Mewbourne Oil Company

Case Information:

This case involves a class of current and former Lease Operators of Mewbourne Oil Company, Inc.  The lawsuit claims that Mewbourne misclassified its Lease Operators as “exempt” from overtime pay.  We are requesting class certification under both laws. The Lease Operators work for Mewbourne in their locations across New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.  D. Drew Greene is also an individual defendant in this case.

This case is brought under both the FLSA (federal law) and the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act. We are requesting class certification under both laws.

Employers that violate the FLSA are subject to double damages for all of the wages they failed to pay their workers. Violations of the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act subject the employer to treble damages. Under both laws, employers are also responsible for an employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs if the employee prevails. In the lawsuit, we are seeking to represent a class of the defendant’s Lease Operators and are requesting lost wages, liquidated (double) damages (under the FLSA), treble damages (under the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act), injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.

You can read the Complaint here.

Status Updates

July 15, 2020

On July 15, 2020,  the Court granted in part our Emergency Motion for Corrective Notice, to Prohibit Class Communications by Defendants, to Set Aside Settlement Agreements, and for Fees and Costs.   You can read the Court’s order here.  In the Order, the Court:

  • Restricted Defendants from communicating with class members about this action without first submitting such communications to the Court for review;
  • Permitted Plaintiff to revise the Notice and Consent that the Court ordered to be issued in its May 18, 2020 Memorandum Opinion and Order to clarify that Plaintiff is pursuing claims under both the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act  (NMMWA) and the FLSA, that any settlement proposed by Defendants thus far applies only to Plaintiff’s NMMWA claims and not to his FLSA claims, that regardless of whether a putative class member signed a Release, he or she is eligible to opt into this FLSA collective action, and that by failing to affirmatively opt into the action (by measures that should be outlined in the Notice), he or she will lose that eligibility and may lose the right to recover at all on her or her FLSA claims as a result of the applicable statute of limitations. The Notice will also advise the putative class members as to the relief Plaintiff requests in connection with his FLSA claims. Finally, the Notice will explain that, regardless of any continuing employment relationship between Defendants and their employees and any interest that Defendants may have in settling rather than litigating Plaintiff’s claims, any retaliation by Defendants against its employees for taking part in this lawsuit is absolutely prohibited by law.
  • In the event that the Court later grants certification of a class for purposes of Plaintiff’s NMMWA claims, any individual who signed a Release will be notified of their right to invalidate that Release and to participate in this action for purposes of pursuing NMMWA claims against Defendants.
May 18, 2020

On May 18, 2020, the Court granted our amended motion for conditional class certification and for judicially supervised notice.  You can read the order here.  In the order, the Court certified a class of Lease Operators/Pumpers working for Mewbourne at any time between October 31, 2015 and June 21, 2017.  The Court denied Mewbourne’s request that the class be limited to class members working in the Hobbs, New Mexico area and instead certified the class company-wide.   The Court also included in the class individuals that received and cashed checks as part of a Department of Labor investigation, so long as those individuals did not sign and return the Department of Labor’s WH-58 form. The Court noted that Mewbourne admits to misclassifying Lease Operators in violation of the FLSA and therefore ordered that the notice be modified to state that Mewbourne does not contest that it violated the law but instead that it did so willfully (which affects whether the statute of limitations is 2 or 3 years).  The Court also ordered that Mewbourne produce contact information for all class members so that we could send notice of the Class Members’ right to join this case via mail, e-mail, and text message. The Court also authorized publication of the notice via a website and endorsed the use of electronic signatures.

 

May 24, 2019 - Plaintiff files Emergency Motion for Corrective Notice, to Prohibit Class Communications by Defendants, to Set Aside Settlement Agreements, and for Fees and Costs

On May 24, 2019, we filed an Emergency Motion for Corrective Notice, to Prohibit Class Communications by Defendants, to Set Aside Settlement Agreements, and for Fees and Costs.  The motion concerns Defendants’ communications with class members on February 21, 2019 and May 6, 2019 and settlement agreements obtained from class members after the May 6, 2019 communications. In the motion, we are asking that the Court require Defendants to send a corrective notice to correct their previous communications with the class, to prohibit Defendants from further communicating with class members regarding this case, to set aside the settlement agreements, and to award Plaintiff his attorneys’ fees and costs in bringing the motion.

May 23, 2019 - Motion to Certify NM Minimum Wage Act Class Action

On May 23, 2019, we filed a motion to certify a class of New Mexico-based Lease Operators under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  You can read the motion here.  We asked that the Court certify a class defined as: “All of Defendants’ current and former Lease Operators who, in at least one workweek between June 19, 2009 and June 21, 2017, were paid a salary with no overtime and who worked for Defendants in New Mexico.”

March 14, 2019 - Amended Motion for Conditional Class Certification Filed

On March 14, 2018, we filed an amended motion for conditional class certification and for judicially supervised notice.  In the motion, which you can read here, we asked the court to expand the class definition to include Lease Operators working for Mewbourne any time between October 31, 2015 and June 1, 2017.  The amended motion claims that although Mewbourne reclassified Lease Operators as eligible for overtime in October 2016, it did not start paying overtime immediately and violations continued until June 2017.

You can Mewbourne’s response here and our reply here.

February 1, 2019 - First Amended Complaint

On February 1, 2019, we filed our First Amended Complaint.  The First Amended Complaint adds D. Drew Greene as a defendant in this case.  It also adds allegations that Mewbourne and Greene misclassified Lease Operators (Pumpers) going back many years, prior to 2009.  Plaintiff claims this continued misclassification constitutes a “continuing course of conduct” under the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act such as to render all claims dating back to June 19, 2009 timely.

October 31, 2018 - Motion for Conditional Class Certification Filed

On October 31, 2018, we filed a motion for conditional class certification and for judicially supervised notice.  In the motion, which you can read here, we asked the court to certify a class of Lease Operators (Pumpers) who were paid a salary but no overtime at any time between October 31, 2015 and November 1, 2016.  We also requested that the Court authorize Plaintiff’s counsel to notify all potential class members of this lawsuit and of their ability to join the lawsuit.

 

You can Mewbourne’s response here and our reply here.

August 22, 2018 - Complaint Filed

You can read the Complaint here.