United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
following motion is before the Court: Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to
Dismiss (Rec. Doc. 23) filed by defendants Travis Buquet Home
Builders, LLC and Travis Buquet. Plaintiff Sergio Mejia
opposes the motion. The motion, submitted on June 28, 2017,
is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective
action to recover unpaid overtime wages. Plaintiff alleges
that he worked for Defendants as a carpenter from November
2011 to August 2016. (Rec. Doc. 14, FAC ¶ 6). Plaintiff
alleges that at times he worked in excess of forty hours a
week but was not paid overtime wages. (Id. ¶
9). Plaintiff seeks to certify a collective action so that
similarly situated employees of Defendants can receive notice
of their rights.
Travis Buquet Construction, LLC and Travis Buquet Home
Builders, LLC are limited liability companies with their
principal places of business in Houma, Louisiana. Both
entities are owned by codefendant Travis Buquet.
(Id. ¶ 11). Plaintiff has sued all three
defendants collectively as “TBC” and alleges that
they are a “single business enterprise.”
(Id. ¶ 12).
movant-defendants Travis Buquet Home Builders, LLC and Travis
Buquet move to dismiss the claims against them arguing that
they did not employ Plaintiff, and that his allegation of a
“single business enterprise” is without factual
on the other hand, contends that his factual allegations must
be accepted as true at this stage of the litigation.
context of a motion to dismiss the Court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232
(5th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues
& Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007); Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Lovick v.
Ritemoney, Ltd., 378 F.3d 433, 437 (5th Cir. 2004)).
However, the foregoing tenet is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009). Thread-bare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550, U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
central issue in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is
whether, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
complaint states a valid claim for relief. Gentilello v.
Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Doe
v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008)). To
avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
at 1949). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The Court
does not accept as true “conclusory allegations,
unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions.”
Id. (quoting Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 407
F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Legal conclusions must be
supported by factual allegations. Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950).
Defendants' arguments are well-taken, the Court is
persuaded that the motion to dismiss must be denied. Employer
status under the FLSA is based on the fact-intensive
“economic reality” test, which has several
elements, not all of which must be satisfied in every case.
Watson v. Graves, 909 F.2d 1549, 1553
(5th Cir. 1990) (citing Carter v. Dutchess
Comm. College, 735 F.2d 8, 12 (2nd Cir.
1984)). The test includes inquiries into whether the alleged
employer 1) has the power to hire and fire employees, 2)
supervised and controlled employee work schedules or
conditions of employment, 3) determined the rate and method
of payment, and 4) maintained employment records.
Id. A complaint need not detail every fact on which
the plaintiff may ultimately rely upon to prove his claim.
Akins v. Worley Catastrophe Resp., LLC, 921
F.Supp.2d 593, 605 (E.D. La. 2013) (Wilkinson, M.J.).
allegations are sufficient to withstand dismissal on Rule
12(b)(6) grounds. But the Court reminds Plaintiff that it
will be his burden to prove employer status under the
economic reality test for each individual entity or
person that he intends to pursue as an FLSA
“employer.” See Watson, 909 F.2d at
1556. Merely characterizing the defendants collectively as a
“single business enterprise” will not suffice
once Plaintiff has had the opportunity to conduct discovery
on the “employer” issue. Nothing in this ruling
precludes movants from re-urging their arguments at a more
appropriate time via a well-supported motion for summary
ORDERED that the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc.
23) filed by defendants Travis Buquet Home ...