Chacon v. JF & MB Home Improvement & Landscaping Inc. et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations - re 37 Report and Recommendations. Denying 25 Motion to Remove Named Defendant. Signed by Judge Carlos E. Mendoza on 8/7/2017. (DJD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No: 6:16-cv-1828-Orl-41GJK
JF & MB HOME IMPROVEMENT &
LANDSCAPING INC. and JORGE A.
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Remove Named Defendant
(“Motion,” Doc. 25). United States Magistrate Judge Gregory J. Kelly submitted a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R,” Doc. 37), recommending that the Court deny the Motion. In the R&R,
Judge Kelly determined that because the Motion was essentially a motion to dismiss that
Defendant Matute filed after he had already filed an answer, the Motion should be treated as a
motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Id. at 2). Judge Kelly then applied the legal standard for a
motion for judgment on the pleadings—namely, that judgment may only be granted when there
are no material facts in dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law;
that the court may only consider the substance of the pleadings and any judicially noticed facts;
and that the court must accept the facts alleged in the complaint as true and view them in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. (Id. at 3). He concluded that by asserting that Matute was
a corporate officer with operational control over Defendant JF & MB Home Improvement &
Landscaping, Inc. (“JF”), Plaintiff had sufficiently alleged that Matute may be held jointly and
severally liable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (Id. at 3
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(quoting Patel v. Wargo, 803 F.2d 632, 637–38 (11th Cir. 1986) (“The overwhelming weight of
authority is that a corporate officer with operational control of a corporation’s covered enterprise
is an employer along with the corporation, jointly and severally liable under the FLSA for unpaid
wages.”)). Finally, Judge Kelly determined that Matute’s denial that he had operational control
over JF created a dispute of material fact, precluding the Court from granting a motion for
judgment on the pleadings. (Id.).
Matute subsequently filed an Objection (Doc. 42) to the R&R. In his Objection, Matute
argues that his Motion is due to be granted because (1) Plaintiff has failed to provide evidence
demonstrating that Matute has any operational control over JF, (2) Matute has submitted evidence
showing that he does not earn enough money to be held liable pursuant to the FLSA, (3) “[a]ll
claims made by the Plaintiff’s attorney in this case are null and void and do not hold any weight,”
and (4) Matute has resubmitted all of the evidence that he previously filed with this Court to
establish that he was wrongly named as a Defendant. (Id. at 1–2). After a de novo review of the
record, the Court agrees entirely with the R&R.
Three out of four of Matute’s arguments focus on the evidence before this Court—that is,
Plaintiff’s failure to submit evidence that Matute has operational control over JF and Matute’s
submission of evidence establishing the contrary. Matute’s only other argument is his conclusory
averment that “[a]ll claims made by the Plaintiff’s attorney in this case are null and void and do
not hold any weight.” (Id. at 1). All of these arguments fail for the same reason: the legal standard
the Court must apply when ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings. 1 As Judge Kelly
noted, a post-answer motion for failure to state a claim is construed as a motion for judgment on
Matute did not challenge the decision to construe the Motion as a motion for judgment
on the pleadings or the applicable legal standard for such a motion.
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the pleadings. (Doc. 37 at 2). The standard for addressing a motion for judgment on the pleadings
requires that the Court only consider the substance of the pleadings and any judicially noticed facts
and also requires that the Court accept the facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Thus, the evidence is irrelevant for purposes of deciding
a motion for judgment on the pleadings; Matute’s arguments concerning the evidence are
inapposite. Similarly, because when deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings the Court
must accept the facts as alleged by Plaintiff, the Court rejects Matute’s conclusory contention that
Plaintiff’s claims are without merit.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED as follows:
1. The Report and Recommendation (Doc. 37) is ADOPTED and CONFIRMED and
made a part of this Order.
2. Defendant Matute’s Motion to Remove Named Defendant (Doc. 25) is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED in Orlando, Florida on August 7, 2017.
Copies furnished to:
Counsel of Record
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