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.

Naduvathusery Joseph, Individually and On Behalf of Himself and Those Similarly Situated v. Caesar's Entertainment Corp. and Harrah's Operating Company Inc

July 21, 2011

NADUVATHUSERY JOSEPH, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND THOSE SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAESAR'S ENTERTAINMENT CORP. AND HARRAH'S OPERATING COMPANY INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kugler, United States District Judge:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION (Doc. No. 9)

OPINION

This matter arises out of allegedly unlawful employment compensation practices at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Presently before the Court is the motion by Defendants Ceasar's Entertainment Corporation and Harrah's Operating Company Inc. (collectively "Caesar's") to: (1) dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6); or to (2) strike the class action allegations in the Complaint under Rule 12(f). Plaintiff Naduvathusery Joseph alleges that Defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), the New Jersey Wage Payment Law ("NJWPL"), and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law ("NJWHL") by failing to compensate him and others similarly situated for overtime hours. Defendants argue that because Plaintiff's FLSA claim is "inherently incompatible" with Rule 23 class certification of Plaintiff's state law claims, the Court should dismiss the matter under Rule 12(b)(6), or in the alternative, decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). For the reasons expressed below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

A.Factual Background

Plaintiff is employed by Caesar's as a table games supervisor in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ceasar's compensates table games supervisors with a per-diem salary based upon an eight-hour workday. During the weeks Plaintiff does not perform forty hours of work, he receives a prorated amount of compensation. Because Caesar's adjusts Plaintiff's compensation based upon a forty-hour workweek, Plaintiff alleges that he, and others similarly situated are "de facto hourly employees for Defendants." (Compl. ¶ 21).

Plaintiff claims that Caesar's regularly requires table games supervisors to work more than forty hours in one workweek, but refuses to compensate its employees for the hours they work in excess of forty hours. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants intentionally failed to pay and did not pay Plaintiff and those similarly situated overtime wages for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek." (Id. ¶ 35). As a result of Caesar's' refusal to compensate him for overtime hours, Plaintiff claims that "he has been denied overtime wages in violation of the FLSA and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law." (Id. ¶ 35).

B.Procedural Background

On December 6, 2010, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this Court. The Complaint asserts two causes of action. First, Plaintiff asserts a claim on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated pursuant to the "opt-in" provision in the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b).*fn1 That claim alleges:

"Defendants' violations of the FLSA include, but are not limited to: not paying Plaintiff and the members of the class overtime compensation for the hours which they worked in excess of 40 per workweek." (Compl. ¶ 58). Plaintiff alleges a collective action group consisting of: "all current and former table games supervisors who are currently employed by Defendants or who have been employed by Defendants at any time within the last three years . . . ." (Id. ¶ 39). As a result of Defendants' allegedly unlawful conduct, Plaintiff claims that "members of the [§ 216(b)] class have suffered damages, including but not limited to past lost earnings." (Id. ¶ 62). Second, Plaintiff brings a class action claim under the NJWHL and the NJWPL pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Plaintiff's state law claims contain the same allegations as Plaintiff's FLSA claim. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts a Rule 23 class consisting of: "all present and former employees of Defendants who worked for Defendants as table games supervisors within the last three years." (Id. ¶ 46). Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendants' unlawful conduct, "Plaintiff and the members of the class have suffered damages, including but not limited to past lost earnings." (Id. ¶ 62).

On May 9, 2011, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Rule 23 allegations pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), or to strike Plaintiff's Rule 23 allegations pursuant to Rule 12(f). Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's state class action claims because: (1) Rule 23's "opt-out" requirement is inherently incompatible with § 216(b)'s "opt-in" requirement for collective action; (2) even if the Court finds that Rule 23's requirements are not inherently incompatible with § 216(b)'s "opt-in" regime the Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state statutory claims; and (3) Plaintiff cannot satisfy Rule 23(a) because he cannot prove that joinder is impracticable. Plaintiff argues that: (1) "inherent incompatibility" is not a basis for dismissing a state class-action claim under Rule 12(b)(6); (2) the Court should not dismiss Plaintiff's Rule 23 class before allowing the parties to complete class discovery; and (3) the Court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims because they do not raise novel or complex issues of state law, they do not predominate over Plaintiff's federal claims, and there are no other compelling reasons for declining supplemental jurisdiction. The parties submitted their respective briefs and the motion is ripe for review.

II. STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court may dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. With a motion to dismiss, "'courts accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'" Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)). In other words, a complaint survives a motion to dismiss if it contains sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

In making this determination, a court must engage in a two-part analysis. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009); Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210-11. First, the court must separate factual allegations from legal conclusions. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. Second, the court must determine whether the factual allegations are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 1950. Determining plausibility is a "context-specific task" that requires the court to "draw on its ...


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.