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Schupack v. Marketvision Research, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 29, 2017



          Baylson, J.


         In this case, Plaintiff Tobelle Schupack (“Plaintiff”) alleges that Defendant Marketvision Research, Inc. (“MVR”) failed to pay her for market research services she performed while employed by MVR in 2013 and 2014. Plaintiff seeks unpaid wages under three theories:

(1) breach of contract;
(2) violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”); and
(3) unjust enrichment.

         Presently before the Court is MVR's Motion to Dismiss Counts II and III of the Complaint, alleging violations of WPCL and unjust enrichment, respectively. For the reasons discussed below, MVR's motion is denied.


         Taking Plaintiff's allegations as true, the factual background is as follows. Plaintiff was hired by MVR in June 2012 to perform market research services. (ECF No. 1, Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff was to report to various senior account managers, complete the projects they assigned, present her findings, and modify her research based on the direction she received. Id. ¶ 16. In exchange for the services she provided, Plaintiff invoiced her hours to MVR every two weeks and was compensated at an hourly rate of $50/hour. Id. ¶ 19. MVR provided Plaintiff with a desk, office, computer, and company email address, though Plaintiff primarily worked from home during the relevant time period. Id. ¶¶ 9, 20. The services that Plaintiff performed for MVR's pharmaceutical and health care clients were central to MVR's business mission. (Id., Ex. 3.) Throughout the duration of MVR's relationship with Plaintiff, MVR retained the right to terminate her employment at any time. (ECF No. 6, Pl.'s Opp'n at 5.)

         In October 2014, when Plaintiff stopped working for MVR, she was owed roughly $85, 000 for 1, 691 hours worked from January 2013 to October 2014. (Compl. ¶ 24.) In January 2016, Plaintiff contacted MVR's Executive Vice President, to whom she had previously reported, requesting payment for the uncompensated hours, and was referred to the company's Human Resources Director, Emily Redder. (Id. ¶ 26.) On March 3, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an invoice listing her hours spent on each project she worked on and the amount owed. (Id. ¶ 27.) Four days later, Redder requested additional detail so the hours could be certified. (Id. ¶ 28.) On March 10, 2016, Plaintiff provided the information requested, specifying in greater detail the tasks completed and listing the start and end dates for each project. (Id. ¶ 29.) On April 20, 2016, Redder informed Plaintiff that because Plaintiff had delayed in requesting payment, and because several of the listed projects had required additional work after Plaintiff had completed them, MVR would not pay her the requested $85, 000 but was prepared to make a one-time payment of $15, 000. (Id. ¶ 30.) On May 6, 2016, Plaintiff responded by stating that she could provide documentation of all of the work for which she was seeking payment. (Id. ¶ 31.) On May 9, 2016, Redder acknowledged Plaintiff's rejection of the one-time payment offer, and advised Plaintiff that MVR considered the matter closed. (Id. ¶ 32.)

         Plaintiff filed suit against MVR on November 29, 2016 seeking unpaid wages and compensation, liquidated damages, interest, costs, and attorney's fees (ECF No. 1). On February 3, 2017, MVR moved to dismiss Counts II and III of Plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff filed a Response to MVR's Motion on February 17, 2017 (ECF No. 6).


         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “we accept all factual allegations as true [and] construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Warren Gen. Hosp. v. Amgen, Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 84 (3d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         The Court in Iqbal explained that, although a court must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in a complaint, that requirement does not apply to legal conclusions; therefore, pleadings must include factual allegations to support the legal claims asserted. Id. at 678, 684. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Accordingly, to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court ...

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