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Caballero v. Healthtech Resources, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 20, 2018

Jessica Caballero, Plaintiff,
Healthtech Resources, Inc., Defendant.


         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 45). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Jessica Caballero worked for Defendant Healthtech Resources, Inc. (“Healthtech”) as an Information Technology (“IT”) Consultant. (Doc. 22 at 2.) Defendant Healthtech-an Arizona corporation with headquarters in Phoenix- “provid[es] information technology educational services for the healthcare industry.” (Doc. 22 at 2.) Plaintiff, who lives in Florida, was hired by Defendant to work as an IT Consultant at Heritage Valley Health System in Pennsylvania between August 20, 2014 and September 21, 2014. (Doc. 22 at 2.) During her employment with Defendant, Plaintiff was paid a straight hourly rate. (Doc. 22 at 4.) Plaintiff alleges IT Consultants were regularly required to work seven days per week for approximately ten to twelve hours a day without overtime compensation. (Doc. 22 at 4, 6.)

         On February 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1.) Defendant subsequently moved to dismiss the case or, in the alternative, to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. (Doc. 14.) Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint on April 27, 2017 (doc. 22), which Judge Nora Barry Fischer determined mooted Defendant's motion. (Doc. 23.) Defendant subsequently filed its Second Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 26.) While Defendant's motion was pending, Judge Fischer ordered the case to be transferred to the District of Arizona because of the presence of a forum selection clause in the parties' contract stating that any disputes be resolved in “a court of competent jurisdiction in Maricopa County, Arizona.” (Doc. 32 at 5.) After the case was received by this Court on July 14, 2017 (docs. 33, 34), Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on August 7, 2017. (Doc. 45.) On September 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Conditional Collective Action Certification and Court-Supervised Notice. (Doc. 55.)

         II. Standard of Review

          To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” such that the defendant is given “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). The Court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule 12(b)(6) for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory, and (2) insufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacificia Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         A complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citation omitted). Facial plausibility requires the plaintiff to plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Although a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” a plaintiff must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. This requires “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Id.

         In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court must “accept as true all well-pleaded allegations of material fact, and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). In comparison, “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences” are not entitled to the assumption of truth, id., and “are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.” In re Cutera Sec. Litig., 610 F.3d 1103, 1108 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted). A plaintiff need not prove the case on the pleadings to survive a motion to dismiss. OSU Student All. v. Ray, 699 F.3d 1053, 1078 (9th Cir. 2012).

         III. Discussion

         In her First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated Section 207(a) of the FLSA (Count I) and Section 333.104(c) of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (Count II). The Court addresses each in turn.

         A. Count I: FLSA

         The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted by Congress as a means of protecting employees through minimum wage and maximum hour provisions. Williamson v. General Dynamics Corp., 208 F.3d 1144, 1154 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Barrentine v. Arkansas-Best Freight Sys., 450 U.S. 728, 739 (1981)). Section 207 of the FLSA requires that employees be compensated at rate of at least one and one-half times the regular rate for any hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1).

         Count I of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint claims that Defendant failed to pay her overtime wages in violation of the FLSA. (Doc. 22 at 8-9.) Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claims under FLSA must be dismissed because (1) the two-year statute of limitations has expired and (2) Plaintiff's position is within the scope of the FLSA's computer employee exemption. (Doc. 45-3 at 3-8.)

         1. Statute ...

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