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Immigration Law

CA10 on FLSA, H-2A, Quantum Meruit - Saenz Mencia v. Allred

Saenz Mencia v. Allred, Dec. 14, 2015 - "Mr. Saenz, a citizen of Peru, came to Utah to work for the Allreds’ sheep ranch. His work was authorized by an H-2A sheepherding visa, and he was paid the minimum wage for H-2A sheepherders: $750 per month plus food and lodging. He now claims this pay was inadequate. He argues the work he performed did not qualify as sheepherding and the monthly wage for sheepherders did not apply. Instead, he argues, he was entitled to the hourly wage for H-2A ranch hands, which he now seeks to recover in contract and quantum meruit. Additionally, he argues the work he performed did not qualify for the “range production of livestock” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage, 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(6)(E), and he therefore asserts a minimum wage claim against the Allreds under the FLSA. The district court rejected these claims, denied Mr. Saenz’s summary judgment motion, and granted summary judgment to the Allreds. Its decision rested on two independent grounds. First, it ruled that Mr. Saenz’s claims were estopped because he did not object to his non-sheepherding work while the Allreds could have done something about it. Second, it ruled that more than half of Mr. Saenz’s work qualified as “range production of livestock,” and Mr. Saenz was accordingly exempt from the FLSA minimum wage and the H-2A wage for ranch hands. Mr. Saenz now appeals. We review the summary judgment rulings de novo, see Day v. Bond, 500 F.3d 1127, 1131 (10th Cir. 2007), and we reverse."