United States District Court, D. New Mexico
PAUL MEDRANO, on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
FLOWERS FOODS, INC., and FLOWERS BAKING CO. OF EL PASO, LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to File Amended Complaint [Doc. 67], as well as
Defendants' Opposed Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, to Compel Individual Arbitration [Doc. 75].
The Court has reviewed all the briefs and arguments submitted
by the parties with respect to both motions and concludes
that while the motion for leave to file an amended complaint
should be denied, the motion to dismiss should be granted.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Foods, Inc. is a Georgia corporation that develops and
markets bakery products for national sale through a network
of subsidiary bakeries. One of these is Flowers Baking Co. of
El Paso (“Flowers El Paso”), which operates
thirteen warehouses throughout New Mexico and ten warehouses
in Texas. Like the other subsidiaries, Flowers El Paso is
responsible for distributing baked goods in a specific
geographical area and operating Flowers Foods' local
sales and distribution operations. Individual distributors
such as Plaintiff are hired to sell and distribute the
products to Defendants' customers.
case, Plaintiffs claim that Flowers Foods and Flowers El Paso
violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”),
29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., by misclassifying lead
Plaintiff Paul Medrano and the opt-in plaintiffs, who are
bakery distributor drivers, as independent contractors. This
misclassification, Medrano claims, has deprived them of
overtime pay to which they are entitled.
April 27, 2016, Medrano filed his Complaint [Doc. 1] in this
judicial district asserting claims that Defendants had
improperly characterized him (and those similarly situated)
as independent contractors in order to escape their
obligation to pay overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq., and the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act
(“NMMWA”), N.M. Stat. Ann. § 50-4-22 et seq.
On May 23, 2016, Defendants filed their answer. [Doc. 7].
Subsequently, numerous other distributors have filed their
consents to become named plaintiffs in this case.
1, 2016, only weeks after Medrano filed suit, the parties
submitted to the Court a Joint Status Report and Provisional
Discovery Plan proposing a September 1, 2016 deadline for
amending pleadings and joining parties. Doc. 15 at 2. On July
12, 2016, the Court adopted the parties' proposed
September 1, 2016 deadline to amend pleadings and join
parties. Doc. 17 at 2. The July 12, 2016 Order also required
the parties, following the Court's ruling regarding
conditional collective action certification, to submit a new,
proposed case management order. Id. On October 14,
2016, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Amend/Correct the
July 12, 2016 Order (“Joint Motion to
Amend/Correct”). Doc. 27. Notably, the parties did not
propose new deadlines regarding pleading amendments and
joinder of parties. Five days later, the Court granted the
Joint Motion to Amend/Correct. Doc. 30.
3, 2017, the Court conditionally certified Medrano's FLSA
claims as a collective action, but denied conditional
certification of his NMMWA claims, concluding that “if
the Plaintiffs wish to pursue their NMMWA claim as a
collective action, they must seek class certification under
Rule 23.” Doc. 43 at 13.
October 2, 2017, the opt-in period for those distributors
wishing to join the FLSA collective action expired.
October 3, 2017, the parties submitted a Joint Motion to
Further Amend the Joint Amended Provisional Discovery Plan
and to Amend Case Management Deadlines (“October 2017
Joint Motion to Amend”). See Docs 53, 53-1.
Once again, the parties did not propose another deadline to
amend pleadings or join parties. See id. The next
day, the Court granted that motion. Doc. 66.
October 20, 2017, Medrano filed the present motion for leave
to amend his complaint. In his proposed amended complaint,
Medrano seeks to add nine individuals as named plaintiffs (all of
whom are already opt-in plaintiffs with regard to the FLSA
collective action) for the purpose of asserting their
individual claims under the NMMWA. The proposed amended
complaint would also add the individual retaliation claim of
David Salas (one of the nine) under the NMMWA.
Motion for Leave to Amend
moves the Court for leave to amend the complaint to add ten
Plaintiffs' individual claims for violation of the NMMWA.
Defendants oppose the amendment on the grounds that the
request is untimely and Medrano has not shown good cause for
his failure to act in a timely manner.