United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Intec Communications, LLC's motion
to dismiss and Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend.
Docket Nos. 6 and 13. Both matters have been fully briefed,
and the Court is ready to rule.
Factual and Procedural History
Communications, LLC is a full service cable provider. The
company contracted with Spartan Technologies, LLC to do cable
installation and repair services for its Mississippi
customers. Kenneth Williams, a cable technician, alleges that
Spartan hired him to perform these services and that he was
“jointly employed” by Spartan and Intec. He
brought this collective action under the Fair Labor Standards
Act against both companies for unpaid overtime and minimum
says the complaint fails to allege an employer-employee
relationship between Williams and Intec. It asks the Court to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, or alternatively, order
a more definite statement. Although Williams opposes the
motion, he seeks leave to amend the complaint by adding more
detailed facts. Intec insists that the proposed amendment
would be futile.
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
the Court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as
true and makes all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). To proceed, the complaint “must
contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at
677-78 (quotation marks and citation omitted). This requires
“more than an unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation, ” but the
complaint need not have “detailed factual
allegations.” Id. at 678 (quotation marks and
citation omitted). The plaintiff's claims must also be
plausible on their face, which means there is “factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. (citation omitted).
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) allows amendment of the
complaint “as matter of course within” 21 days
after service of the answer or a Rule 12(b) motion, whichever
is earlier. Williams sought leave to amend his complaint 14
days after Intec's answer and motion to dismiss were
filed. The request for leave is therefore granted. The merits
of the motion to dismiss will be assessed in light of the
Fifth Circuit applies the economic reality test to determine
whether an employer-employee relationship exists under the
FLSA. Gray v. Powers, 673 F.3d 352, 354 (5th Cir.
2012) (quotation marks omitted). This test requires the Court
to consider whether the alleged employer:
(1) possessed the power to hire and fire the employees, (2)
supervised and controlled employee work schedules or
conditions of employment, (3) determined the rate and method
of payment, and (4) maintained employment records. In cases
where there may be more than one employer, this court must
apply the economic realities test to each individual or
entity alleged to be an employer and each must satisfy the
four part test.
Id. at 355 (quotation marks omitted). “No one
factor is dipositive, but rather, ‘the determination is
based upon the circumstances of the whole
activity.'” Howard v. John Moore,
L.P., No. H- 13-1672, 2014 WL 5090624, at *4 (S.D.
Tex. Oct. 9, 2014) (quoting Rutherford Food Corp. v.
McComb, 331 U.S. 722, 730 (1947)). Employer status must
be construed liberally and not restricted by
“formalistic labels or common-law notions of the
employment relationship.” Donovan v. Sabine
Irrigation Co., Inc., 695 F.2d 190, 194 (5th Cir. 1983),
abrogated on other grounds by Reich v. Bay,
Inc., 23 F.3d 110, 117 n.4 (5th Cir. 1994).
the allegations as true, Williams has sufficiently pled an
employer-employee relationship with Intec. The allegations
indicate that Intec supervised Williams, determined his pay
rate, and was at least ...