Lewis Brisbois Employment Team Secures Summary Judgment, Class Decertification for Restaurateur in FLSA Matter

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (June 4, 2020) – A cross-office team of Lewis Brisbois Labor & Employment attorneys, including Fort Lauderdale Partners Jonathan A. Beckerman and Miguel A. Morel, Atlanta Partner Joelle C. Sharman, and Fort Lauderdale Associate Christopher T. Perré, recently secured complete and final summary judgment and class decertification for a restaurateur in a highly contentious collective action brought under Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In this matter, we represented a restaurateur/chef who owns an international chain of steak houses. 

At the company’s Miami location, front-of-house staff accused our client of misclassifying them as exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirement by applying the Section 207(i) Retail Sales/Service Exemption, and brought a contentious collective action lawsuit seeking unpaid wages. The matter gained attention in national and local press, bringing an additional external element to the proceedings. 

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the summary judgment and class decertification deadlines remained in place, requiring the Lewis Brisbois team to work together remotely to prepare the successful motions and related filings. Messrs. Beckerman and Morel were instrumental in formulating and executing the team's strategy. Ms. Sharman assisted with the drafting of the dispositive motion, while Mr. Perré provided superb research and drafting assistance in connection with the prevailing briefs and related filings. 

"This case involved potentially hundreds of plaintiffs and had 'bet the farm' implications for our client," said Mr. Beckerman. "Our success was based on the extraordinary teamwork of Lewis Brisbois attorneys and staff across multiple locations, working to a very tight deadline under unusual circumstances to say the least."

"This win is a testament to the team culture and 'get-it-done' mentality that is ingrained in our firm’s DNA," he added.

For more information on this case, contact Mr. Beckerman. Read about the Daily Business Review's coverage of this win here.

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