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DeVore v. Lyons

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

April 4, 2017

KERI DEVORE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT CASEY LYONS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DAVID L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Keri DeVore filed a motion to dismiss Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff Robert Casey Lyons's counterclaims against him. See Dkt. No. 36. In response, Lyons filed both a response to Plaintiff's motion to dismiss [Dkt. No. 39] and an amended answer [Dkt. No. 40]. DeVore did not file a reply within the requisite time period. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a); N.D. Tex. L. Civ. R. 7(f).

         For the reasons explained below, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss [Dkt. No. 36].

         Background

         In her original complaint filed June 29, 2016, DeVore alleges that Lyons is a sole proprietor who operates a plumbing business under the trade name “Bunkie's Plumbing.” She asserts that, during the time period of June 27, 2014 through February 3, 2016, she and Lyons were romantically involved. See Dkt. No. 1 at 3. DeVore also alleges that she performed various duties for Lyons's business, including acting as “Lyon's ‘plumber's helper, ' getting tools and supplies, helping Lyons remove and install water heaters and toilets, getting heavy machinery in/out of Lyons work truck and whatever other manual labor Lyons needed to assist him in completing his work jobs.” Dkt. No. 1 at 2. DeVore further asserts that she “prepared business paperwork, communicated with customers as well as First American Home Warranty (Lyon's primary supplier of work), coordinated jobs, prepared and sent invoices, tracked Lyons' mileage and schedule, prepared job quotes and called vendors as needed.” Id. at 2-3. DeVore maintains that she performed this work for Lyons's businesses because she “wanted to support the work of her boyfriend and help him be successful.” Id.

         DeVore asserts that she “consistently worked over 40 hours per work week for Lyons's business” and that “Lyons never paid DeVore any wages for her work.” Id. at 3. When the romantic relationship between the two parties ended, “DeVore was left with nothing for 83 weeks of substantial work and suffered severe financial hardship as a result [but] Lyons maintained all of the benefits of the free work and continued on with his business.” Id.

         After the breakup, DeVore sued Lyons for: (1) breach of contract, or, alternatively, quantum meruit; (2) overtime and minimum wage violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act; and (3) violation of the Texas Minimum Wage Act. See Id. at 3-4.

         On June 8, 2016, Lyons filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Dkt. No. 10. In response, DeVore filed an amended complaint on June 29, 2016. See Dkt. No. 17. Lyons then filed a motion to stay consideration of, or to strike, DeVore's first amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 21. After a hearing, the Court denied the request to strike and gave Lyons additional time to answer or otherwise respond to the amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 27.

         Lyons filed a supplemental motion to dismiss in which he incorporated his arguments in the original motion to dismiss. See Dkt. No. 28. On October 25, 2016, the Court issued an Order granting in part and denying in part Lyons's supplemental motion to dismiss. See Dkt. No. 32.

         In both his original answer filed on November 16, 2016, and his first amended answer filed on January 7, 2017, Lyons included counterclaims of conversion, invasion of privacy, and tortious interference. See Dkt. Nos. 35 & 40. On December 7, 2016, DeVore filed a motion to dismiss Lyons's counterclaims for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Dkt. No. 36 at 2-3. DeVore asserts that Lyons fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted because the “lack of any detail as to any alleged conduct on DeVore's part makes her unable to prepare an adequate defense against the counterclaims.” Id. at 4.

         Lyons filed a response to DeVore's motion to dismiss. See Dkt. No. 39. In supplementing the counterclaims listed in his original and amended answers, Lyons offered more detail regarding the substance of the first and second counterclaims, for conversion and invasion of privacy, and withdrew his third counterclaim of tortious interference. See Id. at 1-3.

         Taking Lyons's allegations as true, as the Court must in this context, DeVore took multiple personal and business papers of Lyons, including his “credit card, banking and accounts information, computer passwords, business and personal clothing ... business appointment books, customer names, addresses, telephone numbers and work order information, rate lists, bank records, his social security and credit card numbers, house keys, motorcycle keys, various work clothing of his, loan statements, etc.” on or before her final departure from Lyons's residence on February 3, 2016. Dkt. No. 40 at 3.

         DeVore did not file a reply to Lyons's response to her motion to dismiss. DeVore seeks dismissal of Lyons's remaining counterclaims of conversion and invasion of privacy primarily on the theory that Lyons failed to ...


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