United States District Court, D. New Mexico
BRENT LEBLANC, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HALLIBURTON COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER APPROVING
matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff Brent
LeBlanc's (LeBlanc's) Notice of Filing Proposed
Notice Documents (Notice) filed August 29, 2018 (Doc. 54),
and Defendant Halliburton Company's (Halliburton's)
Motion to Approve Notice (Motion) filed on the same day (Doc.
55). The two filings relate that the parties have failed to
agree on a form of notice. (Doc. 54) at 1, (Doc. 55) at 1-2.
Having read the parties' submissions, the Court finds the
following form of notice to be appropriate and ORDERS it to
be distributed to putative class members pursuant to the
timeline previously ordered. (Doc. 51) at 5-6.
August 21, 2018, the Court granted LeBlanc's Motion for
Conditional Certification, and certified a class comprised of
Directional drillers employed by, or working on behalf of,
Halliburton Company as independent contractors any time
between three years prior to the date of this Memorandum and
Order of Conditional Certification, and the present.
Id. at 5. The Court ordered the parties to
“meet and confer as to the contents of the notice of
lawsuit to putative class members and the manner by which to
distribute such notice.” Id. at 4. The Court
further ordered the parties to submit either a stipulated
notice or their disputed notices no later than August 27,
2018. Id. at 4-5. The parties failed to agree on a
stipulated form of notice, despite being granted additional
time by the Court to do so. (Doc. 53). Rather, the parties
have submitted dueling forms of notice to the Court bereft of
rationale on why they differ. Therefore, pursuant to the
discretion that inheres in this Court to formulate class
notice, the Court has resolved the differences between the
parties and now approves the form set forth infra.
FLSA's provisions “are remedial and humanitarian in
purpose.” Tennessee Coal, Iron & R. Co. v.
Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U.S. 590, 597 (1944). To join
as a plaintiff in an action to recover unpaid wages,
similarly-situated employees must consent in writing. 29
U.S.C. § 216(b). Accordingly, counsel representing
parties in FLSA actions send prospective class members
notices to inform them about the lawsuit. Employees must
receive “accurate and timely notice concerning the
pendency of the collective action, so that they can make
informed decisions about whether to participate.”
Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165,
170 (1989). District courts have discretion to approve the
content of FLSA class notices. Id. (interpreting
FLSA provisions to determine notice procedures under the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act).
Notice, LeBlanc attaches three separate groups of documents,
which, when considered as a whole, offer the Court its only
insight into the parties' negotiations and remaining
disputes. (Doc. 54), exs. A-C. These groups consist of: (1)
Halliburton's proposed notice documents; (2) a
“redlined” version of LeBlanc's proposed
notice that incorporates “some, but not all, ” of
Halliburton's proposed changes to LeBlanc's proposed
notice; and (3) LeBlanc's proposed final notice
documents, including the changes proposed by Halliburton that
LeBlanc accepted. Id. at 1, exs. A-C.
adopts a different approach. It states that the parties
“have been actively working to agree on language . . .
[but] have not been able to reach an agreement at the time of
filing.” (Doc. 55) at 1. Halliburton neither explains
the parties' negotiations, nor memorializes their
agreements or disagreements. Rather, it simply asks this
Court to accept its proposed documents, which it attaches in
its three component parts: notice, consent, and email forms.
(Doc. 55), exs. A-C. Notably, Halliburton's notice form
is the same that LeBlanc attaches as his exhibit A. (Doc.
54), ex. A, (Doc. 55), ex. A.
Court-Approved Form of Notice
Court is thus presented with two proposed forms of notice.
The first, by LeBlanc, evinces negotiations and concessions
made between the parties. The second, by Halliburton,
contains language unimproved by the negotiation process.
Naturally, the Court is inclined toward the document leavened
by the course of compromise. Furthermore, having reviewed
both groups of documents in detail, the Court finds that
LeBlanc's proposed consent form and email form to be in
good order and HEREBY ADOPTS them as the Court-approved
consent and email forms in this case. LeBlanc's notice
form is also ADOPTED IN PART, subject to the modifications