Holzapfel v Town of Newburgh

Holzapfel v Town of Newburgh - Holzapfel v Town of Newburgh...

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1 Holzapfel v. Town of Newburgh 145 F.3d 516 (2d Cir. 1998) U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit CARDAMONE, Circuit Judge : This appeal centers on a K-9 police officer, Joseph H. Holzapfel, who in undertaking to care and provide for the needs of his assigned police dog, claims a substantial amount of overtime for tasks he performed at home. Plaintiff alleges that although he spent 44-45 hours off-duty each week looking after his dog, "Bandit," he received only two hours per week of overtime pay pursuant to police department policy. Holzapfel brought suit in December 1995 against his employer, the Town of Newburgh, New York, and its Chief of Police, Charles M. Kehoe, alleging violations of the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq . Section 207(a) of that Act makes it unlawful to employ an individual "for a workweek longer than forty hours, unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed." Plaintiff also sought compensation for off-duty hours he spent training a fellow K-9 police officer's dog. He appeals from a September 12, 1996 judgment entered against him in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Conner, J.), following a jury trial that returned a verdict in favor of the defendants. Plaintiff also appeals from a January 16, 1997 order denying his motion for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial. See Holzapfel v. Town of Newburgh ( Holzapfel II ), 950 F. Supp. 1267 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). What we are asked to decide on this appeal is captured in an aphorism: "Every dog has his day, and every man his hour." Bandit was intelligent enough to be selected as a K-9 trainee, and plaintiff has a right to seek, although not necessarily obtain, overtime pay for the hours he spent working with the dog… [W]e can provide guidance to the trial court regarding the instructions it should give the jury in this sort of case. BACKGROUND Plaintiff became a police officer for the Town of Newburgh in 1990. A year later, he successfully applied to Chief Kehoe to become a K-9 officer to work with specially trained police dogs. Bandit was assigned to him. Officer Holzapfel worked as a K-9 officer on active duty until he took injury leave on May 9, 1995. A. Care, Maintenance, and Training of "Bandit" Once Bandit was assigned to plaintiff, the defendant Town of Newburgh supplied training aids, toys, food, and veterinary care for the dog. It sent plaintiff and Bandit for 14 weeks of training at the Orange County K-9 Facility where instruction was given on a variety of subjects: obedience training; agility; tracking; box, article, and building
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