Alexander v. Republic Services, Inc. et al

Filing 14

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 5/17/2017 GRANTING 5 Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Plaintiff has twenty days from the date this Order is signed to file an amended complaint, if he can do so consistent with this Order. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 13 JIMMY ALEXANDER, on behalf of himself and other aggrieved current and former employees, Plaintiff, 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 CIV. NO. 2:17-0645 WBS AC ORDER RE: MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS OR, ALTERNATIVELY, A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT v. REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC.; ALLIED WASTE SYSTEMS, INC., doing business as “Republic Services of Contra Costa County”; SOLANO GARBAGE COMPANY; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants. 21 ----oo0oo---- 22 23 Plaintiff Jimmy Alexander brought this putative class 24 action against defendants Republic Services, Inc.; Allied Waste 25 Systems, Inc.; and Solano Garbage Company, alleging that 26 defendants violated various provisions of the California Labor 27 Code and Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). 28 Compl. (Docket No. 2).) (Notice of Removal, Before the court now is defendants’ 1 1 Motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of 2 Civil Procedure 12(c) (“Rule 12(c)”) or, alternatively, a more 3 definite statement of allegations pursuant to Federal Rule of 4 Civil Procedure 12(e) (“Rule 12(e)”). 5 5).) 6 (Defs.’ Mot. (Docket No. Plaintiff, a California resident, alleges that he “was 7 formerly employed by Defendants in a non-exempt, hourly-paid 8 position” in California. 9 does not state what position he was employed in, his Opposition (Compl. ¶ 11.) Though his Complaint 10 to defendants’ Motion states that he was employed as a garbage 11 collector. 12 are allegedly related California entities involved in the 13 business of garbage collection. 14 Plaintiff’s Complaint offers no other factual allegations. 15 (See Pl.’s Opp’n at 6 (Docket No. 10).) Defendants (See Compl. at 1, 4.) On February 14, 2017, plaintiff brought this action 16 against defendants in the California Superior Court, alleging the 17 following causes of action under the California Labor Code: (1) 18 failure to provide or pay for required rest breaks, Cal. Lab. 19 Code §§ 226.7, 512; (2) failure to pay minimum and overtime 20 wages, id. §§ 510, 1194; (3) failure to keep accurate wage 21 records, id. § 226; (4) failure to timely pay wages upon 22 termination, id. § 203; and (5) engagement in unlawful business 23 practices, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. 24 14.) 25 plaintiff alleges a cause of action for unpaid minimum and 26 overtime wages under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. 27 11-13.) 28 certification in this action. (Compl. at 8- In addition to his California Labor Code causes of action, Plaintiff seeks class and collective action (Id. at 4-5.) 2 (Id. at 1 Defendants removed plaintiff’s action to this court on 2 March 27, 2017. (Notice of Removal (Docket No. 2).) They now 3 move for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) or, 4 alternatively, a more definite statement of allegations under 5 Rule 12(e), in this action. (Defs.’ Mot.) 6 Rule 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are 7 closed . . . a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). 9 purposes of Rule 12(c)” where, as here, “a complaint and answer “[T]he pleadings are closed for the 10 have been filed.” 11 Cir. 2005). 12 Rule 12(b)(6) motion, and “the same standard of review” applies 13 to both. 14 (9th Cir. 1989). 15 Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1061 (9th A Rule 12(c) motion is “functionally identical” to a Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 As with Rule 12(b)(6) motions, the inquiry on a Rule 16 12(c) motion is whether, accepting the allegations in the 17 pleadings as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in the 18 plaintiff’s favor, the plaintiff has pled “enough facts to state 19 a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 20 Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 21 court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a 22 complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” 23 Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). 24 elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory 25 statements, do not suffice” to state a plausible claim under Rule 26 12(c). 27 28 Bell Atl. “[T]he tenet that a Ashcroft v. “Threadbare recitals of the Id. As with Rule 12(b)(6) motions, the court may grant a Rule 12(c) motion with leave to amend. 3 Crosby v. Wells Fargo 1 Bank, N.A., 42 F. Supp. 3d 1343, 1346 (C.D. Cal. 2014). 2 Plaintiff’s Complaint is substantially lacking in 3 factual allegations. Plaintiff does not state, in his Complaint, 4 what position defendants employed him in, when he was employed by 5 defendants, what each defendant’s employment relationship to him 6 was, or any facts regarding how defendants allegedly violated his 7 and putative class members’ wage rights. 8 action is stated in terms of boilerplate recitations of law and 9 legal conclusions. Each of his causes of They each apply the same pattern of “(1) 10 stating [defendants’] obligations under California law as an 11 employer; (2) averring simply that [defendants] violated the law 12 by failing to comply with [their] obligations; and (3) claiming 13 damages and an entitlement to penalties and other relief.” 14 v. Masonite Corp., No. EDCV 16-35 JGB(KKX), 2016 WL 756523, at *2 15 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2016). 16 Byrd Such allegations are insufficient to state plausible 17 wage and hour claims under Rule 12(c). 18 Carrington Mortg. Servs. LLC, No. SACV 16-2011 CJC(DFMx), 2017 WL 19 59069, at *6 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 5, 2017) (same); see also Landers v. 20 Quality Communications, Inc., 771 F.3d 638, 644 (9th Cir. 2014) 21 (holding that “conclusory allegations that merely recite the 22 statutory language are [in]adequate” to state plausible wage and 23 hour claims). 24 See id.; Ritenour v. Though plaintiff filed an Opposition to defendants’ 25 Motion, he appears to have conceded in his Opposition and at oral 26 argument that his Complaint is deficient and requires amendment.1 27 28 1 Plaintiff noted in his Opposition that his Complaint is “filed pursuant to California laws governing pleading standards” 4 1 Defendants do not oppose providing plaintiff leave to amend his 2 Complaint. 3 granted leave to amend his Complaint.”) (Docket No. 5-2).) 4 5 (See Defs.’ Proposed Order at 2 (“Plaintiff is hereby Accordingly, the court will grant defendants’ Motion and provide plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint. 6 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants’ Motion for 7 judgment on the pleadings be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED 8 without prejudice. 9 Plaintiff has twenty days from the date this Order is 10 signed to file an amended complaint, if he can do so consistent 11 with this Order. 12 Dated: May 17, 2017 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 and he has “contacted defense counsel . . . offering to stipulate to the amendment of [his] complaint.” (See Pl.’s Opp’n at 8.) At oral argument, plaintiff did not challenge defendants’ arguments regarding the sufficiency of his Complaint and again offered to amend his Complaint. 5

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