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Luciano v. Eastman Kodak Co.

May 25, 2006

PETER LUCIANO, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge Dated: Rochester, New York

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Peter Luciano, ("Luciano") brings this action for declaratory relief and monetary damages on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, claiming that the defendant Eastman Kodak Company ("Kodak") violated his and other putative plaintiffs' rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. ("FLSA"), New York labor law, the labor and wage laws of other states, and breached several employment contracts.

Kodak moves to dismiss the Complaint in-part, and to strike portions of the Complaint. Although Kodak does not move to dismiss plaintiff's federal collective action claim under the FLSA, defendant seeks to dismiss plaintiff's New York State Labor Law claims on grounds that plaintiff may not maintain a class action under New York Law. Kodak moves to dismiss plaintiff's wage and contract claims pursuant to the laws of states other than New York on grounds that plaintiff lacks standing to pursue such claims, and that the court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over those claims. Kodak contends that because plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to the laws of 34 states and territories with respect to his wage claims, and 49 states and territories with respect to his contract claims, the court should not exercise jurisdiction over those claims because they would predominate over plaintiff's federal claim. Kodak also contends that plaintiff may not maintain a class action under the laws of the several states because the purported class fails to comply with the class-requirements set forth in Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Kodak further moves to dismiss those portions of the Complaint seeking injunctive relief on grounds that plaintiffs are not entitled to such relief as a matter of law. Additionally, defendant moves to strike the plaintiff's proposed class certification form titled "Consent to Become a Party Plaintiff" pursuant to Rule 12(f) because it is substantively inaccurate.

Finally, Kodak moves to transfer this case to the Honorable Charles Siragusa because he is the assigned judge for a similar case in which plaintiff Luciano is also the class representative. Plaintiff opposes all of Kodak's motions.

For the reasons set forth below, I grant defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's class allegations pursuant to New York state law; grant defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims pursuant to the wage and labor laws of states other than New York; grant defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's contract claims pursuant to the laws of states other than New York; grant defendant's motion to dismiss claims for injunctive relief; deny as premature defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's proposed claim form; and deny defendant's motion to transfer this case to Judge Siragusa.

BACKGROUND

In 1976 Peter Luciano began his employment with Kodak in Rochester, New York as a Technical Support Specialist in the Health Group Organization. On May 3, 2004, Luciano's position was eliminated as part of a reduction in Kodak's work force. Less than one year later, however, Luciano became employed by Burns Personnel ("Burns"), a personnel service which supplies workers to various employers including Kodak. On March 7, 2005, Luciano was assigned to work at Kodak in Rochester, New York Kodak providing technical support. Although Luciano worked at a Kodak location, he was employed by Burns, and was supervised by a Burns employee.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 28, 2004, Luciano filed a separate class action lawsuit against Kodak in this Court alleging violations of the FLSA and New York's wage and hour law. That action arises out of Luciano's employment with Kodak, but not for the period of time when he was employed by Burns. The April 28, 2004 action (hereinafter "Luciano I") was filed on behalf of persons who were employed by Kodak as technical support specialists, and whom Kodak allegedly failed to correctly classify and compensate for overtime. Luciano I is in the process of settlement.

On September 7, 2005, Luciano filed this action against Kodak (hereinafter "Luciano II") alleging that during the time period in which he worked at Kodak as a contract employee through Burns, Kodak failed to pay him and other similarly situated contract employees in compliance with the FLSA and state wage and labor laws. Plaintiff further alleges that Kodak breached contracts with its contract employees. Plaintiff maintains that all of his claims, including his New York Labor Law claim, his other state wage law claims, and breach of contract claims should be maintained as a Rule 23 class action. Furthermore, plaintiff alleges violations of 34 separate states' wage laws as well as those of Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and makes breach of contract claims under the common law of 48 jurisdictions as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

DISCUSSION

I. Kodak's Motion to Transfer

Kodak's moves to transfer this case to Judge Siragusa on grounds that judicial economy will be served by having one judge handle both Luciano I and II. However, Luciano I has been referred to me for mediation and settlement purposes and that case is currently being settled by the parties. I will continue to provide settlement oversight in the Luciano I case and am familiar with the details of both Luciano cases. Thus, judicial economy is best served by this Court's continued handling of both Luciano I and II given the similarity of the cases and the extensive investment of judicial time and resources by this court in both cases. Accordingly, Kodak's motion to transfer the Luciano II case to the Honorable Charles Siragusa is denied.

II. Kodak's Motions to Dismiss

Kodak maintains that plaintiff's state-law contract claims, state-law wage and hour claims, and claims for injunctive relief should be dismissed for various ...


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