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Killion v. Sketers

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

January 5, 2018




         This cause is before the Court on Defendant Donna Bloodworth's Motion to Dismiss (d/e 10). Also before the Court is Plaintiff Martha L. Killion's Motion for Costs of Service and Attorney's Fees (d/e 14). Defendant Bloodworth's Motion is GRANTED, and the claims against Defendant Donna Bloodworth are DISMISSED without prejudice and with leave to amend. Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This action arises from claims of minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), Illinois Minimum Page 1 of 13 Wage Law (“Minimum Wage Law”), and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (“Wage Act”). Accepting the allegations of the Complaint as true for the purposes of resolving this motion, Plaintiff worked for Defendant Tom Skeeters, d/b/a Tom's 24 Hour Towing Service from roughly June 2014 to July 24, 2017. Compl. ¶ 9 (d/e 1). “Plaintiff worked Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next morning and every other weekend from 4:30 p.m. on Friday until Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.” Id. at ¶ 12. Her duties “involved responding to customer requests, coordinating towing service, and arranging for release of towed vehicles in accordance with procedures approved by Defendants.” Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff was paid $25 for her weekday shifts and $125 for her weekend shifts. Id. at ¶ 13. Defendant Donna Bloodworth (“Bloodworth”), was Plaintiff's immediate supervisor and performed payroll functions for Tom's 24 Hour Towing Service. Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiff claims that both Defendants are her employers and that they are owners and management officials.

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint on August 18, 2017. Defendant Bloodworth has moved to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ. P. 12(b)(6), arguing that Plaintiff has failed to allege that Defendant Bloodworth is an “employer” under the applicable law. See Motion to Dismiss (d/e 10). Plaintiff opposes the motion arguing that she had pleaded sufficient facts and that it is premature to dismiss Defendant Bloodworth prior to conducting discovery. See Response (d/e 11). Defendant Bloodworth moves in the alternative for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ. P. 12(d), which provides that “[i]f, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.” Id. The Court declines to exercise its discretion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d) and will instead evaluate Defendant's Motion pursuant to 12(b)(6), excluding Defendant's attached affidavit from consideration.

         Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Costs of Service and Attorney's Fees (d/e 14) on November 7, 2017. Defendant has not opposed this motion.


         This Court has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff brings a claim based on the FLSA, a federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States”). The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Venue is proper because the events giving rise to the claim occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) (a civil action may be brought in a judicial district where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Defendant Bloodworth's Motion to Dismiss is Granted

         A motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of Boone, 483 F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim for relief, a plaintiff need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing he is entitled to relief and giving the defendant fair notice of the claims. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

         When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and construing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. Id.

         1. Plaintiff Failed to Allege that Defendant Bloodworth is Plaintiff's Employer Under the FLSA

         The FLSA defines an employer as, “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relationship to an employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(d). The FLSA defines the word “employer” broadly enough “to permit naming another employee rather than the employer as defendant, provided the defendant had supervisory authority over the complaining employee and was responsible in whole or part for the alleged violation.” Riordan v. Kempiners, 831 F.2d 690, 694 (7th Cir. 1987). ...

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