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Rosario v. First Student Management LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 10, 2019

MARIBEL ROSARIO, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FIRST STUDENT MANAGEMENT LLC, and FIRST STUDENT INC., Defendants.

          OPINION

          JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Nicole Tucker, Brenda Vera, and Jessica Marinez (“Named Plaintiffs”) and Defendants First Student Management LLC, and First Student Inc. (“First Student” or “Defendants”) (collectively “the Parties”), submitted Amended Joint Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, ECF No. 54-1, in support of their motion for approval of the parties' settlement pursuant to this Court's February 13, 2019 Order, ECF No. 50. The following findings of fact and conclusions of law in further support of their Joint Motion to Approve Settlement are taken substantially from the parties' Amended Joint Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         Procedural History

          1. On December 7, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a four-count Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging the following violations on behalf of 76 named plaintiffs: FLSA - Straight Time Claim (Count I); FLSA - Overtime Claims (Count II); Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”) - Straight Time Claim (Count III); and WPCL - Overtime Claims (Count IV).

         2. All Plaintiffs are current and former bus drivers and monitors/aides who worked at bus yards across Pennsylvania.

         3. Plaintiffs filed their claims as a collective action pursuant to Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and as a class action pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         4. On August 16, 2016, the Court dismissed Count I with prejudice and Counts III and IV without prejudice.

         5. On October 7, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint adding additional factual allegations as to only three of the Named Plaintiffs and re-alleging Counts II through IV.

         6. On March 23, 2017, the Court granted the majority of First Student's Second Motion to Dismiss only leaving Count II as to the three Named Plaintiffs (Nicole Tucker, Brenda Vera, and Jessica Marinez) on behalf of whom the specific allegations were made.

         7. First Student filed an Answer shortly thereafter.

         8. Currently, there are three Named and 195 Opt-In Plaintiffs (the three Named Plaintiffs and 195 Opt-In Plaintiffs will be referred to herein as “Plaintiffs”).

         Allegations

         9. Plaintiffs allege that First Student failed to pay drivers and aides for allegedly performing compensable activities in between the time they arrived at their First Student location and the time that they boarded their respective buses to log-in to the Zonar system - a computerized system used to conduct their pre-trip inspections and to track their movements via a Global Positioning Satellite (“GPS”) network.

         10. Likewise, Plaintiffs allege that upon returning from their routes, they were not properly compensated for time spent performing their post-trip inspections and for alleged activities performed from the time they logged off of the Zonar system to the time that they left the facility.

         11. First Student provides its drivers and monitors with a set schedule and requires them to report any work performed outside of the scheduled time.

         12. First Student contends that the fixed schedule, along with time reported on the exception forms/logs, accurately reflects all time worked for drivers and aides.

         13. First Student contends that its use of set schedules and exception reporting is a lawful policy under the FLSA.

         Discovery

         14. Before agreeing to mediation, the Parties engaged ...


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