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Henry Mclean and Edwin Rivera v. Garage Management Corp.

March 29, 2011

HENRY MCLEAN AND EDWIN RIVERA,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GARAGE MANAGEMENT CORP., A NEW YORK CORPORATION;
GARAGE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES LLLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY;
CHAPMAN CONSULTING PAYROLL LLC, A NEW YORK LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY; AND RICHARD M. CHAPMAN, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denise Cote, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Henry McLean and Edwin Rivera bring the above-captioned action on behalf of themselves and a putative class of similarly situated persons (the "plaintiffs") who are employed as parking attendants at parking garages in New York City owned and/or operated by Garage Management Corp., Garage Management Associates LLC, Chapman Consulting Payroll LLC, Chapman Consulting LLC, and Richard M. Chapman (the "defendants").

Plaintiffs claim that defendants failed to pay them overtime and failed to pay them for all hours worked, in violation of various provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 206 et seq.; the Portal to Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. 251 et seq.; New York Labor Law ("NYLL") §§ 652, 663; and, New York Codes, Rules and Regulations ("NYCRR") §§ 142-2.2, 142-2.4. Defendants have moved pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., to dismiss plaintiffs' NYLL and NYCRR claims on the basis that they are pre-empted by § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 28 U.S.C. § 185. Defendants have also moved pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq., to compel the plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Finally, to the extent that NYLL and NYRR claims survive the motion to dismiss, defendants argue that under the FAA these claims must also be arbitrated. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise specified, the following facts are drawn from the plaintiffs' amended complaint filed on January 21, 2011 (the "Complaint") and are assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion. At all times relevant to the Complaint, plaintiffs were employed as Garage Managers at parking garages owned and operated by the defendants in Manhattan. In this capacity, plaintiffs' primary duty was to park and retrieve cars and to process customer payments. Plaintiffs were regularly required to work in excess of forty hours a week without receiving statutorily required overtime. Additionally, the plaintiffs' pay stubs did not accurately reflect all hours worked. In particular, the plaintiffs were not compensated for the time spent bringing each day's receipts and records to the defendants' central office.

Defendants contend that plaintiffs' employment is governed by a collective bargaining agreement between the Garage Employees Union Local 272 International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("Local 272") and the Metropolitan Parking Association, to which the defendants are a party (the "CBA").*fn1 Four provisions of the CBA are relevant. First, Article XIV (the "Wages provision") establishes a wage scale that is set out in Appendix A to the CBA and provides that [e]ach Employee shall be paid on each day in full for all regular time and overtime worked. All Employees will be paid on the Employer's time and on the Employer's property.

Second, Article XV (the "Hours and Overtime provision") defines what constitutes overtime and provides that overtime "shall be paid for at the rate of time and one half . . . the Employee's regular hourly rate." Third, Article XX (the "Grievance and Arbitration Procedure provision") provides, in part that:

If a dispute, claim, grievance, or difference shall arise between the Union and Employer about the interpretation or application of a particular clause of this Agreement or about an alleged violation of a particular provision of this Agreement . . . such grievance shall be handled . . . [by] submit[ting] the grievance to arbitration.

Finally, while the "Non-Discrimination Clause" refers to federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws, the articles addressing wages, hours, and overtime do not refer to any statutes.

On May 12, 2010, Henry McLean and Edwin Rivera filed the original complaint in this action. The defendants filed an answer on June 4. On June 23, the case was reassigned to this Court. By Order dated August 11, the Court approved the parties' proposed form of notice to potential "opt-in" plaintiffs for this lawsuit's FLSA collective action claim. On September 13, the defendants filed an amended answer and following a stipulation between the parties, the defendants filed a second amended answer on September 22.

On November 22, defendants filed a motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration. That motion became fully submitted on December 13, but on January 1, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a motion to amend the complaint (the "January 1 motion"). By letter dated January 13, the defendants indicated that they did not oppose the plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint and on January 14, the Court granted the January 1 motion.

On January 21, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint and to compel arbitration. The January 21 motion became fully submitted on February 18.

DISCUSSION

While the Complaint states four causes of action -- two under federal law and two under state law -- there are two substantive claims: (1) that the defendants failed to pay overtime to the plaintiffs as required by both the FLSA and NYLL; and, (2) that the defendants failed to pay the plaintiffs for all hours worked as required by the FLSA, the Portal to Portal Act, and NYCRR. As described below, the state law claims ...


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