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Vail v. Kopper Crest Manor On Harris LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 3, 2019

Michael Vail, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Kopper Crest Manor on Harris LLC, et al., Defendants. Kopper Crest Manor on Harris LLC and Debera L. Kopp, Counterclaimants,
v.
Michael Vail and Sarah Gulley, Counterdefendants.

          ORDER

          G. MURRAY SNOW, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment of Plaintiffs Michael Vail and Sarah Gulley (Doc. 54). Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their own claims as well as the counterclaim of Defendant Debera L. Kopp. For the following reasons the motion is granted.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         Debera Kopp is the sole owner of Kopper Crest Manor on Harris LLC, a care center for the elderly. Michael Vail and Sarah Gulley allege that they were full-time employees of Ms. Kopp's company. They allege that they performed a total of 219 hours of work for the company between December 29, 2017 and February 9, 2018 but were not compensated in any way. Vail and Gulley filed this action against both Ms. Kopp and Kopper Crest Manor LLC, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Arizona Minimum Wage Statute, and the Arizona Wage Statute. Ms. Kopp brought a counterclaim that included a single count of “civil conversion/theft.” (Doc. 25 at 16.)

         On December 4, 2018, Plaintiffs served their First Set of Requests for Admissions (“RFAs”). A telephonic hearing was later held before the Court on February 8, 2019, during which Ms. Kopp avowed that the email address to which the RFAs were sent had been hacked and that she had not received them, either through email or physical mail. Ms. Kopp stated that she had “changed [her] email.” (Doc. 66 at 5.)

         Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment on their claims and on Ms. Kopp's counterclaim. They contend that Ms. Kopp failed to respond to the RFAs, and she is therefore deemed as having admitted the statements in the RFAs. Plaintiffs' Motion relies on those admissions to show that there are no disputes of material fact and that they are entitled to summary judgment.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         A principal purpose of summary judgment is to identify factually unsupported claims and dispose of them. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows “that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit will preclude the entry of summary judgment, and the disputed evidence must be “such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Parties opposing summary judgment are then required to “cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record” that either establish a genuine dispute or “show[] that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(c)(1). If the non-moving party's opposition fails to do so, the court is not required to comb through the record on its own to come up with reasons to deny a motion for summary judgment. Carmen v. S.F. Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Forsberg v. Pacific N.W. Bell Tel. Co., 840 F.2d 1409, 1418 (9th Cir. 1988)).

         II. Analysis

         Plaintiffs' motion hinges on whether Ms. Kopp admitted the statements contained in the RFAs. As explained in the Court's prior order, Ms. Kopp is deemed to have done so. That being the case, she has admitted almost all of the elements required to prove Plaintiffs claims against her, and Plaintiffs are entitled to judgment in their favor on their FLSA claim and their two Arizona state law claims. Similarly, Ms. Kopp is deemed to have admitted facts that demonstrate that Plaintiffs are entitled to judgment in their favor on Kopp's counterclaim.

         A. Plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their FLSA claim.

         The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates the payment of a minimum wage for work performed. See 29 U.S.C. § 206; Probert v. Family Centered Services of Alaska, Inc., 651 F.3d 1007, 1009 (9th Cir. 2011). “An FLSA claim has three elements: . . . (1) plaintiff was employed by defendant during the relevant period; (2) plaintiff was a covered employee; and (3) the defendant failed to pay plaintiff minimum wage and/or overtime pay.” Quinonez v. ...


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