Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Balbed v. Eden Park Guest House, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 25, 2018

MARYAM BALBED, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
EDEN PARK GUEST HOUSE, LLC; ETTY BELA MUKENDI; BRUNO MUKENDI; TREZILA MUKENDI, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued: December 6, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. Peter J. Messitte, Senior District Judge. (8:16-cv-00193-PJM)

         ARGUED:

          Brian Wolfman, GEORGETOWN LAW APPELLATE COURTS IMMERSION CLINIC, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Brian M. Maul, LAW OFFICE OF BRIAN M. MAUL, LLC, Frederick, Maryland, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Meghan E. Breen, Student Counsel, Anna Deffebach, Student Counsel, Hali Kerr, Student Counsel, Wyatt G. Sassman, GEORGETOWN LAW APPELLATE COURTS IMMERSION CLINIC, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Before MOTZ, AGEE, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.

          DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Maryam Balbed brings this action, contending that her former employer, Eden Park Guest House, failed to compensate her for all the time that she worked and failed to pay her overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and the Montgomery County minimum wage requirement. Balbed appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to Eden Park. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I.

         Eden Park Guest House is a small family-owned bed and breakfast located in Takoma Park, Maryland. In July 2015, Eden Park hired Balbed to serve as its innkeeper. The parties entered into a written agreement, in which Eden Park paid Balbed $800/month and provided her with a room in the inn, laundry, utilities, and daily breakfast. In exchange, Balbed agreed to answer phones, make reservations, reply to emails, check guests in and out, serve breakfast to guests, clean public areas and guest rooms, and manage Eden Park's social media presence.

         The agreement set forth a daily schedule that divided Balbed's time into three categories: (1) serve breakfast to guests daily (for a total of seven hours per week); (2) clean the guests rooms and common spaces five days a week (for a total of twenty-two hours per week); and (3) as necessary, check in guests between 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and close the bed and breakfast at 10:00 p.m. "unless otherwise specified." Thus, the contract provided Balbed would work 29 hours per week on the first two categories, but did not specify the amount of time required for the third - checking guests in and out, as necessary - or for the additional duties listed that did not fall into any of these three categories: answering phones, making reservations, replying to emails, and managing Eden Park's social media presence.

         Eden Park contends that the contract required 29 hours of work per week, entitling Balbed to $1107.80/month.[1] Eden Park maintains that it compensated Balbed with an amount in excess of this because it paid Balbed $800/month and provided her lodging that it valued as worth between $850/month and $1800/month. Balbed challenges that assessment of the lodging's value and claims that, notwithstanding the contract, she worked in excess of 100 hours per week nearly every week without a day off.

         Eden Park employed Balbed from July 2015 through January 2016. She filed this suit on January 19, 2016 and quit shortly after.

         Balbed moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that Eden Park could not receive any credit for her room and board, because it did not maintain records of the cost of room and board. Balbed also contended that Eden Park did not pay her a minimum wage, because the cash payment did not compensate her for all the hours she worked.

         Eden Park cross-moved for summary judgment, maintaining that the parties' written contract constituted a "reasonable agreement" under 29 C.F.R. § 785.23, and that this exempted Eden Park from all other FLSA requirements. The district court agreed with Eden Park, concluding that 29 C.F.R. § 785.23 carved out an exception to the other FLSA regulatory requirements for recordkeeping and calculation of in-kind wages. Because the court found the parties' contract constituted a reasonable agreement within the meaning of § 785.23, it granted summary judgment to Eden Park.

         We review a grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Libertarian Party of Va. v. Judd, 718 F.3d 308, 312 (4th Cir. 2013). Summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.