United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CALLUM SAVAKUS-MALONE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiff,
PIRAMAL CRITICAL CARE, INC., MASIS STAFFING SOLUTIONS, LLC, and DOES 1-10, Defendants
OPINION DEFENDANT MASIS'S MOTION TO DISMISS
AMENDED COMPLAINT, ECF NO. 19 - GRANTED
F. LEESON, JR. United States District Judge.
Callum Savakus-Malone initiated the above-captioned action
based on allegations that he was not paid for time spent
donning and doffing protective gear and that he was forced to
forego unpaid meal breaks during his employment at Defendant
Piramal Critical Care, Inc. (“Piramal”). He
asserts that Defendant Masis Staffing Solutions, LLC
(“Masis”) is a joint-employer with Piramal and is
equally liable. Masis has filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing
that it is not a joint-employer under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”) 29 U.S.C. §§201,
et seq. and Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act of
1968 (“PMWA”), 43 P.S. § 333.101, et
seq., and that the remaining state law claims are
insufficiently pled. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion to Dismiss is granted without prejudice.
filed this action on his own behalf and on behalf of all
others similarly situated. The Amended Complaint alleges the
following facts. Savakus-Malone is an individual who was
employed by Piramal and Masis as an hourly Production
Operator from April 2018 to July 2018. See Am.
Compl. ¶ 26, ECF No. 16. Piramal is a Delaware
corporation headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and
“is a significant producer of inhalation anesthetics,
injectable pain and anesthesia drugs, Intrathecal Baclofen
therapy for spacity management, and plasma volume
expanders.” Id. at ¶ 27. Masis is a
Massachusetts-based limited liability company which provides
labor staffing for its clients, including Piramal.
Id. at ¶ 29.
around April of 2018 Masis screened Savakus-Malone as a
potential Piramal employee. See id. at ¶ 34.
Shortly thereafter, Savakus-Malone was offered, and accepted,
the opportunity to work for Piramal as a Production Operator
at Piramal's Bethlehem, Pennsylvania facility.
Id. During the course of Savakus-Malone's
employment at Piramal, he was instructed to arrive fifteen
minutes early, unpaid, to don and doff safety gear necessary
to the performance of his job, and to stay an extra fifteen
minutes at the end of each shift, unpaid, to remove the
safety gear. See id. at ¶¶ 39-40.
Savakus-Malone was also instructed to forego meal breaks,
which he did, although time allotted for meal breaks was
automatically deducted from his hours worked. Id. at
¶¶ 41-42. Savakus-Malone complained to
representatives from Piramal and Masis regarding incorrect
pay, but neither Piramal nor Masis corrected the errors.
Id. at ¶ 13.
around July 20, 2018, Savakus-Malone arrived at Piramal's
premises and was told that his “contract had
ended.” Id. at ¶ 95. That same day, a
Masis representative contacted, or attempted to contact,
Savakus-Malone for the purpose of informing him that he no
longer worked at Piramal. See id. at ¶ 96.
Savakus-Malone was not subsequently offered another
employment position by Masis. Id. at ¶ 97.
Amended Complaint asserts six counts: (1) a claim pursuant to
29 U.S.C. § 216(b) of the FLSA for failure to provide
overtime pay; (2) a claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §
215(a)(3) of the FLSA for retaliation; (3) a violation
of Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act of 1968
(“PMWA”), 43 P.S. § 333.101, et
seq.; (4) a violation of Pennsylvania's Wage Payment
and Collection Law (“WPCL”), 43 Pa. Stat. §
260.1, et seq.; (5) unjust enrichment pursuant to
Pennsylvania common law; and (6) breach of contract pursuant
to Pennsylvania common law. Savakus-Malone alleges that
Piramal and Masis are in violation of the aforementioned
statutes and torts as a result of their failure to pay
employees at least one-and-one-half times their regular rate
of pay for off-the-clock work performed in excess of forty
hours in one work week. See Am. Compl. ¶ 141.
Amended Complaint further alleges that Piramal and Masis are
“joint employers” pursuant to the FLSA and PMWA
and therefore each have the duty to ensure that the rights
provided by these statutes are enforced. See id. at
¶ 79. Savakus-Malone alleges, upon information and
belief, that Masis facilitated his screening and hiring for
work at Piramal. Id. at ¶ 82. Savakus-Malone
alleges that Masis discussed potential employment at Piramal
with him, Masis ran a background check on him, Masis
performed employment-related drug screening on him, and a
representative from Masis communicated to him the hourly wage
he would be paid for work performed for Piramal. See
id. at ¶¶ 83-86. Savakus-Malone alleges, upon
information and belief, that Masis was paid a lump sum by
Piramal at the time of his hiring and continued to receive
money from Piramal related to his continued work at Piramal.
See id. at ¶¶ 87-88. Savakus-Malone
alleges that throughout the course of his employment,
Piramal's employees were responsible for supervising him,
he clocked in and clocked out at Piramal's Bethlehem
facility, and a record of his working hours were regularly
transmitted by Piramal to Masis. See id. at
¶¶ 90-91, 93. Savakus-Malone alleges, upon
information and belief, that Masis was responsible for
issuing, and did issue, paychecks to him. See id. at
¶ 94. Savakus-Malone alleges, upon information and
belief, that Masis participated in the decision to terminate
him and that Masis has retained records related to him.
See id. at ¶¶ 99, 101. Savakus-Malone
further alleges that his employment at Piramal was terminated
around July 20, 2018, and was communicated to him by both
representatives for Piramal and Masis. Id. at ¶
has filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). Masis
argues that the FLSA and PMWA claims should be dismissed
because it is not a “joint-employer” of
Savakus-Malone with Piramal. See Mot. Dismiss ¶
29, ECF No. 19. Further, Masis states that the WPCL and
breach of contract claims should be dismissed because
Savakus-Malone fails to sufficiently plead the existence of a
contract and that the unjust enrichment claim fails as a
matter of law.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, this Court must
“accept all factual allegations as true [and] construe
the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche
Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002))
(internal quotation marks omitted). Only if “the
‘[f]actual allegations . . . raise a right to relief
above the speculative level'” has the plaintiff
stated a plausible claim. Id. at 234 (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 540, 555
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, “the
tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations
contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions.” Id. (explaining that determining
“whether a complaint states a plausible claim for
relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense”). The defendant bears the burden of
demonstrating that a plaintiff has failed to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. See Hedges v. United
States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing
Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d
1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)).
first three counts of the Amended Complaint are brought
pursuant to the FLSA and PMWA. These statutes regulate
conduct between employees and employers. Because the
definition of “employer” is similarly expansive
under both the FLSA and PMWA, “the analysis for whether
an individual constitutes an ‘employer' is the same
under the PMWA as under the FLSA.” Schneider v. IT
Factor Prods., No. 13-5970 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173583,
*13 (E.D. Pa. December 9, 2013). Masis argues in the Motion
to Dismiss that it is not an employer or joint employer of
Savakus-Malone and that these counts must therefore be
dismissed. It further argues that the remaining counts of the
Amended Complaint, which are brought pursuant to Pennsylvania
common law and statutory law, fail to state a claim.
Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently plead that Masis is a
“joint employer” within ...