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Collar v. Abalux Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

July 17, 2018

JESUS LAZARO COLLAR, and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ABALUX, INC., JUAN D. CABRAL, Defendants-Appellees.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:16-cv-20872-JAL

          Before WILLIAM PRYOR, HULL, and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges.

          WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

         Jesus Collar appeals the summary judgment in favor of his former employer, Abalux, Inc., and its owner, Juan Cabral, and against Collar's complaint for unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). The district court ruled that Collar's employment in 2015 was not covered under the Act because Abalux had less than $500, 000 in annual gross sales. See id. § 203(s)(1)(A)(ii). Collar challenges that ruling, the denial of his motion to expand discovery, and the striking of his notice accepting an offer of judgment four days after the district court entered its final judgment. We affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Abalux, a small printing company in Hialeah, Florida, creates and installs signs, banners, and vehicle wraps and sells sign-making materials to other businesses. Abalux employed Collar between August 2013 and January 2016 to make and install signs. During 2015, Collar worked more than 40 hours during several weeks for which he was not paid overtime wages.

         Collar sued Abalux and its owner, Cabral, for unpaid overtime compensation, and Abalux defended on the ground that Collar's employment was not covered under the Act. During discovery, Abalux produced its tax returns, bookkeeping registers, and other business records. The tax returns reported that Abalux had gross sales of $487, 007 in 2014, $489, 019 in 2015, and $445, 727 in 2016. On its bookkeeping registers, Abalux recorded gross receipts, which include sales tax, permit-fee reimbursements, and other sums not attributable to sales, of $493, 817.46 in 2014, $505, 973.33 in 2015, and $457, 367.44 in 2016. A declaration by Michelle Marcos, the office administrator for Abalux, established that the company used a cash basis of accounting and operated on a calendar year. Marcos also declared that, in 2015, Abalux had reported to the State of Florida that it collected $10, 467.96 in state sales tax, $6, 255.88 of which was attributable to its retail sales.

         The parties reached an impasse about expanding discovery and filed a joint motion for a hearing, which a magistrate judge granted. After the hearing, the magistrate judge limited additional discovery to the calendar year 2015 and instructed Abalux to produce a list of its sales and copies of its invoices for orders placed in 2015 for which it received payment in 2016 and to produce copies of bank records and business records showing how much money it received in 2016 for sales it made in 2015. Collar moved the district court to grant him additional discovery, but the district court denied his motion.

         Collar moved for partial summary judgment for overtime wages for 2015, and Abalux moved for summary judgment. On January 17, 2018, Abalux served Collar with an offer of judgment, but on January 22, 2018, the district court denied Collar's motion for partial summary judgment and entered summary judgment in favor of Abalux. That same day, the district court also entered final judgment in favor of Abalux and Cabral. Four days later, on January 26, 2018, Collar filed a notice accepting the offer of judgment, which Abalux opposed. The district court struck Collar's notice. Collar moved for postjudgment relief, and the district court denied his motion.

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         Two standards of review govern this appeal. We review a summary judgment de novo and view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1314 (11th Cir. 2011). We review the denial of a motion to expand discovery for abuse of discretion. Id. at 1306. "A district court has sound discretion whether to alter or amend a judgment pursuant to a motion for reconsideration, and its decision will only be reversed if it abused that discretion." Wilchombe v. TeeVee Toons, Inc., 555 F.3d 949, 957 (11th Cir. 2009).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Collar challenges the judgment against him on three grounds. First, he argues that his employment was covered by the Act because Abalux had more than $500, 000 in annual gross sales in 2015. Second, Collar argues that he was entitled to additional discovery. Third, Collar argues that the district court should have entered judgment against Abalux after he accepted its offer of judgment. We address each of these arguments in turn.

          A. The District Court Did Not Err by Entering Summary ...


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