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Garcia v. Pancho Villa's of Huntington Village

March 11, 2010

ANTONIO GARCIA, JOSE AMAYA, NEPTALI AMAYA, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES, AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
PANCHO VILLA'S OF HUNTINGTON VILLAGE, INC., PANCHO VILLA'S OF HUNTINGTON STATION, INC., VILLA'S PANCHO INC., PANCHO VILLA'S OF GLEN COVE, INC., AGOSTINO ABBATVELLO, AN INDIVIDUAL AND AGOSTINO ABBATVELLO, JR., AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANT(S).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: E. Thomas Boyle United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is the plaintiffs' motion to amend their Summons and Complaint a second time to include six additional plaintiffs and five additional defendants. Defendants oppose plaintiffs' motion on the grounds that it is futile and that permitting the amendment would prejudice defendants. For the following reasons, plaintiffs' motion to amend is granted.

FACTS

This action commenced with the filing of a Complaint on February 6, 2009. An Amended Complaint was filed on March 26, 2009. The allegations of the Proposed Second Amended Complaint are substantially the same as those contained in the Amended Complaint, with the addition of six new plaintiffs and five new defendants.

Plaintiffs, Antonio Garcia ("Garcia"), Jose Amaya ("J. Amaya") and Neptali Amaya ("N. Amaya") (collectively referred to as "plaintiffs"), are all current or former employees of defendant Pancho Villa's of Huntington Station, Inc. ("Pancho Villa's Huntington Station"), which was formerly owned by defendant Agostino Abbatiello ("Abbatiello, Sr.") (sued herein as "Agostino Abbatvello") and is currently owned by defendant Agostino Abbatiello, Jr. ("Abbatiello, Jr.") (sued herein as "Agostino Abbatvello, Jr.").*fn1 Garcia was employed by defendants from July 2000 to January 2009 and again from February 2009 to the present, J. Amaya was employed from December 2003 to September 2009, and N. Amaya was employed from May 2006 to April 2008. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 25, 27, 29.) During the course of their employment, plaintiffs all assisted in the preparation and service of food and drinks, the dishwashing and cleaning of the restaurant, as well as general inventory and maintenance tasks. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26, 28, 30.)

Plaintiffs allege that they were denied overtime pay for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 245, 249, 253.) Plaintiffs allege that they all worked more than forty hours per week for most of their employment, with Garcia alleging that he often worked more than seventy hours per week, J. Amaya alleging that he often worked more than fifty hours per week and N. Amaya alleging that he often worked more than eighty hours per week. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 244, 248, 252.) Plaintiffs allege that they were not compensated at a rate of one and one-half times their regular pay rate for those hours worked in excess of forty, as required by law. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 245, 249, 253.) Plaintiffs further allege that other similarly situated employees have been unlawfully denied overtime compensation as well. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 309.)

Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., alleging that defendants' failure to pay them for their overtime hours violates Section 207 of that Act, as well as Section 650 of the New York Labor Law, 12 N.Y.C.R.R. § 137. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants failed to pay them minimum wage, in violation of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 203, and New York Labor Law § 650. Plaintiffs further allege spread of hours violations, as well as unlawful tip retention and wage reduction by defendants, in violation of the New York Labor Law. Finally, plaintiffs allege retaliation, pursuant to the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 215, and New York Labor Law § 215.

Plaintiffs now seek to amend their Complaint to add the claims of six additional plaintiffs, all of whom are alleged to be similarly situated to the plaintiffs already named in the action. Specifically, plaintiffs seek to add the following: (1) Ramon Martinez ("Martinez"), who has been employed by defendants from April 2008 to the present and who is alleged to have worked more than seventy hours per week without receiving overtime compensation or minimum wage, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 31, 256-57, 272); (2) Vilma Aparicio ("Aparicio"), who was employed by defendants from August 2004 to May 2008 and who is alleged to have worked more than fifty-five hours per week without receiving overtime compensation or minimum wage, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 33, 260-61, 273); (3) Rosa Fuentes ("Fuentes"), who has been employed by defendants from November 2008 to the present and who is alleged to have not been paid minimum wage, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 35, 274); (4) Luis Lopez ("Lopez"), who has been employed by defendants from November 2008 to the present and who is alleged to have worked more than fifty hours per week without receiving overtime compensation or minimum wage, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 37, 264-65, 275); (5) Alvaro Santos ("Santos"), who was employed by defendants from June 2003 to November 2008 and who is alleged to have worked more than sixty hours per week without receiving overtime compensation or minimum wage, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 39, 268-69, 276); and, (6) Evana Romero ("Romero"), who was employed by defendants from June 2007 to February 2009 and who is alleged to have not been paid minimum wage. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 41, 277.) Aparicio, Fuentes, Lopez and Romero are also alleged to have been required to pay a portion of their gratuities to their manager at defendant Pancho Villa's Huntington Station, Paul Rodriguez ("Rodriguez"), whom plaintiffs seek to add as a defendant to this action. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 195, 294-97.)

In addition to Rodriguez, plaintiffs seek to add four other defendants: (1) 107 Pancho Restaurant Corp., which plaintiffs allege is the corporate entity that owned and operated defendant Pancho Villa's Huntington Station from 2003 to 2006, (Kessler Decl. ¶ 7; Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 63-67); (2) Pancho's Restaurant of Glen Cove, Inc., which plaintiffs allege is the corporate entity that owned and operated defendant Pancho Villa's Glen Cove from 2003 to 2006, (Kessler Decl. ¶ 7; Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 68-72); (3) Carlos Batista ("Batista"), whom plaintiffs allege is the former manager of defendant Pancho Villa's Glen Cove, (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 215); and, (4) John "Doe," whom plaintiffs allege is the current manager of Pancho Villa's Glen Cove. (Proposed 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 221.)

Defendants oppose plaintiffs' motion on two grounds: (1) that the statute of limitations has expired for plaintiffs' FLSA claims against the new defendants; and, (2) that permitting joinder of new parties at this stage would be unfairly prejudicial to defendants.*fn2 Defendants further assert that because amendment should be denied with respect to plaintiffs' federal claims, the Court to should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) governs the amendment of pleadings and provides that "a party may amend the party's pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the other party; and leave shall be given as justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). The decision to allow such leave is firmly within the discretion of the district court. See Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. First Brighton Transp. Mgmt., No. 07 CV 715, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31791, at *11-12 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 16, 2008) (citing Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330 (1971)). Leave to amend is generally granted unless there appears to be bad faith or unnecessary delay on the part of the movant, or permitting the proposed amendment would be futile. See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

In determining whether to grant leave to amend, the court applies the same standard as that for a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). See Dougherty v. Town of N. Hempstead Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 282 F.3d 83, 88 (2d Cir. 2002). In order to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, an individual must plead only enough facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). As such, "[t]he court must construe the facts alleged by the party proposing the amendment to be true and view them in the most favorable light." Hartman v. County of Nassau, No. 04 CV 1784, 2008 ...


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