Byrd v. BJC Healthcare
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants Motion to Dismiss Counts III and IV of Plaintiffs Amended Complaint, [Doc. 23], is denied. 23 Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 4/12/13. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KATHY J. BYRD,
BJC HEALTH SYSTEM, d/b/a
Case No. 4:11CV1571 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Counts
III and IV of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint,1 [Doc. 23]. Plaintiff opposes the
Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.
Facts and Background2
Plaintiff is a former medical transcriptionist for Missouri Baptist Hospital of
Sullivan, a subsidiary of Defendant. Plaintiff claims that she and other similarly
Defendant originally filed this Motion seeking dismissal of Counts I and II of the
Amended Complaint against Steven Lipstein. Plaintiff has subsequently voluntarily dismissed
Lipstein from this action. Accordingly, the Court need only address the Motion as to Counts III
The factual recitation is taken from the pleadings before the Court and is set forth for
the purposes of this motion only. It in no way relieves the parties of necessary proof of any facts
in this matter.
situated employees were denied overtime compensation. The Amended Complaint
asserts four claims against Defendant: violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act,
(FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; violation of the Missouri Wage and Hour Laws,
R.S.Mo § 290.500, et seq; quantum meruit; and unjust enrichment.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
When ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court
must take as true the alleged facts and determine whether they are sufficient to
raise more than a speculative right to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56 (2007). The Court does not, however, accept as true any allegation
that is a legal conclusion. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009). The
complaint must have “‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
[plaintiff] is entitled to relief,’ in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)) and then Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957),
abrogated by Twombly, supra); see also Gregory v. Dillard’s Inc., 565 F.3d 464,
473 (8th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 628 (2009). While detailed factual
allegations are not necessary, a complaint that contains “labels and conclusions,”
and “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” is not sufficient.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; accord Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. The complaint must
set forth “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; accord Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; C.N. v. Willmar Pub.
Sch., Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 347, 591 F.3d 624, 629-30 (8th Cir.2010); Zutz v.
Nelson, 601 F.3d 842, 848 (8th Cir. 2010); Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588
F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009). “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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. If
the claims are only conceivable, not plausible, the complaint must be dismissed.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; accord Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. In considering a
motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), “the complaint should be read as
a whole, not parsed piece by piece to determine whether each allegation, in
isolation, is plausible.” Braden, 588 F.3d at 594. The issue in considering such a
motion is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but whether the plaintiff
is entitled to present evidence in support of the claim. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
Defendant moves to dismiss Counts III and IV, the quantum meruit and
unjust enrichment counts, based on the argument that these claims are preempted
by the FLSA.
The FLSA prohibits the employment of any person “for a workweek longer
than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment
in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half
times the regular rate at which he is employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). An
employee who sues for unpaid overtime “has the burden of proving that he
performed work for which he was not properly compensated.” Lopez v. Tyson
Foods, Inc., 690 F.3d 869, 874 (8th Cir.2012) (citation omitted). “Activities
performed either before or after the regular work shift, on or off the production
line, are compensable ... if those activities are an integral and indispensable part of
the principal activities for which covered workmen are employed and are not
specifically excluded by 29 U.S.C. § 254(a)(1).” Id. (citation omitted). The FLSA
contains a savings clause, which states, “No provision of this chapter or of any
order thereunder shall excuse noncompliance with any Federal or State law or
municipal ordinance establishing a minimum wage higher than the minimum wage
established under this chapter or a maximum work week lower than the maximum
workweek established under this chapter.” 29 U.S.C. § 218(a).
State law is preempted if a court determines that (1) Congress expressly
preempts state law; (2) Congress has pervasively regulated conduct in a field
manifesting its intent to preempt state law; or (3) the state law conflicts with
federal law. Gade v. Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 98 (1992);
English v. Gen. Elec. Co., 496 U.S. 72, 78–79 (1990); Huang v. Gateway Hotel
Holdings, 520 F.Supp.2d 1137, 1141 (E.D.Mo.2007). In the absence of express
pre-emptive language, as is the case with the FLSA, pre-emptive intent may ... be
inferred if the scope of the statute indicates that Congress intended federal law to
occupy the legislative field, or if there is an actual conflict between state and
federal law. Such a conflict arises when compliance with both federal and state
regulations is a physical impossibility, or when state law stands as an obstacle to
the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.
Qwest Corp. v. Minn. Pub. Utilities Comm'n, 684 F.3d 721, 726 (8th Cir.2012).
While there is contrary authority, see, e.g., Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 508
F.3d 181, 194 (4th Cir.2007) (holding that the plaintiff's state law contract,
negligence, and fraud claims were preempted by the FLSA, under conflict/implied
preemption), this Court finds persuasive and will follow the decisions of other
district courts in the Eighth Circuit, including decisions from this district, that
have found no preemption under the FLSA of state common law claims such as
those asserted by Plaintiff. See Perez–Benites v. Candy Brand, LLC, 267 F.R.D.
242, 246 (W.D.Ark.2010) (holding that the plaintiffs' breach of contract claim
seeking overtimed pay was not preempted by the FLSA; “Most district courts in
the Eighth Circuit agree that the FLSA's savings clause ... indicates that the FLSA
does not provide an exclusive remedy for its violations.”); Doyel v. McDonald's
Corp., No. 4:08CV01198 CAS, 2009 WL 350627, at *4 (E.D.Mo. Feb. 10, 2009);
LePage v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, No. 08–584 (RHK/JSM), 2008 WL 2570815,
*8 (D. Minn. June 25, 2008) (“While Plaintiffs may not obtain double recovery,
they are free to pursue relief under the FLSA as well as unjust enrichment.”)
(citation omitted); Robertson v. LTS Mgmt. Servs., LLC, 642 F.Supp.2d 922, 928
(W.D.Mo.2008) (holding that the FLSA did not preempt state law claims for
breach of contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment); Osby v. Citigroup,
Inc., No. 07–cv–06085–NKL, 2008 WL 2074102, at *2 (W.D.Mo. May 14, 2008);
see also Bouaphakeo v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 564 F.Supp.2d 870, 885 (N.D.Iowa
2008) (holding that the plaintiffs' duplicative claim under Iowa’s minimum wage
law was not preempted by the FLSA because the claim did not interfere with,
frustrate, conflict with, or stand as an obstacle to the goals of the FLSA, and
because FLSA does not provide the exclusive remedy for its violations). As such,
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Counts III and IV will be denied. The Court
notes, however, that although Plaintiff did not specifically plead Counts III and IV
in the alternative to each other or to other counts in the Amended Complaint, she
will not be able to recover double damages for the same injury.
Based upon the foregoing analysis, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s Counts III
and IV are not preempted by the FLSA, and therefore, the motion to dismiss these
counts must be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Counts
III and IV of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, [Doc. 23], is denied.
Dated this 31st day of March, 2013.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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