United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
NORRIS ALLEN, RODNEY MILLER, JANICE SUGGS, RON ROLLINS, JERRY DIXON, and ERIC HOLMBERG, Plaintiffs,
EXPRESS COURIER INTERNATIONAL, INC. and EMP LSO HOLDING CORPORATION, Defendants.
COGBURN JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the court on defendants' Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (#15) and
plaintiffs' Related Conditional Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended and Substituted Complaint (#23). Having
considered defendants' motion and reviewed the pleadings,
the court enters the following Order.
a third-party logistics company providing various
supply-chain management services to help businesses reduce
transportation costs, increase efficiency in product
movement, and allow customer to focus on their core business.
Plaintiffs entered into federally regulated Owner Operator
Agreements (“OOA”) with LSO.
January 18, 2018, plaintiffs filed their Original Complaint
(#1), and on April 12, 2018, filed their First Amended and
Substituted Complaint (#4), alleging violations of the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§201, et seq. Plaintiffs seek declaratory
judgment, monetary damages, liquidated damages, prejudgment
interest, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs, as a
result of defendant's alleged failure to pay plaintiffs
minimum and overtime wages as required by law.
13, 2018, defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim (#15), and on July 16, 2016, plaintiffs filed a
Response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim (#21). On July 23, 2018, defendants filed a
Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Claim (#22). Also on July 23, 2018, plaintiffs filed a
Conditional Motion for Leave to File Second Amended and
Substituted Complaint (#23).
motion to dismiss “challenges the legal sufficiency of
a complaint.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d
186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). To survive such motion, “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). The plausibility
standard requires “more than a sheer
possibility.” Id.; see also Twombly,
550 U.S. at 547 (complaints fail when plaintiffs “have
not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible”); Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d
388, 391 (4th Cir. 2011).
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief” is required.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Such statement does not require
“specific facts, ” but need only give defendants
“fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
544). For purposes of the motion, the factual allegations in
the complaint are accepted as true and viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, Coleman v. Md.
Court of Appeals, 6266 F.3d 187, 189 (4th Cir. 2010),
though the court need not accept “unwarranted
inferences” or “unreasonable arguments, ”
Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir.
2008). The court also notes that “[a] Rule 12(b)(6)
motion ‘does not resolve contests surrounding the
facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of
defenses.'” Pisgah Laboratories, Inc. v.
Mikart, Inc., 2015 WL 996609, at *2 (W.D. N.C. Mar. 5,
2015) (quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178
F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999)).
argue that plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently allege any
wage violations occurred, have not alleged sufficient facts
to demonstrate that they were misclassified as independent
agents, rather than employees, and have not stated a claim
against EMP LSO Holding. The court will consider each of
these arguments below.
defendants claim that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently
allege any wage violations occurred. Specifically, defendants
argue that plaintiffs allege nothing that, if true, would
establish an overtime or minimum wage violation. Instead,
defendants contend that plaintiffs only allude to facts that
might give rise to a wage violation.
state “a plausible overtime claim, a plaintiff must
provide sufficient factual allegations to support a
reasonable inference that he or she worked more than forty
hours in at least one workweek and this his or her employer
failed to pay the requisite overtime premium for those
overtime hours.” Hall v. DIRECTV, LLC, 846
F.3d 757, 777 (4th Cir. 2017). This standard “does not
require plaintiffs to identify a particular week in which
they worked uncompensated overtime hours.” Id.
(emphasis omitted). “Rather, this ...