Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chhum v. Anstett

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 9, 2016

SOPHAN CHHUM, Plaintiff,
v.
CONSTANCE ANSTETT, fiduciary of the estate of Ruth T. Bedford, Defendant.

          RULING GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer Judge.

         For many years, plaintiff Sophan Chhum worked for a wealthy woman who owned a small animal farm in Connecticut. For the last years of the woman’s life until she died at the age of 99, she trusted plaintiff to live on the farm and to take care of her numerous farm animals.

         After the woman passed away, plaintiff filed this lawsuit against her estate to claim that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) he should have been paid overtime for the hours that he worked in excess of 40 hours per week while living on the farm. Defendant has moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff’s work fit within the “agricultural exemption” to the FLSA. I agree, and therefore I will grant defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

         Background

         Ruth Bedford owned a small farm known as “Nyala Farm” in Easton, Connecticut, some miles away from where Bedford lived in Westport, Connecticut. The small farm had a farmhouse, stables, and other outbuildings.

         Plaintiff first started working at Bedford’s farm in 1993. From 1993 until March 2010, plaintiff commuted to the farm from his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and there he assisted another person who lived on the farm as resident caretaker. In March 2010, the resident caretaker passed away, and Bedford asked plaintiff to move to the farm to assume the resident caretaker’s responsibilities. Plaintiff agreed, and he lived there until December 2014 when the farm was sold shortly after Bedford passed away.

         During the time that plaintiff lived there, Nyala Farm housed between three and five retired racehorses, a mule, a donkey, two llamas, two cows, about twenty chickens, ten ducks, twenty pigeons, and a dog. There was also a 1, 000 pound pig that had belonged to the former caretaker.

         Plaintiff fed the animals twice a day, took the livestock from the stable to the pasture for exercise, sprayed the horses with fly spray, groomed the horses, and checked on the horses at night. Plaintiff also drove a truck owned by Bedford to buy food and other supplies for the livestock and other animals. He oversaw the animals’ medical care, calling and assisting the veterinarian as needed. Every day, he called Bedford to report how her animals were doing.

         Plaintiff also maintained the farm grounds, including shoveling snow, cutting the grass, trimming the trees, and whacking the weeds. He repaired fences and the farmhouse as needed. He was assisted in these tasks by an hourly worker who worked about 40 hours a week. Otherwise, plaintiff or his wife had to remain at the farm almost constantly because of the demands of caring for the animals.

         Discussion

         The principles governing a motion for summary judgment are well established. Summary judgment may be granted only if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per curiam). “A genuine dispute of material fact exists for summary judgment purposes where the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, is such that a reasonable jury could decide in that party's favor.” Zann Kwan v. Andalex Grp. LLC, 737 F.3d 834, 843 (2d Cir. 2013). The evidence adduced at the summary judgment stage must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and with all ambiguities and reasonable inferences drawn against the moving party. See, e.g., Tolan, 134 S.Ct. at 1866; Caronia v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 715 F.3d 417, 427 (2d Cir. 2013). All in all, “a judge’s function at summary judgment is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Tolan, 134 S.Ct. at 1866.

         The FLSA requires that an employer pay an employee overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week if an employee either “is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, ” or “is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1).[1] But an employee who works in “agriculture” for a small agricultural operation, however, is exempt from these overtime requirements. 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(6)(A).[2]

The FLSA, in turn, defines the term “agriculture” broadly to include:
farming in all its branches and among other things includes . . . the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.