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Macintyre v. Moore

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 28, 2017

STEPHEN R. MACINTYRE, and SCOTT E. SULLIVAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
JACK W. MOORE, Supervisor, Town of Henrietta, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          ELIZABETH A. WOLFORD, District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Stephen R. Maclntyre ("Maclntyre") and Scott E. Sullivan ("Sullivan") (collectively, "Plaintiffs") commenced this action on October 30, 2015, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. ("FLSA"), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. ("ERISA"). (Dkt. 1). The complaint names only one Defendant: Jack W. Moore ("Moore" or "Defendant"), the Town Supervisor of the Town of Henrietta, New York. (Id. at 1).

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), (Dkt. 4), and Plaintiffs' cross-motion for leave to file an amended complaint. (Dkt. 8). As discussed below, Plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege a claim under either the FLSA or ERISA. However, because Plaintiffs may be able to plausibly allege a claim under the FLSA, they are granted leave to do so within thirty days of the date of this Decision and Order.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiffs, former Engineering Inspectors for the Town of Henrietta, New York, were terminated from their employment by Moore on January 23, 2015. (Dkt. 1 at 3). Plaintiffs claim that they were misclassified as independent contractors, rather than town employees. (Id. at 3). Plaintiffs assert that Defendant terminated them to avoid paying Plaintiffs "a standard civil service wage and benefit entitlement and denied [Plaintiffs] the opportunity to participate in the NYS State [sic] Retirement Program." (Id. at 4). Plaintiffs claim that they are owed lost wages, overtime compensation, and unpaid benefits. (Id.).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

         In considering a motion to dismiss, a court generally may only consider "facts stated in the complaint or documents attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated by reference." Nechis v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 421 F.3d 96, 100 (2d Cir. 2005). A court should consider the motion "accepting all factual allegations in the complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor." Ruotolo v. City of N.Y., 514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). To withstand dismissal, a plaintiff must set forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). '"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'" Turkmen v. Ashcroft, 589 F.3d 542, 546 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)); see also Nielsen v. Rabin, 746 F.3d 58, 62 (2d Cir. 2014) ("The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement. A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of the facts alleged is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)).

         "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration and citations omitted). Thus, "at a bare minimum, the operative standard requires the 'plaintiff to provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative level."' Goldstein v. Pataki, 516 F.3d 50, 56 (2d Cir. 2008) (alteration and citations omitted).

         In addition, "[i]t is well settled that pro se litigants generally are entitled to a liberal construction of their pleadings, which should be read to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Green v. United States, 260 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         A. Plaintiffs' FLSA Claim Must Be Dismissed

         1. The Court Need Not Determine at this Time Whether a Public Official Can Be Held Personally Liable Under the FLSA

         Defendant first argues that he, as a public official, cannot be held personally ...


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