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Judge grants Conditional Certification of Collective Action in the Southern District of New York Docket No.: 17-cv-8484-VB

LandscaperJudge grants Conditional Certification of Collective Action in the Southern District of New York
Escamilla v. Morano Landscape Garden Designs, Ltd., and Rosina Morano Sagliocco, individually Docket No.: 17-cv-8484-VB

As previously reported on this website, in Chavez et al. v. Morano Landscape Garden Designs, LTD. et al., on November 2, 2017, Plaintiff Mr. Escamilla, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, filed a class and collective action lawsuit against Morano Landscape Garden Designs, Ltd. (“MLGD”), and Rosina Morano Sagliocco, individually, alleging willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”), and the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (“NYCCRR”), including the failure of Defendants to compensate Plaintiff at the minimum wage rate and for overtime wages. The factual allegations of the case are referenced in our November 2017 blog post and are summarized as follows.

  • Defendants employed Plaintiff to work as a landscaper from December 2009 to in or about February 2016;
  • For at least the six-year period pre-dating the commencement of this action, Plaintiff Escamilla’s duties consisted of gardening, weeding, cutting grass and hedges, planting, cleaning, and moving tools and equipment;
  • Defendants required Plaintiff to work, and Plaintiff did work a total of between sixty-four and seventy-five hours per week without a scheduled or uninterrupted break;
  • Defendants paid Escamilla a flat weekly salary of $426.00 per week that was intended to cover only the first forty hours that he worked per week;
  • Plaintiff’s straight-time rate was $10.65 per hour (an amount equal to his base rate of pay).

Straight-time rate is particularly important because when a non-exempt employee works over forty hours per week, the employer is required by law to pay the employee at 1.5x his/her straight-time rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of forty. The additional pay is called the overtime rate. In this case, Defendants paid Plaintiff $10.65 per hour for the first forty hours he worked per week and nothing additional for the twenty-four to thirty-five overtime hours worked per week. By failing to compensate Plaintiff Escamilla for these hours, Defendants violated rights guaranteed to Plaintiff by the overtime provisions of the FLSA, the NYLL, and the NYCCRR.

Additionally, the NYLL requires employers to pay employees at an hourly wage at least equal to the applicable minimum wage rate. Throughout the entirety of Plaintiff’s employment, the minimum wage rate in New York City was at least $7.25 per hour. Thus, Defendants clearly transgressed the law by paying Plaintiff Escamilla at an hourly rate of between $5.66 and $6.60 per hour.

Moreover, in accordance with the NYLL, on each day that an employee works more than ten consecutive hours from the beginning of a shift to the end, the employee must receive an additional hour’s pay at the New York State minimum wage rate. On each workday that Plaintiff worked for Defendants, he worked from 7:15am until 6:00pm. Although his spread of hours from the beginning of each shift to the end exceeded ten on every day that he worked, Defendants failed to compensate Plaintiff Escamilla with an additional hour’s pay at minimum wage for any of those days.

Finally, the NYLL requires that employers furnish employees with wage statements containing specific categories of accurate information on each payday. However, on each occasion when they paid Plaintiffs, Defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with proper wage statements that accurately listed his actual hours worked for that week.
Certification of Collective Action

In this case, pursuant to the request of the Plaintiff, the judge reviewed claims that Plaintiff brought forward alleging that there are additional workers in the same “class” (performing the same or similar duties) whose rights have been violated. After reviewing the facts of this case, District Judge Vincent L. Bricetti granted “conditional certification” allowing the case to proceed as a collective action enabling any current and former landscapers who were not paid properly to join the lawsuit and seek redress for Defendants’ failure to compensate them in accordance with the law.

If you or a person you know worked for the Defendants named in the lawsuit during the time period of November 2, 2014 – present or has information that may be relevant to this case, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. as soon as possible through our website,, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248-5550, (516) ABOGADO, and (212) 679-5000.

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