Case Update: April 16, 2013
We were not able to reach a settlement at mediation in February 2013. We then filed a motion for summary judgment on a narrow issue which we hope the court will grant. Intertek fired the law firm that had been representing them in this litigation. The new law firm is learning the facts and law of the case. The judge said we have to finish all of the discovery/investigation related to the case by October 31, 2013. We are setting up the depositions of Rick Huntly and Jay Gutierrez, the president of Intertek. Intertek will likely depose some of the inspectors who joined the lawsuit.
Case Update: February 19, 2013
On February 14, 2013, we attended a full-day mediation with the lawyers for Intertek and representatives from the company’s higher level management. The purpose of the mediation was to discuss possible settlement of all claims. We did not settle the case.
What will happen next?
We will now proceed with taking the deposition of various high level and midlevel managers of Intertek. We anticipate that Intetek’s attorneys will also want to take the deposition of more inspectors who joined the lawsuit.
After we take these depositions, the parties will likely ask the court to rule in their favor on various legal issues. After the court rules on those issues, we may discuss settlement options with Intertek’s attorneys again.
Case Update: October 30, 2012
The federal judge assigned to our case recently denied Intertek’s effort to eliminate parts of your claim. Intertek filed briefings with the court in an effort to have the court rule on four issues on this case. All of Intertek’s relief was denied by the court. There were two noteworthy aspects of the court’s ruling. First, the court rejected Intertek’s argument that the inspectors’ rights to recover back wages should be limited to only a two-year period because Intertek’s violations of the law, if any, was not “willful.” If an employee can show the violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act was willful, the employee can recover up to three years of back wages. The court denied Intertek’s relief. In particular, the court held: The court finds that a reasonable jury could conclude that, given Defendant’s familiarity with the FLSA and the memorandum from its attorneys, Defendant knew that the amount of the auto allowance must be reasonably approximate the actual cost of expenses incurred, and that Defendant’s failure to determine whether that requirement was satisfied willful conduct. The take away point is that the inspectors may now present their claim for the full three-year period.
Second, the court rejected Intertek's argument that it acted in “good faith.” If Intertek can prove it acted in “good faith,” the court has the discretion to limit the liquidated damage or double damages. The court concluded that Intertek did not carry its burden of showing it acted in good faith. This means that the inspectors’ claim for double damages is still alive.
Case Update: June 22, 2012
UPDATE: Inspectors Win Certification Against Intertek
On June 12, 2012, federal district Judge Sim Lake in Houston, Texas granted the Inspector’s Motion to Conditionally Certify the overtime pay case as a collective action and ordered that Intertek turn over a complete list of employees who meet the following class definition:
“Oil, Gas, and Chemical ("OGC") Inspectors who worked for Intertek USA, Inc. at any of its U.S. locations, were paid on either an hourly or fluctuating workweek basis, received compensation in the form of an auto allowance, mileage reimbursement, or meal allowance that was not part of their gross wages, and worked in excess of forty hours of overall work time in any given workweek at one and-a-half times their regular rate during any week between June 10, 2008, and the present. The class shall also include OGC inspectors who signed a release in the Adeva lawsuit, provided they meet the above requirements and worked at least one week for Intertek USA, Inc. after the date they signed such release.”
The court ordered that a Notice of Lawsuit with Opportunity to Join and Consent to Join Collective Action forms be mailed to all employees who meet the definition above. The Notice of Rights describes the procedure for joining the lawsuit, if inspectors decide to do so. The Notice of Rights and Consent forms should be mailed to the Inspectors around June 29, 2012. The court’s order provides the inspectors 60 days from the date of mailing to join the lawsuit, if they so choose.
If you have any questions, or believe you should have received the notice, but did not, please contact the lead attorney for the inspectors, Galvin Kennedy, at Gkennedy@kennedyhodges.com or by calling 713-523-0001 or toll free at 888-449-2068.
What is the Intertek lawsuit about?
Our firm filed a wage and hour lawsuit on behalf of current and former inspectors for Intertek USA Inc., who were allegedly denied their wages including overtime pay and minimum wage. The clients allege that Intertek’s use of the “fluctuating workweek” does not comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. This lawsuit seeks to recover their overtime wages, liquidated or double damages and attorney’s fees. The lawsuit claims that Intertek permitted its non-exempt inspectors to work over 40 hours per week, but did not compensate them at a rate of one and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours over 40. Many of these employees were working up to 90 hours in a single week.
Who is eligible to join?
This lawsuit seeks collective-action certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If granted, this means all other similarly situated Intertek employees may be able to recover unpaid overtime and minimum wage compensation.
Who is affected?
This lawsuit affects Intertek employees in numerous locations throughout Texas, including but not limited to: Houston, San Antonio, Elmendorf, Plano, Nederland, Baytown, Corpus Christi, Deer Park, Freeport, Pasadena, Texas City, La Porte, Odessa and The Woodlands.
What are you claiming to recover?
The employees seek to recover compensation for minimum wage, their unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, and attorney's fees as required by the FLSA for the past three years before this lawsuit was filed.
Do I have to pay anything?
We are handling this case on a contingency basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement or final judgment. If we make no recovery for you, you owe us nothing. Our firm advances all case expenses and will request reimbursement only in the event we make a recovery in this case.
If you want to speak to one of the attorneys handling this particular case, or if you would like to know more information, send us a contact form or call our office toll-free at 888-449-2068. You can also reach our attorneys handling this case by emailing Don Foty or emailing Galvin Kennedy.
For further information on the case, read our blog post, Texas Inspectors denied overtime - you may be owed money, and view the press release here.
Case Update: March 21, 2012
On March 21, 2012, Judge Lake denied Intertek’s Motion to Dismiss this wage lawsuit. The court ruled: “The court finds that the facts as pleaded by Plaintiffs are sufficient to support a plausible claim for unpaid overtime under the FLSA based on Defendant’s failure to include the auto allowance and meal allowance as part of Plaintiffs’ and others’ gross wages for purposes of determining their hourly and overtime pay rates.”