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Alamo v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

March 9, 2017

MICHAEL ALAMO, EMMETT BRANNEN, WILLIAM BREZENSKI, IVY JIM BRINSON, BRIAN CALDWELL, THOMAS J DEMAJO, III, MARK DEUNGER, SANDRA DEUNGER, DOUGLAS L DILLER, BERNARD J FERMIN, TAMARA GRANDIA, CARL GREGORY, MARK HAHN, LISA ANN HAHN, KIMBERLY HARPER, CRYSTAL HENSLER, JUAN HERNANDEZ, WILLIAM J. JOHNSON, FLOYD JUSTICE, MARGARET KING, GLORIA D. LONG, JIM OCHOA, JAMES G. OOMS, ARTURO RINCONES, THOMAS L. ROBERTS, WARREN F. SCRIBNER, II, BRIAN TINER, CRAIG R. WILCOX, JAMES WILLIS, Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellee

         Appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims in No. 1:13-cv-00211-LKG, Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby.

          Jason I. Weisbrot, Snider & Associates, LLC, Baltimore, MD, argued for plaintiffs-appellants. Also represented by Jacob Y. Statman.

          Emma Bond, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, argued for defendant-appellee. Also represented by Benjamin C. Mizer, Robert E. Kirschman, Jr., Steven J. Gillingham; Rebecca E. Ausprung, Civilian Personnel Branch, United States Army Litigation Division, Washington, DC.

          Before Prost, Chief Judge, Reyna and Hughes, Circuit Judges.

          HUGHES, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Appellants, current and former Army emergency medical technicians and paramedics, appeal the Court of Federal Claims' determination that the government properly compensates them for their regularly scheduled overtime work under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Because we find that the government employs the correct methodology to determine Appellants' pay, we affirm.

         I

         During the relevant period, the Army employed Appellants (EMTs) to provide emergency medical services at Fort Stewart, Liberty, Georgia. Before October 2012, the EMTs were generally scheduled for a compressed schedule consisting of 24 hours on-duty followed by 48 hours off-duty. After October 2012, the EMTs switched to a schedule consisting of two 48-hour workweeks. Because the EMTs worked a schedule of more than 40 hours in one week, they were entitled to FLSA overtime pay. For a typical biweekly pay period, the government compensated the EMTs with (1) basic pay under the Federal Employees Pay Act (also known as Title 5); (2) standby duty premium pay under Title 5; and (3) FLSA overtime pay for regularly scheduled overtime. J.A. 38, 40.[1]

         The EMTs filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims, alleging that the government underpaid them by using an incorrect formula to calculate their FLSA overtime. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The court granted the government's motion and denied the EMTs' motion, finding that no underpayment occurred because the government applied the correct methodology to calculate the EMTs' pay. The EMTs timely appealed, and we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(3).

         II

         "We review the Court of Federal Claims' grant of summary judgment de novo. Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Crooker v. United States, 828 F.3d 1357, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         A

         Under the FLSA, [2] an agency must compensate its overtime-eligible employees "for all hours of work in excess of 8 in a day or 40 in a workweek at a rate equal to one and one-half times the employee's hourly regular rate of pay, " subject to certain exceptions that do not apply here. 5 C.F.R. § 551.501(a); see also 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). If an employee qualifies for FLSA overtime, he or she is entitled to "(1) [t]he straight time rate of pay times all overtime hours worked; plus (2) [o]ne-half times the employee's hourly regular rate of pay times all overtime hours worked." 5 C.F.R. § 551.512(a).

         The first question presented is whether the EMTs receive "the straight time rate of pay times all overtime hours worked" when the government pays them annual premium standby pay in addition to basic pay. We find that they do, and ...


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