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Dora Schwartz, et al v. Victory Security Agency

July 25, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge




Presently before this Court is Defendant‟s Renewed Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs‟ Complaint.*fn1 Doc. No. 22. The Court has reviewed Plaintiffs‟ Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 20), Defendant‟s Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 22) and Brief in Support Thereof (Doc. No. 23), and Plaintiffs‟ Brief in Opposition to Defendant‟s Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 24). For the reasons that follow, Defendant‟s Renewed Motion to Dismiss will be denied.

II.Factual Background

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at this stage the Court accepts all of the factual allegations in the Amended Complaint as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in Plaintiffs‟ favor. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). Therefore, the facts of the case are as follows:

Plaintiffs and the Class members were or are currently employees of Defendant. Doc. No. 20 ¶¶ 5-6. Throughout the relevant time period, Defendant expected Plaintiffs "to be available to work before commencement of their shift, during their promised meal break and after completion of their assigned shift for work-related tasks." Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiffs performed pre-shift work including: receiving pass down instructions, checking equipment, reviewing post orders, collecting schedules, meeting with supervisors, guarding, monitoring, patrolling, inspecting, and surveying. Id. at ¶¶ 10(a), 19. Plaintiffs regularly performed post-shift work that included: preparing logs and event reports, collecting schedules, meeting with supervisors and providing pass down instructions. Id. at ¶¶ 10(b), 29.

Such work was undertaken by Plaintiffs for approximately 15-30 minutes of pre-shift work each day and 15 minutes to two hours of post-shift work per week. Id. at ¶¶ 26, 36. Defendant knew that such work was regularly performed because it was performed "on Defendant‟s premises, in plain sight, and at their managers‟ request." Id. at ¶ 33. Defendant‟s agents also "regularly encouraged, instructed, suffered and permitted" such work to be undertaken. Id. at ¶¶ 22, 32. The work routinely went unrecorded because Defendant typically required Plaintiffs and Class members to arrive at work before their scheduled shift start time, and then suffered or permitted them to perform pre-shift work on an off-the-clock basis before signing in for the day and required post-shift work to be performed after their scheduled shift ended. Id. at ¶¶ 21, 31. Defendant failed to implement rules or procedures to prohibit pre-and post-shift work being performed and did not ensure that the Plaintiffs and Class members were properly paid for pre-shift and post-shift work. Id. at ¶¶ 24, 34.

Plaintiffs and class members have been harmed because they have been deprived of wages owed for work they performed and "from which Defendant derived a direct and substantial benefit." Doc. No. 20, ¶¶ 18, 37.

III.Legal Standard

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, federal courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ""a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,‟ in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds on which it rests.‟" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1947 (2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, recently explained that a District Court must take three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint:

First, the court must "tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1947 (2009). Second, the court should identify allegations that, "because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.‟ Id. at 1950. Third, "whe[n] there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.‟ Id. This means that our inquiry is normally broken into three parts: (1) identifying the elements of the claim, (2) reviewing the complaint to strike conclusory allegations, and ...

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