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DOL Motion to Extend Deadlines in Touch of Glass Suit Granted in Part

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico has granted in part a motion filed by the Department of Labor (DOL) that the deadlines in a suit it filed against a Touch of Glass in New Mexico be extended, according to court documents filed in the case. In the motion, the plaintiffs requested an extension until January 2, 2009, to join additional parties and amend the pleadings; likewise, they requested that the defendants in the case, the company and its management, have until February 2, 2009, to join additional parties and amend the pleadings. Both would be a 6-month extension from the original dates. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

While the plaintiffs cite the fact that a trial in the case is expected to be held in June 2009, the Court rules in its order that this is not the case.

"As yet, there is no trial setting or other indication establishing June 2090 as the probable trial date," writes Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Lorenzo Garcia in his order, dated August 28. Likewise, the judge orders the current requested extensions are too long.

"The Court concludes that no good cause has been shown for such an extraordinarily long delay," he adds. "The Court recognizes, however, that Plaintiff designated a large number of witnesses in the Joint Status Report, and, accordingly, the Court is willing to extend all case management deadlines by 60 days."

Based on this, the deadline to join additional parties and amend pleadings for the plaintiffs was extended until today, September 2, and until October 1 for the defendants.

In the suit, the DOL alleges that the shop, A Touch of Glass Enterprises Inc., its president, Emily Gordon, and vice president, Emerald Duquette, withheld payment of minimum wage and/or overtime compensation due to employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The company and its leaders are charged with paying its non-exempt employees at rates less than the minimum hourly rated required by the FLSA and with requiring employees "in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce" to work more than 40 hours a week "without compensating such employees for their employment in excess of 40 hours per week at rates not less than one and one-half times the regular rates at which they were employed," according to court documents.

In addition, the DOL alleges that the company failed to keep accurate records of how many hours employees worked each day and the total each week.

The plaintiff is seeking that the liquidated damages equal in amount to the unpaid compensation be provided to the affected employees and that pre-judgment interest also be computed at the underpayment rate established by the Secretary of the Treasury, according to the complaint.

The new deadlines in the case are set forth as follows:

Termination for discovery - November 17, 2008;

Motions relating to discovery filed by - December 8, 2008;

Plaintiff's deadline to identify expert witnesses in writing - September 17, 2008;

Defendants' deadline to identify expert witnesses in writing - October 17, 2008; and

Deadline for pre-trial motions, other than discovery motions - December 17, 2008.

In addition, the plaintiffs' portion of pre-trial order is due to the defendants on February 3, and the defendants' portion is due to the court on or before February 17.

CLICK HERE for full text of motion.

CLICK HERE for full text of order.

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