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Lukaszewski v. County of Ulster

June 23, 2009

JOHN LUKASZEWSKI AND JAMES D. GROSSI, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF ULSTER (STATE OF NEW YORK), DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs John Lukaszewski and James D. Grossi filed this action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 207, 216, and New York Civil Service*fn1 Law § 134 for compensatory damages, liquidated damages and attorneys fees*fn2 based on unpaid overtime wages against their employer, Defendant County of Ulster's Department of Highways and Bridges.

Currently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint on the following grounds: (1) statute of limitations; (2) failure to allege involvement in interstate commerce; (3) failure to allege the number of hours worked and in what weeks with the requisite specificity; and (4) New York Civil Service Law § 134 does not apply to Plaintiffs as municipal employees.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Lukaszewski is an employee of Defendant's Department of Highway and Bridges and has served in various capacities including Field Operations Supervisor and Sections Supervisor. Plaintiff Lukaszewksi alleges a total of 3,346.5 uncompensated overtime hours accrued from January 1, 1995, through December 31, 2006. At a one-and-a-half-time hourly rate, he alleges he is due 5,019.75 hours of compensation, for which he has been paid for 2,155.50 hours in compensatory time, leaving 2,864.25 hours of compensation unpaid.

Plaintiff Grossi is also an employee of Defendant's Department of Highway and Bridges, serving as Sections Supervisor. Plaintiff Grossi alleges a total of 2,275 uncompensated overtime hours accrued from October 15, 1995, through January 20, 2001. At a one-and-a-half-time hourly rate, he alleges he is due 3,412.5 hours of compensation for which he has been paid for 1,575 hours as compensatory time, leaving a total of 1,837.5 hours of compensation unpaid.

Both Plaintiffs allege that the overtime was accrued at the specific interest and request of Defendant, that they have demanded compensation, and that Defendant has failed and refused to compensate them according to law.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Under Rule 12(b)(6), "[a] complaint must plead 'enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 111-12 (2d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007)). The court must draw inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See State of N.Y. v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y., No. 1:95-CV-554, 2007 WL 2287878, *3 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 7, 2007) (citation omitted).The court may consider the facts alleged in the complaint, "as well as 'documents that the plaintiffs either possessed or knew about and upon which they relied in bringing the suit.'" Patane, 508 F.3d at 112 (quoting Rothman, 220 F.3d at 88 [(2d Cir. 2000)]).

B. Statute of Limitations

Defendant asserts that FLSA claims have a two year (three year for willful violations) statute of limitations and arise at each pay day following the work period for which overtime compensation is claimed.Accordingly, Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff Lukaszewski's claims for overtime pay accruing prior to May 5, 2006,*fn3 and should dismiss all of Plaintiff Grossi's claims.*fn4 Finally, Defendant argues that, even if Plaintiffs' two contractual extensions are valid, those extensions state that Plaintiffs' claims expired December 31, 2007; and, therefore, Plaintiffs' claims are not timely.

The statute of limitations for FLSA claims is three years for willful violations and otherwise two years. See 29 U.S.C. ยง 255(a). A court may dismiss a complaint that alleges violations for pay periods beyond the three-year limit at the motion-to-dismiss stage. See Franklin v. N.Y. Law Publ'g ...


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