Richard Alexander; Bennie Collum; Don Davis; Duane Grimes; John Houpt; John Howland; Jason Phillips; Dwayne Pritchard; Randy Schroeder; Kylan Utley; Robert McNeil, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
Tutle and Tutle Trucking, Inc.; Tommy Paul Tutle, Individually and as Officer and Director of Tutle and Tutle Trucking, Inc.; Gary Tutle, Individually and as Officer and Director of Tutle and Tutle Trucking, Inc.; Schlumberger Limited, (Schlumberger NV); Schlumberger Technology Corporation; Schlumberger Technologies Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
Submitted: April 13, 2016
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas - Little Rock
COLLOTON and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges, and BOUGH,  District
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Alexander and ten other plaintiffs brought suit against Tutle
and Tutle Trucking, Inc. and its directors and officers
(collectively, "Tutle"), and three entities with
the Schlumberger name that owned a fleet of trucks operated
by Tutle (collectively, "Schlumberger"). Tutle
employed the plaintiffs as truck drivers, and the drivers
contend that Tutle and Schlumberger failed to pay them
overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1),
and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act ("AMWA"), Ark.
Code Ann. § 11-4-211(a). The district
court determined that no overtime wages were
due, because an exemption under the federal Motor Carrier Act
applied to the drivers. The court thus granted summary
judgment for the defendants, and the drivers appeal. We
provides trucking services for hydraulic fracturing
companies. During the relevant period, Tutle owned and
operated its own fleet of trucks. Schlumberger supplies a
range of services to customers in the oil and gas industry.
In March 2011, Tutle entered into an agreement with
Schlumberger to operate a fleet of Schlumberger trucks using
Tutle employees as drivers.
employed Alexander and the other plaintiffs as truck drivers
based in Arkansas. The drivers understood that Tutle could
assign them to drive routes outside of Arkansas as part of
their employment. Each plaintiff driver was designated to
drive Schlumberger trucks at some point in 2012 or 2013. The
drivers contend that when Tutle recruited them to the
Schlumberger assignment, the company told each driver that he
would drive Schlumberger trucks only within Arkansas. The
drivers assert that their primary responsibility when driving
the Schlumberger trucks was to haul within Arkansas loads of
"frac sand, " a specialized type of sand that is
added to fracking fluids that are injected into wells during
practice, however, each driver traveled outside Arkansas in a
Schlumberger truck at least once, and up to five times, while
designated as a Schlumberger driver. These trips involved
vehicle inspections or equipment relocation. On some
occasions, the drivers hauled sand into Arkansas when
returning from an out-of-state trip in a Schlumberger truck.
Five drivers operated Schlumberger trucks in Oklahoma and
Texas for approximately one month in July and August 2013.
These month-long trips out of Arkansas were to haul frac sand
to wells in Oklahoma and Texas.
designated as Schlumberger drivers, several of the drivers
also operated Tutle trucks when Tutle required it. Although
the drivers were assigned primarily to the Schlumberger
trucks, Tutle asserts that it retained authority to require
the drivers to drive a Tutle truck or to drive out of state
as needed. Even when driving Schlumberger trucks, the drivers
continued to receive trip instructions from Tutle
drivers contend that as operators of Schlumberger trucks,
they were subject to a different set of policies than other
drivers whom Tutle employed. Drivers assigned to Schlumberger
trucks were paid a flat daily or weekly rate, while drivers
assigned to Tutle trucks received a commission and
"demerge pay" for waiting to load or unload cargo.
The drivers also assert that they worked different hours than
other Tutle drivers. The drivers complied with a safe driving
program and used an E-Journey software system to log their
trips when driving Schlumberger trucks.
dispute concerns whether the drivers were entitled to
overtime compensation. Both federal law and Arkansas state
law require employers to pay employees overtime compensation
for hours worked in excess of forty hours per workweek. 29
U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-211(a).
One exception to this general rule is the Motor Carrier Act
exemption, which excepts from overtime requirements "any
employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation
has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of
service." 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1); see also
Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-211(d).
drivers sued Tutle and Schlumberger, alleging that the
companies had violated the FLSA and the AMWA by failing to
pay overtime compensation. The drivers also sought punitive
damages based on the alleged violations of state law,
pursuant to the Arkansas Civil Justice Reform Act. Ark. Code
Ann. § 16-55-206.
competing motions for summary judgment, the district court
concluded that the Motor Carrier Act exemption applied to the
drivers, because there was a reasonable expectation that the
drivers would travel in interstate commerce, and such
activity was not de minimis. The court therefore
granted summary judgment for Tutle and Schlumberger. We
review the district court's ruling de novo,
viewing the record in the light most favorable to the
drivers. Thomas v. Heartland Emp't Servs. LLC,
797 F.3d 527, 529 (8th Cir. 2015). Summary judgment is