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Maldanado v. New Orleans Millworks, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 8, 2017

OSMAN MALDANADO
v.
NEW ORLEANS MILLWORKS, LLC,

         SECTION: “J” (5)

          ORDER & REASONS

          CARL J. BARBIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc. 16) filed by Defendants New Orleans Metalworks, Inc. (“Metalworks”) and its owner David Waldheim (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff Osman Maldonado opposes the motion (R. Doc. 29). Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This litigation arises from Defendants' alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Plaintiff alleges that he and other similarly situated employees were not paid proper overtime compensation. (R. Doc. 9 at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant O&G Construction, LLC (“O&G Construction”), owned by Defendant Olan David Del Arca Sabat, provides manual labor for general contractors such as Metalworks. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges he was employed as a painter for Defendants from February 2015 to September 2016 and he was paid approximately $15.00 per hour regardless of the number of hours worked per week. Id. at 2, 5. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to pay other similarly situated employees overtime in violation of the FLSA's overtime requirements. Id. at 5.

         On March 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit and asked the Court to certify a collective action, pursuant to 29 U.S.C § 216(b), against New Orleans Millworks (“Millworks”) and its owner Scott Taranto. (R. Doc. 1.) Plaintiff amended his complaint and added O&G Construction and Olan David Del Arca Sabat as Defendants, R. Doc. 4 at 3-4, and amended his complaint again to replace Millworks and Scott Taranto with Metalworks and David Waldheim, R. Doc. 9 at 3. On May 3, 2017, Defendants Metalworks and Waldheim filed the present Motion to Dismiss. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's complaint fails to adequately allege an individual or collective FLSA claim. Plaintiff contends that his complaint sufficiently alleges both an individual and collective action against Defendants for failure to pay proper overtime compensation. Defendants' motion is now before the Court on the briefs and without oral argument.

         PARTIES' ARGUMENTS

         1. Defendants' Arguments

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff's FLSA claims must be dismissed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because his allegations are too vague and conclusory. (R. Doc. 16- 1 at 2). As to Plaintiff's individual claim, Defendants contend Plaintiff fails to adequately allege the amount of overtime compensation he is owed because he does not identify the time period and overtime hours he worked. Id. at 4. Defendants also argue that Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to warrant a collective action. Id. at 4-6. Defendants assert that Plaintiff's allegations do not adequately describe the work, pay, or hours of other similarly situated employees. Id. at 5. Defendants buttress their argument by noting that Plaintiff is the only “painter” on staff, and Defendants' employees either perform different duties or are independent contractors hired at a fixed price. Id.

         2. Plaintiff's Arguments

         Plaintiff argues that he has adequately alleged the approximate dates and amount of time he worked and that he was not paid any overtime during this period. (R. Doc. 29 at 2.) Thus, Plaintiff contends that he has properly alleged an individual FLSA claim for overtime compensation. Plaintiff also argues that he has adequately alleged an FLSA collective action. Id. at 3-4. While Plaintiff admits that he seeks to certify a broad range of employees, he argues against narrowing the field of eligible class members before discovery because employers tend to control the information necessary to an FLSA plaintiff's claims. Id. at 4. Plaintiff argues he has alleged sufficient facts to survive Defendants' motion and that he should not be barred from filing a motion for conditional certification at a later date.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Dura Pharm., Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 346 (2005). The allegations “must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1).

         “Under Rule 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed when a plaintiff fails to allege any set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378 (5th Cir. 2002) (citing McConathy v. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Corp., 131 F.3d 558, 561 (5th Cir. 1998)). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead enough facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff pleads facts that allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. A court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232 (5th Cir. 2009); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir. 1996). The court is not, however, ...


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