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Aguilar v. Mgmt. & Training Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

February 4, 2020, Filed

No. 17-2198

Opinion

 [*1274]  MORITZ, Circuit Judge.

A group of 122 detention officers (the officers) who work or worked at Otero County Prison near Chaparral, New Mexico, allege that their employer, Management & Training Corporation (MTC), fails to pay them for certain activities that they engage in before they arrive at, when they arrive at, and after they leave their posts within the prison. According to the officers, these activities constitute compensable work, so MTC's failure to pay violates both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19, and the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 50-4-1 to 50-4-33.1

As explained below, we conclude that in this context, these activities constitute compensable work. Further, we reject MTC's arguments that (1) the time the officers devote to these activities is de minimis and (2) it need not pay the officers for these activities because [**2]  it did not know the officers were engaging in them. Additionally, we conclude that the officers' rounding claim survives summary judgment. As such, we reverse the district court's order awarding summary judgment to MTC and remand for further proceedings.

Background

The officers are "[r]esponsible for the custody and discipline of detainees." App. vol. 3, 573. Among other duties, the officers "[s]earch for contraband and provide security"; "[c]ount, feed[,] and supervise detainees in housing, work[,] and other areas"; and "prepare and maintain records, forms[,] and reports." Id. The officers generally work eight-hour shifts, five days a week. There are three shifts, beginning at 6 a.m., 2 p.m., and 10 p.m. Each officer is typically assigned to work his or her shift at a specific post, and there are more than 30 posts within the prison.

Because this case concerns the activities that the officers engage in before they arrive at and after they leave their posts, as well as one activity at post, we begin by briefly outlining the officers' undisputed daily routine. (We will later describe certain of these activities in greater detail, as necessary to our analysis.)

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948 F.3d 1270 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 3339 **; 170 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P36,768; 2020 WL 547292

MARISELA AGUILAR; MIGUEL BLANCO; FRANCISCO J. CARRANZA; RAFAEL GALLEGOS; BENJAMIN GUERRERO, JR.; VAUGHN D. HAYES, SR.; JOSE R. HERNANDEZ; ROGELIO HERNANDEZ; ROMAN JAUREGUI; EFREN JIMENEZ; FLAVIO LARA; SIXTO NAVARRETE; ANTHONY GUADALUPE ORDAZ; ARMANDO PACHECO, JR.; ALAN PEREZ; RIGOBERTO RODARTE; ANTONIO VASQUEZ; ADRIAN VILLALOBOS, a/k/a Jose Adrian Villalobos; MARIA ACEVEDO; ANGEL AGUILAR; EZEQUIEL ALVARADO; RICARDO ANGULO; FERNANDO APODACA; RENE ARREOLA; ANNETTE BAEZA; JUAN BAEZA; REYMUNDO BALDERRAMA; JUSTIN BARBA; RAMON BAXTER; STEPHANIE BERTOLLI; PEDRO BLANCO; DANIEL BOADO; ANTHONY CALLA; LESLIE CAMARILLO; YOLANDA CAMPOS; STEFANY CARRANZA; JENNIFER COOPER; EDWARD DANG; LUIS DORADO; LUZ DUARTE; MIGUEL DUENAS; JIM ESCALERA; HIRAM ESCOBAR; JAIME ESCOBAR; MARTIN L. ESPINOSA; CAROLINA ESTRADA; GUADALUPE ESTRADA; CHRISTINE FIERRO; JOSE FUENTES; MICHELLE GALLEGOS; ALBERT GARCIA; ANTHONY GARCIA; ARTURO GARCIA; EDWARD GARCIA; CAESAR GONZALEZ; JUAN GONZALEZ; RAUL GUZMAN; DAVID HERNANDEZ; JESUS HERNANDEZ; PAUL HERNANDEZ; GINO HIJAR; JUN KOO; ROCIO D. LEZA; CHRISTOPHER MACIAS; ANGEL MALDONADO; ARTURO MARES; DANIEL MARQUEZ; PEDRO MARTINEZ; SAUL MARTINEZ; YVONNE MARTINEZ; JUAN MATAMOROS; YARETH MIRELES; GABRIEL MOLINA; ARTURO MONTERO; CARLOS MONTESINOS; CECILIA MORALES; JESUS MORALES; YVETTE MOREHEAD; NORMA MUNIZ; SANDRA NERIA; HERNAN NEVAREZ; ERICA NIETO; ERIK ONTIVEROS; GARY LEE OROZCO; LUIS ORTIZ; ROBERT ORTIZ; DAVID PADILLA; JUAN PARRA; VERONICA PENA; CARLOS PONCE; JORGE PORTILLO; OSCAR PORTILLO; JOSE I. PROSPERO; ISELA QUEZADA; EDGAR RAMIREZ; MIGUEL RAMIREZ; YGNACIO RAMIREZ; GUSTAVO RAMON; RODOLFO RINCON, SR.; RODOLFO RINCON, JR.; ALBERTO RIVERA; JENNIFER RIVERA; DANIEL RODRIGUEZ; OSCAR RODRIGUEZ; RUBEN RODRIGUEZ; VINCE ROMAN; CARLOS ROSALES; ABEL SAENZ; LILA SAENZ; BELINDA SANCHEZ; DAVID SANCHEZ; ABRAHAM SANDOVAL; GABRIELA SIFUENTES; SALVADOR SIFUENTES; IRMA SOTO; IRENE TERRAZAS-RUBIO; MANUEL VASQUEZ; ADRIANA VILLALOBOS; KARINA VILLALOBOS; SASHA VILLALVA; MEAGAN VILLIGAN, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION, d/b/a MTC, Defendant - Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. (D.C. No. 2:16-CV-00050-WJ-GJF).

Aguilar v. Mgmt. & Training Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175608 (D.N.M., Oct. 24, 2017)

CORE TERMS

principal activity, screening, district court, rounding, briefing, indispensable, employees, de minimis, prison, integral, postshift, clocks, overtime, passdown, inmates, contraband, devote, minutes, walk, preshift, summary judgment, ten-minute, picking, cases, provide security, inventory-control, recording, returning, checking, custody

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Legal Entitlement, Materiality of Facts, Business & Corporate Compliance, Wage & Hour Laws, Statutory Application, Portal-to-Portal Act, Labor & Employment Law, Scope & Definitions, Scope & Definitions, Overtime & Work Periods