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Termorshuizen v. Spurwink Services, Inc.

Supreme Court of Maine

May 21, 2019


          Argued: February 6, 2019

          Guy D. Loranger, Esq. (orally), and Danielle Quinlan, Esq., Law Office of Guy D. Loranger, Old Orchard Beach, for appellants Sydney A. TerMorshuizen and Patricia A. TerMorshuizen

          Graydon G. Stevens, Esq. (orally), Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman, Portland, for appellee Spurwink Services, Inc.


          HUMPHREY, J.

         [¶1] Sydney A. TerMorshuizen and Patricia A. TerMorshuizen appeal from a summary judgment entered by the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Horton, J.) in favor of Spurwink Services, Inc. (Spurwink) on the TerMorshuizens' claim for overtime pay pursuant to 26 M.R.S. § 664 (2018). In this appeal we consider whether interruptions to "sleep time" are compensable under section 664. The TerMorshuizens contend that the court erred in considering analogous federal law and in concluding that Spurwink's sleep time policy was reasonable as a matter of law. We affirm the court's judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] The following facts are drawn from the parties' statements of material facts and their stipulated exhibits. See Sullivan v. St. Joseph's Rehab. & Residence, 2016 ME 107, ¶ 2, 143 A.3d 1283.

         [¶3] Spurwink is a licensed, nonprofit mental health agency that provides treatment, education, and rehabilitation services to individuals with emotional, behavioral, mental, or intellectual disabilities. The TerMorshuizens were employed by Spurwink and worked as a therapeutic couple at a residential facility in Spurwink's Chelsea program-a day and residential treatment program for children and adolescents with significant emotional and behavioral needs. They worked in this capacity from September 6, 2011, to December 14, 2016.

         [¶4] As a therapeutic couple, the TerMorshuizens were responsible for "maintaining a home-like, caring, clean and safe environment, contributing to the continuity of programming within the residential setting, and recognizing and implementing the recommendations put forth by the client's ... treatment plans," and administering prescribed medications. (Quotation marks omitted.) Throughout their tenure, the TerMorshuizens cared for a total of eight children-seven females and one male, ranging in age from nine to eighteen- and typically cared for three children at a time. The children had all suffered some type of abuse-physical, sexual, emotional, or some combination thereof-and required near constant supervision during waking hours.

         [¶5] Like other therapeutic couples, the TerMorshuizens lived in the residence with the children. They worked a rotating two-week schedule whereby they were in the home for ten consecutive days and eleven consecutive nights and then had four days off. At the start of their employment, the TerMorshuizens were paid for all hours of the ten-day shift except for up to eight hours of sleep time each night and a daily break of three to four hours for eight days of the shift. On July 6, 2012, they signed a new Employee Status Report (ESR) that altered this ten-day shift schedule slightly to provide for seven hours of nightly sleep time and eight daily four-hour breaks.

         [¶6] Also included in the ESR was a reference to Spurwink's written policy providing for compensation for sleep time interruptions that call a therapeutic couple to duty to attend to a client.[1] If the interruption prevents the employee from getting five hours of sleep-not necessarily five consecutive hours-the employee is entitled to be paid for all scheduled sleep time hours. This policy was reflected in the TerMorshuizens' ESR. The TerMorshuizens recorded their work hours on timesheets and were responsible for including on the timesheets any sleep time interruptions that required them to directly care for the children.

         [¶7] On May 4, 2017, the TerMorshuizens brought suit against Spurwink for unpaid wages. They alleged that they are entitled to overtime wages, pursuant to 26 M.R.S. §§ 664, 670, for all time worked in excess of forty hours per week. They argued that, while Spurwink paid them for all time recorded on their timesheets, including recorded sleep time interruptions, they are entitled to payment for other client interruptions that prevented them from sleeping, which Spurwink had not allowed them to include on their timesheets.[2]

         [¶8] On March 23, 2018, Spurwink moved for summary judgment on the grounds that its sleep time compensation policy was in compliance with federal law, specifically 29 C.F.R. § 785.23 (2018), and was reasonable as a matter of law. On June 26, 2018, the court (Cumberland County, Horton, J.) granted Spurwink's motion on each ground. The TerMorshuizens timely appealed the court's decision. See M.R. App. P. 2B(c).


         [¶9] We review the grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing the evidence "in the light most favorable to the nonprevailing party to determine whether the parties' statements of material facts and the record evidence to which the statements refer demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Rainey v. Langen,2010 ME 56, ¶ 23, 998 A.2d 342 (quoting Beal v. Allstate Ins. Co.,2010 ME 20, ¶ 11, 989 A.2d 733); see also Remmes v. Mark Travel Corp.,2015 ME 63, ¶ 19, 116 A.3d 466 ("When the material facts are ...

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