Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Collins-Laster v. Openroad Management, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

August 9, 2019

GINA COLLINS-LASTER, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiff
v.
OPENROAD MANAGEMENT, INC., JOSHUA JOHNSON, AND STAFF ONE OF OKLAHOMA, LLC, Defendants

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          SUSAN HIGHTOWER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO: THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before this Court are: Defendant Staff One of Oklahoma, LLC's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed on April 12, 2019 (Dkt. No. 42); Plaintiffs' Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Request for Leave to Amend filed on May 3, 2019 (Dkt. No. 46); and Defendants' Reply filed on May 10, 2019 (Dkt. No. 47). On July 17, 2019, the District Court referred the above motion and related filings to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule 1(d) of Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“Local Rules”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         This Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) lawsuit was filed on February 7, 2018. In their Second Amended Complaint, filed February 28, 2019, Plaintiffs Gina Collins-Laster, Denise Pumphrey, Eric Pumphrey, Rosalinda Diaz, Nadia Batiste and Phyllis Likimani (“Plaintiffs”) assert FLSA violations against Defendants Openroad Management, Inc. (“Openroad”), Staff One of Oklahoma, LLC (“Staff One”), James Franklin Askew, and Joshua Johnson. Plaintiffs are currently employed as nursing assistants for Openroad, an in-home provider of medical and support services. Plaintiffs allege that they were also employed by Staff One, a professional employer organization (“PEO”). Plaintiffs contend that Openroad and Staff One “operated as joint employers of Plaintiffs by sharing the ability to directly and immediately control or co-determine essential terms and conditions of employment such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision and direction.” Dkt. No. 35 at ¶ 11. Plaintiffs further allege that Openroad employees James Franklin Askew and Joshua Johnson were also in control of the terms and conditions of Plaintiffs' work.[1]

         Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants each have been an “enterprise” engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce and that Plaintiffs were individual employees within the meaning of the FLSA. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants routinely denied them overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week in violation of the 29 U.S.C. §§ 207 and 215(a)(2) of the FLSA. Plaintiffs seek unpaid back wages, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and declaratory and injunctive relief as necessary to prevent the Defendants' further violations of the FLSA.

         On April 12, 2019, Staff One filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the claims asserted against it in Plaintiffs' lawsuit should be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Specifically, Staff One argues that Plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient facts to show that Staff One is an “enterprise” or “employer” under the FLSA.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court “accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the [nonmovant].” In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme Court has explained that a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the [nonmovant] pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the [movant] is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotations and citations omitted). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. The court's review is limited to the complaint, any documents attached to the complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the complaint. Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Under the FLSA, “no employer shall employ any of his employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). Staff One argues that Plaintiffs' FLSA lawsuit should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) because Plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient facts to show that Staff One is an “enterprise” or “employer” under the FLSA.

         Staff One argues that Plaintiffs' allegations fail to sufficiently plead enterprise coverage because Plaintiffs merely recite the statutory language of the FLSA and “fail to plead that Staff One is a covered entity under the FLSA.” Dkt. No. 42 at p. 4. Staff One complains that Plaintiffs have failed to plead any specific facts supporting their conclusory allegations and, therefore, they have failed to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. The Court agrees.

         The FLSA guarantees minimum wage and overtime compensation for employees who are (1) “engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce” (“individual coverage”) or (2) “employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce” (“enterprise coverage”). 29 U.S.C. §§ 206(a), 207(a). “Either individual or enterprise coverage is enough to invoke FLSA protection.” Martin v. Bedell, 955 F.2d 1029, 1032 (5th Cir. 1992). In this case, Plaintiffs claim that Staff One is liable under the FLSA as an enterprise.

         The FLSA defines an “enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.