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Bassett, et al. v. Triton Technologies, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-074-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT.
1684CV03475-BLS2
____________________
LAURA BASSETT, JAMIE ZALINSKAS, ALYSSA WRIGHT, and ALEXIS CRAMER, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated
v.
TRITON TECHNLOGIES, INC., S. JAY NALLI, and ANDREW S. BANK
____________________
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION
The four named plaintiffs used to work for Triton Technologies, Inc., as “inside sales” employees. They assert two distinct claims for unpaid wages. The first claim alleges that Defendants violated the overtime statute, G.L. c. 151A, § 1A, by not paying Plaintiffs time-and-a-half for working more than forty hours per week. The second claim alleges that Defendants violated the Sunday pay law, G.L. c. 136, § 6(50), by not paying Plaintiffs time-and-a-half for working on Sundays.
Plaintiffs have now moved to certify a class consisting of two distinct subclasses—one comprised of sales employees at Triton who have not received time-and-a-half for working more than forty hours in any given week, and another comprised of all sales employees who have not received time-and-a-half for hours worked on a Sunday.
The Court finds that class certification is appropriate because both sub-classes are so numerous that it is not practical to join all class members, there are questions of law or fact that are common to all members of each subclass and that predominate over questions of fact that affect only individual members, the claims of the named Plaintiffs are representative of the claims of each subclass, the named Plaintiffs and their counsel will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class, and a class action would permit the most fair and efficient adjudication of this dispute. See Mass. R. Civ. P. 23.
Although Defendants do not oppose certification of the overtime subclass, they argue that the class should be limited to salespeople who claim to be owed overtime by Triton for work performed after November 13, 2013. Defendants point out that the
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overtime claim is subject to a three-year statute of limitations, see G.L. c. 151, § 20A,1 and this action was filed on November 14, 2016. Plaintiffs agree that it is appropriate to limit the overtime class to this three-year period. The Court will do so.
Defendants do oppose certification of the Sunday subclass. They argue that this claim is subject to a six-month statute of limitations under G.L. c. 136, § 9, and that none of the named Plaintiffs worked for Triton within six months before this lawsuit was filed (i.e. after May 13, 2015). The Court disagrees.
The Sunday claim is not governed by the six-month limitations period invoked by Defendants. That statute provides that “Prosecution for violations of sections two, three, or five [of chapter 136] shall be commenced within six months after the offense was committed.” G.L. c. 136, § 9. This limitations period only governs criminal prosecutions brought against persons who commit one of the crimes set forth in G.L. c. 136, §§ 2, 3, or 5. But this case is not a criminal prosecution, and Plaintiffs do not seek to enforce any part of sections 2, 3, or 5 of chapter 136.
The Sunday claim is actually governed by a three-year limitations period. As the Court explained in a prior decision in this case dated March 6, 2017, Plaintiffs may enforce the Sunday pay law by asserting a cause of action for non-payment of wages under G.L. c. 149, § 150. Cf. Drive-O-Rama, Inc. v. Attorney General, 63 Mass. App. Ct. 769, 769-770 (2005) (failure to pay time and a half for work on legal holidays, as required by G.L. c. 136, § 13, violated the Wage Act). All Wage Act claims, including claims to enforce the Sunday pay law, are governed by the three-year limitations period established in G.L. c. 149, § 150. It appears to be undisputed that each of the named Plaintiffs worked for Triton within three years before this action was filed.
The Court will certify the Sunday pay class but limit it to the applicable three-year statutory limitations period.
1 The limitations period for overtime claims used to be two years, but § 20A was amended effective November 18, 2014, to extent that period to three years. See St. 2014, c, 292, §§ 3, 4.
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ORDER
Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification is ALLOWED IN PART. The Court hereby certifies a class of plaintiffs that shall consist of the following two subclasses: (1) all sales employees of Triton Technologies, Inc., who did not receive compensation equal to one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all of the hours that they worked in excess of forty house during any week at any time after November 13, 2013; (2) all sales employees of Triton Technologies, Inc., who did not receive compensation equal to one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all of the hours that the worked on a Sunday at any time after November 13, 2013.
June 13, 2017
___________________________
Kenneth W. Salinger
Justice of the Superior Court read more

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 16, 2017 at 12:47 am

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