Robertson v. Steamgard, LLC et al
The defendants' motion to dismiss 12 is granted. Mr. Robertson may file an amended complaint by no later than May 1, 2012. The defendants shall answer or otherwise plead by May 22, 2012. This matter is set for status on May 24, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. WRITTEN Opinion entered by the Honorable Blanche M. Manning on 4/12/2012: Mailed notice(rth, )
Order Form (01/2005)
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Name of Assigned Judge
or Magistrate Judge
Blanche M. Manning
11 C 8571
Sitting Judge if Other
than Assigned Judge
April 12, 2012
Robertson v. Steamgard
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
The defendants’ motion to dismiss  is granted. Mr. Robertson may file an amended complaint by no later
than May 1, 2012. The defendants shall answer or otherwise plead by May 22, 2012. This matter is set for
status on May 24, 2012, at 11:00 a.m.
# [ For further details see text below.]
Plaintiff Devin Robertson worked as a steam technician for defendants Steamgard LLC and
Constantine Stavropoulos, Steamgard’s president and owner. He alleges that while he was employed by
Steamgard, he did not receive proper overtime compensation as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29
U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”), the Illinois Minimum Wage Act, 820 ILCS § 105, et seq., and the Illinois
Wage Payment and Collection Act, 820 ILCS § 115, et seq.. The defendants have filed a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss, contending that the complaint is too vague and, alternatively, that the state law claims are
barred by the FLSA. The court concludes that the factual allegations in the complaint supporting all three
counts are insufficient but finds that the state law claims are not barred. Thus, the motion to dismiss is
granted, and Mr. Robertson is granted leave to file an amended complaint.
The following facts are drawn from the concise, five-paragraph/nineteen-line summary of facts in the
complaint. Complaint at ¶¶ 2-6. Mr. Robertson worked for Steamgard as a steam technician at some
unspecified point that he describes as “the relevant statutory periods.” Id. at ¶ 2. As a steam technician, he
was paid by the hour and classified as non-exempt under the FLSA and Illinois Minimum Wage Act.
According to Mr. Robertson, he regularly worked more than 40 hours per week but was not paid “the proper
overtime premium (1.5 times his regular rate of pay)” for overtime. Id. at 5. He contends that the failure to
receive proper overtime violates the FLSA, the Illinois Minimum Wage Act, and the Illinois Wage Payment
Standard for a Motion to Dismiss
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint’s request for relief must be “‘plausible on its face.’”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A
complaint meets this standard when the alleged facts “allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “[N]aked assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement” are insufficient. Id. at 1949 (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, the Supreme Court
recently clarified that determining if a complaint states a plausible claim is “a context-specific task that requires
[the court] to draw on [its] judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 1950.
Sufficiency of the Factual Allegations
The defendants contend that the complaint is conclusory and unsupported by any specific factual
allegations demonstrating that they are liable. The court agrees. Brevity is laudable, but can be taken too far.
The factual allegations in the complaint are exceptionally terse and do not enable the reader of the complaint to
understand any of the factual underpinnings of the claims. Indeed, the court cannot even ascertain when Mr.
Robertson worked for Steamgard or if he is currently employed there. As noted above, to provide fair notice of
the grounds for his claim, Mr. Robertson must allege sufficient facts “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (internal quotations omitted). The complaint
must offer “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action’s elements will not
do.” Id. That is precisely what Mr. Robertson has done so the complaint is dismissed with leave to replead.
See Wilson v. Pioneer Concepts Inc., No. 11 C 2353, 2011 WL 3950892 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 1, 2011) (dismissing
FLSA claim based on allegations that the plaintiff and other unidentified employees worked an unidentified
number of extra hours and worked overtime without compensation).
State Law Claims
In the interests of conserving the parties’ resources, the court will consider the defendants’ fall-back
argument that the FLSA provides the exclusive remedial scheme to address an employee’s right to be paid
minimum wage and overtime. According to the defendants, this principle means that Mr. Robertson’s state law
claims must be dismissed. The court disagrees as the Seventh Circuit has held that the FLSA is “amenable to
state-law claims for related relief in the same federal proceeding.” Ervin v. OS Restaurant Services, Inc., 632
F.3d 971, 977 (7th Cir. 2011); see also Hoffman v. First Student Inc., No. 06-1882-AMD, 2009 WL 1783536,
at *9 (D. Md. Jun. 23, 2009) (state statutory claims may reside “alongside and are consonant with the remedial
scheme fashioned in the FLSA”). Moreover, the FLSA includes a savings clause which “has the effect of
preserving state and local regulations.” Id., quoting 29 U.S.C. § 218(a) (“No provision of this chapter ... shall
excuse noncompliance with any Federal or State law or municipal ordinance establishing [a higher minimum
wage or a shorter maximum work week]”). Accordingly, Mr. Robertson is not required to pursue relief solely
under the FLSA and may also seek relief under the Illinois Minimum Wage Act, and the Illinois Wage Payment
and Collection Act.
For the reasons stated above, the defendants’ motion to dismiss  is granted. Mr. Robertson may file
an amended complaint by no later than May 1, 2012. The defendants shall answer or otherwise plead by May
22, 2012. This matter is set for status on May 24, 2012, at 11:00 a.m.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?