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Williams v. Rainbow Pediatrics Associates, P.C.

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division

September 30, 2019

KATRINA WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
RAINBOW PEDIATRICS ASSOCIATES, P.C., THE UROLOGY INSTITUTE AND CONTINENCE CENTER, P.C., FRANK E. GLOVER, J.R., Individually, and MARSHA D. GLOVER, Individually, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Katrina Williams brought this action against Defendants Rainbow Pediatrics Associates, P.C. (“Rainbow Pediatrics”), The Urology Institute and Continence Center, P.C. (“Urology Institute”), Frank E. Glover, J.R. (“Dr. Frank Glover), and Marsha D. Glover (“Dr. Marsha Glover”) to recover unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). See 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (Doc. 27). After reviewing the pleadings, briefs, and evidentiary materials presented, the Court determines that there are genuine issues of material fact that must be resolved by a jury. The Court accordingly DENIES Defendants' motion.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The case arises from Plaintiff's employment with Dr. Marsha Glover at Rainbow Pediatrics and the work Plaintiff performed at Dr. Frank Glover's practice, the Urology Institute. (Doc. 1, Compl. p. 12-20). Dr. Marsha Glover is a licensed medical doctor in Georgia, where she practiced pediatrics. (Doc. 27-2, p. 2). Dr. Marsha Glover exclusively owns Rainbow Pediatrics; she served as Rainbow Pediatrics' owner, administrator, and physician at its two office locations in Moultrie and Thomasville, Georgia. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 10; Doc. 27-2, p. 2). These overlapping roles required Dr. Marsha Glover to handle the offices' billing, finances, and human resources responsibilities in addition to treating patients. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 20).

         Dr. Marsha Glover is married to Dr. Frank Glover. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 8). Dr. Frank Glover is also a licensed physician; he specializes in urology. (Id. at 8). Dr. Frank Glover is the sole owner of the Urology Institute and its four office locations in Albany, Thomasville, Valdosta, and Moultrie, Georgia. (Id. at 9; Doc. 27-1, p. 4). Dr. Marsha Glover works as the chief executive officer (“CEO”) and administrator of the Urology Institute. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 9).[1] Her duties as administrator include “billing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, [h]uman [r]esources, and the handling of regulatory matters.” (Doc. 27-2, p. 2; see Dr. Marsha Glover Dep. p. 18-21). During the relevant period between March 25, 2016 and January 5, 2018, Dr. Marsha Glover worked as the CEO and administrator at Urology Institute as well as the administrator and physician at Rainbow Pediatrics. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 8-10).[2] During the workweek, Dr. Marsha Glover split time between the offices, treating her patients at Rainbow and performing administrator duties at the Urology Institute. (Id. at 21-22).

         On or about March 25, 2016, Dr. Marsha Glover hired Plaintiff to work at Rainbow Pediatrics as a receptionist. (Id. at 28; Williams Aff. ¶ 5). Plaintiff traveled between Rainbow Pediatrics' office locations in Thomasville and Moultrie to assist Dr. Marsha Glover. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 54). Dr. Marsha Glover did not mention the Urology Institute during Plaintiff's interview. (Williams Aff. ¶ 7; Doc. 16, Defs. Answer ¶ 21). However, Plaintiff worked at the Urology Institute on various occasions between May 2016 and January 2018. (Dr. Marsha Glover Dep. p. 105). She performed receptionist duties, gathered supplies, attended trainings, and trained new employees at the Urology Institute. (Id. at 29-36). At all times, Dr. Marsha Glover and Rainbow Pediatrics employed Plaintiff. Rainbow Pediatrics exclusively paid her wages, even for work performed at the Urology Institute; Plaintiff never received a paycheck from Dr. Frank Glover or the Urology Institute. (Id. at 54).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants did not pay her for her work at the Urology Institute and that she was “only compensated for work performed at Rainbow Pediatrics.” (Williams Aff. ¶ 22-30). While the parties agree that Plaintiff spent time at both clinics, the parties vigorously dispute the extent of Plaintiff's work at the Urology Institute and whether Rainbow Pediatrics adequately paid Plaintiff for her time at the Urology Institute. Plaintiff alleges that her work schedule split between Rainbow Pediatrics and the Urology Institute required her to work in excess of forty hours weekly, and Defendants violated the FLSA by not paying her overtime wages. (Compl. ¶ 40-42). Defendants contend that Plaintiff worked overtime between the clinics on only two occasions, and Rainbow Pediatrics' payroll records confirm Plaintiff was paid adequately for that overtime work. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 48-51). Defendants deny all other allegations of overtime work.

         Undisputed is that Plaintiff submitted a letter to Dr. Marsha Glover on January 4, 2018, and Plaintiff's employment ended on January 5, 2018. (Doc. 27-8, 27-9, 34-1 p. 75). Plaintiff and Defendants dispute whether Plaintiff resigned from Rainbow Pediatrics or Dr. Marsha Glover fired her-an issue dependent upon how the parties characterize Plaintiff's letter. Defendants contend the letter was Plaintiff's resignation from all employment with Dr. Marsha Glover and Dr. Frank Glover; Plaintiff characterizes the letter as a “written complaint, ” intended to end her employment with Dr. Frank Glover at the Urology Institute. (Compl. ¶ 34; Williams Aff. ¶ 31; Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 107-08). Plaintiff further alleges that she first made numerous verbal complaints concerning Defendants' failure to compensate her and that she submitted her “written complaint” only after Dr. Marsha Glover “disregarded” her verbal complaints. (Williams Aff. ¶ 31). Defendants deny that Plaintiff ever complained about her hours at the Urology Institute or her compensation. (Dr. Marsha Glover's Dep. p. 85; Doc. 27-1, p. 18).

         A second letter-which is an edited version of the first letter-also appears in the evidentiary record. (Doc. 27-9). The second letter includes more specific references to the Urology Institute that are absent from Plaintiff's first letter. Id. Plaintiff alleges that in response to receiving her first letter, Dr. Marsha Glover “assured” her that she could continue her employment solely with Rainbow Pediatrics and then, “instructed” Plaintiff to submit another letter clarifying that she “would no longer provide services at the Urology Institute.” (Williams Aff. ¶ 31). Defendants deny this allegation. (Dr. Marsha Glover Dep. p. 108-09). Defendants contend that Dr. Marsha Glover received only the first letter, and she never told Plaintiff to submit a second letter. Id.

         On January 5, 2018, Dr. Marsha Glover gave Plaintiff a corresponding letter; it reads as follows: “[Y]esterday you presented your letter of resignation. I am accepting that letter and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.” (Doc. 29-1, p. 102). This ended Plaintiff's employment with both Rainbow Pediatrics and the Urology Institute. Defendants argue this correspondence from Dr. Marsha Glover confirmed Plaintiff's resignation. Plaintiff maintains that she never resigned; Dr. Marsha Glover fired her and “attempted to disguise” Plaintiff's termination by writing the letter purportedly accepting Plaintiff's resignation. (Doc. 34; Doc. 1).

         This lawsuit followed on February 21, 2018, wherein Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' failure to pay Plaintiff's overtime wages and subsequent retaliation against her violated the FLSA. (Doc. 1). Defendants now move for partial summary judgment on Plaintiff's FLSA claims.[3]

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact arises only when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must evaluate all of the evidence, together with any logical inferences, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 254- 55. However, the court may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. Id. at 255; see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). Credibility determinations and weighing of the evidence are functions solely of a jury-“not those of a judge.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         III. ...


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