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Cromwell v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 15, 2013

JEROME CROMWELL, on behalf of himself and all other employees similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION and ALAN D. AVILES, Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jerome Cromwell ("Cromwell"), a former hospital police officer with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation ("HHC"), brings this action on his own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of HHC employees against the HHC; Alan D. Aviles, HHC's chief executive officer; and various individual hospitals that comprise part of HHC (collectively, "defendants"). Cromwell seeks to recover unpaid wages allegedly owed to hourly employees for unspecified meal periods and breaks during which they worked, and for work performed before and after scheduled shifts. Cromwell asserts that he and similarly situated HHC employees were deprived premium pay and overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and New York Labor Law ("NYLL") §§ 191 et seq.

Defendants move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss Cromwell's FLSA claims is granted. The Court accordingly declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction as to Cromwell's NYLL claims.

I. Background

A. Cromwell's Factual Allegations[1]

Between October 10, 1989, and February 1, 2010, Jerome Cromwell worked as a hospital police officer at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, a medical facility of the HHC. Am. Compl. § 68. As a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 237, Cromwell was subject to the union's collective bargaining agreement. Id. § 69.

Cromwell's official duties included patrolling and protecting the Woodhull facility and monitoring patient and visitor activities. Id. § 70. Cromwell was required to carry a pager and immediately to respond to emergency calls received during his scheduled shifts. Id.

Cromwell was typically scheduled to work five days per week from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., totaling 37.5 hours of scheduled work. Id. § 71. Approximately twice per month, Cromwell worked an additional 7.5 hour shift. Id. During those weeks, Cromwell would work a total of 45 hours. Id. Cromwell does not appear to allege that he was not paid the appropriate overtime rate for overtime hours worked during the weeks in which he worked an extra shift.

Cromwell alleges that he performed additional work before and after his scheduled shift, resulting in an additional 60 minutes of work time for each such shift. Id. § 73. Additionally, Cromwell alleges that twice per week he was required to work an extra 20 minutes at the end of his shift while he awaited the officer who would relieve him of his post. Id.

In addition, Cromwell estimates that, approximately once per week, he would work through his meal break. Id. § 76. He also estimates that his meal breaks were disrupted by work-related interruptions for at least 15 minutes once per week. Id. Cromwell estimates that this time totaled an additional one hour per week of uncompensated time, which should have been paid at overtime rates. Id.

Thus, in total, Cromwell estimates that he worked an additional approximately 6 hours and 40 minutes per week for which he was not compensated by the defendants. Id. § 74.

B. HHC Break and Compensation Policies

The Amended Complaint alleges that HHC's compensation procedures include a "Meal and Break Deduction Policy" under which HHC's timekeeping system automatically deducts time from employees' paychecks each day for meals, breaks, and other deductible periods of time. Am. Compl. §§ 86-87. For each shift that is long enough for a meal break, employees are deducted at least 30 minutes from their pay. Id. § 88. The Complaint alleges that Cromwell performed work during those automatically deducted breaks.

The Amended Complaint alleges that defendants fail to ensure that employees do not perform work during the 30 minutes that are auto matically deducted from their pay. Id. § 91. It alleges that defendants do not prohibit employees from working during ...


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