United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
LEJEAUN CELESTINE, ET AL.
WASTE CONNECTIONS OF LOUISIANA, INC., ET AL
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is Defendant Waste Connections of Louisiana, Inc.,
Defendant Waste Connections US, Inc., and Defendant IESI LA
Landfill Corporation's Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc. 37),
and Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition (Rec. Doc. 46).
For the following reasons, IT IS ORDERED
that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Cne Dawson and Jerry Monroe bring forth allegations regarding
allegedly illegal employment practices by Defendants, Waste
Connections of Louisiana Inc. (“Defendant WCL”),
Progressive Waste Solutions of LA Inc. (“Defendant
PWS”), Waste Connections U.S. Inc. (“Defendant
WCUS”), and IESI LA Landfill Corporation
(“Defendant IESI”); collectively referred to
herein as “Defendants.” Plaintiff Dawson was
hired by Defendant PWS in August 2015, as a waste collector.
Rec. Docs. 28 and 37. Dawson alleges that after an anonymous
complaint to Defendant PWS regarding possible Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”) violations for
inappropriate pay practices, Defendant PWS informed him that
they would conduct an investigation. Rec. Doc. 28. In
December 2015, Defendant PWS terminated Plaintiff
Dawson's employment. Rec. Docs. 28 and 37-1.
Monroe was hired by Defendant PWS in April 2016, as the
Operations Manager; a salaried, exempt employee. Id.
On June 1, 2016, shortly after Plaintiff Monroe's hire,
Defendants PWS and WCUS merged. Id. Plaintiff Monroe
contends that after said merger, Defendants WCUS and PWS
became joint employers. Rec. Doc. 28. Plaintiff Monroe
further alleges that he was retaliated against by Defendants
PWS and WCUS after he complained of Defendants' alleged
illegal pay practices. Id. Plaintiff Monroe was
ultimately terminated by Defendant WCUS on March 21, 2017.
instant Motion to Dismiss seeks to dismiss Plaintiffs'
claims against Defendant WCL, Defendant WCUS, and Defendant
IESI. Rec. Doc. 37. Defendants allege that Plaintiffs'
complaint 1) fails to provide proper notice under Rule 8(a),
2) fails to properly allege individual or enterprise coverage
under the FLSA, and 3) fails to adequately plead an
employer-employee relationship between Plaintiffs and
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Such a motion
is rarely granted because it is viewed with disfavor. See
Lowrey v. Tex. A & M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 247
(5th Cir. 1997) (quoting Kaiser Aluminum & Chem.
Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d 1045,
1050 (5th Cir. 1982)).
reviewing a motion to dismiss, courts must accept all
well-pleaded facts as true and view them in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Baker v. Putnal,
75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir. 1996). However, “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.” Gonzales v.
Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009)(quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009))(internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme Court
in Iqbal explained that Twombly promulgated
a “two-pronged approach” to determine whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. First, courts must
identify those pleadings that, “because they are no
more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id. Legal conclusions “must be
supported by factual allegations.” Id.
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. at 1949.
identifying the well-pleaded factual allegations, courts
“assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement of relief.”
Id. at 1950. 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. at 1949. This
is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. The plaintiffs must “nudge
their claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
an employer violates the FLSA if it fails to pay covered
employees at least one and one-half times their normal hourly
rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week. 29 U.S.C.
§207. An employee bringing an action for unpaid overtime
compensation must first demonstrate by a preponderance of the
evidence: (1) that there existed an employer-employee
relationship during the unpaid overtime periods claimed; (2)
that the employee engaged in activities within the coverage
of the FLSA; (3) that the employer violated the FLSA's
overtime wage requirements; and (4) the amount of overtime
compensation due. Johnson v. Heckmann Water Res. (CVR),
Inc., 758 F.3d 627, 630 (5th Cir. 2014).
Plaintiff's failed to Allege Enterprise Coverage
FLSA provides that:
[N]o employer shall employ any of his employees who in any
workweek is engaged in commerce or in the
production of goods for commerce, or is
employed in an enterprise engaged in
commerce or in the production of goods for commerce,
for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee
receives compensation for his employment in excess of the
hours above ...