Defendant Required to Produce Emails Relevant to Hours Worked in FLSA Case

4 Nov 2016

Medical document on computerIn Boyington v. Percheron Field Services, LLC, Case No. 14-90 (W.D. P.A., Oct. 14, 2016), a lawsuit brought by an employee of Defendant on behalf of himself and others similarly situated for nonpayment of overtime wages, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant improperly classified Plaintiff and his coworkers as exempt employees under the FLSA and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act. The parties altered and extended the discovery period several times. Discovery was contentious, and the court entered an order setting a firm deadline for filing all motions to compel. Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel on the deadline, which Defendant argued was an attempt to “defer trial by engineering disputes.” Specifically, Plaintiffs sought production of 1) emails sent or received by any of the plaintiffs from or through their work accounts; 2) a list of individuals who received litigation hold letters and the dates delivered; and 3) all emails sent or received by any of Defendant’s executives, project managers and right-of-way supervisors responsive to certain document requests.

The court found that, although Plaintiff could have been more diligent in seeking the work emails, they were relevant to the case, despite Defendant’s assertion to the contrary (Defendant argued that the emails were not relevant as to hours worked, because emails are not a “clock in/clock out” device). The court reasoned that even if that were so, the emails were still relevant as to informal work policies, and they could be used to cross-reference other records. The court denied Plaintiff’s motion with respect to the executives’ emails, however, finding that a previous agreement between the parties precluded Plaintiff’s request, and concluded that this denial would defray the costs of producing the other emails. The court also ordered Defendant to produce a list of people who had received litigation hold letters.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts