Federal court certifies oilfield overtime suit
A federal district court in Midland, Texas has conditionally certified a case filed by oilfield workers against their employer for unpaid overtime. Plaintiffs were employed by Rig Power and M3P (collectively, “Defendants”) as field technicians to perform manual labor related to the transportation, operation, and maintenance of oilfield equipment. In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs allege that they routinely worked more than 40 hours per week and that Defendants failed to compensate them at the required overtime rate for such work. Plaintiffs specifically allege that Rig Power paid a fixed amount for each day an employee worked more than eight hours, regardless of how many additional hours the employee worked on those days or how many additional hours the employee worked in a given week. Plaintiffs further allege that Rig Power subsequently stopped paying this “daily bonus” due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry, resulting in Plaintiffs being paid no compensation of any kind for hours worked above 40 in a given week. Plaintiffs further allege that similarly situated field technicians were also not paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
The Plaintiffs filed a motion to conditionally certify the case as a collective action, meaning that they were asking the Court to allow other Field Technicians who worked for Rig Power within the past three years to be given notice of the lawsuit so that they could join the suit and seek to recover their unpaid overtime if they elected to do so. The Court granted this motion. In doing so, the Court found that the Plaintiffs had shown “similarity of compensation schemes, as supported by nine declarations, across the country is a substantial allegation that field technicians were victims of a Rig Power decision or policy that potentially affects a nationwide putative class.” The Court further found “that field technicians employed by Rig Power were victims of a single decision or policy—namely a policy to pay employees a “daily bonus” in lieu of proper overtime compensation—to warrant conditional certification.” The Court further found that “Plaintiffs have carried their burden of making substantial allegations that field technicians at Rig Power are similarly situated in terms of job requirements and terms of compensation. The Court conditionally certified a class defined as “All field technicians employed by Rig Power within three years of the date of [the Court’s] order.” The Court ordered Rig Power to turn over to Plaintiff’s Counsel, Josh Borsellino, the names, last known addresses, and dates of employment of all field technicians who Rig Power employed within three years of the Court’s order. A link to the Court’s order on the motion to certify may be found here.
Since the Court granted the motion to certify on December 10, twenty additional Field Technicians for Rig Power have opted to join the lawsuit. Because there were five original plaintiffs and eleven opt-ins prior to the motion to certify, there are currently thirty six Field Technicians who have elected to join this lawsuit.
About the author: Josh Borsellino represents oilfield workers in the Midland area and across Texas in cases involving overtime pay. If you work or worked within the past three years in the oilfield or in the oil and gas industry and have questions about whether you may be entitled to unpaid overtime, call Josh Borsellino at 817.908.9861 or submit a case inquiry at http://www.dfwcounsel.com/contact/ for a free consultation.