United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
HONORABLE ROBERT PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
HIGHTOWER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
this Court are Defendants Heinrichs Silver Hill Enterprises,
Ltd., Heinrichs Silver Hill, LLC, Sandra Heinrichs, and
Hadley Heinrichs’ (collectively,
“Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss FLSA Cause of
Action (the “Motion”), filed May 6, 2019 (Dkt.
No. 6); Plaintiff Priscilla Flawn-Chopp’s Response
(Dkt. No. 7); and Defendants’ Reply (Dkt. No. 8). On
August 7, 2019, the District Court referred the Motion and
all related filings to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for
Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule 1 of
Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District
Court for the Western District of Texas (“Local
owns and operates a dressage horse sale and breeding facility
in Austin, Texas. Complaint at ¶ 8, Dkt. No. 1. Sandra
Heinrichs and her son, Hadley Heinrichs, own and operate the
stable. See Id . at ¶¶ 5, 10. Plaintiff
Priscilla Flawn-Chopp (“Ms. Chopp”) began working
for Silver Hill as a part-time employee on May 1, 2017.
Id. at ¶ 9. From August 1, 2017 until August
30, 2018, Ms. Chopp worked for the stable full-time.
Id. at ¶¶ 10, 14.
Chopp alleges that she consistently worked an 84-hour
workweek but was never paid overtime, in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 207, 215(a)(2). She seeks to recover unpaid
wages of at least $88, 009.68. Ms. Chopp also asserts breach
of contract and quantum meruit claims based on
Defendants’ alleged failure to reimburse her for
mileage, for which she claims to be owed more than $32,
See Complaint at ¶¶ 23-30.
their Motion, Defendants seek to dismiss only the FLSA claim.
They contend that Ms. Chopp has failed to plead facts
sufficient to create an inference that either Silver Hill or
Ms. Chopp herself engaged in interstate commerce, and
therefore the FLSA does not apply. See Motion at 1,
Dkt. No. 6.
Motion To Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
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. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In deciding a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
“[t]he 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). While a complaint attacked by a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion does not need detailed factual
allegations in order to avoid dismissal, the
plaintiff’s factual allegations “must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Supreme Court has explained that a
court need not accept as true conclusory allegations or
allegations stating a legal conclusion. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter “to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
courts do not look beyond the face of the pleadings or refer
to extrinsic evidence. See Spivey v. Robertson, 197
F.3d 772, 774 (5th Cir. 1999). Rather, 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).
Fair Labor Standards Act
FLSA requires overtime pay when “a workweek [is] longer
than forty hours.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). If an
employer violates the overtime compensation requirement, it
is “liable to the employee or employees affected in the
amount of their unpaid minimum wages, or their unpaid
overtime compensation, as the case may be, and in an
additional equal amount as liquidated damages.”
Id. § 216(b).
plaintiff must prove four elements to make her prima facie
case: (1) that there existed an employer-employee
relationship during the unpaid overtime periods claimed; (2)
that the employee engaged in activities within the coverage
of the FLSA; (3) that the employer violated the FLSA’s
overtime wage requirements; and (4) the amount of overtime
compensation due. Parrish v. Premier Directional
Drilling, L.P., 917 F.3d 369, 379 (5th Cir. 2019)
(quoting Johnson v. Heckmann Water Res. (CVR), Inc.,
758 F.3d 627, 630 (5th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted)). Each
element must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
Id. If “the employee establishes a prima facie
case, the burden then shifts to the employer to come forward
with evidence of ...