United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER having come before the Court upon defendants
Best Food In Town I, LLC, Jian Lin Chen, and Lin Yan
Zhao's (“Defendants”) motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons set forth in the opinion below,
Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
Ming Zheng (“Plaintiff”) alleges violations of
the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New
Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”) stemming from
his employment with Defendants. See Compl. He was a
salaried employee and worked as a kitchen helper for
Defendants with a set monthly wage. His duties included
washing and cutting vegetables, frying and cooking rice,
preparing meat, and cleaning. His employment with Best Food
in Town ended by May 2015.
asserts that Defendants engaged in a widespread pattern and
practice of failing to pay employees, including Plaintiff,
statutorily-mandated minimum wage and overtime compensation.
He now demands (1) compensation for wages paid at less than
the statutory minimum wage; (2) unpaid overtime compensation;
(3) liquidated damages; (4) pre-judgment and post-judgment
interest; and (5) attorney fees and costs.
Summary Judgment Standard
court should grant a motion for summary judgment when the
moving party “shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An
issue is “material” to the dispute if it could
alter the outcome, and a dispute of a material fact is
“genuine” if “a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the non-moving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986); Matsushida Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (“Where the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine
issue for trial.'”) (quoting First National
Bank of Arizona v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289
(1968)). In deciding whether there is any genuine issue for
trial, the court is not to weigh evidence or decide issues of
fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Because fact and
credibility determinations are for the jury, the non-moving
party's evidence is to be believed and ambiguities
construed in her favor. Id. at 255;
Matsushida, 475 U.S. at 587.
the movant bears the burden of demonstrating that there is no
genuine issue of material fact, the non-movant likewise must
present more than mere allegations or denials to successfully
oppose summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.
The nonmoving party must at least present probative evidence
from which jury might return a verdict in his favor.
Id. at 257. The movant is entitled to summary
judgment where the non-moving party 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
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
FLSA Is Inapplicable Because Defendants' Business Grossed
Under $500, 000 per year.
order to sustain a suit under the FLSA for minimum wage or
overtime violations, the employee must work for an enterprise
or business that “has employees engaged in
commerce or in the production of goods for
commerce, or that has employees handling, selling, or
otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved
in or produced for commerce by any person.” 29 U.S.C.
§ 203(s)(1)(a). This enterprise must have annual gross
sales or business “not less than $500, 000.”
have submitted individual and corporate tax returns to
support their argument that their business does not reach
this threshold. These include tax returns from 2013, 2014,
and 2015; Defendants' gross corporate annual revenue
ranged from $385, 420 to $428, 856. Plaintiff contends that
Defendants' income tax records do not account for the
entirety of Best Food in Town's sales. Plaintiff alleges
unreported cash sales-in short, Plaintiff's only evidence
is an assertion of tax fraud.
evidential shortcoming is fatal. In order to survive a
summary judgment proceeding, the non-moving party must at
least present probative evidence from which a reasonable jury
might return a verdict in his favor. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 257. Here, Plaintiff has merely made an assertion. As
such, there is no genuine issue of fact with respect ...