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SCOTT v. CITY OF NEW YORK

June 23, 2004.

KEENAN M. SCOTT, THOMAS LOGAN, JOHN LOOMIS, ROBERT DAVIDSON, and MICHAEL C. DEMARTINO, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK and THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs bring this action against the City of New York ("City") and its Police Department ("NYPD") (collectively, "defendants") on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").*fn1 Defendants now move to dismiss the first count of the Amended Complaint ("Count One") for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).*fn2 Defendants also seek to join the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association ("PBA") and the Detectives' Endowment Association ("DEA") (collectively, "Unions") as necessary, non-aligned parties under Rule 19(a). For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motions to (1) dismiss Count One and (2) join the Unions are denied.

I. FACTS

  A. Background

  Plaintiffs are current and former New York City police officers and detectives employed by the NYPD.*fn3 They are represented for collective bargaining purposes by the PBA and the DEA, respectively.*fn4 The collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") entered into by the Unions and the NYPD govern the terms and conditions of their employment, such as compensation and overtime, number of hours worked per year, annual leave, length of each shift ("tour of duty"), and benefits.*fn5 Under these CBAs, police officers and detectives who have accrued overtime hours may either receive a monetary payment or time off as compensation for those hours. Specifically, both the PBA/NYC and DEA/NYC CBAs provide:
All ordered and/or authorized hours in excess of forty (40) hours in any week or in excess of the hours required of an employee by reason of the employee's regular duty chart if a week's measurement is not appropriate, whether of an emergency nature or of a non-emergency nature, shall be compensated for either by cash payment or compensatory time off, at the rate of time and one-half, at the sole option of the employee. Such cash payments or compensatory time off shall be computed on the basis of completed fifteen (15) minute segments.*fn6
B. The Complaint
1. Count One
  Count One is premised on defendants' policy of improperly disallowing plaintiffs' use of compensatory time off in violation of the FLSA.*fn7 In particular, plaintiffs aver that when City police officers and detectives who "originally received compensatory time off," request to take this time, they are routinely denied under circumstances "where no undue disruption of the City's operations would result."*fn8 Plaintiffs assert that defendants' compensatory time off system requires them to work for extended periods without the possibility of taking compensatory non-working days, resulting in the accrual of unpaid overtime hours.*fn9

  2. Other Claims

  The Complaint alleges four additional FLSA violations. First, plaintiffs argue that defendants routinely force police officers and detectives to "agree in advance to accept compensatory time off in lieu of cash compensation in order . . . to be eligible for specified overtime work opportunities."*fn10 In addition, where officers or detectives have earned cash compensation for a specific number of overtime hours (typically 35 hours per month or 105 hours per quarter), they are forced to accept compensatory time off in lieu of cash payment for any additional overtime hours.*fn11 Plaintiffs claim that defendants' policies are not authorized by the governing CBAs.*fn12 Second, plaintiffs state that defendants have assigned, and continue to assign, officers and detectives to schedules that require them to work more than 171 hours in a 28-day period, without adequate overtime compensation.*fn13 Third, plaintiffs claim that defendants' failure to include "shift differential and longevity pay in computing the regular rate of pay in which the named Plaintiffs and all similarly situated police officers and detectives have worked overtime" violates section 7 of the FLSA.*fn14 Fourth, defendants are accused of incorrectly calculating the hours worked by their employees, thereby depriving those employees of overtime hours earned.*fn15

  II. LEGAL STANDARDS

  A. Rule 12(b)(6)

  "Given the Federal Rules' simplified standard for pleading, `[a] court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.'"*fn16 Thus, a plaintiff need only plead "`a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."*fn17 Simply put, "Rule 8 pleading is extremely permissive."*fn18

  At the motion to dismiss stage, the issue "`is not whether a plaintiff is likely to prevail ultimately, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleading that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test.'"*fn19

  The task of the court in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is "`merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof.'"*fn20 When deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.*fn21

  B. Rule 19(a)

  Rule 19(a) provides that a person subject to service of process whose joinder will not deprive the court of jurisdiction must be joined in an action if:
(1) in the person's absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or
(2) the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person's absence may
(i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect that interest or
(ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the claimed interest. If the person has not been so joined, the court shall order that the person be made a party.
If such a person cannot be joined, then the court must consider whether "in equity and good conscience" the case should be dismissed.*fn22 Rule 19 protects several interests: the parties' ...

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