June 1, 2020

June 01, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 30, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 29, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment Against Individual Defendant Imposing “Employer” Liability on Company Owner

In Landaverde v. Dave Murray Construction & Design, Inc., the Court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs imposing individual liability on the owner of the defendant company under the FLSA. See 15-CV-5379 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 11, 2017). The Court granted liability as against the individual owner of the company and provided a helpful summary of the current state of the law.

Under the FLSA, liability may only attach to an employer, which is defined as “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.” In the Second Circuit, Courts consider the “economic reality” of the situation and evaluate whether the alleged employer: (1) had the power to hire and fire; (2) supervised and controlled work schedules or conditions of employment; (3) determined the rate and method of payment; and (4) maintained employment records. The Court in Landaverde also acknowledged that it was bound to consider whether an individual had “operational control” over the company, as well as the totality of the circumstances. It found each of these factors met, or unopposed, and held the company owner jointly and severally liable for any damages awarded after trial.

Landaverde provides helpful confirmation of the applicable standards for individual liability under the FLSA, which only began to coalesce with some consistency following the Second Circuit’s decision in Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, 722 F.3d 99 (2d Cir. 2013). Landaverde, particularly in contrast to Irizarry, exemplifies the breadth of the FLSA’s reach under the circumstances: In Landaverde, the individually liable defendant was the owner of a small construction company, whereas in Irizarry, the individually liable defendant was the billionaire owner of a chain of supermarkets.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.


About this Author

Brian D. Murphy, Labor and Employment Legal Specialist, Sheppard Mulllin

Brian D. Murphy is an associate in the Labor & Employment practice group in the firm's New York office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Murphy has extensive experience in all areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination and wrongful discharge cases, wage and hour cases, restrictive covenant and non-competition agreements, breach of contact cases, arbitrations and collective bargaining. Mr. Murphy has also focused on class and collective wage and hour litigation in New York and California federal and state courts. He also advises clients on matters...