Crosby v. Massey Hauling Co Inc
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 10/18/2016. (AVC)
2016 Oct-18 PM 04:14
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
MASSEY HAULING CO., INC.,
Case No.: 2:16-cv-00383-RDP
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
This matter is before the court on Defendant’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss Count I of the
Complaint. (Doc. #21). Plaintiff, Jan Crosby, asserts a claim for violation of the Equal Pay Act
of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (“Equal Pay Act”), against her former employer, Massey Hauling
Co., Inc. Defendant moves to dismiss count one of Plaintiff’s complaint, pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The court has jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. Defendant’s
motion is ripe for decision, and after careful review, the court concludes the motion is due to be
granted and Count one of the Complaint is due to be dismissed.
Plaintiff filed her complaint seeking relief for Defendant’s Equal Pay Act violations on
March 3, 2016. (Doc. # 1). Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #4), which the court
denied without prejudice. (Doc. #11). After Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. #20)
pursuant to the court’s May 23, 2016 order (Doc. #11), Defendant responded by filing this
motion to dismiss. (Doc. # 21). Plaintiff responded to Defendant’s motion to dismiss, and
Defendant replied to Plaintiff’s response with a renewed motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6). (Doc. # 23 and Doc. #24). “A Rule 12(b)(6) motion questions the legal sufficiency of a
complaint; therefore, in assessing the merit of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume that
all the factual allegations set forth in the complaint are true.
Plaintiff was employed as a truck driver by Defendant from October 2012 until February
2016. (Doc. #20 at p. 2). During the years that Plaintiff was employed, Defendant had about 3540 drivers and trucks. (Id.). Most of Defendant’s trucks were coal trucks; about seven trucks
were dump trucks. (Id.). Plaintiff always drove a dump truck, as did the other two women who
were employed by Defendant as drivers during that period. (Id.). Defendant compensated its
truck drivers by paying them a percentage of each load they hauled. (Id). Defendant was paid
different rates by customers depending on the materials being hauled. (Doc. #20 at p. 3). The
difference in pay rate was passed on to the dump truck drivers who were paid according to what
they were hauling. (Id.). Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint alleges that during her employment
Defendant consistently gave her (and other female drivers) lesser paying assignments than those
made to male drivers. (Doc. #20 at p. 3). Plaintiff alleges that this disparity caused her and other
female drivers to earn substantially less than the male drivers. (Id.).
Plaintiff argues that the measure of the drivers’ pay had two components: (1) Massey
Hauling’s standard percentage paid to the drivers for the load, and (2) the price paid per load, as
determined by Massey Hauling and its customers based on the material being hauled. (Doc. #23,
at p. 6). She asserts that when Defendant assigned the male drivers the loads that paid the higher
rates, it set the male drivers’ pay at a higher rate. (Id.). In doing so, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant paid male drivers more than the female drivers for performing the same work in
violation of the Equal Pay Act. (Id.).
Standard of Review
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
That rule must be read alongside Rule 8(a), which requires that a pleading contain only a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2). “While that pleading standard does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,’ Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), it does demand ‘more than an unadorned, thedefendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.’” Caetio v. Spirit Coach, LLC, 992 F. Supp. 2d
1199, 1202 (N.D. Ala. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must only contain “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
The factual allegations in a complaint must be accepted and construed in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Young Apts., Inc. v. Town of Jupiter, 529 F.3d 1027, 1037 (11th Cir.
2008) (citing Beck v. Deloitte & Touche, 144 F.3d 732, 735 (11th Cir. 1998). Upon ruling on a
motion to dismiss, the district court is required to assume that the facts set forth in plaintiff’s
complaint are true. Caetio v. Spirit Coach, LLC, 992 F. Supp. 2d 1199, 1202 (N.D. Ala. 2014)
(citing Williams v. Mohawk Indus., Inc., 465 F.3d 1277, 1281 n.1 (11th Cir. 2006)). While the
court must take all factual allegations in the complaint as true for purposes of a motion to
dismiss, the court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 555 (2007)).
Defendant argues in its motion to dismiss that even if the allegations in count one of
Plaintiff’s complaint are both accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to her,
she still fails to assert a plausible claim for relief under the Equal Pay Act. (Doc. #21 at p. 2).
The court agrees. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss is
due to be granted.
The Equal Pay Act contains a prohibition against sex discrimination in the work place,
but that prohibition is not as broad as Plaintiff asserts. See Caetito v. Spirit Coach, LLC, 992 F.
Supp. 2d 1199, 1213 (N.D. Ala. 2014). Plaintiff bases her complaint on section 206(d) of the
Equal Pay Act, which provides,
[n]o employer . . . shall discriminate . . . between employees on the basis of sex
by paying wages to employees . . . at a rate less than the rate at which he pays
wages to employees of the opposite sex . . . for equal work on jobs the
performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which
are performed under similar conditions . . . .
29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1). Recently, Judge Smith of this court, in interpreting section 206(d)
expressly held, “the Equal Pay Act does not provide relief for allegations of discriminatory work
assignments.” Caetio v. Spirit Coach, LLC, 992 F. Supp. 2d 1199, 1213 (N.D. Ala. 2014)
(quoting Berry v. Bd. of Supervisors, 715 F.2d 971, 976 (5th Cir. 1983)).
The plaintiff in Caetio, was a female tour driver employed by the defendant who alleged
that male drivers were assigned more lucrative driving assignments that required more hours and
paid greater amounts to drivers. Caetio, 992 F. Supp 2d at 1203. Because the allegations of the
plaintiff in Caetio were related to work assignments and not disparity in pay rates between the
sexes, this court dismissed the complaint on the defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Caetio, 992 F. Supp. 2d at 1213. Similarly, the complaint in the instant case should be dismissed
as Plaintiff alleges only that Defendant made discriminatory work assignments and has made no
factual allegations that she was paid “at a rate less than the rate at which . . . employees of the
opposite sex” were paid. 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1).
Plaintiff attempts to distinguish this case from Caetio by emphasizing that Defendant
paid males “more than females for the same work only because of their being given higher
paying loads, not more loads.” (Doc. # 23, at p. 5). Further, Plaintiff contends that when
Defendant assigned the male drivers the higher paying loads, it set the male driver’s pay at a
higher rate.1 (Doc. # 23, at p. 6). However, Plaintiff has failed to put forth any plausible factual
allegations that show that higher paying loads allegedly assigned to the males constitute the same
work as the lower paying loads assigned to females. Instead, Plaintiff’s complaint contains only
legal conclusions that she and the other females working for Defendant were paid less than male
drivers “for substantially the same work.” (Doc. #20 at p. 4). It is axiomatic that mere legal
conclusions are not sufficient to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
Plaintiff may have a viable Title VII sex discrimination claim based upon work
assignments. (See Doc. # 20 at p. 6). But her allegations do not pass muster under the Equal Pay
Plaintiff cites the definition of “wage rate,” and explains that the measure of the drivers’ pay had two
components: “(1) Massey Hauling’s standard percentage paid to the drivers for the load, and (2) the price paid per
load, as determined between Massy Hauling and its customers based on the material being hauled.” (Doc. #23, at p.
For the reasons stated above, the court concludes that Defendant’s motion to dismiss is
due to be granted. A separate order shall be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this October 18, 2016.
R. DAVID PROCTOR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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