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.

Fountain v. Big River Lumber Company LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi.

September 29, 2017

KELVIN FOUNTAIN PLAINTIFF
v.
BIG RIVER LUMBER COMPANY LLC, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND

          KEITH STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim for Relief [29]. For the reasons below, the Court grants in part the motion.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is a former employee of Big River Lumber Company, LLC (“Big River”). He alleges that he “routinely worked more than forty (40) hours per week and defendants did not compensate [him] for the hours worked in excess for forty (40) hours per week.” (Compl. ¶ 19). He further alleges that “Defendants failed to maintain accurate records of Fountain's time and engaged in a scheme to avoid compensating Fountain's overtime earned.” (Id. ¶ 21). He further alleges that “Defendants represented to Plaintiff that he was a daily employee as opposed to an hourly employee and was not entitled to overtime pay, ” that Defendants knew these statements to be false, and that they intended to induce Plaintiff not to make a claim for benefits. (Id. ¶ 33). Plaintiff has alleged race discrimination under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, overtime and recordkeeping violations under the FLSA, fraud, negligent and/or intentional infliction of mental distress, and common law harrassments. He filed suit against Big River and two of its managers, Andrew McGruder Hazlip and Edward Alex Kirkland. Defendants now move to dismiss the claims related to inadequate recordkeeping, the claims against Hazlip and Kirkland in their individual capacities, and the claim for fraud.

         II. Standard of Review

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC v. La. State, 624 F.3d 201, 210 (5th Cir. 2010) (punctuation omitted). “To be plausible, the complaint's factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. (punctuation omitted). The Court must “accept all well-pleaded facts as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Id. But the Court will not accept as true “conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions.” Id. Likewise, “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” PSKS, Inc. v. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc., 615 F.3d 412, 417 (5th Cir. 2010) (punctuation omitted). “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         III. Analysis

         A. Damages under the FLSA

         In his Complaint [1], Plaintiff requested “non-pecuniary losses” including compensation for “emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation and other non-pecuniary losses.” (Compl. Prayer for Relief, ¶ 6). Defendants argue that this claim must be dismissed because the FLSA does not allow for such relief for an overtime violation. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (2012) (permitting an employee to recovery “unpaid overtime compensation . . . and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages” for overtime compensation violations). In his Response, Plaintiff argues that he seeks only permitted damages under the FSLA and that the non-pecuniary damages claimed were related to other causes of action he asserted, such as Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, fraud, and infliction of emotional distress. In their Rebuttal, Defendants made no response to this argument.[1] As Defendants have failed to respond to Plaintiff's arguments, the Court finds that such portion of the motion should be denied.

         B. FLSA Record Maintenance

         Section 211(c) of the FLSA requires that an employer keep accurate time records for its employees. 29 U.S.C § 211(c) (2012). Section 211(a) provides that the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor may bring claims for equitable relief to restrain any FLSA violations that are discovered. Id. § 211(a); see Id. § 204(a) (defining “Administrator”). However, § 216(b), which grants employees a private right of action to redress FLSA violations, does not extend that right to violations of § 211(c)'s recordkeeping requirements. Plaintiff does not appear to dispute this. Therefore, to the extent that Defendants' Motion requests that the Court dismiss any claim under FLSA's recordkeeping requirement, it is granted.

         However, Defendants' motion goes further and argues that “each reference made [to Defendants' alleged defective employee recordkeeping] in Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.” (Mem. Supp. Rule 12(b)(6) Mot. Partial Dismissal [30], 6) (emphasis added). The Court construes this to be a motion to strike under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under such rule, the Court may strike “any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.”

         The Court declines to do so, finding that the allegations that Defendants violated the recordkeeping requirement under § 211(c) material. When a plaintiff makes such allegations, “[i]t alters the Plaintiff['s] burden and should alter the pleading requirements [because] the United States Supreme Court [has] held that when an employer's wage and hour records are unreliable, an employee claiming FLSA violations meets the required burden of proof by showing ‘there is a basis for a reasonable inference as to the extent of the damages.'” Daniels v. City of Jackson, Miss., No. 3:14-cv-279-DPJ-FKB, 2014 WL 4546020, at *3 n.2 (S.D.Miss. Sept. 11, 2014) (quoting Anderson v. Mount Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 688 (1946), superseded by statute on other grounds, Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, Pub. L. No. 80-49); Kirk v. Invesco, Ltd., No. H-15-833, 2016 WL 4394336, at *3-4 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 18, 2016) (setting out the burdens of proof under the Anderson framework). Thus, to the extent that Defendants request that the Court strike all allegations that Defendants violated the FLSA in failing to keep accurate records, it is denied.

         C. Individual Liability of ...


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.