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Mendoza v. Little Luke, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 6, 2015

OSCAR G. MERCADO MENDOZA, FRANKLIN ORTIZ, and NOHVIS REYES, individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
LITTLE LUKE, INC. d/b/a PEDESTALS FLORIST; and PHILIP SAMMUT, jointly and severally, Defendants.

Justin A. Zeller, Esq., Brandon David Sherr, Esq., The Law Office of Justin A. Zeller, P.C., New York, NY, for Plaintiffs.

Jonathan Michael Bardavid, Esq., Jael Dumornay, Esq., Trivella & Forte, LLP, White Plains, NY, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

JOANNA SEYBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Oscar G. Mercado Mendoza ("Mendoza"), Franklin Ortiz ("Ortiz"), and Nohvis Reyes ("Reyes, " and together with Ortiz and Mendoza, "Plaintiffs") commenced this putative collective and class action on May 30, 2014 against defendants Little Luke, Inc. ("Little Luke") and Philip Sammut ("Sammut, " and together with Little Luke, "Defendants"), asserting several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), N.Y. LAB. LAW § 190 et seq. Defendants move to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[1] (Docket Entry 21.) For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss is DENIED.

BACKGROUND[2]

Little Luke is a New York corporation doing business as Pedestals Florist ("Pedestals") in Garden City Park, New York. (Am. Compl., Docket Entry 19, ¶¶ 10, 14.) Sammut is an "owner, officer, and manager" of the business. (Am. Compl. ¶ 15.) Defendants employed Plaintiffs as florists at Pedestals. Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated employees alleging various violations of the FLSA and the NYLL. Plaintiffs specifically claim that Defendants failed to: (1) pay overtime compensation and minimum wage; (2) pay uniform maintenance as required by the NYLL; and (3) post and provide certain notices required by the FLSA and the NYLL.

The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiffs "worked in excess of forty hours many workweeks" but that Defendants "willfully failed to pay [them] overtime compensation of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay" as required by the FLSA and the NYLL. (Am. Compl. ¶ 39.) The Amended Complaint contains generalized allegations regarding Plaintiffs' work hours- specifically, that Mendoza worked between twenty-five and eighty hours per week; that Ortiz worked between eighty and ninety hours per week during the busy season each year (i.e., "approximately from April until November each year"); and that Reyes worked approximately seventy hours per week during the busy season each year and "up to forty-seven and one-half hours per week during the off season each year." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23, 28, 34.) In addition to these generalized allegations, the Amended Complaint also approximates each Plaintiff's weekly hours at various points of his employment by identifying specific start and end times for each day of work. Many of these approximations total well in excess of forty hours per specific weeks. (See, e.g., Am. Compl. ¶ 23 (alleging that in May 2012, Mendoza worked "approximately from 7:00 a.m. until between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays and approximately from 7:00 a.m. until mostly 6:00 p.m. but also often until 7:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday each week"); Am. Compl. ¶ 28 (alleging that during the busy seasons after 2009, Ortiz worked "approximately from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Mondays, approximately from 8:00 a.m. until between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, approximately from 7:00 a.m. until between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and approximately from 7:00 a.m. until between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. during approximately two Sundays per month"); Am. Compl. ¶ 34 (alleging that during the busy season each year, Reyes worked "approximately from between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. on Sundays and approximately from between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. until between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays").)

The Amended Complaint further alleges that Defendants did not pay Ortiz any wages during his last workweek and did not pay Reyes any wages during his last two workweeks. (Am Compl. ¶¶ 31, 37.) Defendants also required Plaintiffs to wear company uniforms. However, Defendants "did not launder or maintain" the uniforms, and they "willfully failed to pay an allowance to the [P]laintiffs for uniform maintenance." (Am. Compl. ¶ 40.) Instead, Plaintiffs laundered and maintained the required uniforms at their own expense. (Am. Compl. ¶ 40.) Finally, Defendants also allegedly "failed to provide" Plaintiffs with "a notice and acknowledgement at the time of hiring" and "a statement with each payment of wages, " and "failed to post or keep posted notices explaining the minimum wage rights of employees under the [FLSA] and the [NYLL]." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 43-45.)

On August 27, 2014, Defendants moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Docket Entry 21.) Defendants' motion to dismiss is currently pending before the Court.

DISCUSSION

The Court will first set forth the applicable legal standard before turning to Defendants' motion more specifically.

I. Legal Standard

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court applies a "plausibility standard, " which is guided by "[t]wo working principles." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); accord Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2009). First, although the Court must accept all allegations as true, this "tenet" is "inapplicable to legal conclusions;" thus, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72. Second, only complaints that state a "plausible claim for relief" can survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ...


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