The opinion of the court was delivered by: Padova, District Judge.
Plaintiff Emilio Caucci filed the instant action against Prison Health
Services, Inc. alleging violation of the Family Medical Leave Act
("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq., and seeking payment of accrued
overtime pay under state law. Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss the Amended Complaint.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, the
Court grants in part and denies in part Defendant's Motion.
The Amended Complaint alleges the following facts. Defendant provides
medical services in Philadelphia correctional facilities. In August
1993, Plaintiff began working for Defendant as Associate Medical Director
and Chief Medical Officer at a Philadelphia Detention Center. At that
time, Plaintiff was classified as a non-exempt employee paid hourly, but
did not receive time and a half for overtime work. In December 1995,
Plaintiff was transferred to the Philadelphia Industrial Corrections
Corporation to be Chief Medical Officer. At that time, Plaintiff was
still a non-exempt employee earning $65.00 per hour and working 56-64
hours per week. Plaintiff also began working additional overtime shifts
at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility and the Philadelphia
Detention Center, but did not receive overtime
pay. The additional overtime shifts ceased in 1996.
On January 1, 1997, Plaintiff became an exempt employee receiving a
salary. In August 1997, Defendant asked Plaintiff to work additional
overtime shifts for his regular hourly wage. On November 4, 1997,
Plaintiff informed Defendant that he was being evaluated for a
degenerative medical condition. On November 10, 1997, Plaintiff requested
leave under the FMLA for these medical problems and submitted a
certificate from his insurance carrier and a note from his doctor stating
that he could not work from November 19, 1997 through December 12, 1997.
On December 1, 1997, Defendant approved Plaintiff's FMLA leave, but on
the same day terminated Plaintiff from his position of Chief Medical
Officer and Associate Medical Director.
Although Defendant told Plaintiff that he was eligible for FMLA leave
through February 11, 1998, Plaintiff extended his leave only to January
15, 1998 when he returned to work. On January 16, 1998, Defendant offered
Plaintiff part-time work beginning on January 26, 1998, on an as-needed
basis at various facilities at an hourly rate that was less than what he
had been paid prior to taking his leave. Plaintiff returned to work on
January 26, 1998. On January 28, 1998, Plaintiff requested reinstatement
to his prior positions and an equivalent salary and benefits, but
Defendant refused. On March 1998, Defendant stopped giving any work to
A claim may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
only if the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim
that would entitle her to relief. ALA, Inc. v. CCAIR, Inc., 29 F.3d 855,
859 (3d Cir. 1994). The reviewing court must consider only those facts
alleged in the complaint and accept all of the allegations as true. Id.
Generally, district courts ruling on motions to dismiss may not consider
matters extraneous to the pleadings. In re Burlington Coat Factory
Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997). District courts, however, may
consider documents that are "integral to or explicitly relied upon in the
complaint" without converting the motion into one for summary judgment.
Id. Affirmative defenses may be raised on a 12(b)(6) motion "where the
defect appears on the face of the pleading". Continental Collieries v.
Shober, 130 F.2d 631, 635-36 (3d Cir. 1942).
The Amended Complaint contains three counts. Count One alleges that
Defendant violated the FMLA by failing to restore Plaintiff to his
pre-leave or an equivalent position, only offering him part-time
employment after he returned from FMLA leave, and reducing Plaintiff's
hours to zero. Count Two asserts Defendant's liability for unpaid
overtime wages from August 1993 through January 1, 1997, and again from
August 1997 until his termination pursuant to the Pennsylvania Minimum
Wage Act ("PMWA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat § 333.102. Count Three alleges a
breach of contract claim based on Defendant's employee handbook.
Defendant moves to dismiss all claims in the Amended Complaint. The Court
will address each count in turn.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of employers meeting certain
statutory criteria to twelve weeks of leave during any twelve-month
period in the event of "a serious health condition that makes the employee
unable to perform the functions
of the position of such employee."*fn2 29 U.S.C.A. § 2612(a)(1)(d)
(West 2001). An employee returning from leave properly taken under the
FMLA is entitled either to be restored to his or her former position or
placed in an equivalent position in terms of benefit, pay and other
conditions of employment. 29 U.S.C.A. § 2614(a)(1) (West 2001).
Defendant argues that Count One is barred by the statute of limitations.
The FMLA requires a plaintiff to file suit "not later than 2 years
after the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for
which the action is brought." 29 U.S.C.A. § 2617(c)(1) (West 2001).
In cases where the violation is willful, the plaintiff must file suit
"within 3 years of the date of the last event constituting the alleged
violation for which such action is brought." 29 U.S.C.A. § 2617(c)(2)
(West 2001). To successfully allege a willful violation of the FMLA, the
plaintiff must show that the employer knew or showed reckless disregard
for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited by the statute.
McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe Co., 486 U.S. 128, 133 (1988) (citing Trans
World Airlines, Inc. v. Thurston, 469 U.S. 111, 125-30 (1985)). The
Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant's conduct was "willful,
intentional, and in flagrant disregard of the provisions of the FMLA."
(Am. Compl. ¶ 37.) Under the liberal pleading standards of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this is sufficient to plead willfulness
and trigger the three-year statute of limitations. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
Plaintiff's Complaint was filed on January 26, 2001. Under the
statutory language, the statute of limitations begins to run as of the
date of the last event constituting a FMLA violation. See 29 U.S.C.A.
§ 2617(c)(2) (West 2001). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated
the FMLA by refusing to restore him to his pre-leave position or an
equivalent position and instead offering him part-time employment after
his return to work, and eventually reducing his hours to zero and
effectively terminating his employment in March 1998. (Am. Compl. ¶¶
32, 34.) Plaintiff argues that the reduction of his hours and termination
in March 1998 is the date of the last event constituting the alleged FMLA
violation, and thus the action is not time-barred. Defendant views the
refusal to reinstate Plaintiff to full-time employment as the dispositive
date for the purposes of the statute of limitations, and the reduction of
Plaintiff's work hours are only continuing damages that independently
constitute an FMLA violation. Under ...