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Burns v. Haven Manor Health Care Center, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 10, 2015

LOVELETTE BURNS, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
HAVEN MANOR HEALTH CARE CENTER, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

DORA L. IRIZARRY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Lovelette Burns ("Plaintiff") filed the instant action against her former employer, Defendant Haven Manor Health Care Center, LLC ("Haven Manor" or "Defendant"), on behalf of herself and similarly situated current and former non-exempt hourly nurses of Haven Manor (collectively, "Hourly Nurses"), alleging that Haven Manor failed to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et. seq., New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), § 190 et. seq., and 12 N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. §§ 142-2.1 and 142-2.2. ( See Complaint ("Compl."), Dkt. Entry No. 1.) Haven Manor filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, challenging the sufficiency of the pleadings under the standard articulated in Lundy v. Catholic Health Sys. of Long Island Inc., 711 F.3d 106 (2d Cir. 2013). ( See Def.'s Mem. of L. in Supp. of Mot. for J. on Pleadings ("Def.'s Mem."), Dkt. Entry No. 27.) For the reasons set forth below, Haven Manor's motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted and this action is dismissed.

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff worked as a nurse at Haven Manor, a residential health care facility, from June 2000 through January 2013. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, 7.) During the period at issue, the final six years of her tenure with Haven Manor, Plaintiff was paid an hourly wage that varied from $17.34 to $18.3459. (Id. ¶ 7.) In a standard week, Plaintiff was scheduled to work 37.5 hours. (Id. ¶ 13.)

Plaintiff alleges that three time keeping practices at Haven Manor resulted in Hourly Nurses receiving compensation for 37.5 hours of work per week, yet they worked more than forty hours per week. First, Plaintiff alleges that Haven Manor "improperly penalize[ed] Hourly Nurses by configuring the time clocks to round down and artificially reduce the amount of time Hourly Nurses are credited with performing work at the Defendant's facilities if they arrive beyond five (5) minutes after the scheduled start of their shift." (Id. ¶ 3.) With respect to this rounding practice, [2] Plaintiff alleges that she "clocked in approximately fifteen (15) minutes late on one (1) shift during the week of approximately February 15, 2010-February 19, 2010, for which she was penalized and recorded as clocked in 30 minutes after the start of her shift resulting in a fifteen (15) minute penalty even though [Plaintiff] was engaged in essential and integral work on the Defendant's behalf during" the penalty period. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Second, Plaintiff alleges that Haven Manor "request[ed] that Hourly Nurses perform offthe-clock work after clocking out, thereby depriving Hourly Nurses of wages and overtime compensation to which they are entitled by law." (Id. ¶ 3.) With respect to this practice, Plaintiff alleges that, "during the week of approximately December 17, 2012 through December 21, 2012, [she] worked for 15-90 minutes without compensation after 2 of her shifts." (Id. ¶ 7.)

Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Haven Manor "interrupt[ed] uncompensated Hourly Nurse meal breaks with work requests and require[ed] that Hourly Nurses work through their automatically deducted meal breaks without compensation." (Id. ¶ 3.) With respect to this practice, Plaintiff alleges that, "during the week of approximately January 7, 2013 through January 11, 2013, [Plaintiff] worked for 15 minutes without compensation during each of her 5 meal breaks." (Id. ¶ 7.)

Plaintiff asserts that Haven Manor's time keeping practices resulted in unpaid overtime wages in violation of the FLSA.[3] (Id. ¶¶ 40-50.) Additionally, Plaintiff asserts supplemental state law claims. (Id. ¶¶ 51-64.)

LEGAL STANDARD

"The standard for granting a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim." Patel v. Contemporary Classics of Beverly Hills, 259 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2001). "In both postures, the district court must accept all allegations in the complaint as true and draw all inferences in the non-moving party's favor." Id. "To survive a Rule 12(c) motion, [the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Johnson v. Rowley, 569 F.3d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). "A complaint must be dismissed if it does not plead enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Brown v. Daikin Am. Inc., 756 F.3d 219, 225 (2d Cir. 2014) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

DISCUSSION

I. FLSA Claims

A. Legal Standard

Under the FLSA, an employee who works in "excess of forty hours" shall be paid for that excess work "at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed." 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); see also Lundy, 711 F.3d at 113-14. In a trio of cases from 2013, the Second Circuit clarified the pleadings standard for asserting such claims, known as FLSA overtime claims. See Bustillos v. Academy Bus, LLC, 2014 WL 116012, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 13, 2014) ...


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