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Collette Davis, et al v. Abington Memorial Hospital

September 8, 2011

COLLETTE DAVIS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
SUSAN FRATTAROLA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MERCY HEALTH SYSTEM OF SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
KENNETH LYNN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ARIA HEALTH SYSTEM, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
KENNETH LYNN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JEFFERSON HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
CASSANDRA RUFF, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALBERT EINSTEIN HEALTHCARE NETWORK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
JOHN DUNCHESKIE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MEMORANDUM ORDER & OPINION

In these six related putative collective and class actions, Plaintiffs claim that their employers, various hospital systems and their affiliates, located in and around the Philadelphia metropolitan area, violated federal and state laws by failing to pay them for all hours they worked. Defendants' joint motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs' joint opposition thereto, and Defendants' joint reply are before the Court.*fn1 This Motion has been fully briefed and is now ripe for disposition.

I.BACKGROUND

A. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In November 2009, the Plaintiffs in each of these six cases filed parallel complaints against six agglomerations of health-care providers in this Court and in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.*fn2 Both the state and federal complaints alleged that Plaintiffs were not properly paid by their employers for all time that they allegedly worked. The complaints filed in this Court brought only federal claims; the state court complaints included only state law claims.

Although maintained as separate actions, the allegations in each set of complaints were essentially identical.

In December 2009, the Defendants in each of these actions removed the state court actions to this Court on grounds that the asserted state law claims fell within the scope of Section 502(a)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA").*fn3 Three of the six defendants also relied upon the express preemption provisions of ERISA Section 514(a),*fn4 and three defendants removed on grounds that Plaintiffs' Wage Payment and Collection Law ("WCPL")*fn5 and breach-of-contract claims were preempted by, and removable under, Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA").*fn6 Plaintiffs subsequently moved to remand.

The Court denied Plaintiffs' motions, concluding that ERISA preempted all Plaintiffs' state law claims in their entirety, and that, in the three cases which raised the issue,*fn7 Section 301 of the LMRA preempted Plaintiffs WPCL and breach-of-contract claims.*fn8

After consolidating their state and federal claims into a single complaint, Plaintiffs in each case filed Amended Complaints on October 15, 2010. Paying little heed to the Court's holdings regarding ERISA and the LMRA's preemptive effect, Plaintiffs reassert all state law claims in the pending eighteen-count Amended Complaints (each of which is identical in all material respects).

Thus, Plaintiffs maintain that they were denied applicable premium pay and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"),*fn9 the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act ("PMWA"),*fn10 and the WPCL. Plaintiffs also assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO")*fn11 and common law for the same conduct. Finally, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants failed to keep accurate records of employees' hours worked and breached their fiduciary duties in violation of ERISA and Pennsylvania law.*fn12

Defendants responded by jointly moving to dismiss all pending Amended Complaints, pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1).*fn13 For purposes of this joint motion, the Parties rely upon and reference the Amended Complaint in Ruff, et al. v. Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, et al.*fn14 as representative of all the Amended Complaints filed in these actions.*fn15 The Court will do likewise.

B. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The three named Plaintiffs are employed by one or more of the Defendants (the complaint does not specify) and are hourly, non-exempt workers.*fn16 They seek to represent a class of some 7,100 similarly situated individuals.*fn17
The named Plaintiffs allege that they are employees of the "Albert Einstein Health Care Network," which they define as an association of 86 entities and two individuals.*fn18 These entities come in three forms: (1) the "Named Defendants," a group of "related organizations" that includes Defendants Albert Einstein Healthcare Network,*fn19 Albert Einstein Medical Center, Elkins Park Hospital, Germantown Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical Center Employees Retirement Plan, and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network Tax Sheltered Annuity Plan, and two officers of Albert Einstein Healthcare ...

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