Laquidara v. West Mass Management Group, LLC et al
Plaintiff: Diane Laquidara
Defendant: West Mass Management Group, LLC doing business as Magic Lantern, Kimberly Brunelle, Orange Lantern, Inc., Mark Pessolano and Christopher Brunelle
3Rd Party Defendant: Kelsey Beard
3Rd Party Plaintiff: West Mass Management Group, LLC
Case Number: 3:2021cv30039
Filed: April 2, 2021
Court: US District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Presiding Judge: Mark G Mastroianni
Referring Judge: Katherine A Robertson
Nature of Suit: Labor: Fair Standards
Cause of Action: 28 U.S.C. ยง 1331 Fed. Question: Fair Labor Standards
Jury Demanded By: Defendant
Docket Report

This docket was last retrieved on March 7, 2022. A more recent docket listing may be available from PACER.

Date Filed Document Text
March 7, 2022 Filing 42 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered ALLOWING #41 Joint Request to Extend the Stay for an Additional 60 Days. Within sixty days from this order, the parties are requested to file a further status report.(Healy, Bethaney)
March 4, 2022 Filing 41 STATUS REPORT and Third Motion to Extend Stay by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. (Flores, Erica) Modified on 3/7/2022 (Healy, Bethaney).
February 28, 2022 Filing 40 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER ENTERED. The court requests the parties file a joint status by March 4, 2022. (Healy, Bethaney)
February 8, 2022 Filing 39 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered ALLOWING the joint request of the parties to extend the stay through February 17, 2022 while they continue to explore resolution of the case. (Dkt. No. 38.) (Zamorski, Michael)
February 7, 2022 Filing 38 STATUS REPORT (Joint) by Diane Laquidara. (Savytska, Olena)
December 7, 2021 Filing 37 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered ALLOWING #36 Joint Motion to Extend Stay for 60 Days. The parties are directed to file a joint status report by February 7, 2022. (Zamorski, Michael)
December 6, 2021 Filing 36 Joint Motion to Extend Stay by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. (Flores, Erica) Modified to add gavel to entry making it a motion on 12/8/2021 (Zamorski, Michael).
November 5, 2021 Filing 35 Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 12/6/2021 (Healy, Bethaney)
November 5, 2021 Filing 34 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting #33 Motion to Stay Litigation to pursue Settlement. The parties are directed to file a joint status report by December 6, 2021. (Healy, Bethaney)
November 4, 2021 Filing 33 Joint MOTION to Stay Litigation to Pursue Settlement by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica)
October 19, 2021 Filing 32 Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered ALLOWING #21 Motion for Conditional Class Certification.Plaintiff, a former exotic dancer at the Magic Lantern restaurant and bar, filed this FLSA lawsuit alleging unpaid wages and illegal kickbacks. (Plaintiff's Massachusetts wage claims are not relevant to this motion.) Defendants Kimberly and Chris Brunelle, through Defendant West Mass Management Group, LLC, have owned and operated the Magic Lantern since early 2020; previously, Defendant Mark Pessolano operated the business through Defendant Orange Lantern, Inc. The Complaint alleges that Defendants did not pay Plaintiff or other dancers minimum wage; instead, the dancers were compensated with a portion of the fees that patrons paid for individual dances. It further alleges that Plaintiff and other dancers were forced to "tip out" the club's DJ and were required to perform a certain number of free dances per month. Plaintiff alleges that some nights she worked, she made nothing.Plaintiff worked at the Magic Lantern from July through December 2020; she moved to conditionally certify a class of dancers who worked at the club under the same compensation policy as Plaintiff did for the three years prior to the present motion. See 29 U.S.C. 216(b). Most courts in this Circuit apply a two-step approach to decide whether to issue notice to potential class members and certify a collective class under Section 216(b). See Trezvant v. Fidelity Employer Servs. Corp., 434 F. Supp. 2d 40, 43 (D. Mass. 2006). First, the court makes a preliminary determination whether the plaintiffs are "similarly situated" sufficient to authorize notice to the potential class members. See id. (noting that step one is evaluated on the pleadings and any affidavits). Second, after discovery, the employer may move to decertify the class. Gonpo v. Sonam's Stonewalls & Art LLC, 2018 WL 1725695, at *4 (D. Mass. Apr. 9, 2018) (certifying class). At step one, "Plaintiff need only put forth some evidence that the legal claims and factual characteristics of the class in this case are similar." Id. at *6 (quoting Trezvant, 434 F. Supp. 2d at 44) (internal quotation marks omitted). "A plaintiff's burden is satisfied... through a modest factual showing sufficient to demonstrate that they and potential plaintiffs... were victims of a common policy" in violation of the FLSA. Gonpo, 2018 WL 1725695 at *6 (internal quotation marks omitted). Plaintiff satisfies this "fairly lenient standard" by affidavit and allegations that the Brunelle Defendants and Defendant Pessolano before them had a common policy of (1) not paying dancers minimum wage, instead compensating them out of fees generated on a per-dance basis; (2) requiring dancers to "tip out" the DJ; and (3) controlling their schedule and requiring them to perform free dances each month. See Guzman v. Three Amigos SJL Inc., 117 F. Supp. 3d 516, 519-20 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) (granting conditional certification where dancers alleged Defendants did not pay them wages, charged "house fees," required dancers to "tip out" other employees, and controlled their schedules and behavior).The Brunelle Defendants and West Mass Management Group, LLC oppose class certification because of Plaintiff's alleged friendship with a manager but do not explain how this personal relationship undermines Plaintiff's evidence of Defendants' common policy in violation of the FLSA. (See Dkt. No. 27 at 6-8.) Defendants also argue that the Magic Lantern is not engaged in "interstate commerce." (Id. at 5.) Having answered the Complaint, Defendants may next raise this argument at summary judgment. It is, in any event, irrelevant to the present motion. See Romero v. Clean Harbors Surface Rentals USA, Inc., 368 F. Supp. 3d 152, 162 (D. Mass. 2019) ("courts generally do not consider merits questions when deciding whether to conditionally certify an FLSA collective action group"). Defendants Pessolano and Orange Lantern, Inc. did not oppose the motion for class certification and have waived any objection to the alleged commonality of pay practices preceding the Brunelle Defendants' ownership. Defendants also oppose class certification because Plaintiff had not filed written consent to serve as a party plaintiff under 29 U.S.C. 216(b); their argument is now moot as Plaintiff filed her consent on September 30, 2021. (See Dkt. No. 30.) An FLSA collective action begins, for purposes of the statute of limitations, on "the subsequent date on which [the party plaintiff's] written consent is filed in the court in which the action was commenced." Pike v. New Generation Donuts, LLC, 2016 WL 707361, at *4 (D. Mass. Feb. 20, 2016) (quoting 29 U.S.C. 256) (internal quotation marks omitted). Plaintiff alleges willful violations of the FLSA, and the applicable limitations period is three years. The conditional class will, therefore, be certified to include dancers who worked at the Magic Lantern between September 30, 2018 and September 30, 2021. Defendants raise several objections to Plaintiff's proposed notice and opt-in form. (Dkt. Nos. 21-1, 21-2.) Plaintiff has responded and agreed to make changes to address some of Defendants' objections. The court has reviewed the proposed notice and the parties' arguments and finds the remainder of Defendants' objections are without merit. See Gonpo, 2018 WL 1725695, at *3 (court has "broad discretionary power" in handling notice to class members). Given the likely difficulty of locating many of the potential plaintiffs, 90 days to return the opt-in form is appropriate. Defendants are ordered to provide Plaintiff, within 14 days of this order, the names, mailing addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers for all dancers at the Magic Lantern between September 30, 2018 and September 30, 2021. (Healy, Bethaney)
October 4, 2021 Filing 31 REPLY to Response to #21 MOTION to Certify Class (Motion for Conditional Certification) filed by Diane Laquidara. (Savytska, Olena)
September 30, 2021 Filing 30 Notice of Filing Consent to Sue (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - Opt In Consent Form)(Savytska, Olena)
September 20, 2021 Filing 29 ELECTRONIC NOTICE of Case RE-Assignment. Judge Mark G. Mastroianni assigned to case. If the trial Judge issues an Order of Reference of any matter in this case to a Magistrate Judge, the matter will be transmitted to Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson. (Finn, Mary)
September 20, 2021 Filing 28 Refusal to Consent to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge. . (Savytska, Olena)
September 15, 2021 Filing 27 First Opposition re #21 MOTION to Certify Class (Motion for Conditional Certification) filed by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A, #2 Exhibit B)(Flores, Erica)
September 14, 2021 Filing 26 ELECTRONIC NOTICE TO COUNSEL: Notification forms indicating whether or not a party has consented to proceed before a U.S. Magistrate Judge have not been received in the Clerk's Office. The submission of the form is mandatory. Completed forms shall be filed on or before the close of business on September 28, 2021. Additional forms can be obtained on the Court's web page at http://www.mad.uscourts.gov. (Rivera, Melissa)
August 30, 2021 Filing 25 WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. Kelsey Beard waiver sent on 7/20/2021, answer due 9/20/2021. (Flores, Erica)
August 24, 2021 Filing 24 Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting the Defendants/Third-party Plaintiffs' #23 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re #21 MOTION to Certify Class (Motion for Conditional Certification). Defendants/Third-party Plaintiffs' response due by 9/15/2021. Plaintiffs' reply, if any, due by 10/4/2021. (Finn, Mary)
August 23, 2021 Filing 23 First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to #21 MOTION to Certify Class (Motion for Conditional Certification) by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica)
August 20, 2021 Filing 22 First MEMORANDUM in Opposition re #15 MOTION to Dismiss Third-Party Complaint MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit Beard Complaint, #2 Exhibit Beard Amended Complaint, #3 Exhibit E-mail from Atty Savytska)(Flores, Erica)
August 11, 2021 Filing 21 MOTION to Certify Class (Motion for Conditional Certification) by Diane Laquidara. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit Notice, #2 Exhibit Opt-in Form, #3 Exhibit Laquidara Decl.)(Savytska, Olena)
August 11, 2021 Filing 20 ELECTRONIC NOTICE TO COUNSEL: Notification forms indicating whether or not a party has consented to proceed before a U.S. Magistrate Judge have not been received in the Clerk's Office. The submission of the form is mandatory. Completed forms shall be filed on or before the close of business on August 25, 2021. Additional forms can be obtained on the Court's web page at http://www.mad.uscourts.gov. (Rivera, Melissa)
August 9, 2021 Filing 19 ANSWER to #1 Complaint, with Jury Demand by Mark Pessolano.(O'Connell, Daniel)
August 3, 2021 Filing 18 Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting Assented-to #17 MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Third-Party Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Response due by 8/20/2021. (Rivera, Melissa)
August 2, 2021 Filing 17 Assented to MOTION for Extension of Time to 8..20.2021 to REspond to Motion to Dismiss by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica)
July 23, 2021 Filing 16 MEMORANDUM in Support re #15 MOTION to Dismiss Third-Party Complaint MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Kelsey Beard. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit Savytska Decl.)(Savytska, Olena)
July 23, 2021 Filing 15 MOTION to Dismiss Third-Party Complaint, MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM ( Responses due by 8/6/2021) by Kelsey Beard.(Savytska, Olena)
July 23, 2021 Filing 14 NOTICE of Appearance by Olena Savytska on behalf of Kelsey Beard (Savytska, Olena)
July 2, 2021 Filing 13 THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT against Kelsey Beard, filed by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica)
June 28, 2021 Filing 12 ANSWER to #1 Complaint, with Jury Demand by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica)
May 24, 2021 Filing 11 SUMMONS Returned Executed West Mass Management Group, LLC served on 5/6/2021, answer due 6/28/2021. (Lichten, Harold)
May 24, 2021 Filing 10 SUMMONS Returned Executed Kimberly Brunelle served on 5/6/2021, answer due 6/28/2021. (Lichten, Harold)
May 24, 2021 Filing 9 SUMMONS Returned Executed Christopher Brunelle served on 5/6/2021, answer due 6/28/2021. (Lichten, Harold)
May 24, 2021 Filing 8 Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting #5 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer/File a Response to the #1 Complaint, Christopher Brunelle answer due 6/28/2021; Kimberly Brunelle answer due 6/28/2021; West Mass Management Group, LLC answer due 6/28/2021. (Finn, Mary)
May 21, 2021 Filing 7 NOTICE of Appearance by Erica E. Flores on behalf of Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC (Flores, Erica)
May 21, 2021 Filing 6 CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC. (Flores, Erica)
May 21, 2021 Filing 5 First MOTION for Extension of Time to June 28, 2021 to File Answer/Responsive Pleading to Class and Collective Action Complaint by Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, West Mass Management Group, LLC.(Flores, Erica) Modified on 5/21/2021 to change the relief type of the motion to MOTION to Extend Time to File an Answer. (Finn, Mary).
April 2, 2021 Filing 4 Summons Issued as to Christopher Brunelle, Kimberly Brunelle, Orange Lantern, Inc., Mark Pessolano, West Mass Management Group, LLC. Counsel receiving this notice electronically should download this summons, complete one for each defendant and serve it in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 and LR 4.1. Summons will be mailed to plaintiff(s) not receiving notice electronically for completion of service. (Lindsay, Maurice)
April 2, 2021 Filing 3 NOTICE of Case Assignment. Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson assigned to case. Plaintiff's counsel, or defendant's counsel if this case was initiated by the filing of a Notice of Removal, are directed to the Notice and Procedures regarding Consent to Proceed before the Magistrate Judge which can be downloaded #here. These documents will be mailed to counsel not receiving notice electronically. Pursuant to General Order 09-3, until the Court receives for filing either a consent to the Magistrate Judge's jurisdiction or the reassignment of the case to a District Judge, the initial assignment of a civil case to the Magistrate Judge is a referral to the Magistrate Judge under 28 USC 636(b) for all pretrial non-dispositive matters and Report and Recommendations, but not for the Rule 16(b) scheduling conference. (Lindsay, Maurice)
April 2, 2021 Filing 2 NOTICE of Appearance by Olena Savytska on behalf of Diane Laquidara (Savytska, Olena)
April 2, 2021 Filing 1 COMPLAINT against Mark Pessolano, Kimberly Brunelle, Orange Lantern, Inc., West Mass Management Group, LLC, Christopher Brunelle Filing fee: $ 402, receipt number 0101-8710310 (Fee Status: Filing Fee paid), filed by Diane Laquidara. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet, #2 Exhibit Civil Category Sheet)(Lichten, Harold)

Access additional case information on PACER

Use the links below to access additional information about this case on the US Court's PACER system. A subscription to PACER is required.

Access this case on the Massachusetts District Court's Electronic Court Filings (ECF) System

Search for this case: Laquidara v. West Mass Management Group, LLC et al
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Defendant: West Mass Management Group, LLC doing business as Magic Lantern
Represented By: Erica E. Flores
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Defendant: Kimberly Brunelle
Represented By: Erica E. Flores
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Defendant: Orange Lantern, Inc.
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Defendant: Mark Pessolano
Represented By: Daniel J. O'Connell
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Defendant: Christopher Brunelle
Represented By: Erica E. Flores
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
Plaintiff: Diane Laquidara
Represented By: Harold L. Lichten
Represented By: Olena Savytska
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
3rd party defendant: Kelsey Beard
Represented By: Olena Savytska
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]
3rd party plaintiff: West Mass Management Group, LLC
Represented By: Erica E. Flores
Search News [ Google News | Marketwatch | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | New York Times ]
Search Finance [ Google Finance | Yahoo Finance | Hoovers | SEC Edgar Filings ]
Search Web [ Unicourt | Justia Dockets | Legal Web | Google | Bing | Yahoo | Ask ]

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?