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Adeel Tahir, Individually and On Behalf v. Avis Budget Group

March 23, 2011

ADEEL TAHIR, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF
OF A CLASS OF OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AVIS BUDGET GROUP, INC., AVIS
BUDGET CAR RENTAL, LLC AND AVIS
RENT A CAR SYSTEM, LLC, DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). Plaintiff has opposed the motion. The Court has opted to rule based on the papers submitted and without oral argument, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will deny Defendants' motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Adeel Tahir is employed by Defendant Avis Budget Car Rental as an Airport Manager B at Defendants' car rental counters at Dulles International Aiport ("Dulles"). The crux of this Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") is that Tahir has been misclassified as an exempt employee under the statute and therefore not paid the overtime compensation to which employees covered by FLSA are entitled. In relevant part, FLSA provides that any person employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity is exempt from the statute's overtime compensation requirement. 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1). The employer bears the burden of proof to establish that an employee is exempt from FLSA. Idaho Sheet Metal Works, Inc. v. Wirtz, 383 U.S. 190 (1966); Pignataro v. Port Auth. of N.Y. and N.J., 593 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2010). Defendants have argued on this motion for summary judgment that the record establishes, as a matter of law, that Tahir is subject to the executive exemption and/or the administrative exemption. The Court, however, finds that Plaintiff has raised genuine issues of material fact as to whether he fits into either exempted category of employee.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Summary Judgment Standard

To prevail a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the moving party must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the evidence establishes the moving party's entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-movant, and it is material if, under the substantive law, it would affect the outcome of the suit. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "In considering a motion for summary judgment, a district court may not make credibility determinations or engage in any weighing of the evidence; instead, the non-moving party's evidence 'is to be believed and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.'" Marino v. Indus. Crating Co., 358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).

In this case, Defendants bear the burden of proof at trial as to whether Plaintiff fits into one of the FLSA exemptions. "When the moving party has the burden of proof at trial, that party must show affirmatively the absence of a genuine issue of material fact: it must show that, on all the essential elements of its case on which it bears the burden of proof at trial, no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party." In re Bressman, 327 F.3d 229, 238 (3d Cir. 2003) (quoting United States v. Four Parcels of Real Property, 941 F.2d 1428, 1438 (11th Cir. 1991)).

Once the moving party has satisfied its initial burden, the party opposing the motion must establish that a genuine issue as to a material fact exists. Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Lacey Township, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109 (3d Cir. 1985). The party opposing the motion for summary judgment cannot rest on mere allegations and instead must present actual evidence that creates a genuine issue as to a material fact for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Siegel Transfer, Inc. v. Carrier Express, Inc., 54 F.3d 1125, 1130-31 (3d Cir. 1995). "[U]nsupported allegations . . . and pleadings are insufficient to repel summary judgment." Schoch v. First Fid. Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990). "A nonmoving party has created a genuine issue of material fact if it has provided sufficient evidence to allow a jury to find in its favor at trial." Gleason v. Norwest Mortg., Inc., 243 F.3d 130, 138 (3d Cir. 2001).

B. Executive Employee Exemption

To demonstrate that Plaintiff qualifies as an exempt executive, Defendants must establish that Plaintiff satisfies the four criteria set forth in 29 C.F.R. § 541.100(a). An executive employee is one that is:

1) Compensated on a salary basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week . . . exclusive of board, lodging or other facilities;

(2) Whose primary duty is management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized ...


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