District Court Grants Class Certification And Partial Summary Judgment for Riverbay Employees

On August 1, 2014, Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York issued two decisions in the ongoing collective and class action entitled Ramirez, et. al v. Riverbay Corp., et. ano, 13 CV 2367 (JGK)(GWG).  In the first ruling, Judge Koeltl granted class certification pursuant to Federal Rule 23 on behalf of all current and former hourly employees of RiverBay Corporation ("RiverBay") who were employed at any time since April 9, 2007 ("RiverBay Hourly Employees") and who were allegedly 1) subjected to a schedule based pay system; 2) accepted compensatory time in lieu of overtime compensation in cash; and/or 3) earned nighttime premium pay that was not properly calculated into overtime payments. As a result of this ruling, the case may now proceed to trial as a class action on behalf of approximately 1700 current and former hourly paid RiverBay Hourly Employees. A notice advising employees of their rights and options will be mailed to class members within the next 1-2 months.

In an accompanying decision, Judge Koeltl granted summary judgment on behalf of two RiverBay Hourly Employees who received compensatory ("comp") time in lieu of cash overtime payments.  In his decision, Judge Koeltl ruled that "…payment of comp time in lieu of cash overtime [is] unlawful – at least in the context of private-sector employment." This means RiverBay Hourly Employees who received comp time for hours worked in excess of 40 per week should have been paid in cash for that time rather than receive comp hours. In the same decision, Judge Koeltl denied Defendants' motion to dismiss RiverBay's Director of Finance, Peter Merola, as a defendant in the action. The Court opined that Mr. Merola may be considered an "employer" under relevant state and federal labor law, and, as such, can be held individually liable for damages owed to employees. 

The above represent summaries of Judge Koeltl's rulings, which you may access at unpaidwageblog.com. If you have any questions about the case or how these two decisions affect your rights as a class member, please contact Brett Gallaway, Esq. or Wade Wilkinson, Esq. at McLaughlin & Stern, LLP at 212-448-1100.

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