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Drake v. Hyundai Rotem USA, Corp.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 28, 2013

OLIVIA DRAKE, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated Plaintiff,



Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Hyundai Rotem USA, Corp.’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Olivia Drake’s Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


This case arises out of Plaintiff’s claim that she and similarly situated employees did not receive appropriate compensation for overtime hours worked while in Defendant’s employ. The facts, as taken from the Amended Complaint, are as follows. Named Plaintiff, Olivia Drake, was hired by Defendant on or about May 17, 2010 as an assembly line worker. (Am. Compl. ¶ 31.) Ms. Drake and the other members of the putative class are all current or former employees of Hyundai, mostly assembly line and production workers employed in the assembly of rolling stock, either by hand or with the assistance of machines (“Assembly-Line Plaintiffs”). (Id. ¶¶ 37–38, 50.) A small portion of the putative class consisted of employees who worked in manual, clerical, or administrative positions in which they did not exercise independent discretion or possess the power to hire or fire employees, and they did not make business decisions such as purchasing, investment of Defendant’s money or other resources, or oversee large complex projects with independence (“Non-Assembly-Line Class Plaintiffs”).[1] (Id. ¶ 51.)

Plaintiffs have two basic complaints about Defendant’s practices. Plaintiffs’ first contention is that Defendant automatically deducted thirty minutes of paid time from their paychecks for each shift worked for a lunch break, including for shifts during which a meal break was not taken. (Id. ¶ 69.) Ms. Drake, in particular, claims that she almost always took significantly less than thirty minutes for her meal break before punching back in for work. (Id. ¶ 72.) The Amended Complaint also states, upon information and belief, that the rest of the Class Plaintiffs regularly took less than thirty minutes for meal breaks before punching back in for work. (Id. ¶ 73.) However, Defendant would automatically deduct thirty minutes of paid time from Plaintiffs’ paychecks despite employees regularly not using the entire allotted meal break time. (Id. ¶ 74.)

Secondly, in addition to being deprived of payment for meal times not taken, Plaintiffs claim they routinely worked overtime hours beyond their normal shift end-time. (Id. ¶ 111.) However, despite regularly working beyond their scheduled 8.5 hour days, Plaintiffs claim Defendant docked them for time in which they were absent from their normal hourly shifts. (Id. ¶¶ 110–111, 113, 115.) Additionally, Defendant failed to pay Plaintiffs overtime pay for hours worked in excess of their normal 8.5 hour shift, even accounting for the time marked absent from their normal shifts. (Id. ¶¶ 113, 115.)

On February 18, 2013, Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court bringing a class action for two claims, Count I for Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”), and Count II for Violations of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. § 333.102, et seq. (“MWA”). Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on May 13, 2013. Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition on May 30, 2013, and Defendants filed a Reply Brief on June 10, 2013. The Court will now consider the merits of the Motion.


Under Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P.12(b)(6); see also Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the United States Supreme Court recognized that “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. Following these basic dictates, the Supreme Court, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), subsequently defined a two-pronged approach to a court’s review of a motion to dismiss. “First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. Thus, although “Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era . . . it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678–79. Second, the Supreme Court emphasized that “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. A complaint does not show an entitlement to relief when the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct. Id.; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232–34 (3d Cir. 2008) (holding that: (1) factual allegations of complaint must provide notice to defendant; (2) complaint must allege facts suggestive of the proscribed conduct; and (3) the complaint’s “‘factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level’”) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555)).

Notwithstanding these new dictates, the basic tenets of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard of review have remained static. Spence v. Brownsville Area Sch. Dist., No. Civ.A.08-626, 2008 WL 2779079, at *2 (W.D. Pa. July 15, 2008). The general rules of pleading still require only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and need not contain detailed factual allegations. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233. Further, the court must “accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). Finally, the court must “determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Pinkerton v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002).


Defendant moves to dismiss Count I because it contends that the FLSA claim is precluded by Plaintiffs’ failure to exhaust the grievance procedure under the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). Defendant seeks dismissal of Count II because it claims the Minimum Wage Act claim is precluded by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act.

A. Whether Plaintiff’s MWA Claim Is Pre-Empted By Section 301 of the Labor Management ...

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