Aubuchan et al v. Doe Run Resources Corporation et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant Doe Run's motion to compel arbitration [# 12 ] is granted as follows: plaintiff Brandon Boyer is ordered to arbitrate his claims as set out in his separation agreement, and the claims of plaintiff Brandon Boyer against defendant Doe Run are stayed pending completion of arbitration. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to dismiss [# 10 ] is denied. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on March 10, 2014. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SHANE BOWMAN, et al.,
individually and on behalf of all
others similarly situated,
THE DOE RUN RESOURCES
CORP., et al.,
Case No. 4:13 CV 2519 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiffs were plant workers at Doe Run’s lead smelter in Herculaneum,
Missouri and allege that they and other similarly situated employees were required
to perform work duties before and after their shifts without being paid.1 Plaintiffs
bring a collective action for unpaid compensation under the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., on behalf of themselves and others similarly
situated. Plaintiffs also seek to certify a class action under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23 for state law statutory claims under the Missouri Minimum Wage
Law (MMWL), Mo. Rev. Stat. § 290.500 et seq., as well as for common law
claims of quantum meruit and breach of contract.
These duties included obtaining, donning, doffing, washing, and stowing protective
clothing and equipment.
Doe Run moves to compel plaintiff Brandon Boyer to arbitrate his claims in
accordance with a separation agreement entered into with Boyer when the lead
smelter closed. Because plaintiff Boyer does not contest arbitration of his claims,
the motion to compel will be granted. I will stay Boyer’s claims pending
completion of arbitration. See 9 U.S.C. § 3.
Doe Run also moves to dismiss plaintiffs’ breach of contract (Count III) and
quantum meruit (Count IV) claims for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). “To survive a [12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.’ ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Id. Although I must “accept as true all facts pleaded by the
non-moving party and grant all reasonable inferences from the pleadings in favor
of the non-moving party,” United States v. Any & All Radio Station Transmission
Equip., 207 F.3d 458, 462 (8th Cir. 2000), “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.’ ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Doe Run argues that plaintiffs have failed to state a breach of contract claim
because they do not allege the existence of a valid and enforceable contract. Doe
Run also contends that plaintiffs have not adequately alleged the elements of a
quantum meruit claim. In opposition to dismissal, plaintiffs clarify that they are
bringing a claim for breach of an at-will employment agreement to pay straight
time wages for all hours worked in the five year period preceding the filing of the
complaint. Under Missouri law, “the only legally enforceable promise created out
of at-will employment is the employer’s promise, whether express or implied, to
pay the employee for the work performed by the employee.” Morrow v. Hallmark
Cards, Inc., 273 S.W.3d 15, 26 (Mo. Ct. App. 2008) (emphasis supplied). This is
exactly the kind of claim brought by plaintiffs. Plaintiffs allege that they were
employed by Doe Run, were required to perform extra duties in conjunction with
their employment by Doe Run, and were not properly paid for these extra duties.
These allegations adequately state a breach of contract claim. They also support
plaintiffs’ quantum meruit claim, particularly when considered in conjunction with
plaintiffs’ allegations that Doe Run knowingly accepted the benefit of this unpaid
work. Whether plaintiffs may ultimately be entitled to relief on these claims is not
before me at this time. However, I cannot dismiss them on this basis at this stage
of the proceedings.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant Doe Run’s motion to compel
arbitration [#12] is granted as follows: plaintiff Brandon Boyer is ordered to
arbitrate his claims as set out in his separation agreement, and the claims of
plaintiff Brandon Boyer against defendant Doe Run are stayed pending completion
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to dismiss [#10] is denied.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 10th day of March, 2014.
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