HUSS
v.
CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern DivisionJun 14, 2000
CASE NO. SA CV 98-249 AHS (ANx). (C.D. Cal. Jun. 14, 2000)

CASE NO. SA CV 98-249 AHS (ANx).

June 14, 2000

GAIL HUTTON, City Attorney, SCOTT F. FIELD, Deputy City Attorney, LEE S. BURKE, Deputy City Attorney, Huntington Beach, CA, Attorneys for Defendants, City of Huntington Beach and Ronald Lowenberg.


[PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION BY DEFENDANTS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT


On November 8, 1999, the Motion for Summary Judgment and Summary Adjudication by Defendants CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH and RONALD LOWENBERG (collectively, the "City") came on regularly for hearing by this Court, Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler, District Judge presiding. Scott F. Field appeared as counsel for the City. Steven Rader appeared as counsel for Plaintiffs, Jeffrey T. Huss, Tom Landreth, Dennis J. Plymale, and Russell Reinhart.

After full consideration of the evidence, and the authorities and documents submitted by each counsel, as well as counsels' oral arguments, and all other matters presented to the Court, the Court finds that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact in this action and that the City, as the moving party, is entitled to judgment as a matter of law for the following reasons:

1. Pursuant to Department of Labor regulations ( 29 CFR § 785.23), where an employee is performing work at home, the employer and employee may establish, pursuant to an agreement, a fixed compensation for the work at home, regardless of the time actually spent.
2. Pursuant to Rudolph v. Metropolitan Airports Commission (8th Cir. 1996) 103 F.3d 677, a collective bargaining agreement establishing compensation for canine care at the police officer's home establishes appropriate compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") for home canine care. Under Rudolph and the Department of Labor regulations, police officers may not claim additional compensation regardless of hours actually worked.
3. City of Huntington Beach entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Huntington Beach Police Officers Association on May 1, 1995, covering the term of October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1994. The Huntington Beach Police Officers Association had requested as part of this agreement that police officers assigned as canine handlers would receive ten (10) hours of compensatory time off per month as payment for care of their assigned dogs at home.
4. This 1993/94 collective bargaining agreement continued in effect until September 30, 1997. Although the agreement had expired, it was binding on the parties until it was superceded by a new agreement. California State Employees Association v. Public Employment Relations Board, 51 Cal.App.4th 923, 936, 59 Cal Rptr.2d 488 (1996).
5. The collective bargaining agreement between the City and HBPOA bars Plaintiffs from seeking additional compensation for canine home care.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the City's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in its entirety.

The Court further finds that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact in this action and that the City, as the moving party, is entitled to partial summary judgment as a matter of law for the following reasons:

6. Section 255 of Title 29 of the United States Code establishes the statute of limitations for actions filed under the FLSA. The statute of limitations is two (2) years for all ordinary violations, except that causes of action arising out of a willful violation may be commenced within three (3) years after the cause of action accrued.
7. A willful violation of the FLSA requires the Court to determine that the employer knew or showed reckless disregard as to whether it was violating the FLSA. McLaughlin v. Richard Shoe, 486 U.S. 128, 100 L.Ed.2d 115 (1988).
8. Because the City and the Huntington Beach Police Officers Association entered into a collective bargaining agreement establishing compensation for time spent at home caring for canines, there cannot be a willful violation of the FLSA. Abbey v. City of Jackson (E.D. Mich. 1995) 883 F.Supp. 181, 188; and Andrews v. Dubois (D.Mass. 1995) 888 F.Supp. 213, 220.
9. Although Plaintiffs filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Labor in April 1996, which was resolved adversely to Plaintiffs in February 1998, such a complaint does not toll the statute of limitations. Unexcelled Chemical Corporation v. United States, 345 U.S. 59, 97 L.Ed. 821 (1953); Aguilar v. Clayton (E.D. Okla. 1978) 452 F.Supp 896, 898-99; and Abbott v. United States (1st Cir. 1998) 144 F.3d 1.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, City's motion for Partial Summary Judgment is granted and Plaintiffs are time-barred from claiming any back wages for the period prior to March 13, 1996.