United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Honorable Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District
matter is before the court on Plaintiffs William Adkins,
James Jordan Austin, Derrick Barrentine, and Christopher Rose
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) Motion to
Reconsider regarding the court's Order and Opinion, ECF
No. 16, filed on July 28, 2017. ECF No. 19. For the reasons
stated below, Plaintiffs' motion is
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
are former employees of the City of York Fire Department. ECF
No. 1-1 at ¶ 5. According to Plaintiffs', the City
of York Personnel Policy Manual states that in addition to their
regular wages, Plaintiffs' were to be “compensated
for overtime at time-and-one-half for all hours worked over
forty (40) in a seven (7) calendar day work week.”
Id. at ¶ 9. Plaintiffs contend that during
their respective employments, they would work a “24
on/48 off shift schedule, ” which consisted of
twenty-four (24) consecutive hours on duty, followed by
forty-eight (48) consecutive hours off duty, irrespective of
weekends or holidays.” Id. at ¶ 10.
Plaintiffs' shift schedules equated to Plaintiffs working
either forty-eight (48) hours or seventy-two (72) hours per
week. See Id. at ¶ 11. Thus, Plaintiffs assert
that for each seventy-two (72) hour work week, they are
entitled to thirty-two (32) hours of overtime, and for each
forty-eight (48) hour work week, they are entitled to eight
(8) hours of overtime. Id. at ¶ 12. Plaintiffs
allege Defendant never compensated them for overtime.
Id. at ¶ 14.
sued Defendant City of York (“Defendant”) in the
Court of Common Pleas for York County, South Carolina,
alleging violations of the South Carolina Wage Payment Act
(“SCWPA” or the “Act”), SC Code Ann.
§§ 41-10-10 et seq. Id. at ¶¶
19-23. Plaintiffs allege Defendant violated the Act by
failing to pay all wages due as required by the
Act-specifically failing to pay Plaintiffs the overtime due.
Id. at ¶ 20-21. Plaintiffs allege
Defendant's failure to render payment for overtime worked
is “willful, without justification, and in violation of
the duty of good faith and fair dealing.” Id.
at ¶ 22.
timely filed its Notice of Removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1343, and 1441(a), arguing that Plaintiffs
are claiming rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et
seq. ECF No. 1. On May 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a
Motion to Remand, stating that there is no basis for removal
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because there is no federal
question on the face of the Complaint, no substantial federal
element present in the case, and the resolution of
Plaintiffs' claims do not necessarily involve a federal
issue. ECF No. 10 at 1. Defendant responded on May 11, 2017,
ECF No. 12, further arguing that because Plaintiffs are
claiming “entitlement to ‘overtime, ' which
is not provided for by state law and which requires
construction and application of the [FLSA], their claims
present substantial questions of federal law.” ECF No.
12 at 1.
28, 2017, this court issued its Order and Opinion denying
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand, finding that the FLSA
preempted the SCWPA for claims based on overtime. ECF No. 16.
On August 5, 2017, Plaintiffs moved for reconsideration, or
in the alternative, to certify the issue for potential
interlocutory appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
and stay the proceedings. ECF No. 19. After a telephone
conference held on August 31, 2017, the court granted
Defendant's Consent Motion for Leave to File a Response
to Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No. 34.
Defendant filed its Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs'
Motion for Reconsideration on September 1, 2017, ECF No. 35,
to which Plaintiffs replied on September 8, 2017. ECF No. 36.
Motion for Reconsideration
seek reconsideration due to their perception that the court
misapplied Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 508 F.3d 181
(4th Cir. 2007). Rule 54(b) provides that any order or
decision that does not end the action as to all of the claims
or parties “may be revised at any time before the entry
of a judgment adjudicating all of the claims and all the
parties' rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(b). “Motions for reconsideration of interlocutory
orders are not subject to the strict standards applicable to
motions for reconsideration of a final judgment.”
Am. Canoe Ass'n v. Murphy Farms, Inc., 326 F.3d
505, 514 (4th Cir. 2003). Such a distinction arises
“because a district court retains the power to
reconsider and modify its interlocutory judgments . . . at
any time prior to final judgment when such is
warranted.” Id. at 514-15.
FLSA provides the exclusive remedial scheme to address
employees' rights to be paid minimum wage and overtime.
See 29 U.S.C. §§ 206(a), 207(a);
Anderson, 508 F.3d at 194 (“Congress
prescribed exclusive remedies in the FLSA for violation of
its mandates.”). However, the FLSA provides a floor for
minimum wage and overtime, not a ceiling. See 29
U.S.C. §218(a) (“No provision of this chapter or
of any order thereunder shall excuse noncompliance with any
Federal or State law or municipal ordinance establishing a
minimum wage higher than the minimum wage established under
this chapter or a maximum work week lower than the maximum
workweek established under this chapter.”); Pac.
Merch. Shipping Ass'n v. Aubry, 918 F.2d 1409, 1425
(9th Cir. 1990) (“[T]he purpose behind the FLSA is to
establish a national floor under which wage
protections cannot drop, not to establish absolute uniformity
in minimum wage and overtime standards nationwide at levels
established in the FLSA.”); Xue v. J&b
Spartanburg LLC, No. CV 7:16-00340-MGL, 2016 WL 3017223,
at *2 (D.S.C. May 26, 2016); Spallone v. SOHO Univ.,
No. 15-1622, 2015 WL 5098154, at *3 (D.S.C. Aug. 31, 2015).
Anderson, the Fourth Circuit held that the
plaintiffs' state law claims were preempted by the FLSA
because plaintiffs' state claims all depended on
establishing that the defendant violated the FLSA.
Anderson, 508 F.3d at 193. “Importantly, the
Fourth Circuit did not conclude that the FLSA
generally preempts” state substantive law.
See Martinez-Hernandez v. Butterball, LLC, 578
F.Supp.2d 816, 818 (E.D. N.C. 2008). The court further noted
that the Class members did not claim that any North Carolina
law entitled them to unpaid wages; they instead relied on the
“FLSA for their right, and they invoked state law only
as the source of the remedies for the alleged FLSA
violation.” Anderson, 508 F.3d at
contend they expressly stated in their Complaint that SCPWA
entitles them to unpaid wages due under Defendant's
employment policy,  and thus, that their case is
distinguishable from Anderson. ECF No. 19-1 at 4-6.
The court agrees. Plaintiffs' SCPWA claim is separate and
distinct from a claim for overtime under FLSA because
Plaintiffs' claim arises from Defendant's failure to
“pay all amounts at which labor rendered is
recompensed . . . which are due to an employee under any
employer policy or employment contract.” S.C. Code
Ann. § 41-10-10 (emphasis added); see e.g.
Martinez-Hernandez, 578 F.Supp.2d at 820; Xue,
2016 WL 3017223, at *2 (“Plaintiffs' SCPWA claims
are separate and distinct from their FLSA claim because they
are seeking unpaid overtime wage payments that are based upon
an agreed-upon hourly rate, pursuant to their fixed monthly
salary, which is higher than the federal minimum wage
rate.”); Spallone, 2015 WL 5098154, at *5
(“The South Carolina Wage Payment statute is broader
than the FLSA in that it is not limited to controversies
involving minimum wage and overtime but applies to all wages
due.”); McMurray v. LRJ Rests, Inc., No.
4:10-CV-01435-JMC, 2011 WL 247906, at *2 (D.S.C. Jan. 26,
2011) (“Plaintiff is also seeking redress for
Defendants' alleged failure to honor agreements to . . .
pay wages when due. These claims are separate and distinct
from Plaintiff's FLSA claims. Accordingly, they are not
preempted by the FLSA.”).
on the Plaintiffs' clarification that they are solely
seeking relief under the SCPWA for wages due pursuant to
Defendant's employment policy, the court finds that
Plaintiffs' claims are not preempted by the FLSA. It is
the court's understanding that Plaintiffs will be seeking
relief solely under the SWCPA. If Plaintiffs' later bring
a FLSA claim, the FLSA will preempt any duplicative state law
claim. See Anderson, 508 F.3d at 194; Meller v.
Wings Over Spartanburg, LLC, No. 15-2094, 2016 WL
1089382, at *3 (D.S.C. Mar. 21, 2016) (explaining that