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DeVito, et al. v. Longwood Security Services, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-169-16)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION No. 2013-01724 BLS 1 DEAN DEVITO, JASON OLIVIERA, ALEX VELAZQUEZ, individually, and on behalf of a class vs. LONGWOOD SECURITY SERVICES, INC. and JOHN T. CONNELLY MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT and TO DECERTIFY THE CLASS On June 17, 2015, this court (Frison, J.) certified a class of plaintiffs consisting of security officers employed, currently or in the immediate past, by defendant, Longwood Security Services. The principal claim of plaintiffs and the class is that Longwood failed to pay them in full for wages earned. The claim is brought under the Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, § 148. Briefly stated, the claim is that for each eight hour shift, thirty minutes were deemed to be a meal break. Longwood did not include in the employees’ hours worked the thirty minutes per shift for the unpaid meal break. Plaintiffs claim that the thirty minutes should be compensated as wages earned because they remained on duty during the meal breaks. The issue presented by these motions is what legal standard should be applied to determine whether the thirty minute meal break is compensable working time. Both sides agree that the issue is one that no Massachusetts appellate court has addressed. Longwood contends that the test for compensation should be whether the employee’s meal break time was spent 1 predominantly for the benefit of the employer (the “predominant test”). Plaintiffs, on the other hand, contend that the test for compensation should be whether the employee was relieved of all duties (the “relief from duties test”) during the meal break. Based upon Longwood’s view that the predominant test is applicable, it moves for summary judgment and decertification of the class. BACKGROUND The parties’ Joint Statement of Material Facts (“SMF”) does not comply with Superior Court Rule 9A. Instead of precise statements of undisputed fact, the SMF consists of broad, argumentative statements of position and equally argumentative responses. Of the 82 numbered paragraphs in the SMF, the vast majority are disputed, denied or qualified by the party opposing the statement. On that basis alone, the court could conclude that because of the disputes over material facts summary judgment should be denied. In fact, this court in two previous rulings denied the parties’ attempts to obtain summary judgment. Nevertheless, the parties persuasively presented at oral argument that it would aid resolution of the case, and would be necessary in any event for the trial of the case, for the court to determine which test for compensable time should be applied to plaintiffs’ claims under Massachusetts law. Longwood provides private security services at numerous locations, such as housing developments, hospitals and colleges. Longwood employed […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 4, 2017 at 2:16 am

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