Benefield et al v. Convacare Management Inc et al
ORDER denying 26 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim without prejudice filed by Joey Wiggins. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 5/1/13. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
KIMBERLY BENEFIELD, VEATRICE
CHILDRESS, JANIS FRANKS, PENNY HILL.
VICKI KELLER, JENNIFER KIRKER,
CHRISTOPHER MATHIS, KRYSTAL
REEVES, LISA STRAIN, ROSA TAYLOR,
SUSIE TOSH, and AMANDA WHITE, EACH
INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF
OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED
Case No. 4:12-cv-00589 KGB
CONVACARE MANAGEMENT, INC.,
ROLLING HILLS H.C., INC.,
JOEY WIGGINS and JOHN DOES 1-30
Before the Court is a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ collective action complaint filed by
separate defendant Joey Wiggins (Dkt. No. 26). Plaintiffs filed their response (Dkt. No. 31).
Mr. Wiggins filed his reply (Dkt. No. 33). Plaintiffs bring this action against Mr. Wiggins for
alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. and the
Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-201, et seq. Mr. Wiggins moves to
dismiss plaintiffs’ claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, the Court denies Mr. Wiggins’s motion to dismiss without prejudice (Dkt. No. 26).
In ruling on a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court
“accept[s] as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, and review[s] the
complaint to determine whether its allegations show that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Schaaf
v. Residential Funding Corp., 517 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2008). All reasonable inferences from
the complaint must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Crumpley–Patterson v. Trinity
Lutheran Hosp., 388 F.3d 588, 590 (8th Cir. 2004). A motion to dismiss should not be granted
merely because the complaint “does not state with precision all elements that give rise to a legal
basis for recovery.” Schmedding v. Tnemec Co., 187 F.3d 862, 864 (8th Cir. 1999). A complaint
need only contain “‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.’” Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation to provide
the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Stated differently, the plaintiff must “raise a right to relief
above a speculative level.” Schaaf, 517 F.3d at 549.
When all reasonable inferences from the complaint are drawn in favor of plaintiffs, the
Court finds that plaintiffs have sufficiently stated their claim to survive Mr. Wiggins’s motion to
dismiss. Plaintiffs have alleged that Mr. Wiggins is the president and owner of 11 nursing homes
and that Mr. Wiggins is currently, or was, plaintiffs’ employer within the meaning of the FLSA,
citing 29 U.S.C. § 203(d) (Dkt. No. 1, ¶¶ 32-35). Plaintiffs allege Mr. Wiggins uses separate
defendant ConvaCare Management, Inc.’s management services to control, direct, monitor, and
oversee critical operations of these nursing homes (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 25). Plaintiffs also allege that
Mr. Wiggins, as president, has the authority to hire and fire employees of these corporations, that
he supervised and controlled employees’ schedules and conditions of employment, and that he
had control over employees' wages and employment records (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 33).
Because the Court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint at
this stage of the proceeding, the Court denies Mr. Wiggins’s motion to dismiss. The Court
concludes that the aforementioned allegations in the complaint raise a right to relief above a
speculative level, that plaintiffs have sufficiently stated their claims against Mr. Wiggins, and
that to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint as against Mr. Wiggins at this stage would be premature.
Mr. Wiggins also requests in his motion that, if the Court denies the motion to dismiss,
the Court direct the parties to conduct discovery on management and relationship issues to
determine the employer-employee status of Mr. Wiggins and plaintiffs prior to the collective
action certification stage to avoid unnecessary cost and delay, if appropriate. This Court denies
Mr. Wiggins’s request without prejudice. If the parties are unable to reach agreement as to the
scope and sequence of discovery, Mr. Wiggins may submit by motion for this Court’s
consideration a proposed discovery plan addressing these issues.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Mr. Wiggins’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’
collective action complaint is denied (Dkt. No. 26).
SO ORDERED this 30th day of April, 2013.
KRISTINE G. BAKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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