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Hampton v. McDermott International Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

October 30, 2019

VERONICA HAMPTON, ET AL.
v.
MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC., ET AL.

          KAY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          DONALD E. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants McDermott International, Inc. (“McDermott”) and CB&I, LLC (“CB&I”)[1] pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Record Document 35. Plaintiff Sergio Hernandez (“Hernandez”) opposes the motion. See Record Document 44. Also before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Brock Services, LLC (“Brock”). See Record Document 54. Plaintiff Tristan Greene (“Greene”) opposes the motion. See Record Document 72. For the reasons assigned herein, both motions are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND INFORMATION

         Plaintiffs Veronica Hampton (“Hampton”), Hernandez, Greene, and Ethan Champion filed this cause of action on their own behalf and for others similarly situated against McDermott, CB&I, Brock, and Sun Industrial Group (collectively “Defendants”) for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the Louisiana Wage Payment Act (“LWPA”), La. R.S. 23:631. See Record Document 27 at ¶¶ 1-7. Defendants employed Plaintiffs in a variety of labor-based positions at the Cameron LNG Project, a liquefied natural gas facility that was under construction in Hackberry, Louisiana. See id. at ¶ 2.

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the FLSA by failing to pay them statutorily required overtime for all hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. See id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiffs contend that the violation occurred because Defendants required them to work “off-the-clock” while being transported to and from the worksite on Defendants' mandatory transportation system. See id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiffs allege that the bus rides often included work-related meetings with their crew leaders. See id. at ¶ 51. Plaintiffs also allege that they were required to engage in “pre-work” activities immediately upon arrival at the job site before their scheduled shifts. See id. at ¶ 56. Plaintiffs contend that the FLSA applies to the Defendants because each engaged in interstate commerce. See id. at ¶¶ 23, 29, 37, 43.

         Plaintiffs Hernandez and Greene also allege that when they ended their employment relationship with Defendants, they were never paid the amount due under the terms of their employment within the time required under Louisiana's LWPA, as set forth in La. R.S. 23:631. See id. at ¶ 6. Hernandez and Greene also state that they are asserting their state law claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 on their own behalf and a class of persons who also ended their employment with Defendants and were never paid amounts owed to them under the terms of their employment. See id.

         Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs' state law LWPA claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Plaintiffs cannot recover unpaid wages under both the FLSA and LWPA because the state law claims are preempted by the FLSA. See Record Document 35-1 at 1, 4; Record Document 54-1 at 6. Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient facts to support their LWPA claims. See Record Document 35-1 at 2; Record Document 54-1 at 3. Defendants McDermott and CB&I also move to dismiss Plaintiffs' class allegations under Rule 23. See Record Document 35-1 at 7.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Rule 12(b)(6) standard.

         To survive a motion to dismiss brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). “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. Under this standard, “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level ... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). If a pleading only contains “labels and conclusions” and “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” the pleading does not meet the standards of Rule 8(a)(2). Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted).

         The court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint in determining whether the plaintiff has stated a plausible claim. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2009). However, a court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 2944 (1986). If a complaint cannot meet this standard, it may be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-679. A court does not evaluate a plaintiff's likelihood for success, but instead determines whether plaintiff has pleaded a legally cognizable claim. See United States ex rel. Riley v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 376 (5th Cir. 2004).

         “Motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are rarely granted and generally disfavored.” Rodriguez v. Rutter, 310 F. App'x. 623, 626 (5th Cir. 2009). However, courts considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are only obligated to allow those complaints that are facially plausible under the Iqbal and Twombly standard to survive such a motion. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-679. A dismissal under 12(b)(6) ends the case “at a point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558.

         II. Whether Plaintiffs have failed to ...


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