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Situated v. Utilimap Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 24, 2014

CIPRIANO MARTINEZ and PATRICIO DONES, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UTILIMAP CORP., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on defendant Utilimap Corporation's motion to dismiss the class action complaint filed by plaintiffs Cipriano Martinez and Patricio Dones pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. 14). The plaintiffs have responded to the motion (Doc. 16), and Utilimap has replied to that response (Doc. 17).

I. Dismissal Standard

When reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all allegations in the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and (2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 556).

In Bell Atlantic, the Supreme Court rejected the more expansive interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2) that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief, " Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 561-63; Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777. Now "it is not enough for a complaint to avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief... by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Factual Allegations

Each plaintiff[1] worked for Utilimap, a full-service utility inspection company, as an hourly laborer in the Ground Line Treatment Division for about two years. In their work for Utilimap, the plaintiffs dug around utility poles, inspected them and treated them with wood preservatives.

The plaintiffs routinely worked more than forty hours a week, but Utilimap did not pay them one and one-half times their regular pay rate for those excess hours. This practice is referred to as "straight time for overtime."

Additionally, Utilimap did not pay the plaintiffs for all the hours they worked even at their regular "straight time" pay rates. This occurred because the plaintiffs' foremen, who recorded the hours plaintiffs worked, systematically failed to record hours the plaintiffs spent travelling between job sites and performing necessary preparatory activities.

The plaintiffs do not plead any more specifics, giving no facts relating to any employment agreement, the dates they worked for Utilimap, the magnitude or frequency of time they worked in excess of forty hours a week or their wage rates at the relevant times.

The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in March 2014. They allege five causes of action: a claim for failure to pay for all hours worked at the agreed hourly pay rate in violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA"), 820 ILCS 115/1 et seq. (Count I); a claim for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law ("IMWL"), 820 ILCS 105/1 et seq. (Count II); a claim for failure to pay Dones the straight and overtime wages he is due in violation of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law ("MWPCL"), Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employment § 3-501 et seq. (Count III); a claim for failure to pay Dones overtime wages in violation of the Maryland Wage and Hour Law ("MWHL"), Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employment § 3-401 et seq. (Count IV); and a claim for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (Count V). They also assert they should be allowed to file a collective action in Count V under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and a class action in Counts I through IV under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 on behalf of those similarly situated to them.

Utilimap asks the Court to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims on the grounds that they have not pled sufficient facts under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), to state a cause of action. On the other side, the plaintiffs assert they have satisfied the liberal federal notice pleading standard even in light of Bell Atlantic and Iqbal.

III. Analysis

The FLSA, the IMWL and the MWHL require employers to pay employees one and one-half times their regular hourly wage for hours worked beyond forty hours in one week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); 820 ILCS 105/4a(1); Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employment § 3-415(a). The IWPCA and the MWPCL require employers to pay non-exempt employees all their wages due at least twice a month, 820 ILCS 115/3 & 4; Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employment § 3-502(a)(1), and to pay departing employees all their wages due no later than their ...


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