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Randolph v. Centene Management Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

May 4, 2015

SYBILLA RANDOLPH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTENE MANAGEMENT CO., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL CLASS CERTIFICATION AND RESERVING RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S PROPOSED NOTICE

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, Distirct Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Sybilla Randolph's ("Randolph") motion for conditional class certification and court-authorized notice (Dkt. 29). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for conditional class certification and reserves ruling on the proposed notice for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 12, 2014, Randolph filed a Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") collective action against Defendant Centene Management Co. ("Centene"). Dkt. 1 ("Comp."). Randolph and the putative class members worked for Centene as case managers. Id. ¶ 16. Randolph alleges that Centene uniformly misclassified her and other case managers as exempt from the FLSA's overtime protections. Id. ¶¶ 15-20. Thus far, nineteen other individuals have consented to join Randolph's suit as plaintiffs ("opt-in Plaintiffs"). Dkts. 17-22, 25, 27-28, 30, 47.

On March 12, 2015, Randolph moved for conditional class certification and court-authorized notice under the FLSA. Dkt. 29. On March 30, 2015, Centene responded. Dkt. 41. On April 3, 2015, Randolph replied. Dkt. 46.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Centene is a Wisconsin corporation with its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Comp. ¶ 7; Dkt. 16 ("Ans.") ¶ 7. Centene operates offices in multiple locations around the country, including Tacoma, Washington. Comp. ¶ 8; Ans. ¶ 8. Centene provides management services to managed care companies operating government-sponsored health insurance plans. Comp. ¶ 10; Ans. ¶ 10.

Randolph and the putative class members worked for Centene as case managers. Comp. ¶ 16; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Kathy Adams ("Adams Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Sharon Bratten ("Bratten Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Estella Dobson ("Dobson Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Carolyn Gunn ("Gunn Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-1, Declaration of Ruth Lemler ("Lemler Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Deborah Letizia ("Letizia Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Connie Malaska ("Malaska Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Karen Noworyta ("Noworyta Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Sybilla Randolph ("Randolph Dec.") ¶ 3; Dkt. 29-3, Declaration of Belinda Rouse ("Rouse Dec.") ¶ 3. Randolph and the putative class members operated under similar job descriptions, developed by a centralized human resources department. Dkt. 29-1, Declaration of Rachhana Srey ("Srey Dec."), Ex. D at 3-4; Ex. E.

The primary duty of a case manager is to conduct utilization reviews. Adams Dec. ¶ 4; Bratten Dec. ¶ 4; Dobson Dec. ¶ 4; Gunn Dec. ¶ 4; Lemler Dec. ¶ 4; Letizia Dec. ¶ 4; Malaska Dec. ¶ 4; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 4; Randolph Dec. ¶ 4; Rouse Dec. ¶ 4. Utilization reviews consist of reviewing medical authorization requests submitted by healthcare providers against pre-determined guidelines and criteria for insurance coverage and payment purposes. Adams Dec. ¶ 4; Bratten Dec. ¶ 4; Dobson Dec. ¶ 4; Gunn Dec. ¶ 4; Lemler Dec. ¶ 4; Letizia Dec. ¶ 4; Malaska Dec. ¶ 4; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 4; Randolph Dec. ¶ 4. Case managers perform utilization reviews using Centene's standard guidelines, including Centene's medical policy and procedures. Adams Dec. ¶ 8; Bratten Dec. ¶ 8; Dobson Dec. ¶ 8; Gunn Dec. ¶ 8; Lemler Dec. ¶ 8; Letizia Dec. ¶ 8; Malaska Dec. ¶ 8; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 8; Randolph Dec. ¶ 8; Rouse Dec. ¶ 7.

Case managers receive similar training at the beginning of their employment with Centene. Adams Dec. ¶ 14; Bratten Dec. ¶ 14; Dobson Dec. ¶ 14; Gunn Dec. ¶ 14; Letizia Dec. ¶ 14; Malaska Dec. ¶ 14; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 14; Randolph Dec. ¶ 14; Rouse Dec. ¶ 14. Case managers are also subject to similar performance measures, such as productivity goals, audits, and tests. Adams Dec. ¶ 15; Bratten Dec. ¶ 15; Dobson Dec. ¶ 15; Gunn Dec. ¶ 15; Lemler Dec. ¶ 14; Letizia Dec. ¶ 15; Malaska Dec. ¶ 15; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 15; Randolph Dec. ¶ 15; Rouse Dec. ¶ 15.

Randolph and the putative class members were paid a salary and regularly worked unpaid overtime hours. Adams Dec. ¶¶ 10, 13; Bratten Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Dobson Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Gunn Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Lemler Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Letizia Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Malaska Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Nowortya Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Randolph Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13; Rouse Dec. ¶¶ 10, 12-13. Centene classified Randolph and the putative class members as exempt from the FLSA. Adams Dec. ¶ 13; Bratten Dec. ¶ 13; Dobson Dec. ¶ 13; Gunn Dec. ¶ 13; Lemler Dec. ¶ 13; Letizia Dec. ¶ 13; Malaska Dec. ¶ 13; Nowortya Dec. ¶ 13; Randolph Dec. ¶ 13; Rouse Dec. ¶ 13.

III. DISCUSSION

Randolph moves for conditional class certification and court-authorized notice under the FLSA. Dkt. 29. Centene opposes the motion, arguing that Randolph has failed to establish that conditional ...


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