Allis-Chalmers Energy, Inc. ("Allis-Chalmers") merged into Seawell Limited in March 2011. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 10; Docket No. 47, ¶ 10). The resulting company is Archer Limited, a publicly traded company. (Docket No. 29). Defendant Archer Well Company, Inc. ("Archer Well") is a Texas corporation and the successor-in-interest to Allis-Chalmers. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 10; Docket No. 47, ¶ 10). It is a global oilfield service company that specializes in drilling and well services. ( Id. ). Defendant AirComp, LLC ("AirComp") was previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Allis-Chalmers. (Docket No. 47, ¶ 11). Defendant Archer Underbalanced Services LLC ("Archer Underbalanced") is the successor to AirComp. ( Id. ¶ 12). It is organized under Delaware law and its primary place of business is in Houston, Texas. ( Id. ).

B. Information Concerning Supervisors

Supervisors-who may also have job titles including "Air Compression Supervisors, " "Air Supervisors, " "Compression Supervisors, " or "Pushers" (Docket No. 63, at 4)-are assigned to various job sites by Archer Underbalanced, which controls Supervisors' work schedules, assignments, and conditions of employment. (Docket No. 36, ¶¶ 32-33; Docket No. 47, ¶¶ 32-33). These jobs entail overseeing a rig, which uses compressed air to bore holes into the ground and then extract oil and/or gas. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 41; Docket No. 47, ¶ 41). Drilling jobs operate around the clock and are generally staffed by two air operators who work alternating shifts. (Docket No. 36, ¶¶ 42, 43; Docket No. 47, ¶¶ 42, 43). Supervisors have no input regarding the location of their job assignments. (Docket No. 36, ¶ 40; Docket No. 47, ¶ 40).

Per the written "Compression Supervisor" job description, Supervisors' general responsibilities involve "overseeing job assignments and ensuring safety regulations and policies are followed and customer satisfaction." (Docket No. 67-1, at 2). More specific duties entail: supervising pre-job preparation; supervising compression operators on site; supervising the required preventative maintenance tasks at rig sites; supervising, training, and directing air operators; managing client interaction at job sites; reporting and conducting initial investigations for safety and service delivery incidents at job sites; ...


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