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Raposo v. Garelick Farms, LLC (D. Mass. 2013)

Raposo v. Garelick Farms, LLC (D. Mass. 2013)

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Published by Molly DiBianca
Denying certification of FLSA class for unpaid meal breaks based on auto-deduct policy.
Denying certification of FLSA class for unpaid meal breaks based on auto-deduct policy.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Molly DiBianca on Aug 02, 2013
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08/27/2013

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United States District CourtDistrict of Massachusetts ________________________________  WALTER RAPOSO, JOSEPH MINGOLLA,Plaintiffs,v.GARELICK FARMS, LLC,Defendant. ________________________________ )))))Civil Action No.)11-11943-NMG))) MEMORANDUM & ORDER GORTON, J.
Plaintiffs Walter Raposo and Joseph Mingolla (“plaintiffs”)are former truck drivers for defendant Garelick Farms, LLC(“defendant” or “Garelick”), a dairy distribution business.Plaintiffs' claims, on their own behalf and on behalf of otherssimilarly situated, arise from Garelick's policy of automaticallydeducting 30 minutes from drivers' time cards for mandatory,unpaid meal breaks. The drivers allege that they are owedcompensation for unpaid meal breaks which they did not takebecause, in order to meet work requirements, they were frequentlyforced to work through meal breaks without compensation.Plaintiffs also claim that even if drivers take their 30-minutebreak, the restrictions Garelick imposes on where and how suchbreaks must be taken render that time compensable.
I.Backgroun
The defendant dairy distribution company operates facilities
Case 1:11-cv-11943-NMG Document 69 Filed 07/11/13 Page 1 of 14
 
-2-in Franklin and Lynn, Massachusetts. Both plaintiffs wereemployed as delivery truck drivers at the Franklin facility.Garelick company policy provides that delivery drivers areto be afforded two, paid 15-minute breaks and one, unpaid30-minute meal break during each six-hour shift. AlthoughGarelick requires that all drivers take the unpaid meal break,drivers have complete discretion as to when during their shiftthey take their meal breaks. Accordingly, when and how a drivertakes his meal break varies significantly from driver to driver.Plaintiffs allege that Garelick automatically deducts 30minutes of time from a truck driver's time card regardless ofwhether the driver actually takes the meal break. They suggestthat Garelick is able to confirm whether a driver took his breakthrough XATANET, a program used by Garelick for tracking truckmovements and other metrics, planning routes and complying withDepartment of Transportation safety regulations. Garelicksupervisors encourage drivers to record all breaks and otherdelays that occur during their shifts in XATANET, although breaksoften go unrecorded or are recorded incorrectly.Each Garelick facility has its own break policy. Forexample, a driver at the Franklin facility may divide his dailyallotment of 60 minutes of break time into increments of anylength. The Lynn facility, however, prohibits a driver fromcombining his two 15-minute breaks with his 30-minute meal break
Case 1:11-cv-11943-NMG Document 69 Filed 07/11/13 Page 2 of 14
 
Subsequent to the filing of this lawsuit, Garelick formalized this
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process so that a driver must complete a written waiver form if he fails totake a break.
-3-and also encourages drivers to separate their breaks by at least90 minutes of work time. The Franklin facility requests thatdrivers keep their vehicles within sight when parked for mealbreaks. The Lynn facility has no similar policy, although bothfacilities expect drivers not to go “off route” by more than fiveor ten miles to take meal breaks.Prior to this action, a Franklin facility driver who did nottake his meal break during a particular shift was instructed tocommunicate with his supervisor in order to ensure that he wasproperly compensated for that time. Lynn facility drivers who
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were unable to take their breaks were also told to communicatewith their supervisors, who would then review the driver's routeand, if warranted, allow the driver to take extra break timelater in the week.
II.Procedural History
Plaintiff Walter Raposo filed a class-action complaint inthe Massachusetts Superior Court for Norfolk County in September,2011. In November, 2011, Garelick removed the case to this Courtand shortly thereafter moved to dismiss. In response, plaintiffsfiled an Amended Complaint in December, 2011, in which JosephMingolla was added as a named plaintiff. In their AmendedComplaint plaintiffs allege that Garelick 1) failed to pay wages
Case 1:11-cv-11943-NMG Document 69 Filed 07/11/13 Page 3 of 14

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