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Llorca v. Sheriff, Collier County, Florida

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

June 27, 2018

CARLO LLORCA, an individual, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SHERIFF, COLLIER COUNTY, FLORIDA, Defendant-Appellee. KEVIN CALDERONE, an individual, GEORGE SCHWING, an individual, MICHAEL ZALESKI, an individual, and SELENA LEE, an individual, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
MICHAEL SCOTT, as the duly elected Sheriff of Lee County, Florida, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeals from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida _ D.C. Docket No. 2:15-cv-00017-PAM-CM, 2:14-cv-00519-PAM-CM

          Before JILL PRYOR, ANDERSON, and HULL, Circuit Judges.

          ANDERSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

         Plaintiffs-Appellants, former sheriff deputies in Collier and Lee County, Florida, sued the Collier and Lee County sheriffs pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the Florida Minimum Wage Act ("FMWA"), Fla. Stat. § 448.110. The deputies claim that the sheriffs violated the overtime provisions in the FLSA and the minimum wage provisions in the FMWA by failing to compensate them for time spent: (1) donning and doffing police gear; and (2) driving to and from work in marked patrol vehicles. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the sheriffs. This is the deputies' appeal. As discussed below, the deputies are not entitled to compensation under the FLSA or the FMWA for the time that they spent donning and doffing police gear or the time that they spent driving to and from work in marked patrol vehicles. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court.[1]

         I. STANDARD

         "We review a district court's order granting summary judgment de novo." Zaben v. Air Prods. & Chems., Inc., 129 F.3d 1453, 1455 (11th Cir. 1997) (per curiam). "We view the record, and all reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Id. Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Carlo Llorca worked as a road patrol deputy with the Collier County Sheriff's Office. The named Lee County Plaintiffs worked as follows: Kevin Calderone worked as a road patrol deputy and as a detective; George Schwing worked as a road patrol deputy; Michael Zaleski worked as a detective; and Selena Lee worked as a traffic unit deputy. The Collier and Lee County sheriffs required all deputies to arrive for their shifts wearing a uniform and the following protective gear: a "duty belt," a radio case, pepper mace, a baton strap, a magazine pouch, a radio, a flashlight, handcuffs, a holster, a first-responders pouch, and a ballistics vest. The deputies were allowed to, and actually did, don and doff this protective gear at home. They contend that the donning and doffing process took a total of thirty minutes per shift. The sheriffs did not pay the deputies for the time that they spent donning and doffing the protective gear.

         The deputies also commuted to and from work in marked patrol vehicles. The sheriffs required the deputies to have their radios on during the commute, listen to calls in the district through which they were driving, and respond to major calls and emergencies. Additionally, the sheriffs required deputies who commuted in marked patrol vehicles to observe the roads for traffic violations and engage in general traffic law enforcement during their commutes.[2] The sheriffs compensated the deputies for any time that the deputies spent responding to calls or emergencies or actually enforcing traffic laws during their commutes. The sheriffs did not compensate road patrol deputies or detectives for the time that those deputies spent driving, listening to their radios, and observing the roads for traffic law violations.[3]

         III. DISCUSSION

         In 1938, the FLSA established minimum wage and overtime compensation at one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for hours over a certain number per pay period. 29 U.S.C. §§ 206(a), 207; Integrity Staffing Sols., Inc. v. Busk, 135 S.Ct. 513, 516, 190 L.Ed.2d 410 (2014). Shortly after, the Supreme Court broadly "defined 'work' as 'physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business.'" Integrity Staffing, 135 S.Ct. at 516 (quoting Tenn. Coal, Iron & R. Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U.S. 590, 598, 64 S.Ct. 698, 703, 88 L.Ed. 949 (1944)). "Similarly, it defined 'the statutory workweek' to 'includ[e] all time during which an employee is necessarily required to be on the employer's premises, on duty or at a prescribed workplace.'" Id. (alteration in original) (quoting Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 690-91, 66 S.Ct. 1187, 1194, 90 L.Ed. 1515 (1946)). Applying these definitions, the Court held that time spent traveling between mine portals and underground work areas and time spent walking from time clocks to work benches was compensable, initiating a "flood of litigation." Id.

         Congress responded in 1947 with the Portal-to-Portal Act. Congress "found that the FLSA had 'been interpreted judicially in disregard of long-established customs, practices, and contracts between employers and employees, thereby creating wholly unexpected liabilities, immense in amount and retroactive in operation, upon employers.'" Id. at 516-17 (quoting from the findings of Congress in 29 U.S.C. § 251(a)). The Portal-to-Portal Act, as amended by the Employee Commuting Flexibility Act of 1996, provides:

[N]o employer shall be subject to any liability or punishment under the Fair Labor Standards Act . . . on account of the failure of such employer to pay an employee minimum wages, or to pay an employee overtime compensation, for or on account of any of the following activities . . .
(1) walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform, and
(2) activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities,
which occur either prior to the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences, or subsequent to the time on any particular workday at which he ceases, such principal activity or activities. For purposes of this subsection, the use of an employer's vehicle for travel by an employee and activities performed by an employee which are incidental to the use of such vehicle for commuting shall not be considered part of the employee's principal activities if the use of such vehicle for travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business or establishment and the use of the employer's vehicle is subject to an agreement on the part of the employer and the employee or representative of such employee.

29 U.S.C. § 254(a). The Supreme Court has long interpreted the term "principal activity or activities" in § 254 to include all activities that are an "integral and indispensable part of the principal activities." Steiner v. Mitchell, 350 U.S. 247, ...


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