United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
RHONDA DANIELS, CHARLES N. BANKS, ANGELA NICHOLS, VELMA JOHNSON, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
CITY OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, AND POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, Defendants.
DANIEL P. JORDAN, III, District Judge.
This wage-and-hour dispute, brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss  and Plaintiffs' motion  seeking leave to amend. Upon considering the parties' submissions and applicable authority, the Court finds that Defendants' motion should be denied and Plaintiffs' motion should be granted.
I. Facts and Procedural History
The Plaintiffs are 39 current and former officers of the Jackson Police Department ("JPD"). According to them, Defendants JPD and the City of Jackson, Mississippi, failed to compensate Plaintiffs for overtime hours worked at the required time-and-a-half pay rate, or simply did not compensate them at all.
Plaintiffs filed their Complaint  April 2, 2014, seeking unpaid overtime wages, statutory liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees under the FLSA. Defendants moved to dismiss  under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Later, Plaintiffs moved to amend their Complaint and add additional plaintiffs . The Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction and is prepared to rule.
II. Motion to Dismiss
When considering a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the "court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dall. Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). To overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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)." Id. at 555 (citations and footnote omitted).
"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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). It follows that "where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). "This standard simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary claims or elements." In re S. Scrap Material Co., LLC, 541 F.3d 584, 587 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Defendants in this case contend that the FLSA claims should be dismissed for four general reasons: (1) the Complaint lacks sufficient specificity regarding overtime hours; (2) the Complaint fails to allege that Plaintiffs were engaged in interstate commerce; (3) JPD is not a statutory employer; and (4) the Plaintiffs' rights were terminated when their coworkers filed a similar suit in 2012. This Order addresses each argument.
A. Insufficient Factual Allegations Regarding Hours
Defendants characterize Plaintiffs' Complaint as containing "only threadbare, speculative allegations devoid of the required factual content or context beyond the elements of the statute." Defs.' Mem.  at 3. But accepting as true all the facts pleaded in the Complaint, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have pleaded "enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary claims or elements." In re S. Scrap Material Co., 541 F.3d at 587 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Specifically, "[t]o show a violation of the FLSA's overtime requirements, a plaintiff must allege (1) that he was employed by the defendant; (2) that his work [is covered under the FLSA]; and (3) that he performed work for which he was undercompensated." Coleman v. John Moore Servs., Inc., No. H-13-2090, 2014 WL 51290, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 7, 2014). In their Complaint, Plaintiffs included the following averments:
that they "worked overtime hours without compensation, " and that "Defendants had in place a practice of not properly paying overtime and Defendants routinely failed to pay overtime compensation to Plaintiffs", Compl.  ¶ 44;
that "Plaintiffs were regularly required to work more than 40 hours per week and despite their policies, Defendants routinely failed to compensate them for overtime hours worked at ...