O’Brien Law Firm files class overtime pay lawsuits for shore tankermen in Texas and Louisiana
On April 8, 2021, the O’Brien Law Firm filed a lawsuit in a Houston federal court on behalf of four former shore tankermen for a New Orleans-based marine transportation services company that provides barge and dock services at ports along the Louisiana and Texas coasts. The suit is also filed as a “collective action” under the federal overtime law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA). A “collective action” under the FLSA is like a class action, except that the potential participants have to choose to opt in (as opposed to opting out) to join the lawsuit after receiving notice from the court about the opportunity to do so. The O’Brien Law Firm then followed up by filing a similar lawsuit in the Eastern District of Louisiana for Louisiana-based shore tankermen of the company. The courts for both cases subsequently approved notices to the be sent to current and former shore tankermen of the company within the past three years, so that they could opt-in the join the lawsuit.
The lawsuits allege that the shore tankermen were required to prepare 15-60 minutes, or more, of invoices and job reports at home after each shift, off the clock and therefore without pay. Furthermore, until mid-2019, as alleged, the company would not pay the shore tankermen for approximately 30-60 minutes of work time for each shift as they transitioned into and out of their shifts at the dock sites. The O’Brien Law Firm contends that all of this time is time for which they should have been paid, and when the unpaid time put the worker over 40 hours in a workweek, overtime pay and penalties are due for that over-40 time.
The case for the Texas-based shore tankermen is Civil Action No. 4:21-cv-01150, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.
The case for the Louisiana-based shore tankermen is Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-02325, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Attorney Victor Farrugia of New Orleans is acting as local counsel, with Kerry O’Brien as lead counsel.
UPDATE: In April 2023, the parties in the Texas case settled the dispute and the federal judge approved the publicly filed settlement agreement that compensates all of the shore tankermen that opted to participate in that case. And in May 2023, the parties in the Louisiana case settled that dispute as well.