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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Gregorio Chavez Sobrinio is a former full-time employee of Medical Center Visitor’s Lodge (MCVL). MCVL is an 18-room motel that houses patients and their families seeking treatment at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Sobrinio provided a variety of services. He acted as a janitor, security guard and a driver for the motel’s guests, who were often from out of town. Importantly, Sobrinio only drove the guests to and from the Texas Medical Center and nearby stores; he did not drive them to or from any airport or other interstate transportation center. After leaving his employment there, Sobrinio sued MCVL. Sobrinio complained that MCVL failed to pay him the minimum wage and compensate him for overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Sobrinio argued that he is entitled to the FLSA’s protections, because he was engaged in interstate commerce when performing his job duties at MCVL. The district court disagreed and granted MCVL’s motion for summary judgment, finding that FLSA did not cover Sobrinio. HOLDING:Affirmed. To determine whether Sobrinio’s work made him engaged in interstate commerce, the court weighed whether his work was so directly and vitally related to the functioning of an instrumentality or facility of interstate commerce as to be, in practical effect, a part of it, rather than a part of isolated local activity. After reviewing the facts of the case, the court agreed with the district court that Sobrinio’s activities were purely local in nature and fell outside the FLSA’s protections. Sobrinio, the court noted, drew attention to his activity transporting out-of-state patrons,and pointed to case law finding that transporters are covered by the FLSA. But those opinions involve employees transporting travelers to and from interstate and international transportation points, the court stated, and therefore do not apply to Sobrinio’s case. The court noted its prior holdings that found employees engaged in commerce when their work was entwined with a continuous stream of interstate travel. Sobrinio’s driving activities, the court stated, cannot be viewed as part of a constant stream of interstate travel, because his passengers were not in the midst of such travel. Their interstate travel terminated when they first reached MCVL and did not start again until they ultimately departed. That many of the motel guests were out-of-state does not alter the local quality of Sobrinio’s work, the court further stated. His job description amounts to nothing more than providing local transportation for motel patrons. OPINION:Per curiam; Davis, Barksdale and Benavides, J.J.

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