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Sandra J. Babcock Individually and On Behalf of All Those v. Butler County

May 10, 2012

SANDRA J. BABCOCK INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL THOSE SIMILARLY SITUATED, ET AL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BUTLER COUNTY, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION

Plaintiffs, who are employees at a Butler County prison, allege that Defendants, Plaintiffs' employers, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants required them to take a one-hour meal break, but during that one hour, Plaintiffs were "on call" (which required them to remain within the prison and in their uniforms), but were not paid for fifteen minutes of this one-hour meal break.

Presently before the Court are two motions: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Stay Proceedings (doc. no. 30), and (2) Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class (doc. no. 14). Plaintiffs filed a Brief in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Stay Proceedings. Doc. No. 38. Defendants filed a Response in Opposition to Certify Class. Doc. No. 27.

For the reasons set forth herein, this Court will grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Stay Proceedings. Doc. No. 30. In addition, based on this Court's reasoning and decision with respect to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or Stay Proceedings, the Court will deny the pending Motion to Certify Class as moot. Doc. No. 14.

I. Standard of Review

Defendants contend that this case should be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and/or under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

A party may move for dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Under Article III of the Constitution, because courts may only adjudicate "cases and controversies," a party must have standing to bring a claim in court. A challenge to a party's standing is a challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. PA Prison Soc'y v. Cortes, 622 F.3d 215, 229 (3d Cir.2010). To establish standing, a party must show that: (1) he suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of illegal conduct by the defendant; (2) the injury can be fairly traced to the challenged action; and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision. Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., 528 U.S. 167, 180--81 (2000).

When analyzing a Rule 12(b)(1) challenge, the court must first determine whether the moving party is making a facial or factual jurisdictional attack. CNA v. U.S., 535 F.3d 132, 139 (3d Cir. 2008). "If [it] is a facial attack, the court looks only at the allegations in the pleadings and does so in the light most favorable to the [non-moving party]." U.S. ex rel. Atkinson v. PA. Shipbuilding Co., 473 F.3d 506, 513 (3d Cir.2007). However, if it is a factual jurisdictional attack, where the moving party argues that the court lacks jurisdiction based on evidence outside of the pleadings, the court may "consider and weigh evidence outside the pleadings . . ." Id. at 514. A jurisdictional challenge is a factual challenge if "it concerns not an alleged pleading deficiency, but rather the actual failure of [the non-moving party's] claims to comport with the jurisdictional prerequisites." Id.

Here, Defendants raised a factual Rule 12(b)(1) challenge, and based on the pleadings and evidence presented by the parties, the Court finds that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction and will grant Defendants' Motion under F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).*fn1

II. Case History and Relevant Facts

Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on February 23, 2012 (doc. no. 1) and shortly thereafter filed a Motion to Certify Class. Doc. No. 14. Defendants timely filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint or, in the Alternative, to Stay Proceedings. Doc. No. 19. In response to Defendants' Motion (doc. no. 19), Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 25.

In their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs essentially claim that Defendants failed to properly compensate Plaintiffs for overtime in violation of Section 16 of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 216. Doc. No. 25, ¶ 13. Based on the averments set forth in their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs describe themselves as current and former employees of Defendants who "within the last three years have been employed as correction officers." Id. at ¶ 21.

Plaintiffs specifically claim that Defendants required Plaintiffs to work eight and one-quarter hours, including a meal period, but only paid them for eight hours of work. Id. at ¶ 26. As further explained by Plaintiffs, Defendants require Plaintiffs to take a one-hour meal break, but during that one hour, Plaintiffs were "on call" (which required them to remain within the prison and in their uniforms), and Plaintiffs were only paid for 45 minutes of this one-hour meal break. Id. at ¶ 28. Plaintiffs aver that because of the restrictions under which Plaintiffs are placed during their one-hour meal break period, the ...


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