United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
GEOFFREY RIDGEWAY and A. P., a minor, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
PLANET PIZZA 2016, INC., RAVINDER S. THIARA, and JOHN ROGAN Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Geoffrey Ridgeway (Ridgeway) and A. P., a minor
(collectively, Plaintiffs), bring this lawsuit against
Defendants Planet Pizza 2016, Inc., (Planet Pizza) and its
owners and operators, Ravinder S. Thiara (Thiara), and John
Rogan (Rogan) (collectively, Defendants). Plaintiffs filed
their complaint on behalf of themselves and other similarly
situated current and former employees of Defendants
complaining of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, and the South Carolina Payment
of Wages Act (SCPWA), SC Code Ann. §41-10-10. They seek
payment of what they claim to be unpaid overtime
compensation, unpaid minimum wages and unpaid wages.
Court has federal-question jurisdiction over the FLSA claims
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction
over the SCPWA claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for
conditional certification as to their FLSA claims in
accordance with 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Having considered
Plaintiffs' motion, Defendants' response,
Plaintiffs' reply, the record, and the relevant law, the
Court will grant Plaintiffs' motion for conditional
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
and A.P. are former employees of Defendants. They worked at
Planet Pizza in Columbia, South Carolina in or around June
2017 through August 2017. According to Plaintiffs, they
“and other similarly situated employees of the
Defendants worked in a variety of positions for the
Defendants, including manager, assistant manager, server,
dishwasher, cook, maintenance, cashier, and hostess.”
Complaint ¶ 1.
allegedly violated Plaintiffs' rights “under both
the FLSA and the SCPWA . . . [by] taking improper tip
credits, taking portions of the employees' tips, failing
to pay them wages as promised, failing to pay them wages when
due, failing to pay a minimum wage, and failing to pay
overtime compensation.” Id.
Plaintiffs filed their complaint and Defendants filed their
answer, Plaintiffs filed this motion for conditional
certification as to their FLSA claims.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
maintain all of Defendants' current and former employees
are similarly situated to them; their proposed notice is fair
and adequate; Plaintiffs should be allowed to mail their
notice to all current and former employees of Defendants;
those who receive the notice should be given ninety days to
opt into the lawsuit, and Plaintiffs' proposed limited
discovery is essential to ensure timely notice.
counter Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of
establishing they are similarly situated to the putative
collective action group and that they are entitled to conduct
limited pre-certification discovery to test Plaintiffs'
assertion. Defendants also claim Plaintiffs' proposed
notice is defective and Plaintiff's proposed ninety-day
opt-in period is too long and should be reduced.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS