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Matthews v. Biotelemetry, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 31, 2018



          Baylson, J.

         In this case, Plaintiff William Matthews alleges that Defendant BioTelemetry, Inc. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) when it failed to pay Plaintiff and other similarly situated workers a premium hourly rate for hours worked in excess of forty per week. Plaintiff seeks to represent a putative class of “all persons presently or formerly employed by Defendant at any point during the past three (3) years in the position of Remote Holter Technician who were paid on a piece rate basis and denied overtime compensation.” (Complaint. ¶ 21). Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Count Two of the Complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted, filed by Defendant. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion is granted without prejudice.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Taking Plaintiff's allegations as true, the factual background is as follows. Plaintiff William Matthews is a Virginia resident who began working for Defendant BioTelemetry, Inc. in 2011. (Complaint. ¶¶ 9, 30). BioTelemetry, Inc. is a private Delaware corporation with its headquarters and principal place of business in Malvern, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11). Defendant operates multiple healthcare monitoring, research, and product manufacturing locations throughout the United States. (Id. ¶ 11).

         Plaintiff was hired as a Cardiac Specialist and reported to Defendant's office in Norfolk, Virginia. (Id. ¶ 30). In or around January 2012, Plaintiff was promoted to the position of Holter Department Supervisor. (Id. ¶ 31) From 2012 until January 2017, Plaintiff supervised Holter Technicians physically located in the Defendant's Norfolk office (“In-Person Techs”), as well as those who worked from home, known as Remote Holter Technicians (“Remote Techs”). (Id. ¶ 33). The Remote Tech role was not offered by Defendant until 2014. (Id. ¶ 38). Plaintiff transitioned to this role of Remote Tech in February of 2017. (Id. ¶ 36). In this role, Plaintiff generally worked from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm for a total of 47.5 hours per week, and often worked until 12:00 am and occasionally on weekends (Id. ¶¶ 52-54).

         Defendant classified In-Person Techs as non-exempt employees. (Id. ¶ 34). In-Person Techs were paid on an hourly basis and entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty. (Id.). Defendant classified Remote Techs as independent contractors. (Id. ¶ 35). Remote Techs were paid on a piece-rate system, and not eligible to receive overtime pay. (Id.). Apart from the location where the work was performed, the role of Remote Tech and In-Person Tech were virtually identical, and were marketed to employees as such. (Id. ¶¶ 37-38). All Techs were also supervised by and reported remotely to Defendant's headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶¶ 40-42).

         Any employee who wished to transition from the role of In-Person Tech to the role of Remote Tech was required to execute a “Professional Services Agreement” and a “Business Associate Agreement.” (Id. ¶¶ 8, 39). These agreements specified that the individual would be classified as a 1099-independent contractor and be paid on a piece rate basis. (Id.). These agreements also identified Pennsylvania law as governing, and identified the state and federal courts for Chester County, Pennsylvania, as the venue for actions arising out of disputes related to the agreement. (Id. ¶ 8).

         On February 9, 2018 Plaintiff filed a Complaint in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 1). The Complaint states two claims on behalf of Plaintiff and the putative class:

1. Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 for unlawfully failing to pay overtime compensation.
2. Violation of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §333.100, et seq for unlawfully failing to pay overtime compensation.

         On April 23, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss only Count II of the Complaint (ECF No. 10). Count II is Plaintiff's PMWA claim. On May 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant's Motion (ECF No. 11), and Defendant replied to Plaintiff's opposition motion on May 18, 2018 (ECF No. 14).

         II. Legal Standard

         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Angelastro v. Prudential-Bache Sec., Inc., 764 F.2d 939, 944 (3d Cir. 1985). “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); see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (“We caution that without some factual allegation in the complaint, a claimant cannot satisfy the requirement that he or she provide not only ‘fair notice,' but also the ‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 n.3). Accordingly, to survive a motion to ...

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