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Williams v. Skyline Automotive

November 14, 2011

LEROY WILLIAMS, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHER PAST AND PRESENT SIMILARLY SITUATED EMPLOYEES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SKYLINE AUTOMOTIVE INC. D/B/A/ TOYOTA OF MANHATTAN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shira A. Scheindlin, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Leroy Williams brings this collective action against his employer, Skyline Automotive, Inc., alleging that Skyline failed to pay him and others overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"),*fn1 and requesting permission to provide notice of his collective action to other similarly situated employees. Williams also claims that Skyline failed to pay him overtime compensation under the New York Labor Law.*fn2

Defendant now moves to dismiss Williams' Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the following reasons, defendant's motion is denied. However, plaintiff's motion to provide preliminary notice of his collective action to potential plaintiffs is granted.

II. BACKGROUND*fn3

In May of 2002, Williams was hired as a mechanic/technician for Skyline, a New York corporation operating approximately twenty automobile dealerships.*fn4 Williams alleges that the terms of his employment were set out in a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA").*fn5 According to the terms of the CBA, Skyline paid Williams and other similarly situated employees overtime pay according to an "incentivized hourly rate," not the FLSA overtime rate.*fn6 This contractual overtime system only increased employees' pay for weekly work done beyond 42.5 hours, and the increase resulted in substantially less pay than FLSA's time-and-a-half guarantee.*fn7

Williams alleges that he and others similarly situated "frequently worked more than forty (40) hours a week," and were paid for these hours according to this incentivized hourly rate.*fn8 Because Williams alleges that neither he nor others similarly situated are exempt from the FLSA's overtime requirements, they were and are entitled to receive overtime payments at the rate of time-and-a-half.*fn9 He claims this denial of overtime pay was willful,*fn10 and under the FLSA seeks "payment of time-and-a-half for each and every hour worked overtime during the three (3) years prior to the filing of the this Complaint," as well as an equal amount in liquidated damages for the same period.*fn11 Under the New York Labor Law, he seeks "time-and-a-half for each and every hour worked overtime during the six (6) years prior to the filing of this action," as well as an award of liquidated damages equal to twenty-five percent of the total amount of overtime wages he is due.*fn12

III. APPLICABLE LAW

A. Rule 12(b)(6)

In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court evaluates the sufficiency of the complaint under the "two-pronged approach" suggested by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal.*fn13

First, a court "'can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.'"*fn14

"Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to withstand a motion to dismiss.*fn15 Second, "[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief."*fn16 To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the allegations in the complaint must meet a standard of "plausibility."*fn17 A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."*fn18

Plausibility "is not akin to a probability requirement;" rather, plausibility requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully."*fn19

"In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a district court may consider the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and documents incorporated by reference in the complaint."*fn20 However, the court may also consider a document that is not incorporated by reference, "where the complaint 'relies ...


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