Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Victory

On February 21, 2017, the Law Offices of Gilda A Hernandez, PLLC filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Named, Opt-in, and putative Plaintiffs and Rule 23 class members against Hospitality Ventures, LLC d/b/a Umstead Hotel and Spa; SAS Institute, Inc.; and NC Culinary Ventures, LLC d/b/a Ãn Asian Cuisine.

On March 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Conditional Class Certification requesting that the Court certify this matter as a class action. Defendants filed their response on May 1, 2018. The Court still has not ruled on this motion. On the same day as their response in opposition to our Motion for Conditional Class Certification, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment requesting that the Court dismiss the lawsuit.  Plaintiffs responded in opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on May 31, 2018.

On December 18, 2018, the Eastern District Court of North Carolina granted Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed Plaintiff’s claims without prejudice. Shortly thereafter, the Law Offices of Gilda A. Hernandez, PLLC appealed the District Court’s decision, to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals – the court system below the Supreme Court.

The appeals process took approximately two (2) years with various motions back and forth.  Notably, the Fourth Circuit selected Plaintiff’s appeal for oral argument on September 8, 2020, in front of Circuit Judges Agee and Quattlebaum and U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, Thomas S. Kleeh.

On November 24, 2020, the Fourth Circuit issued its ruling, reversing in part and remanding back to the District Court for further proceedings, to which Defendants filed a Motion to Stay the Mandate, to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.   On January 7, 2021, the Fourth Circuit denied Defendants’ Motion.  The Fourth Circuit issued the Mandate on January 15, 2021, and the case was remanded back to the District Court for further proceedings.

CURRENT UPDATE: On June 3, 2021, U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan granted Plaintiff’s motion for conditional/class certification on Plaintiffs’ claims regarding Defendants’ tip pooling arrangement requiring servers, server assistants, runners, and bartenders to participate in the restaurants’ alleged illegal tip pool and inter alia failed to pay minimum wages and overtime as due, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA).

If you or someone you know would like to join this action, please follow the link to learn more: Tom v. Hospitality Ventures, LLC et al.