United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TYMECO JONES, IESHA BULLOCK, and TEAIRRA PIZARRO, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SCO, SILVER CARE OPERATIONS LLC d/b/a ALARIS HEALTH AT CHERRY HILL, Defendant.
JUSTIN L. SWIDLER, MATTHEW D. MILLER, SWARTZ SWIDLER, LLC, CHERRY HILL, NJ, On behalf of plaintiffs.
STUART WEINBERGER, GOLDBERG & WEINBERGER LLP, NEW YORK, NY, On behalf of defendant.
NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.
Presently before the Court is the motion of defendant to dismiss plaintiffs' putative collective and class action claims for defendant's alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New Jersey's Wage and Hour/Wage Payment laws. For the reasons expressed below, defendant's motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiffs Tymeco James, Iesha Bullock, and Teairra Pizarro are employed by nursing home defendant, SCO, Silver Care Operations LLC d/b/a Alaris Health at Cherry Hill, as certified nursing assistants. They claim that defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and New Jersey's Wage and Hour Law and New Jersey's Wage Payment Law, when it failed to properly pay them for hours they worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Plaintiffs James and Pizarro also claim that defendant violated the federal and state wage requirements by deducting thirty minutes of paid time for meal breaks during over-night shifts, when plaintiffs rarely, if ever, took an uninterrupted break during their normal shifts, because there are not enough CNAs working during the night shifts to permit them to take a meal break.
Defendant has moved to dismiss plaintiffs' first amended complaint, arguing that it fails to meet the federal pleading standards, as to both the plaintiffs' individual claims, and as putative collective and class actions. Plaintiffs have opposed defendant's motion.
Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and others "similarly situated" to remedy alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and therefore this Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction). The Court exercises jurisdiction over plaintiffs' pendant state law wage claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
B. Standard for Motion to Dismiss
When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher , 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp. , 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown , 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).
A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades , 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for all civil actions'...."); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ("Iqbal... provides the final nail-in-the-coffin for the no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly.").
Following the Twombly/Iqbal standard, the Third Circuit has instructed a two-part analysis in reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; a district court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Fowler , 578 F.3d at 210 (citing Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). Second, a district court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief.'" Id . (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). A complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. Id .; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (stating that the "Supreme Court's Twombly formulation of the pleading standard can be summed up thus: stating... a claim requires a complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true) to ...