Edelmann v. Keuka College
DECISION AND ORDER: Defendant's 4 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Signed by Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. on 4/10/2017. (SC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Case # 16-CV-6293-FPG
DECISION AND ORDER
Richard Edelmann (“Plaintiff”) alleges that his former employer, Keuka College
(“Defendant”), failed to compensate him for overtime work as the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) and New York State Labor Law (“NYLL”) require. 1 ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant misclassified him as an exempt employee, and for that reason did not compensate him
when he worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Id. Defendants have moved to dismiss the
Complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). 2 ECF No.
4. For the reasons stated below, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is denied.
Plaintiff began working for Defendant in June 2010 as a Senior Technical Support
Technician in the Information Technology Department. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 9. When Plaintiff
started working for Defendant, he was asked whether he preferred to be paid hourly or whether
In his Complaint, Plaintiff also alleged violations of the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirements under 29
U.S.C. § 211(c). See ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 47-50. Plaintiff subsequently withdrew those allegations. See ECF No. 11 at
Defendant also argued that the Complaint should be dismissed for inadequate service under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(5). See ECF No. 4-3 at 3-4. Defendant subsequently withdrew that portion of its motion. See
ECF No. 12 at 1, n.1.
The following facts are taken from the factual allegations made in the Complaint. See ECF No. 1. For the
purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, these allegations are assumed to be true. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6).
he preferred to receive a salary. Id. at ¶¶ 11, 14. He was told that the only difference between
the two is that as a salaried employee, he would be entitled to an extra week of vacation. Id. at ¶
12. Further, he was told that salaried employees did not work “much overtime.” Id. Plaintiff
asked to be paid a salary. Id. at ¶ 13.
While working for Defendant, Plaintiff had scheduled hours. Id. at ¶ 17. But in addition
to those scheduled hours, Plaintiff was expected to be “on call” some evenings. Id. at ¶ 22.
Plaintiff was assigned to week-long, “on call” shifts beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m.,
id. at ¶ 22, though Plaintiff frequently received work-related calls after 10 p.m. Id. at ¶ 24.
Further, Plaintiff was expected to be available for various events that were outside his scheduled
Id. at ¶ 25.
Those events included commencement ceremonies, “green and gold
weekend,” college open houses, orientations, sporting events, and any other event that required
technical support. Id. Lastly, each year Plaintiff was required to provide technical support at
Defendant’s yearly off-site board meeting. Id. at ¶ 26. That board meeting required Plaintiff to
stay overnight and be available at all hours. Id. at ¶ 27. All things considered, Plaintiff typically
worked 50 hours per week. Id. at ¶ 31.
To succeed on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the
defendant must show that the complaint contains insufficient facts to state a claim for relief that
is plausible on its face. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Plausibility
“is not akin to a probability requirement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotation
marks omitted). Rather, plausibility requires “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant’s liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement
to relief.” Id. A pleading that consists of “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor does a complaint
suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id. at 557.
In considering the plausibility of a claim, the Court must accept factual allegations as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor. Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648
F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011). At the same time, the Court is not required to accord “[l]egal
conclusions, deductions, or opinions couched as factual allegations . . . a presumption of
truthfulness.” In re NYSE Specialists Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d 89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted); see also Barr v. Abrams, 810 F.2d 358, 363 (2d Cir. 1987) (“As we
have repeatedly held, complaints relying on the civil rights statutes are insufficient unless they
contain some specific allegations of fact indicating a deprivation of rights, instead of a litany of
general conclusions that shock but have no meaning.”).
Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s FLSA and NYLL overtime claims must be dismissed
because he has not alleged facts that give rise to a reasonable inference that he worked more than
40 hours in a given week. 4 Under the FLSA, when an employee works more than 40 hours in a
workweek, employers must compensate the employee “at a rate not less than one and one-half
times the regular rate” for those excess hours. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). In Lundy v. Catholic
Health System of Long Island, the Second Circuit held that, to state a plausible claim under
section 207(a)(1), “a plaintiff must sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given workweek as
well as some uncompensated time in excess of 40 hours.” 711 F.3d 106, 114 (2d Cir. 2013). In
Nakahata v. New York-Presbyterian Health System, the court clarified that, to sufficiently allege
Because “the relevant portions of [the NYLL] do not diverge from the requirements of the FLSA,” the
Court’s findings under the FLSA “apply equally to the NYLL state law claims.” Dejesus v. HF Mgmt. Servs, LLC,
726 F.3d 85, 89 n.5 (2d Cir. 2013).
40 hours of work in a given workweek, a plaintiff “must provide sufficient detail about the
length and frequency of their unpaid work.” 723 F.3d 192, 201 (2d Cir. 2013). 5
In Lundy, the plaintiffs’ allegations included a detailed approximation of the hours that
they worked. Lundy, 711 F.3d at 114-15. They included the length of the plaintiffs’ typical
shifts, the number of hours they spent in required trainings, the time they spent working before
and after their shifts, and the number of minutes of they spent working during their meal breaks.
Id. The problem with the plaintiffs’ allegations was not that they lacked sufficient detail. Id. at
115. The problem was that the sum of the approximated hours did not exceed 40. Id. For that
reason, the plaintiffs had not raised a plausible inference that they worked over 40 hours in any
given week. Id.; see also Dejesus, 726 F.3d at 88-89 (“The allegations in Lundy . . . failed
because of arithmetic: tallying the plausible factual allegations, we could not get beyond forty
hours in any given week, and therefore to a plausible claim for overtime.”).
Like the plaintiffs in Lundy, the plaintiffs in Nakahata alleged that the defendants did not
sufficiently compensate them for work performed during meal breaks, before and after shifts,
and during require training sessions. Nakahata, 723 F.3d 192, at 201. But unlike the plaintiffs in
Lundy, the plaintiffs in Nakahata did not attach time values to their allegations. Id. Thus, it was
not arithmetic that was fatal to the plaintiffs’ overtime claims. Id. It was the plaintiffs’ failure to
allege that they worked through meal breaks and before and after shifts in addition to working 40
hours in a given week. Id.
Plaintiff argues that that Lundy and Nakahata are inapplicable here. See ECF No. 11 at 7-8. Plaintiff
distinguishes Lundy and Nakahata because they “are not misclassification cases, but rather off-the-clock cases
involving overtime for hourly workers.” Id. Although that distinction is noteworthy when considering whether
Plaintiff has alleged facts that give rise to a plausible inference that he worked more than 40 hours in a given week,
it does not render the rule announced in Lundy and reiterated in Nakahata inapplicable. Lundy and Nakahata set the
pleading standard for FLSA overtime claims. See Dejesus, 726 F.3d at 88-89. That standard applies even in cases
where the parties dispute whether the plaintiff is exempt from the FLSA’s overtime protections. See id. (applying
the Lundy-Nakahata pleading standard to a case that also questioned whether the plaintiff was exempt from the
FLSA’s overtime protections).
Here, Plaintiff alleges that he typically worked 50 hours per week as a salaried employee.
ECF No. 1 at ¶ 31. Plaintiff alleges that, though he had a fixed schedule, he often performed
work outside of his predetermined hours. Id. at ¶¶ 22-27. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he
was expected to be “on call” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for weeks at a time, id. ¶ 22, and that he
frequently received calls after 10 p.m. Id. at ¶ 3. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that he worked
college events—like commencements, open houses, and orientations—outside of his normal
working hours. Id. at ¶ 25. Further, Plaintiff alleges that he was required to work Defendant’s
yearly board meeting, which required him to be available to provide technical support at all
times, including overnight. Id. at ¶ 26.
Those allegations give rise to a plausible inference that Plaintiff worked more than 40
hours in any given workweek. Like the plaintiffs in Nakahata, Plaintiff has not attached time
values to each of the instances of extracurricular work that he alleges. See Nakahata, 723 F.3d at
200-201; ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 22-27. But unlike the plaintiffs in Nakahata, who might not have had
a standard 40-hour schedule in any given week, Plaintiff was a salaried employee who worked
fulltime. Compare Nakahata, 723 F.3d at 199 (noting that the plaintiffs alleged “Plaintiffs and
Class members regularly worked hours both under and in excess of forty per week”) with ECF
No. 1 at ¶ 30 (“Throughout his tenure with [Defendant], [Plaintiff] worked significantly more
than 40 hours each and every week.”).
Plaintiff’s allegations are more plausible than the
allegations at issue in Lundy for the same reason. Any work performed in addition to his
standard, fulltime schedule necessarily adds up to an amount great than 40 hours. Because
Plaintiff has alleged that, in addition to his fulltime schedule, he frequently worked evenings and
weekends, his allegations give rise to a plausible inference that he worked more than 40 hours
per week. See ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 22-27.
Defendant argues that the Second Circuit’s rule requires a plaintiff alleging an FLSA
overtime claim to identify, and specifically account for, at least one week in which he or she
worked uncompensated overtime. See ECF No. 4-3 at 5; see also ECF No. 12 at 1-3. Defendant
adds that pleading “an average number of hours worked across several weeks” is insufficient.
ECF No. 12 at 2. Defendant’s argument is not persuasive. As noted above, the Second Circuit
held in Lundy that “in order to state a plausible FLSA overtime claim, a plaintiff must
sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given workweek as well as some uncompensated time in
excess of the 40 hours.” Lundy, 711 F.3d at 114. To that end, the court suggested—but did not
require—that pleading an itemized, approximation of hours worked would satisfy the pleading
requirement. Id. at 114 n.7 (“Under a case-specific approach, some courts may find that an
approximation of overtime hours worked may help draw a plaintiff’s claim closer to
Indeed, the Second Circuit has explicitly denounced Defendant’s interpretation of its rule.
See Nakahata, 723 F.3d at 201 n.10 (“While the standard we reaffirm today does not require an
approximate number of overtime hours, we reiterate that determining whether a claim is
plausible is a context-specific task . . . , and that under a case-specific approach, some courts may
find that an approximation of overtime hours worked may help draw a plaintiff's claim closer to
plausibility.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted) (emphasis added); see also
Dejesus, 726 F.3d at 88 (noting that, in Lundy, the court “declined to make an approximation of
overtime hours a necessity in all cases” but remarked that “an approximation may help draw a
plaintiff’s claim closer to plausibility”) (international quotation marks and citations omitted).
Considering the context of this case, the Court finds Plaintiff has alleged facts that give
rise to a plausible inference that he worked more than 40 hours, without additional
compensation, in a given workweek. On that basis, Plaintiff has adequately pleaded FLSA and
NYLL overtime claims.
For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 4) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: April 10, 2017
Rochester, New York
HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR.
United States District Court
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