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Trevino v. RDL Energy Services, LP

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

October 31, 2017

ALFONSO TREVINO, et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
RDL ENERGY SERVICES, LP, et al, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MELINDA HARMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court in the above referenced cause, brought by Plaintiffs who were at varying times employed as non-exempt day-rate employees with Defendant RDL Energy Services, L.P. ("RDL"), a Texas staffing corporation operating throughout the United States, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and seeking unpaid overtime compensation and reimbursement of expenses incurred on the employer's behalf of sums spent for the convenience of the employer under 29 C.F.R. § 778.217, are the following motions:

(1) Defendant Greene's Energy Group, LLC's ("Greene's") Motion for Leave to File its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Request for Expedited Consideration (Doc. 145);
(2) Defendant RDL's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Statute of Limitations (Doc. 146); and
(3) Defendant Greene's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 147).

         I. Greene's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 147)

         Defendant Greene's, allegedly a joint employer of Plaintiffs, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. 147, arguing Plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to establish a plausible claim for relief, and therefore, a grant of summary judgment is appropriate. Where a summary judgment motion mounts challenges solely to the sufficiency of a plaintiffs pleadings, those challenges are reviewed under a motion to dismiss standard. Zastrow v. Houston Auto Imports Greenway Ltd., 789 F.3d 553, 559 (5th Cir. 2015). Ashe v. Corley, 992 F.2d 540, 544 (5th Cir.1993). Under this standard, "[t]he plaintiff must plead enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Gines v. D.R. Horton, Inc., 699 F.3d 812, 816 (5th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). "We accept all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Id.

         The Court has already analyzed the sufficiency of the Plaintiffs' pleadings regarding Defendants Baker Hughes and Weatherford, alleged joint employers along with Greene's, and found that they were insufficient. Doc. 130 at 4-64. Greene's motion for summary judgment rests on the same allegations, case law, and analysis the Court applied when it dismissed the other alleged joint employers. See Id. at 56-64.

         Plaintiffs' pleadings regarding Greene's are nearly identical to its pleadings regarding Baker Hughes and Weatherford. Plaintiffs do not allege anything additional that would distinguish its claims against Greene's from those against Baker Hughes and Weatherford or would otherwise change the analysis. Therefore, adopting and incorporating the standards of review, the substantive law, the summary of Plaintiffs' allegations, and the analysis of this Court's previous Order, Doc. 130, as if that Order were fully set forth verbatim herein, the Court agrees with Greene's that Plaintiffs have failed to state a plausible claim against it. For these reasons, further explained below, Greene's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         Defendant Greene's argues that Plaintiffs have failed to plead facts sufficient to establish plausible claims for relief. In particular, Plaintiffs failed to allege facts sufficient to establish joint employment. The Court agrees with Greene's that Plaintiffs have failed to state a plausible claim against it. In their third amended complaint, Doc. 61, Plaintiffs have simply parroted boilerplate language of the FLSA for individual and enterprise coverage without supporting facts. Plaintiffs have made vague, general, conclusory statements that fail to state plausible claims for "joint employer" status, for overtime or minimum wages, for willfulness, or for a collective action. Plaintiffs do not plead facts showing that Greene's employed any specific Plaintiff or even that it qualifies as an "employer, " no less as a "joint employer, " under the FLSA. Plaintiffs further fail to provide Greene's with notice of what duties the RDL employees performed, under what terms, the time period they worked for RDL, and when and which Plaintiffs performed duties for Greene's while being employed by RDL. Plaintiffs fail to differentiate among the different Defendant corporate entities, but instead make the same vague, conclusory allegations against all.

         Plaintiffs must show that Greene's is a "joint employer" with RDL within the meaning of the FLSA, i.e., they must examine each work assignment of a particular Plaintiff in order to see if his employer meets the requirements of a joint employer relationship. The Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to allege facts or provide evidence that Greene's was a joint employer. Since Plaintiffs have not pled facts sufficient to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, Greene's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         II. RDL's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 146)

         Defendant RDL filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Statute of Limitations, Doc. 146, arguing Plaintiffs' claims are time-barred by the statute of limitations and must be dismissed. For the reasons discussed below, RDL's motion is denied.

         Regarding the statute of limitations for an action brought under the FLSA such as the present ...


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