Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tyger v. Precision Drilling Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 17, 2019

RODNEY TYGER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PRECISION DRILLING CORP., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In my December 18, 2018 Order, I excluded the testimony of Plaintiffs' expert Ronald E. Bishop, Ph.D.[1] I asked the parties to brief whether, with Dr. Bishop's expert opinion no longer in play, Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the issues of whether Plaintiffs' time spent donning and doffing their personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and associated walking time were compensable under FLSA.[2] I now hold that these two time periods are not compensable. Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on these issues as a matter of law.

         A. Procedural History

         In my April 11, 2018 Memorandum Opinion, I reviewed the Fair Labor Standards Act and Supreme Court precedent. I defined the question before the Court as “whether the working environment renders donning and doffing the instant PPE indispensable to safe completion of the Plaintiffs' principal activities.”[3] I noted that discovering whether PPE guarded “against workplace dangers that accompany the employee's principal activities and transcend ordinary risks” requires “a fact-intensive examination of the gear at issue, the employee's principal activities, and the relationship between them.”[4] I found that Dr. Bishop's expert opinion testimony was “sufficient to raise a dispute as to the toxicity of [Plaintiffs'] exposure and the working environment in which Plaintiffs labor.”[5]

         In my December 18, 2018 Order, I affirmed that Dr. Bishop's expert opinion-“that hazardous materials accumulate on the exterior of Precision employees' PPE during the course of their work such that it would be unsafe to remove the PPE from the worksite”-was “crucial to Plaintiffs' overtime claim, since it demonstrates the need for Precision employees to remove their PPE at the worksite and, consequently, supports Plaintiffs' argument that the time spent donning and doffing that PPE is compensable.”[6] I excluded Dr. Bishop's expert opinion from evidence. I asked the parties to brief the above question.[7]

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standards

         “Expert evidence is generally required when an issue is beyond the ken of a lay jury.” McMunn v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Grp., Inc., 869 F.3d 246, 267 (3d Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 1012 (2018). Here, the “workplace dangers that accompany the employee's principal activities and transcend ordinary risks” are, at bottom, the dangers created by Plaintiffs' exposure to different hazardous chemicals and substances-whether the substances themselves, or their reactions to the drilling environment.[8] The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, when encountering claims where plaintiffs need to show like facts about toxicity and hazardous exposure, has held on three occasions that plaintiffs need to provide expert evidence in establishing these facts. See N'Jai v. United States Envtl. Prot. Agency, 705 Fed.Appx. 126, 129 (3d Cir. 2017) (in Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act action, plaintiff “did not present [expert] evidence demonstrating that she had been exposed to the lead or that the levels of lead in the apartment were hazardous”); McMunn, 869 F.3d 246 at 251, 267 (in action where plaintiffs claimed they developed cancer after being exposed to excessive radiation emissions from uranium, court required expert testimony on how concentrated the uranium was); Redland Soccer Club, Inc. v. Dep't of Army of U.S., 55 F.3d 827, 845 (3d Cir. 1995) (medical monitoring claim, which required proof of significant exposure “to a proven hazardous substance” and the plaintiff “suffer[ing] a significantly increased risk of contracting a serious latent disease, ” required expert testimony). Other Courts of Appeals have come to similar conclusions in dealing with like “exposure cases.”[9]And other District Courts have found expert testimony important in considering exposure issues in a FLSA context.[10]

         Plaintiffs present the following evidence in support of their claim that the “PPE is necessary to protect workers against dangers of drilling.”[11]

• Precision Drilling Company LP's Health, Safety & Environmental Field Reference Manual.[12]
• Deposition testimony and declarations from Precision management and from Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs' co-workers.[13]
• Defendants' Responses to Plaintiffs' Requests for Admissions.[14]
• “Tour sheets, ” “which provide a snap-shot of the rig's daily activity” and “evidence which chemicals were ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.