United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
RICHARDX. YOUNG, JUDGE
Janice Hurrle, was employed as an Office Manager at
Reconstructive Hand to Shoulder of Indiana LLC
(“RHSI”) for many years until she was fired in
April 2015. After her termination, she brought this lawsuit
asserting that Defendants, RHSI and Dr. Michael Pannunzio,
failed to pay her for nearly 600 hours of overtime in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
Defendants now move for summary judgment, arguing, inter
alia, that they had no knowledge of the alleged overtime
until Hurrle filed her Complaint and her claim is based on
guesswork. The court agrees and therefore GRANTS
worked as the Office Manager for RHSI and its previous
corporate form for eleven years before ultimately being
terminated in April 2015. (Filing No. 13, Amended Complaint
¶ 6). She was paid on a salary basis and classified as
exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA.
(Id. ¶ 7; Filing No. 37-4, Deposition of Janice
Office Manager, her duties included preparing a spreadsheet
of the hours that all employees (both salary and hourly) had
worked for each pay period, and then sending that information
to the payroll processor, Root & Associates. (Hurrle Dep.
32:6-25, 33:12-17). Employees provided their hours to Hurrle
by submitting handwritten timesheets. (Id. 33:12-17,
37:2-4). When employees reported overtime, Hurrle would make
a notation in the column on her spreadsheet for overtime.
(Id. 37:5-12). She included overtime hours for other
employees in the payroll spreadsheets, but never reported any
overtime hours for herself. (Id. 93:15-22,
2014, RHSI moved its Carmel office from a building on Old
Meridian Street to an adjacent building on that same street.
(Id. 51:14-20; Filing No. 37-5, Deposition of Dr.
Michael Pannunzio 96:11-17). Hurrle alleges that she worked
overtime hours in connection with the move. (See
Amended Complaint ¶ 11). After the move, she complained
to Dr. Pannunzio that she was not paid for those extra hours.
(Hurrle Dep. 91:1-20). She did not “raise any issue
about other overtime with him at that point.”
(Id. 132:18-22). Except for that one conversation,
Hurrle never complained to anyone, including the physicians
at RHSI or her contact at Root & Associates, about not
receiving overtime compensation. (Id. 93:8-12,
94:7-15). She also never filed a complaint with the U.S.
Department of Labor or the Indiana Department of Labor about
not getting paid overtime. (Id. 93:25-94:6).
Amended Complaint, Hurrle includes a chart detailing the
overtime hours she allegedly worked and was not compensated
for. (See Amended Complaint ¶ 11). This chart
shows a total of 588 unpaid overtime hours, spanning from
April 2012 to April 2015. (Id.). Hurrle estimated
these hours; the chart represents her “best
guess.” (Hurrle Dep. 128:20-23, 129:4-5, 132:7-11). She
does not have any documents, such as a calendar or journal,
that reflect any of the alleged overtime. (Id.
judgment is proper where, construing facts and drawing
inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party, ‘there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.'” Novoselsky v. Brown, 822 F.3d 342,
348-49 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)).
FLSA generally provides that “no employer shall employ
any of his employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty
hours unless” he remits overtime pay at a rate of
“not less than one and one-half times the regular
rate.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). “The employee
bears the burden of proving that she performed overtime work
for which she was not properly compensated.” Kellar
v. Summit Seating Inc., 664 F.3d 169, 173 (7th Cir.
appear to advance six distinct arguments in support of their
motion: (1) they did not have any knowledge of the unpaid
overtime hours until this suit was filed; (2) Hurrle's
chart of unpaid overtime hours is based on guess and
speculation; (3) Hurrle was properly classified as exempt
from overtime as an administrative employee; (4) Dr.
Pannunzio was not her “employer” for purposes of
the FLSA; (5) she is not entitled to a three-year statute of
limitations; and (6) she is not entitled to recover double
liquidated damages. The court considers the first two
arguments in turn, and its resolution of those issues
obviates the need to consider the remaining four.
Whether Defendants Had Actual or Constructive Knowledge of
the Overtime Hours
prevail under the FLSA, Hurrle must show that Defendants had
actual or constructive knowledge of her overtime work. As the
Seventh Circuit explained, “While an employer cannot
slyly sit back in order to reap extra work without pay, it
has no obligation to pay for work it did not know about and
had no reason to know about.” Gaines v. K-Five
Constr. Corp., 742 F.3d 256, 270 (7th Cir. 2014). Put
another way, the FLSA “stops short” of imposing
liability for unpaid overtime on an employer that did not
have the opportunity through reasonable diligence to learn
overtime was being used. Kellar, 664 F.3d at 177.
See 29 U.S.C. § 203(g); 29 C.F.R. §
785.11. An employer does not conclusively demonstrate a lack
of knowledge by simply pointing to an internal rule against
overtime or proving that the employee worked the additional
hours without seeking prior approval. Kellar, 664
F.3d at 177; 29 C.F.R. ...