In a Jan. 19 order, U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison of Houston has conditionally certified a class in Sherri L. Davis, et al. v. Mostyn Law Firm PC. The order comes in connection with a complaint filed by a former paralegal at the Mostyn Law Firm in Houston over allegedly unpaid overtime pay.
The class includes “all of Defendant’s current and former salaried paralegal employees who worked more than forty (40) hours in a workweek but were not paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay at any time starting August 3, 2008 to present,” Ellison wrote in the order.
As Texas Lawyer reported last year, Sherri L. Davis, a former paralegal at the Mostyn Law Firm in Houston, filed a complaint in federal court in August 2011, alleging the firm failed to pay her and others at an overtime rate when the firm “required and/or permitted” her and others to work more than 40 hours a week. She alleges that was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
After Davis filed the complaint in the Southern District of Texas, Carlos Alvarado, another former paralegal at the firm, filed a notice of consent to become a party plaintiff. Ellison also found in his Memorandum and Order that “Plaintiffs have shown a reasonable basis” that others will join the suit.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Alex Mabry, of the Mabry Law Firm in Houston, says Ellison made the right decision. “It’s a major hurdle in an FLSA collective action,” Mabry says.
Defense attorney William Stukenberg, an associate with Houston’s Meyer White, says the Mostyn Law Firm disagrees with the court’s decision and will vigorously defend the suit. “That conditional certification is just that; it simply allows the case to move forward with discovery,” Stukenberg says.
In the first amended complaint in Davis, filed in October 2011, the plaintiffs seek to recover their overtime pay, an equal amount in the form of liquidated damages and attorney’s fees.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys