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Henchy v. City of Absecon

June 18, 2001

ROBERT HENCHY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF ABSECON, AND CITY OF ABSECON POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



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

HONORABLE JOSEPH E. IRENAS

OPINION

Presently before the Court is Defendants City of Absecon and City of Absecon Police Deparment's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

I.

Plaintiff, City of Absecon Police Officer Robert Henchy, alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendants failed to compensate him for the overtime work he performed in caring for his police dog. Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that: 1) the claim is barred by the statute of limitations; 2) the claim is precluded by the "fair and binding" agreement the parties entered; and 3) Defendants are entitled to the protections of the "Good Faith Immunity" provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 259, 260.

II.

"[S]ummary judgment is proper `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 judgment as a matter of law.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Pollock v. American Tel. & Tel. Long Lines, 794 F.2d 860, 864 (3d Cir. 1986). The role of the court is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).

III.

A. Statute of Limitations

Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claim is time-barred because it was not commenced within the applicable statute of limitations period. Plaintiff counters that the statute of limitations does not bar his claim and that, even if it otherwise would bar his claim, it should be equitably tolled based on Defendant's conduct.

Pursuant to 29 U.S.C.A. § 255(a), an action for unpaid overtime compensation under the FLSA must be "commenced within two years after the cause of action accrued, and every such action shall be forever barred unless commenced within two years after the cause of action accrued, except that a cause of action arising out of a willful violation may be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrued."

"It is well settled that `[a] separate cause of action for overtime compensation accrues at each regular payday immediately following the work period during which the services were rendered and for which the overtime compensation is claimed.'" Mitchell v. Lancaster Milk Co., 185 F. Supp. 66, 70 (M.D. Pa. 1960); see also Balzano v. Township of North Bergen, 649 F. Supp. 807, 810 (D.N.J. 1986); Angulo v. Levy Co., 568 F. Supp. 1209, 1215 (N.D. Il. 1983)(citations omitted); Shandelman v. Schuman, 92 F. Supp. 334, 335 (E.D. Pa. 1950). Thus, Plaintiff's claim "for overtime compensation accrued at each payday after the alleged overtime was worked." Angulo, 568 F. Supp. at 1215. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims for overtime earned within the two years immediately prior to his filing the Complaint on March 12, 2000, are timely. See id.; Shandelman, 92 F. Supp. at 335.

Here, Plaintiff is seeking compensation for overtime earned between December 1996 and December 1999. (Def's Br. at 3 (citations omitted)). At minimum, Plaintiff's claim for overtime earned since March 12, 1998 may proceed. See Angulo, 568 F. Supp. at 1215 (citations omitted); Shandelman, 92 F. Supp. at 335. However, the question becomes whether Plaintiff's claim for overtime accrued from December 1996 through March 12, 1998 are barred by ยง 255. Plaintiff argues that all his claims are timely because either: 1) Defendants' failure to pay overtime was a "continuing violation;" or 2) the statute of limitations was equitably tolled due to Defendants' conduct. (Pl.'s Opp. at 8, 10). While Plaintiff's first ...


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