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Hadad v. World Fuel Services, Inc.

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 11, 2013

HOLOOD HADAD, Plaintiff,
v.
WORLD FUEL SERVICES, INC., and MAHMOUD SABBAH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Holood Hadad brings this suit against World Fuel Services, Inc. ("WFS"), and Mahmoud Sabbah, seeking relief against both Defendants for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 207 et. seq. ("Count I"), and against Sabbah individually for battery under Illinois state law ("Count II"). R. 1. Sabbah has moved to dismiss Count I against him under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and Count II under Rule 12(b)(1). R. 8. For the following reasons, Sabbah's motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

The following relevant facts, drawn from Hadad's complaint, are accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in Hadad's favor. See Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013).

WFS is a business that owns and operates a gas station in Chicago, Illinois. R. 1 ¶ 4. At all times relevant to her complaint, Hadad alleges that she was an employee of the gas station, and Sabbah was an employee, agent, and/or servant of WFS. R. 1 at ¶¶ 6, 7. Hadad alleges that she did not receive proper compensation for the overtime hours she worked during her employment at the gas station from February 2012 until February 2013.[1] R. 1 ¶ 10. In total, Hadad claims that she did not receive adequate compensation for 196 overtime hours. R. 1 ¶ 11.

Hadad alleges that she had a conversation with Sabbah on January 20, 2013, regarding missed overtime payments. R. 1 at ¶ 9. According to Hadad, "Sabbah cornered her near the tobacco stand, then proceeded to the register" where he "removed money from the cash register" and "forcefully" placed it into her hand. R. 1 at ¶¶ 12-13. Sabbah then allegedly tightly squeezed Hadad's hand until she "screamed in pain." R. 1 at ¶ 13. Hadad alleges that Sabbah subsequently grabbed her wrist, and yanked and twisted it down, causing Hadad's shoulder to make a "popping sound." R. 1 at ¶ 14. Afterward, Sabbah allegedly "hit [Hadad's] arm with a hanger and threatened to drag [Hadad] by her hair if she did not leave the store." R. 1 at ¶ 15.

On May 22, 2013, Hadad filed this suit against Sabbah and WFS, alleging a violation of the FLSA and a battery claim under Illinois law. R. 1. Hadad asked the Court to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction authority over her Illinois state law battery claim. R. 1 at ¶ 1.

LEGAL STANDARD

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to provide defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This "standard demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes the Court to dismiss any claim for which the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution defines the outer bounds of a federal court's subject matter jurisdiction, although generally, a court's jurisdiction in a non-criminal case arises from a federal question, a deprivation of one's civil rights, or diversity among the parties. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, 1343; see also Rabe v. United Air Lines, Inc. 636 F.3d 866, 872 (7th Cir. 2010). When a defendant challenges jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a court's jurisdiction. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). As with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must "accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chi., 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999)).

ANALYSIS

The Court will first address Sabbah's motion regarding the FLSA claim in Count I and, second, the Illinois state law battery claim in Count II.

I. FLSA Claim Against Sabbah

Count I is an FLSA claim for overtime pay. R. 1. To prove an FLSA claim, Hadad bears the burden of proof and must establish that (1) she performed uncompensated overtime, and (2) Sabbah, as her employer, had "actual or constructive knowledge" of that overtime work. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); Kellar v. Summit Seating, Inc., 664 F.3d 169, 177 (7th Cir. 2011). Sabbah challenges the sufficiency of Count I in Hadad's complaint, which seeks to hold Sabbah liable in his individual capacity. R. 8. Specifically, Sabbah argues that Hadad has not alleged sufficient facts to indicate that he was Hadad's employer for purposes of the FLSA. R. 8 at 2. He contends Hadad's allegation that he was an "employer[] engaged in commerce or in the production of goods ...


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