Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ohan Karagozian v. Coty Us

February 10, 2011

OHAN KARAGOZIAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COTY US, LLC, A/K/A COTY, INC., DEFENDANT.



DECISION & ORDER

I. Background

On November 12, 2010, Ohan Karagozian ("Plaintiff") filed an amended complaint ("Complaint") against his former employer, Coty US, LLC, a/k/a Coty, Inc. ("Defendant"), alleging that Defendant (1) "misclassified Plaintiff as an independent contractor, . . . [thereby] fail[ing] to compensate Plaintiff for [overtime] hours worked," in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 207 ("FLSA"); (2) "retaliated against Plaintiff [for requesting that he be re-classified as a regular employee] by illegally terminating Plaintiff's employment," in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1140 ("ERISA" or "Section 510"); and (3) "repeatedly and continuously commit[ed] mail fraud . . . by intentionally placing Plaintiff's . . . tax forms ("US 1099 Forms") [which presumably reflected Plaintiff's inaccurate classification] in a United States mail box for delivery," in violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(a) ("RICO"). (Compl., dated Nov. 12, 2010, ¶¶ 12, 16, 29, 45--46.)*fn1

On November 26, 2010, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint ("Motion"), pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Fed. R. Civ. P."), asserting, among other things, that Plaintiff (1) "waived his rights under the FLSA by entering into the Stipulation"; (2) did not qualify as an "employee" of Defendant and "does not allege a disruption of Plaintiff's employment"; and (3) "fails to plead mail fraud with particularity," and "does not . . . allege that he suffered an injury proximately caused by Defendant's purported [mail fraud]." (See Def.'s Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, dated Nov. 26, 2010 ("Def. Mem."), at 7--10, 12, 16--17.)

On December 28, 2010, Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendants' Motion, arguing, among other things, that (1) the Stipulation serves "as a bar to Plaintiff's claims for . . . unpaid wages arising only under New York State law"; (2) Plaintiff qualified as an "employee" and "has expressly pled that [Defendant] retaliated against him" for requesting re-classification; and (3) "Plaintiff has adequately described the [elements] comprising [the mail fraud] claim," and the Complaint "contains clear allegations that . . . as a proximate result of [Defendant's] use of the mails, Plaintiff would not have incurred very specific injuries" in the form of a heightened tax burden." (Pl. Mem. at 8, 10, 12--16, 19, 23.)

On January 11, 2011, Defendant filed a reply. (See Def.'s Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, dated Jan. 11, 2011 ("Def. Reply").)

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

II. Legal Standard

"In order to 'survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Archibald v. Marshalls of MA, Inc., No. 09 Civ. 2323, 2009 WL 3817404, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 12, 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "In assessing the legal sufficiency of a claim, the court may consider those facts alleged in the complaint, [and] documents attached as an exhibit thereto or incorporated by reference." In re Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. Sec. Litig., 324 F. Supp. 2d 474, 485 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (citing De Jesus v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., Inc., 87 F.3d 65, 69 (2d Cir. 1996)). "Employees cannot waive FLSA claims for unpaid wages or overtime, for less than full statutory damages," except through "(1) settlements supervised by the [United States] Secretary of Labor, and (2) judicially-approved stipulated settlements." Manning v. N.Y.U., No. 98 Civ. 3300, 2001 WL 963982, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 22, 2001), aff'd, 299 F.3d 156 (2d Cir. 2002).

To establish a claim of retaliation under ERISA, a plaintiff must show, among other things, that he is an "employee," Wolf v. Coca-Cola Co., 200 F.3d 1337, 1340 (11th Cir. 2000), and that "a causal connection exist[s] between [a] protected activity and [an] adverse action," Kreinik v. Showbran Photo, Inc., No. 02 Civ. 1172, 2003 WL 22339268, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 14, 2003).

To plead mail fraud in the civil RICO context, a complaint must "specify the statements it claims were false or misleading, give particulars as to the respect in which plaintiffs contend the statements were fraudulent, state when and where the statements were made, and identify those responsible for the statements." Eldred v. Comforce Corp., No. 08 Civ. 1171, 2010 WL 812698, at *10 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2010) (quoting Moore v. PaineWebber, Inc., 189 F.3d 165, 173 (2d Cir. 1999)).

III. Analysis

(1) FLSA Claim

Defendant asserts, among other things, that Plaintiff waived his FLSA claim because the "Stipulation explicitly provided that it was in 'full and final satisfaction of all claims' of unpaid wages," and because "the Stipulation was supervised by the NYSDoL." (Def. Mem. at 8--9 (citing Lignore v. Hosp. of the Univ. of Pa., No 04 Civ. 5735, 2007 WL 1300733, at *3 (E.D. Pa. May 1, 2007)).) Defendant also asserts that "[P]laintiff's overtime claim is moot" because the amount paid to Plaintiff under the Stipulation "exceeds the maximum amount recoverable by [P]laintiff for such wages in this action." (Def. Reply at 10--11.)

Plaintiff counters, among other things, that he did not waive his FLSA claim because the Stipulation serves "as a bar to Plaintiff's claims for . . . unpaid wages arising only under New York State law," (Pl. Mem. at 8), and because it was not "supervised by the United States Department of Labor ['USDoL']," (Pl. Mem. at 9 (citing Manning, 2001 WL 963982, at *11)). Nor was it "judicially approved." (Pl. Mem. at 9.) Plaintiff also counters that Defendant "cannot argue Plaintiff's overtime claim is moot," ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.