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UNITED TRANSP. UNION v. ORANGE NEWARK ELIZABETH

August 22, 2000

UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION LOCAL 759, JOSEPH FRIERSON, GEORGE SERVICE, A. MERCEDAT, W. MILLS, M. ACEVEDO, RONALD HAMPTON, J. SHERMAN, NORMA CHANCEY, E. ACEVEDO, BLAIR OLDS, MALLEY SHAW, CALVIN BURRIS, T. RODRIGUEZ, LUIS G. LUGARDO, L. DEBREAUX, NELSON MANZANO, J. SPANN, L. GLENN, L. HINTON, KEVIN SMITH, E. ANDERSON, D. PIERRE, ELOIS ANDERSON, LEROY GLENN, GREGORY MORRISON, CHARLES SMITH, Q. DANIEL, L. CHARLES, EUGENE VICK, K. THORPE, E. RODRIGUEZ, J. BENIOT, W. HUGHES, I. CULVER, E. GLOVER, C. FRANCOIS, J. MICKENS, C. SMITH, R. WHITMORE, C. HAYES, L.A. LUGARDO, E. GLADDEN, J. LOGAN, E. FELDER, Z. SHIVERS, G. SUTTON, I. ROSA, F. CHONG, E. BOWEN, W. BLAND, L. LIGHTSEY, G. LOAIZA, D. FULLARD, A. JONES, J. GABRIEL, H. SHEPARD, F. JAMES, J. HENRY, R. JOHNSON, P. TAMBA, R. FUNNYE, J. LOPERENA, EMISLAIR ROSALVA, N. JACKSON, C. HALL, R. CAMRON, J. HENDERSON, C. SMALL, S. BAILEY, M. PEMBERTON, M. WASHINGTON, AND SIMILARLY SITUATED BUS DRIVERS, 14600 DETROIT AVENUE, CLEVELAND, OHIO 44107, PLAINTIFFS,
V.
ORANGE NEWARK ELIZABETH BUS, INC., D/B/A ONE BUS COMPANY, 889 FRELINGHUYSEN AVENUE, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY 07114, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hochberg, District Judge.

OPINION

Plaintiffs, United Transportation Union Local 759 and individual employees of Defendant. Orange Newark Elizabeth Bus, Inc., d/b/a ONE Bus Company ("ONE Bus"), filed a complaint on July 27, 1998, alleging that ONE Bus failed to pay them overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. On May 25, 1999, this Court denied ONE Bus' motion to dismiss without reaching the merits of the case. The instant action comes before this court on cross motions for summary judgment. This Court has reviewed the submissions of the parties without oral argument, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78. For the reasons stated below. Defendant ONE Bus' motion for summary judgment is granted, and Plaintiffs' summary judgement motion is denied.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiffs are current or former bus drivers for ONE Bus. ONE Bus is a private corporation headquartered in Newark, New Jersey. ONE Bus operates local passenger bus routes in Orange, Newark, and Elizabeth, New Jersey. ONE Bus operates only in New Jersey. ONE Bus transports passengers to train stations and other bus companies' routes, which provide service outside of New Jersey to points in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and New England. ONE Bus has not paid Plaintiff bus drivers over-time, at a rate not less than one and one-half the regular rate at which they were employed, for time worked in excess of forty hours in a week.

Since 1987, ONE Bus has participated in the New Jersey Transit Bus Card Program, which includes the Interstate Bus Pass system. This is a ticketing arrangement by which individuals boarding ONE Bus company buses may use the same bus pass for a ride on another carriers' interstate bus traveling to New York. ONE Bus also participates in the New Jersey Transit "Feeder Fare" program, where New Jersey Transit passes may be used for both interstate rail transportation and a discounted fare on ONE Bus.

On July 27, 1998, Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court, alleging a violation of the overtime provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). In response, Defendant ONE Bus contends that it is exempt from the overtime provisions codified at 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1), because it is covered by DOT regulations, pursuant to Section 204 of the MCSA.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Rule 56(c), a motion for summary judgement will be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgement as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In other words, "[s]ummary judgement may be granted only if there exists no genuine issue of material fact that would permit a reasonable jury to find for the nonmoving party." Miller v. Indiana Hosp., 843 F.2d 139, 143 (3d Cir. 1988). All facts and inferences must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Peters v. Delaware River Port Auth., 16 F.3d 1346, 1349 (3d Cir. 1994).

Substantive law controls the inquiry into which facts are "material." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. An issue is "genuine" if a reasonable jury could decide the issue in the nonmovant's favor. Id. Thus, "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id.; accord Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)).

At the summary judgement stage, this Court neither weighs the evidence nor makes credibility determinations; these tasks are the sole responsibility of the factfinder. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505. Therefore, to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact, the summary judgement opponent need not produce evidence so strong that a decision in its favor is mandated. Rather, the party opposing summary judgment must adduce "evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [nonmovant]." Id. at 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505. "The mere existence of a scintilla of existence in support of the [nonmovant's] position will be insufficient." Id.; see also In re Headquarters Dodge v. General Motors Corp., 13 F.3d 674, 679 (3d Cir. 1993). "Speculation and conclusory allegations do not satisfy this duty." Ridgewood Bd. of Educ., 172 F.3d at 252 (citing Groman v. Township of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995)).

It is clear that if a moving party satisfies its initial burden of establishing a prima facie case for summary judgment, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348. Instead, "[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no `genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348 ...


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