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Waveland Services Inc v. McClure

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

December 26, 2019





         Before the court is a Motion to Dismiss [doc. 10] filed by defendant Marlin McClure under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)-(3) and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff Waveland Services, Inc. (“Waveland”) opposes the motion. Doc. 12.

         I. Background

         This suit arises as a dispute between Waveland, a Louisiana business that “provides surface preparation and coating services” to oil platforms off the Gulf Coast and the coast of California, and Waveland's former employee, Marlin McClure. McClure worked for the company from July 2004 until May 2018, from its Louisiana- and California-based locations. Doc. 1, ¶¶ 8-10.

         McClure filed a class action suit against Waveland and other companies in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on June 14, 2018. See McClure v. Brand Energy Svcs., LLC, No. 2:18-cv-1726 (E.D. Cal.). He raised claims under Newton v. Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd., 881 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2018), in which the Ninth Circuit held that California wage and overtime law applied as surrogate federal law to work performed on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”). McClure alleged that Waveland and other defendants had violated those state laws by, inter alia, failing to properly calculate and pay the premium wages he and other workers were owed for working multi-day shifts on the off-shore platforms. Id. at docs. 1, 17.

         In February 2019 the California district court stayed the action in light of the Supreme Court's consideration of Parker Drilling. The Supreme Court reversed the decision in June 2019, noting that state law was only adopted under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. § 1333(a), to the extent federal law did not address the issue at hand. Because the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., already handled the minimum wage and overtime issues, it applied exclusively on the OCS. Parker Drilling Mgmt. Servs., Ltd. v. Newton, __ U.S. ___, 139 S.Ct. 1881 (2019). The parties to the California suit submitted a joint status report on August 21, 2019, in which McClure indicated that he would file a second amended complaint seeking relief under the overtime provisions of the FLSA. Id. at doc. 30, pp. 7-8.

         Waveland then filed suit in this court on September 16, 2019, seeking a declaratory judgment that its overtime payment calculations comply with the FLSA. Doc. 1. McClure moves to dismiss the suit, arguing that (1) the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Waveland does not have standing to pursue declaratory judgment; (2) the court lacks personal jurisdiction over McClure; (3) the case was brought in an improper venue; (4) Waveland fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; and (5) the court should exercise its discretion under the Declaratory Judgment Act to dismiss the suit in favor of parallel litigation in California. Doc. 10, att. 1. Waveland opposes the motion. Doc. 12. Meanwhile, McClure has filed a motion for leave to amend his complaint in the California suit in order to add FLSA claims against Waveland, dismiss state law claims invalidated by Parker Drilling, and dismiss the other named defendants. McClure, No. 2:18-cv-1726, at doc. 36. Waveland opposes the motion, arguing undue delay and prejudice. Id. at doc. 38. The California district court conducted a hearing on November 22, 2019, and the parties are now awaiting a decision on the matter.

         II. Law & Application

         In handling motions to dismiss, the court should resolve jurisdictional attacks before addressing attacks on the merits of a claim. Forras v. Rauf, 812 F.3d 1102, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Accordingly, the court reviews the bases for dismissal in the order laid out above.

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         1. Standard of review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) permits dismissal of a case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The burden lies with the party asserting jurisdiction. Ballew v. Cont'l Airlines, Inc., 668 F.3d 777, 781 (5th Cir. 2012). “[I]n examining a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the district court is empowered to find facts as necessary to determine whether it has jurisdiction.” Machete Prods., LLC v. Page, 809 F.3d 281, 287 (5th Cir. 2015). Where the court is required to weigh evidence and resolve factual disputes, it attaches no presumption of truthfulness to the plaintiff's allegations. Montez v. Dep't of Navy, 392 F.3d 147, 149 (5th Cir. 2004).

         2. ...

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