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Nakahata, et al v. Opinion & Order New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System

January 28, 2011

NAKAHATA, ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
OPINION & ORDER NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
YARUS, ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
MEGGINSON, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WESTCHESTER MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
ALAMU, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE BRONX-LEBANON HOSPITAL CENTER, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Paul A. Crotty, United States District Judge

USDC SDNY DOCUMENT

The Court considers motions to dismiss four related cases, brought by different plaintiffs against different defendants, but all containing strikingly similar allegations and deficiencies.*fn1

Each case is a putative collective and class action,*fn2 seeking to recover unpaid wages allegedly due to hourly employees for unspecified meal periods and breaks during which they worked, for preliminary and postliminary work, and for training sessions. As a result, the plaintiffs maintain that they were denied applicable premium pay and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and New York Labor Law ("NYLL"). They also assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") and common law for the same alleged conduct.*fn3

Facts and Allegations*fn4

1.Nakahata v. New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Inc., et al., No. 10 Civ.2661 (PAC)

Plaintiffs Masahiro Nakahata and Diana Gardocki are registered nurses employed by one of the defendants, The New York and Presbyterian Hospital ("NYPH"), pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between NYPH and the New York State Nurses Association ("NYSNA"), which sets forth the comprehensive terms and conditions of their employment including salaries, entitlement to lunch and breaks, and mandatory grievance procedures. (Minksy Aff. ¶¶ 8, 9.)*fn5 Nakahata and Gardocki filed a Second Amended Complaint on October 25, 2010, on their own behalf and on behalf of a putative class, against NYPH, New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Inc. ("System"),*fn6 Herbert Pardes, and Wayne Osten. These defendants move to dismiss the complaint because (1) it fails to state any facts to support the FLSA and NYLL claims; (2) the FLSA, NYLL, and common law claims are barred by § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") because a collective bargaining agreement governs the terms of employment and Nakahata and Gardocki have failed to exhaust its mandatory grievance and arbitration procedures; (3) the RICO and common law claims are inadequately pleaded or legally insufficient and, anyway, preempted by the FLSA; and (4) Nakahata and Gardocki lack standing to pursue these claims on their own behalf or own behalf of the putative collective or class action. (Nakahata, NYPH's Mem. in Supp. 2-3.)*fn7 System and the individual defendants further move to dismiss for failing to set forth any facts supporting the conclusory allegation that they employ Nakahata and Gardocki. Specifically, System does not have any employees and is prohibited by its corporate charter and by New York State regulations from operating hospitals or providing healthcare services. (Nakahata, System, Pardes, & Osten's Mem. in Supp. 4.) The individual defendants, senior executives of NYPH, contend that the Nakahata and Gardocki have alleged no facts to support the assertion that they control the daily employment activities of over 500 affiliated entities.

2.Yarus, et al. v. New York City Health And Hospitals Corporation, et al., No. 10 Civ. 2662 (PAC)

Plaintiff Jonathan Yarus, a staff nurse, and Plaintiff Mohamed Ali, a respiratory therapist, are salaried employees who work at one of the eleven hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation ("NYCHHC"). NYCHHC has a collective bargaining agreement setting forth the comprehensive terms and conditions of their employment, including mandatory grievance and arbitration procedures. (Yarus, Mem. in Supp. 1, 2.) Yarus and Ali filed an Amended Complaint on June 16, 2010, on their own behalf and on behalf of a putative class, against NYCHHC, Bellevue Hospital Center, Kings County Hospital Center, Jacobi Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Harlem Hospital Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, North Central Bronx Hospital, Coney Island

Hospital, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, Queens Hospital Center, and Alan D. Aviles, the president of NYCHHC. These defendants move to dismiss the complaint because (1) Yarus and Ali, as exempt employees, lack standing to assert the claims; (2) the collective bargaining agreement's mandatory grievance and arbitration procedures require dismissal of the FLSA claims; (3) the complaint fails to state a cause of action for a RICO violation; (4) the NYSLL sections cited do not apply to NYCHHC because it is a public benefit corporation; and (5) Yarus and Ali failed to provide notice of their state law claims. (Yarus, Mem. in Supp. 2-3.)

3.Megginson v. Westchester Medical Center, et al., No. 10 Civ. 2683 (PAC)*fn8

Plaintiff Patricia Megginson is a registered nurse employed by one of the defendants, Westchester County Health Care Corporation ("WCHCC"), pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between WCHCC and the NYSNA, which sets forth the terms and conditions of her employment, including mandatory grievance procedures. (Megginson, Defs. Mem. in Supp. 1, 2.) She filed an Amended Complaint on June 17, 2010, on her own behalf and on behalf of a putative class, against WCHCC, Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, Michael D. Israel, and Paul S. Hochenberg. These defendants move to dismiss the complaint because (1) it fails to set forth any facts to support an FLSA claim; (2) the common law claims are preempted by the FLSA and the existence of collective bargaining agreements, under which Megginson failed to exhaust her remedies; (3) Megginson lacks individual standing to pursue violations of the collective bargaining agreement; (4) Megginson failed to satisfy the notice and pleading requirements of the New York Public Authority Law, the WCHCC's enabling statute; and (5) the common law and NYLL claims are legally insufficient. (Megginson, Mem. in Supp. 2-3.)

4.Alamu v. The Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Inc., et al., No. 10 Civ. 3247 (PAC)

Plaintiffs Olusola Alamu and Jacqueline Cooper-Davis are employed by one of the defendants, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center ("BLHC"), pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining setting forth the comprehensive terms and conditions of their employment including salaries, entitlement to lunch and breaks, and grievance procedures. (Alamu, Mem. in Supp. 7.)*fn9

Alamu and Cooper-Davis filed an Amended Complaint on June 16, 2010, on their own behalf and on behalf of a putative class, against BLHC,*fn10 Miguel A. Fuentes, Jr., and Sheldon Ortsman. These defendants move to dismiss the complaint because (1) the FLSA, NYLL, and RICO claims are insufficiently pleaded; (2) the FLSA preempts the NYLL overtime claim and the RICO claim; (3) the ...


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