United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED
issue in this employment case is whether the Court should
grant a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants, Lewis J.
Brandolini, III (“Brandolini”) and Brandolini
Companies (“BC”), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
reasons discussed below, the Motion to Dismiss will be
A. The Parties
in this case, Jose Luis Mora Bedolla (“Bedolla”)
and Andres Martin Jurado Perez (“Perez”) allege
that they worked at Defendant Brandolini's family
residences in Chester County to perform general landscaping,
gardening, and similar maintenance work. (ECF 5, Amended
Complaint (“AC”), ¶¶ 4, 10,
Both Plaintiffs allege that they worked in excess of forty
hours per workweek without receiving premium overtime
compensation or minimum wages for all hours worked.
BC is a diversified real estate organization that develops,
owns and operates a portfolio of properties. (Id.
¶ 28). Defendant Brandolini was, at all relevant times,
the Owner, Chairman, and CEO of Defendant BC. (Id.
allege that the terms of their employment and compensation
were jointly controlled and directed by Defendants.
(Id. ¶ 34). Plaintiffs' compensation
information was held by BC's payroll service, with
BC's administrative staff assisting in the payroll
process. (Id. ¶ 47). Plaintiffs' paystubs
list the address for BC as their “company code, ”
while listing Brandolini himself as the top line of the
“company code.” (Id.). BC
“required or permitted” Brandolini to use shirts
and jackets bearing its logo for Plaintiffs to wear while
working, thus “requiring or permitting Plaintiffs to
hold themselves out to the world as employees of the
former.” (Id. ¶¶ 50-51).
Plaintiffs' hiring, they were told they would be paid on
an hourly basis, with the hours they worked each week
recorded for payroll purposes. (Id. ¶ 61). At
the beginning of the relevant time period, Plaintiff Bedolla
was instructed by Defendant Brandolini to record the hours he
worked using a paper time period, with the hours submitted
bi-weekly. (Id. ¶ 62-63). Around the beginning
of 2016, Plaintiff Bedolla “was informed by his
supervisor” that Plaintiff Bedolla did not need to
record his hours anymore, but that he would still be paid.
(Id. ¶ 64). Plaintiff Perez's hours were
recorded solely by his supervisor. (Id. ¶ 66).
Plaintiff Bedolla's Allegations of Retaliation and
approximately April, 2017, Plaintiff Perez's employment,
as well as that of a third landscaper, was abruptly
terminated by Defendants. (Id. ¶ 88). As a
result, Plaintiff Bedolla was directed to complete some of
the recently-terminated employees' tasks. (Id.
¶ 89). Plaintiff Bedolla asked Defendant
Brandolini's step-son-who was also responsible for
supervising Plaintiffs' work-for additional compensation
to reflect the overtime hours he would be required to work to
complete the tasks. (Id. ¶ 91). Then Plaintiff
Bedolla complained to his supervisor, but his complaints were
ignored. (Id. ¶ 94). At the end of May, 2017,
Plaintiff Bedolla handed a letter to Defendant Brandolini
requesting overtime compensation. (Id. ¶¶
early September, 2017, Defendant Brandolini confronted
Plaintiff Bedolla and accused him of engaging in a variety of
improper activities while working for Defendants.
(Id. ¶ 100). Plaintiff contends that these
allegations were knowingly false, and intended as retaliation
for the complaint made four months earlier. (Id.
¶ 101). At a meeting on September 9, 2017, Plaintiff
Bedolla attended a meeting with Brandolini's step-son and
daughter, during which he was told that a work vehicle
previously available for his use in traveling to and from
work would no longer be available to him, and that he would
not receive overtime compensation. (Id. ¶¶
September 11, 2017, Plaintiff Bedolla arrived at work
forty-five minutes late, and, after working approximately
five hours, was abruptly terminated from his job for being
late to work. (Id. ¶ 109). Plaintiff Bedolla
was not paid for the hours he worked on his last day, and
alleges that his tardiness was not the actual reason for his
termination, but rather a pretense. (Id. ¶
111). Instead, Plaintiff Bedolla alleges that he was actually
terminated for complaining about not receiving overtime
result of his termination, Plaintiff Bedolla is unemployed,
embarrassed, ashamed, and stressed about his financial
situation, resulting in his being easily irritated and having
difficulty sleeping at night. (Id. ¶¶
Relevant Procedural History
January 12, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against
Defendants. (ECF 1). On February 13, 2017, Defendants filed a
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (ECF 3), to which Plaintiffs filed a
response (ECF 4) before availing themselves of their leave to
amend as of right and filing an Amended Complaint on March 2,
2018 (ECF 5). Defendants timely filed a subsequent Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on March 16, 2018 (ECF 7,
“MTD”), to which Plaintiffs responded on March
19, 2018 (ECF 8).
allegations against Defendants are as follows:
Count I: Unlawful Retaliation (Plaintiff Bedolla)
Count II: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Count III: Violation of FLSA Unpaid Overtime Wages (Both
Count IV: Violation of PMWA Unpaid Overtime Wages (Both
Count V: Violation of FLSA Unpaid Minimum Wages (Plaintiff
Count VI: Violation of PMWA Unpaid Minimum Wages (Plaintiff
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 fact.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court may
consider the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits
attached to the complaint, and matters of public record.
Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus.,
998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).
The Motion to Dismiss
Motion to Dismiss pursues a single argument with respect to a
single Defendant. Specifically, Defendant BC seeks dismissal
on the grounds that Plaintiff has not adequately alleged a
joint employment relationship with respect to BC. Defendants
do not seek dismissal of any of the six counts against
Defendant Brandolini. Therefore, this Court is tasked with
determining only one question: Does the Amended Complaint
adequately allege that Defendant BC was a joint employer of