United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MILLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by defendant
Penbar, Inc. d/b/a Regency Village Skilled Nursing and Rehab
Center (“Regency Village”). Dkt. 11. Plaintiffs
Mark Ridley, Stephanie Ketchum, Olga Guevara, and Maria
Fernandez (“Plaintiffs”) responded in opposition
to the motion, or in the alternative, seeking leave to amend
their complaint. Dkt. 22. Regency Village replied. Dkt. 23.
Having considered the complaint, the motion, the response,
the reply, and the applicable law, the court is of the
opinion that the motion to dismiss should be GRANTED and the
motion for leave to amend should be GRANTED.
sued Regency Village on March 29, 2017, alleging violations
of (1) the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for
unpaid overtime wages and (2) state law for unpaid
“straight-time” compensation. Dkt. 1 at 1.
Plaintiffs sued as a collective action under the FLSA and a
Rule 23 class action for the state law claims. Id.
to Plaintiffs, Regency Village employed Plaintiffs and others
similarly situated as nurses. Id. at 6-7. Regency
Village scheduled its nurses to work numerous twelve-hour
shifts per week, and many nurses regularly worked more than
forty hours per week. Id. at 7. Regency
Village's timekeeping software automatically deducted one
hour (during each twelve-hour shift) for a lunch break.
Id. at 8. The hour lunch break would be deducted
regardless of whether the nurses actually took the break or
worked through their break. Id. at 8-9. Further,
Plaintiffs allege that Regency Village knew and expected its
nurses to work through their lunch breaks, despite its policy
of automatically deducting one hour. Id. at 10.
filed this FLSA collective action claiming that Regency
Village should have paid overtime wages to nurses for the one
hour work break automatically deducted when the nurses worked
more than forty hours per week. Id. at 13.
Plaintiffs assert a Rule 23 class action based on state law
claims for the one hour deduction of “straight-time,
” or when nurses worked forty hours or fewer per week.
Id. at 15.
instant motion, Regency Village moves to dismiss
Plaintiffs' complaint for failure to state a claim under
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt.
11. Plaintiffs argue that the case should not be dismissed,
or in the alternative, that they should be given leave to
amend their complaint to cure any deficiencies. Dkt. 22.
8(a)(2) requires that the pleading contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A party
against whom claims are asserted may move to dismiss those
claims when the nonmovant has failed “to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
plead “‘enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” In re Katrina
Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)). “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).”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). While
the allegations need not be overly detailed, a
plaintiff's pleading must still provide the grounds of
his entitlement to relief, which “requires more than
labels and conclusions, ” and “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id.; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). “[C]onclusory
allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual
conclusions will not suffice to prevent a motion to
dismiss.” Blackburn v. City of Marshall, 42
F.3d 925, 931 (5th Cir. 1995). Instead, “[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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Evaluating a motion to
dismiss is a “context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. at 679. “Ultimately, the
question for a court to decide is whether the complaint
states a valid claim when viewed in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff.” NuVasive, Inc. v. Renaissance
Surgical Ctr., 853 F.Supp.2d 654, 658 (S.D. Tex. 2012).
Village contends that Plaintiffs fail to state a cause of
action under the FLSA because they plead insufficient facts
to show that Plaintiffs engaged in interstate commerce or
that Regency Village constituted an enterprise engaged in
commerce as defined by the FLSA. Dkt. 11 at 6. Alternatively,
Regency Village argues that Plaintiffs fail to plead
sufficient facts to support their claim for failure to pay
overtime wages under the FLSA. Id. at 8. Because
Plaintiffs fail to plead FLSA coverage, the court need not
determine whether Plaintiffs plead sufficient facts for their
claim for failure to pay overtime wages.
the FLSA, any employee “who 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” must receive time-and-a-half compensation
for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. 29 U.S.C.
§ 207(a)(2)(C). The FLSA applies only to individuals and
enterprises engaged in “activities constituting
interstate commerce, not activities merely affecting
commerce.” Thorne v. All Restoration Servs.,
Inc., 448 F.3d 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing
McLeod v. Threlkeld, 319 U.S. 491, 497, 63 S.Ct.
1248 (1943)). To properly plead a claim under the FLSA,