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Manuele v. City of Springfield

June 10, 2010

ANTHONY MANUELE, STEPHEN LOGUE, JOE GREER, ARTHUR LAWSON, HARVEY RICHARDS, AND PETER WILFORD, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott United States District Judge

OPINION

JEANNE E. SCOTT, U.S. District Judge

This cause is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Motion) (d/e 34) and Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (Memorandum) (d/e 34-1) filed by the City of Springfield, Illinois (City). Plaintiffs Anthony Manuele, Stephen Logue, Joe Greer, Arthur Lawson, Harvey Richards, and Peter Wilford have filed The Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Response) (d/e 36), and Defendant has filed Defendant's Reply to Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Reply) (d/e 39).

This matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the reasons described below, Defendant's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

APPLICABLE LAW

A motion for summary judgment must be granted "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show 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)(2); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Herman v. Nat'l Broadcasting Co., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984). Once the moving party has produced evidence showing that it is entitled to summary judgment, the non-moving party must present evidence to show that issues of fact remain. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). A court properly enters summary judgment "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; see McKenzie v. Ill. Dept. of Transp., 92 F.3d 473, 479 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Celotex). The court does not resolve disputed factual issues, but rather determines whether "there is a genuine issue for trial." Blaguss Travel Intern. v. Musical Heritage Intern., 833 F.Supp. 708, 710 (N.D. Ill. 1993).

To successfully oppose a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must do more than raise a "metaphysical doubt" as to the material facts. See Zenith, 475 U.S. at 586. Instead, he must present "specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2); Zenith, 475 U.S. at 587 (emphasis omitted). There is not a genuine issue for trial if "the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party . . . ." Zenith, 475 U.S. at 587.

FACTS

At all relevant times, Plaintiffs were employed by the City and worked in its Public Works Department (Department), which is run by Director K. Michael Norris. The Department is responsible for constructing, repairing, and maintaining roadways within the City's boundaries. Manuele, Logue, and Lawson were division/zone managers; Greer was an assistant superintendent; and Richards and Wilford were lead foremen. According to Norris, Plaintiffs Manuele, Logue, Greer, and Lawson were salaried employees who earned more than $455 per week. Motion, Ex. 1, Affidavit of K. Michael Norris, ¶ 3.

From at least 2003 until the late summer of 2007, Plaintiffs believed that they were required by the Department to attend fifteen-minute meetings before their respective shifts began. During these meetings, a supervisor would discuss issues that needed to be addressed within the City. On September 4, 2007, Director Norris sent a memo to Plaintiffs instructing them that they should no longer attend the fifteen-minute meetings. Motion, Ex. 4, Memorandum of September 4, 2007, p. 1 of 116. These fifteen-minute meetings form the basis of this lawsuit. Plaintiffs contend that the meetings caused them to work more than forty hours per week, and that they are therefore entitled to overtime compensation for the time they spent at the meetings under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.

I. LAWSON

Lawson began working as a division/zone manager in the Department in 2003. He was responsible for Wards 5 and 7 within the City.*fn1 As part of his job, Lawson drafted service-requests or work orders for sidewalk and pothole repairs. Lawson would drive around his Wards, looking for potholes, fallen branches, and other such problems. Lawson testified that he was not responsible for correcting or supervising correction of these problems; instead, he filled out service orders requesting work crews to fix the problems. Motion, Ex. 5, Deposition of Arthur Lawson (Lawson Dep.), 25:20-23. However, Plaintiff Richards testified that division/zone managers like Lawson would occasionally supervise and direct the repair crews. Motion, Ex. 9, Deposition of Harvey Richards (Richards Dep.), 20:10-20.

Lawson attended neighborhood association meetings within Wards 5 and 7 to hear residents' concerns about sidewalks, potholes, and drainage issues. Lawson also worked with Aldermen Cimarossa and Cahnman to resolve sidewalk, pothole, and drainage issues within Wards 5 and 7. When a resident or Alderman brought a problem to Lawson's attention, he would go out and look at it. Lawson Dep., 8:16-21; 19:24-20:1. In addition to these tasks, Lawson testified at his deposition that he supervised a snow-removal crew to make certain that the crew satisfactorily removed snow from routes within a specific area of the City. Lawson Dep., 22:5-23:5. Each evening, Lawson would complete a report explaining what he had accomplished during the day.

Lawson's shift was scheduled to begin at either 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m., depending on the season. However, due to the fifteen-minute pre-shift meetings that form the basis of this lawsuit, he actually began working at either 5:45 a.m. or 6:45 a.m. Lawson does not remember when Director Norris sent out the memo informing Lawson that his attendance at the fifteen-minute meeting was no longer mandatory. Lawson took a twenty-to thirty-minute lunch break most days, but was required to have his cellular telephone turned on and on his person at all times. Response, Ex. 5, Affidavit of Arthur Lawson (Lawson Affidavit), ¶¶ 7-8. Lawson stated that he was reprimanded by Dennis McDaniels, the Department's superintendent, for using his lunch break to "engage in other activities which [he] would normally do on [his] free time." Lawson Affidavit, ¶ 10. McDaniels disputes this assertion. Reply, Ex. 1, Affidavit of Dennis McDaniels (McDaniels Affidavit), ¶¶ 4-6. Lawson stated that he was required to keep track of his hours, and that the City compensated him on an hourly basis. Lawson Affidavit, ¶ 4.

On occasion, Lawson worked more than forty hours per week, such as when he was responsible for snow removal, or when he had to attend neighborhood association meetings. Lawson requested "straight time" compensation for working more than forty hours per week; he did not request cash payment for those additional hours. Lawson Dep., 21:7-20. The job description for a division/zone manager states that the position is FLSA exempt. Motion, Ex. 3, City of Springfield Job Description, p. 137 of 141.

II. LOGUE

Logue began working for the Department in 2003 as an assistant superintendent of public works. He reported to Dennis McDaniels. Most recently, Logue worked as a division/zone manager until he left the City's employ in late June 2009. At all relevant times, Logue's shifts and work responsibilities as a division/zone manager were the same as Lawson's, but Logue was assigned to Wards 1 and 4. Logue testified that he would evaluate problems that citizens and Aldermen brought to his attention, and determine when and how they needed to be resolved. Motion, Ex. 6, Deposition of Stephen Logue (Logue Dep.), 26:15-24. Logue stated that the only time he worked in a supervisory capacity in his job as division/zone manager was when he was in charge of a snow removal crew. Logue Dep., 36:4-13.

Logue testified that he took a lunch break most days, and that the breaks ranged from twenty to forty-five minutes. Logue Dep., 41:12-15. Logue assumed that his lunch break was paid. Logue was required to have his cellular telephone on his person at all times during his lunch break, in case something came up. Response, Ex. 3, Affidavit of Stephen Logue (Logue Affidavit), ¶ 8. Logue also stated that on most days he had lunch with Greer, his supervisor, and that the two discussed work-related issues during lunch. Logue Affidavit, ¶ 9. Two to three times during the week, Logue took a morning break to get coffee; these breaks lasted between two and fifteen minutes. He sometimes got coffee with Joe Greer. Logue also attended the fifteen-minute pre-shift meetings.

Logue testified that he frequently worked more than forty hours per week because he attended neighborhood cleanups on Saturdays. He also worked more than forty hours per week during the tornado cleanup and when there was a lot of snow that needed to be removed. Logue Dep., 47:2- 6. Like Lawson, Logue requested compensatory time for occasions when he worked more than forty hours per week. Logue Dep., 47:15-22.

III. MANUELE

Manuele was also a division/zone manager in the Department at all relevant times. His duties were identical to those performed by Lawson and Logue, except that Manuele was responsible for Wards 8 and 10. For example, when a problem with a sidewalk was brought to Manuele's attention, he would examine the issue, determine whether it needed immediate attention, and generate a work order so that the proper crew could rectify the problem. Motion, Ex. 8, Deposition of Anthony Manuele (Manuele Dep.), 8:19-9:8. In February 2006, Manuele, at the request of his supervisor, generated a disciplinary report on men working in his snow-removal crew. Manuele Dep., 38:15-39:11. On another occasion, ...


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